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I am dying to get bees for all the obvious fabulous homesteading benefits you all are aware of, but hubby is adamant that this is the one homesteading endeavor he does not want me to start. probably out of a a bit of a fear of hornets/yellow jackets im guessing. he says he just doesnt want more around, lol. how can i convince him that honey bees are different and arent going to go around attacking him & are worth the project? what have you used to convince your reluctant partners?

also, I would love to hear what your initial investments were in these amazing creatures, and what the return was, in money or honey. thanks, Your expertise is invaluable!

Christie
 

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find a bee club , they may have a sute he canput on and see how bees react , and he can talk to a keep and stand around a hiive .. I have had bees from 06 . in 06 grand kids were from 5 years and up ,, to this day they come play with the girls with me and will never let me play with them alone ,, they pull frames ,pick up bees ,one even took a jar of them to school ,,( yes we got a call from school ) fill the jar himself with out us knowing ,, and they never even think about a suite to ware
 

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I was the guy who "hated bees" (really I hated wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets), I was stung a lot as a kid and I'm the 30 year old guy flailing my arms like a crazy person when a bee is around them.

That being said, this year we got a bee hive in the spring and joined a local bee club, my idea actually, for all the benefits of having them on a homestead. My hive is probably about 150 feet from my house, and over the course of the summer it was filled with a LOT of bees. I have never noticed more bees since adding the hive, I still have the same amount of yellow jackets and stuff around that try making homes around the front porch, etc., but this has 0 to do with the honey bees. Don't forget, bees cover a huge radius when collecting pollen, its not as if they stay in your yard or know your fence line or where your house is, they are foraging far and wide. Even when working the hive up close, they are coming and going and pretty much ignore me for the most part, and that's when I'm in their actual hive/home. Just standing right next to the hive and leaving them alone, they fly right by.

Basically, adding a hive to your yard that's appropriately placed away from the house, will have 0 effect on how many bees you have flying around that you will actually notice. Hope that helps.
 

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Take a trip to a local apiary and let him experience a hive or two on a warm, sunny day. Also, find some photos on the net to get him comfortable with them. Like this one:





Then remind him that the honeybee is the only one that leaves their stinger, then dies. It is suicide for one to sting. Therefore, they are much more reluctant to sting.

Most important, lead him, don't push him. He will come around if not forced.
 

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My husband wasn't interested but did go to a beginner's class last Feb with me. I've been doing everything with my three hives all Summer which is ok with me until those times that I have to lift those heavy 10 frame deeps by myself. I asked him if I could get him a suit and gloves so he can just help with the heavy lifting when needed. He agreed and it is so much better to have the extra set of hands and muscle. Only thing is, he's "gotten into" beekeeping and really likes it, gives me advice, suggestions, etc. It's a fair tradeoff but I kind of miss my time with just me and the bees.

So, my best advice is to go to a beekeeping class, join the club, let your DH get to know the members. Most of them around hear are a bunch of friendly, talkative guys. My DH isn't real social but liked the people he met at the class right off. Those in your area might be able to sell the idea of beekeeping to yours.

Since this my first year I haven't made any money and let the bees keep all the honey. Start up is expensive. Two hives are typically recommended. Nucs around here were $100-$125 each. It's not hard to spend $800-$1000 for a couple of hives and equipment. Check out some of the beekeeping supply companies and you can get a better idea about specific prices.

I love seeing all the bees in our fields on all the clover and in my garden and herb beds. I bought herbs and flowers this summer based on how much the bees would like them. We've had lots of other pollinators but honey bees were few and far between. Now even my young granddaughters love to see "grandma's bees" at the edge of our pond on the girl's sand beach.
 

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I've kept bees for 23, almost 24 years. All of those years I've been an organic gardener. Only one year did I not have bees. I honestly thought there was something wrong with the seed I was using because the harvest was so small(to me). After voicing my concerns to other gardeners I was assured that it was a pretty normal yield. If you want a super prolific garden....get bees. If your hubby is a gardener that ought to get his attention.

