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Welcome Christy Hemenway author of The Thinking Beekeeper

 
A.J. Gentry
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Photo Source: New Society Publishers

This week Christy Hemenway will be joining us to answer our questions about bees and share her "bee-vangelism".

There are 4 copies of The Thinking Beekeeper up for grabs.

Christy will be stopping by on the forum over the next few days answering questions and joining in discussions.

From now through this Friday, any posts in this forum, ie the honey bee forum, could be selected to win.

To win, you must use a name that follows our naming policy and you must have your email set up in Paul's Daily-ish email.

The winner will be notified by email and must respond within 24 hours.

Posts in this thread won't count, but please feel free to say hi to Christy and make her feel at home!
 
Christy Hemenway
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Greetings, Thinking Beekeepers --

Thank you for having me on this week to talk about natural beekeeping in top bar hives. Feel free to ask any burning question you may have. I will be checking in regularly throughout the week to respond to your questions.

While I am not necessarily a full-blown "permie" - I attended the Permaculture Convergence held in Unity, ME a few years ago, and I have also attended some local meetup gatherings.
I've spoken to the Portland (Maine) Permaculture group as well, thanks to Lisa F.

Here are some additional resources you might be interested in checking out:
The Gold Star Honeybees website: Gold Star Honeybees' website
I maintain a YouTube Channel - there you will find more than 50 How-To videos on Top Bar Beekeeping: Gold Star Honeybees' YouTube Channel
Please subscribe! You will get a notification when we post new videos.
Gold Star Honeybees is on Facebook - that's here: Gold Star Honeybees on Facebook
We love it when you like us!

Looking forward to the week!
Bzzzzzt!

-- Christy
 
Valerie Dawnstar
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Welcome, Christy! Thanks for joining us! Looking forward to learning more about our bee friends.
 
Blythe Barbo
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SO glad to have you on here, Christy! Welcome, welcome, WELCOME!!!
 
Kris Arbanas
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Thanks Christy, I've been looking for top bars that ship to Canada!
 
Emily Cressey
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I have read your book and thought it was great. Seen some of your videos, too! Nice to have you aboard here and appreciate your sharing your time and expertise.
 
ben capozzi
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Thanks for all your info! Bees aren't part of the home compound yet, but making a haven for them to go about their business on our urban lot and in our neighborhood is definitely desired!
 
Adam Lehn
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Hi Christy,
I'm interested in the topic of varroa mites. I don't have a hive yet, but hope to start keeping one soon. I am most interested in the no-treat method. I accept that there will be some loss with this technique, with the end result of a stronger, more resilient colony. However, I worry about investing in bees and having all of them die. And then reinvesting in bees only to have that second batch die too.
What is your approach to mite problems? How do you keep a healthy hive? Would you recommend trying to domesticate a swarm of wild bees with the hopes that they would be healthy and most fit for the local climate, and therefore most resilient against local mites?
Thanks for your time!
Adam
 
Rose Lea
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Welcome!

I am a newbee to Beekeeping & would be interested in any info on beginning raising bees. Is it easy to get started?

Thanks for any info.

Rose
 
Stacie Kellogg
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Location: Breckenridge, Mi USA
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Welcome!!! I'm really new to all of this stuff. I'm fascinated with bees! I'm attempting to learn all I can and I am hoping to have bees of my own soon. Thank you for all of your insight and for sharing your passion with us.

 
M Johnson
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My first set if bees are coming in today/tomorrow. Already I regret some decisions after listening to the 4 part podcast on bees, but I'll be workjng to rectify it ( next one won't have paint, need it in a hut of some sort, get local bees instead of from a supplier etc)

Any thoughts on what I should do on day 1? I read their book but when they start saying spray them with sugar water they lost me
 
Robert Powell
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Welcome from a fellow beekeeper in Southern Missouri.
 
Christy Hemenway
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Kris Arbanas wrote:Thanks Christy, I've been looking for top bars that ship to Canada!


Hi Kris --
I can ship all of the Gold Star Hive kits to Canada. The Deluxe kit ships for $205.
Here are the details: Deluxe Hive kits

Happy to be connected to our northern neighbors!

-- Christy
 
Christy Hemenway
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Robert Powell wrote:Welcome from a fellow beekeeper in Southern Missouri.


Hi Robert!
Bzzzzzt!


-- Christy
 
Christy Hemenway
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M Johnson wrote:My first set if bees are coming in today/tomorrow. Already I regret some decisions after listening to the 4 part podcast on bees, but I'll be workjng to rectify it ( next one won't have paint, need it in a hut of some sort, get local bees instead of from a supplier etc)

Any thoughts on what I should do on day 1? I read their book but when they start saying spray them with sugar water they lost me


Hello M Johnson --

Sugar water is used to distract them a bit. It's not necessary in the least, but if it's a good hot day when you hive them and they are super active, it might help.

If it is at all cool out, though - as in less than 65 degrees - please DON'T spray the package with sugar water, as cool temps and wet bees are a very BAD combination!

For more about what to do on "Day One" - I will attach a copy of our "Startup Handbook." It includes step by step details on hiving a package... You can also download it here: Gold Star Honeybees Hive Startup Handbook

And here's the link to our YouTube channel, where you will find a video on the same subject and many others as well! Gold Star Honeybees YouTube Channel

The idea of local bees is a good one - but you need to weigh it against the idea of treatment-free bees. Soon - if we persist, all bees will be treatment-free, and then you can buy local with confidence!


