Would you do it?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by FlipFlopFarmer, Jul 17, 2006.

  1. FlipFlopFarmer

    FlipFlopFarmer Well-Known Member

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    I drove to a local beekeepers place the other day that's not too far from where I live. The man and his wife have a little honey shop and I got to talking with him about wanting to start up hives next spring. He was kind enough to show me his hives and answer a ton of questions I had.

    He recently captured a swarm that's drawn out a considerable amount of comb inside a pump house, which is about the size of a dog house. He offered to sell that colony to me for $25 and help me take the combs out and position them inside of my hive (which I still need to purchase as I wasn't planning on doing anything until next spring) My concern is that I read not to purchase bees this way as you don't exactly know what you're getting. I couldn't see past the first comb but the bees seemed healthy, active and there weren't any dead bees near the extrance that I spotted. The guy belongs to the Oregon beekeeping assoc and rents out his hives and seems very reputable. He even gave me an old veil that with a little handiwork on the sewing machine, I was able to repair to excellent working order. What do you guys think?


    I mentioned in another post a while back that my husband was going back to his grandparent's farm in Il. His Grandfather that passed away abour 15 years ago used to keep bees. He was able to bring back a really old smoker for me. The bellows need to be replaced and it's a little rusty but it's a family heirloom to me. :) It's funny because the bellows are sorta backwards from today's smokers. The bellow is wide at the bottom instead of the top and it has a small peice of wood inside that I assume was attached at some point to cover a small hole that looks like it vents to allow airflow. I'll have to look on line and see what I can find.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions, thoughts or ideas.

    :) Carla
     
  2. Sunmo

    Sunmo Well-Known Member

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    Carla,

    I say spend the 25 bucks.

    I'm a member of the Olympia Beekeepers Association. I was a member for two years before I got enough courage to try my first hive (last year, so you know I'm not the most experienced beekeeper around). I bought 2, one died during the winter. This year I bought three more and counting the hives I've picked up, I now have 10.

    Even if your hive doesn't make it through the winter, the experence you're going to get from 1) working your own bees, 2) working with the experience beekeeker, 3) hanging around your local beekeeping association and 4) reading the posts on this forum, will be invaluable for you next spring, when you decide to order your first package.

    The worst that can happen is that by February, you're out 25 bucks.

    The best that could happen is that your hive makes it through the winter, you learn about re-queening, you split your hive late next spring, you catch a couple swarms, your neighborhood plant pollination significantly increases, your beekeeping buddy teaches you tons, and you get buckets of honey by August '07.

    Go for it.
     

  3. ace admirer

    ace admirer Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The price is right...consider the bees free and the money for the knowledge and friendship gained...

    you will probably have to feed the colony throught to this fall. but you will have a strong colony come next spring.
     
  4. Jack Parr

    Jack Parr Well-Known Member

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    Flip Flop Farmer'

    The bees in the pump house I would remove if THE owner of said pump house paid ME 150 bucks. I would never buy or pay money to anyone for such an arrangement as you mention. But I don't live in Oragon so maybe ya'll do things differently there.

    The pump house bees will probably be OK and healthy and should be of no concern on that score. That you do not see any bees lying around dead is really not a good indicator because the live bees remove dead bees from their hive and carry them some ways from their hive/physical location. The extracting bees actually grab the dead bees and fly off a short ways and drop them. Ditto for trash in the hives.

    Removing bees from random locations with the intention of hiving them is tricky. There is some work in removing bees with the intention of hiving them. The comb must be cut loose from it's attaching points and fit into a frame, either a deep or medium. There should be brood, honey and pollen included in the removed combs that are fit into the frames. Essentially what has to be done is, cut out the comb carefully, lay it flat and lay an open frame over it, trim the comb to fit and slip rubber bands around the frame and the comb to hold it stable, then place it into a hive box. While this is going on the bees are not happy, the comb drips honey, and the whole operation is a mess really.

    I have used a vaccume, home made, to suck the bees into a five gallon bucket and that is not always successful. Bees are killed and there is uncertainty about finding the queen, alive, after being sucked through a hose and into a bucket.

    For a successful removal and rehiving the queen must be found and kept alive.

    Now if I would go to all that trouble, described above, for someone the price would be considerably more than 25 bucks or, if, I like the person then the deal would be FREE in his/her equiptment with a good dose of instructions.

    Really I don't understand the 25 bucks ? ? ? :shrug: that your man is asking for.

    If you want, or, need a smoker, buy a new one. They only cost about 35-40 bucks, plus shipping, and are made of stainless steel.

    Good luck. If you need more help or advice contact me at jackparr@earthlink.net

    Jack Parr
     
  5. FlipFlopFarmer

    FlipFlopFarmer Well-Known Member

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    The money really isn't the question though.....just whether or not the bees would be a good idea. He spent the time/gas money to drive and get the colony and has agreed to spend likely an hour or more helping me cut the combs and put them into my own frames, etc.... I'd gladly pay that just to work along side someone that's kept bees for 30 or 40 yrs like he has.