See if you can get a local beekeeper to sell you some comb honey. That will make a believer out of anyone!

Most days you'd never know that there are 20 hives about 100 yards from the house. Many days I never see a bee. Today was an exception, but the girls were wanting comfort and assurance after the awful weather of the past week. They've almost been affectionate the last 2 days since the hard freeze broke. Felt like I was the bee whisperer today...lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
thanks guys those are some great ideas. wow that is an expensive startup! I saw someone selling hives on cl for a 100 so i my estimates were not that high, lol. but we are pretty handy in the woodworking shop how hard is it to make them ourselves? it would be a lot cheaper for the hives, right?

I had no idea they made THAT much difference for the harvest, thats awesome! unfortunately I am the main homesteader/gardener of the family though so doubt that point will sell him alone. He has been really enjoying the home raised food though, so one step but im sure he will grow to appreciate the value. ;-) where can i locate a local club?
 

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BWB, I second/third the suggestions to get your DH to a local beek's yard and let him interact with the bees there and see how gentle they are, even with someone opening their home. My wife was nervous about my getting bees to begin with and we were in an apartment so the only place for them was on our balcony. It worked out great, though, and she eventually loved to sit out there with them and watch the girls work. It's therapeutic, really, like watching fish in a tank. :)

Also, the startup expenses don't have to be high. We went with top bar hives that we build ourselves. They require hardly any tools to manage and we harvest by cut and crush comb so there's nothing really required for that either. I had less than $150 invested in my first hive (I didn't even use a smoker or suit until I had more than one hive). I don't produce enough to sell but we certainly have enough for our family's needs and to share.

The top bar hives are a little more time to maintain/work than the Langstroth, but it's negligible if you only plan to have 2-3 hives and not 40. :) Check out www.backyardhives.com. They do a great job of introducing the top bar method. Good luck!
 

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thanks guys those are some great ideas. wow that is an expensive startup! I saw someone selling hives on cl for a 100 so i my estimates were not that high, lol.
If that was a hive with bees as opposed to just the wooden parts you need to see if the ad is still running and get some! Nucs(4-5 frame starter kits that do not come with the wooden parts) start at $125, but those sell out fast. I'm charging $150 per nuc and from doing searches here locally it seems like I am probably the cheapest. A package of bees is somewhere around $100. Last month I was selling single hive body 10 frame hives for $350.

Your local bee club will be your best resource. They want to see new people get started with bees and can often do a combined order for packages and get them a bit cheaper, or there may be someone in the club that is willing to give new beeks(beekeepers) a break.
 

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just fyi, here is an entire starting kit for a reasonable price. This company is local to me and is where I get most of my stuff. As you can see, you can get everything needed and buy your bees for well under $450.

http://cutlersupply.com/zen_new51/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=127_128&products_id=957

I would stay away from used hives, they can carry disease, start clean and start fresh.

A quick Google search with your county and the words "bee club" will probably get you some results about local bee clubs.
 

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If you're the adventurous type, you can probably save money by capturing your own swarm. I worked with one of the local club members on a few of his capturing-bees-from-people's-walls/attics-missions and he let me keep one of the swarms where we caught the queen to start my hive.
 

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I should say that when I said $800-$1000 I was talking about 2 complete hives, etc. Course then I decided to get a third setup, and, and....Gets to be a little addictive!
 

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Haha thats an idea! maybe if i had the help of someone with plenty of experience :) I will check into a club. sounds like a lot of fun, and a great opportunity to learn :)
 

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We are actually in troup too! small world! and encouraging because i was starting to be convinced that I was the only homesteader in the state! LOL. I will totally check out that group, thanks!

also, heres another newbie question for ya, how much truth is there to the salt water thing? Hes convinced that our saltwater pool is going to be covered in them...
 
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