    In regard to the smoker....again it's not the money. I rather enjoy taking something old and discarded and rendering it useful again....especially if it's from family.

    :) Carla
     
  6. Sunmo

    Sunmo Well-Known Member

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    Carla,

    You go girl....

    You got the right attitude.

    Get the bees. Next year you'll either be saying "I'm glad I started beekeeping"(while contirbuting knowledge to this forum) or this will be a foggy memory and you'll be reading one of the other forums.
     
  7. FlipFlopFarmer

    FlipFlopFarmer Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the encouragement. :dance:

    :) Carla
     
  8. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

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    Oklahoma
    I got my bees from a man that does bee removals. He was going to charge me for them when I talked to him on the phone, but when I went to pick them up he just gave them to me.
    I don't think there is a lot of health concerns about capturing a swarm. If a hive is sickly and unhealthy it won't swarm. Good, strong healthy hives swarm. You might end up with more agressive bees that way, but then again maybe not. My bees are extremely gentle. If you do end up with aggressive bees you can re-queen them (order a new queen). As the new queen lays eggs then her offspring will eventually replace the agressive bees.
    I don't think $25 is unreasonable if he is doing the removal or coaching you through it. I think buying packaged bees is quite a bit more expensive (around $65?)
     
  9. Sunmo

    Sunmo Well-Known Member

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    I'd think you need to get your hive under control as soon as possible. Granted, it's only mid-July, but don't the hives have to get a butt-load of brood to survive during the winter?

    My "bee mentor" recites some sort of dity about swarms--
    ....A swarm in May is worth a load of hay
    A swarm in June is worth a silver spoon....
    and now I can't remember what he says about a swarm in July and August, but I don't think it's worth much. I think the reason behind that is that you have to build up the population and food stuffs in your hives in order to get them through the winter.

    It probably depends on your location. Here in Western Washington, aren't we getting awful close to the point when the major nector flows end? Some of the guys in our Bee Club pack their hives up and send them to the mountains to get fire weed. Seems like a lot of extra work to me and then I can't keep my eyes on my bees. These experienced guys swear by it, though.
     
  10. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

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    I would think that would maybe depend on how much of the comb she gets with it. If she gets all the comb with lots of brood it may be okay. But someone with more experience should answer that. Does this beekeeper that is helping you out think they could get settled in by winter? I'm sure you would have to feed for the rest of the season to give them a boost. But like someone said, if they don't make it your out $25 but you've gained the experience.
     
  11. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper keeper of the bees Staff Member Supporter

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    Only bees cheaper than $25 are swarms you catch or bees you remove from a building your self. Removing bees from a building takes more than $25 worth of time if you do it right, plus it is risky in todays get rich by sueing world.
    Me I would figure the $25 is well worth it, I bet that you get lots of questions answered and personal service when you ask for help from the beekeeper.

    The old smoker I agree since it belonged to a loved one restore it. Every time you light it memorys will come out with the smoke. Sorry can't help with restoreing it, but maybe look a a more modern one will help. I think the leather flap was used to open when the bellows was filling with air and then would close when pressure to get the air in the burn chamber was needed. Todays smokers only use the one hole for intake as well as the out going.

    The swarm poem::

    A swarm in May is worth a load of hay
    A swarm in June is worth a silver spoon
    A swarm in July — let them fly

    I have gotten swarms as late as early Oct. To late for them to build up a double deep them selves, but a frame each from 18 colonies gave them their winter stores.
    Money isn't every thing, Nobody I know is getting rich keeping bees.

    :D Al
     
  12. Iddee

    Iddee Well-Known Member

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    Let's add this up...

    Package of bees with queen....65.00
    20lbs. honey, brood, comb......60.00
    2 hours profess. labor...........200.00
    Education in beekeeping......5000.00

    Total cost...........................25.00

    I forgot, what was your first question?
     
  13. FlipFlopFarmer

    FlipFlopFarmer Well-Known Member

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    The beekeeper seems to think that I can fit all the combs into one super. I assume I'll have to cut some to fit the width/length of the frame but I think I'll have enough comb once all is said and done.

    I'm looking at www.glorybeefoods.com site (as they are fairly close to me and I'd like to get this asap!) and they have a thing called a bottom trap for collecting pollen I assume to sell. Do any of you use these? Seems sorta neat. A few people in my family have seasonal allegery issues and as I understand it.....a little pollen will help with that.


    :) Carla
     
  14. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    A swarm in July, let it fly... that's the july part of the saying.


    It's kind of late in the year for them to recover from all of this and to get their house in order for winter.