-- Christy

Filename: Hive Startup Handbook 2012.pdf
Description: How to start your Gold Star top bar hive!
File size: 495 Kbytes
[Download Hive Startup Handbook 2012.pdf] Download Attachment
 
Christy Hemenway
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Stacie Kellogg wrote: Welcome!!! I'm really new to all of this stuff. I'm fascinated with bees! I'm attempting to learn all I can and I am hoping to have bees of my own soon. Thank you for all of your insight and for sharing your passion with us.



Thank you Stacy --

Being new is completely acceptable! Even the most experienced beekeeper had a first year.

One thing that never fades - is that fascination with bees. They are magical.

Bzzzzzt!

-- Christy
 
Christy Hemenway
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Adam Lehn wrote:Hi Christy,
I'm interested in the topic of varroa mites. I don't have a hive yet, but hope to start keeping one soon. I am most interested in the no-treat method. I accept that there will be some loss with this technique, with the end result of a stronger, more resilient colony. However, I worry about investing in bees and having all of them die. And then reinvesting in bees only to have that second batch die too.
What is your approach to mite problems? How do you keep a healthy hive? Would you recommend trying to domesticate a swarm of wild bees with the hopes that they would be healthy and most fit for the local climate, and therefore most resilient against local mites?
Thanks for your time!
Adam


Hi Adam -
Ahhhhh, the infamous varroa mite. Don't assume losses before they happen, but - don't lose heart if they do, either. My approach to mites begins with monitoring. Do a mite count by using the "natural mite drop method" and see whether you have a problem before you worry about doing something about them. Natural mite drop means: Mount a "sticky board" beneath your hive. Collect mites for 3 days. Count the total number of mites on the board - then divide by the 3 days. If this number is 30 or below, you needn't worry... yet. Monitor again in 2-3 weeks and if there is a significant increase in the number - start to worry. Remember that the more bees you have in your hive (ass happens as the hive builds up during the season) the more mites you will see. But a significant upward trend is cause for concern.

Then - the most benign approach wins... in my opinion that is the use of powdered sugar sifted onto all your bees. The advantage of this approach is that it is non-chemical, in fact it is mostly mechanical. The bees, covered with powdered sugar, groom themselves intensely - and this works to remove the mites. It also happens that the powdered sugar, in warm temps (65+) seems to act like marbles beneath the mites' feet and makes them fall off. It makes sense to do this more than once - though the jury is still out about the frequency requirements. 1x a week for 3 weeks would be a good formula - and monitor in between.
(Please note: look for powdered sugar that does not contain any corn starch. If you cannot purchase powdered sugar that does not contain corn starch, you can make your own by running granulated sugar through a very fast herb grinder.)

The IDEA of a swarm (which bees are never domesticated by the way) is good - but unless you know what hive the swarm issued from, you don't know that they might have come from a chemical-soaked hive. Or from a hive that originated from a deep south, warm weather hive. The best thing about a swarm is that when a swarm departs its original hive - it is very ORGANIZED. This is in direct comparison to a package of bees - who are jumbled together from different hives in the apiary that sells them. So the swarm will be better at getting started building wax in their new home than a package. They can build wax comb so fast it can make your head spin - as in, 22 bars in 17 days?!?!? Or 17 bars in 14 days!!! That's a beautiful thing - it's even more beautiful when you know that the swarm originated from a treatment-free hive... so keep your eye out on your own hives and see if you can increase your apiary size naturally!
Enjoy - and may the swarm bee with you!

-- Christy

 
Christy Hemenway
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ben capozzi wrote:Thanks for all your info! Bees aren't part of the home compound yet, but making a haven for them to go about their business on our urban lot and in our neighborhood is definitely desired!


Good, good! Next thing you know, you'll be doing the Dandelion Happy Dance!

Bzzzzzt!

-- Christy
 
Christy Hemenway
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Emily Cressey wrote:I have read your book and thought it was great. Seen some of your videos, too! Nice to have you aboard here and appreciate your sharing your time and expertise.


Hi Emily --
Thanks for the kind words. Glad you enjoyed the book.
It's always nice to be amongst such thoughtful and eco-friendly folks!

-- Christy
 
Christy Hemenway
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Blythe Barbo wrote:SO glad to have you on here, Christy! Welcome, welcome, WELCOME!!!


Hi Blythe --

It's GRAND to be here!

Bzzzzt!

-- Christy
 
Christy Hemenway
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Rose Lea wrote:Welcome!

I am a newbee to Beekeeping & would be interested in any info on beginning raising bees. Is it easy to get started?

Thanks for any info.

Rose
 
Christy Hemenway
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Rose Lea wrote:Welcome!

I am a newbee to Beekeeping & would be interested in any info on beginning raising bees. Is it easy to get started?

Thanks for any info.

Rose


Hi Rose --
A complicated question! LOL. Here's my prior response to one like it:

There are step-by-step instructions available - but they are not exactly quick or easy. The class I teach is a full weekend - it's a bit like drinking out of a fire hose...

One goal I had when I wrote The Thinking Beekeeper was to make it as clear as possible, and offer broad insights that let the aspiring beekeeper build upon their knowledge as they learn. Having a Bee Buddy or a mentor is also a good way to learn.

I am often asked about whether one can "start small" - and the answer is yes, but by small I mean by having only one hive, as opposed to multiples.
The size of the hive itself must be adequate for the bees to build a home that will contain the size of brood nest they will need and allow them to store the amount of honey that they need in order to survive a winter in the geographical location they are in.

It seems as if a good size is in the neighborhood of 4 feet, or 30 top bars. Smaller hives can work in very warm climates, but may not allow the bees to build up enough in a cold climate. If I had to suggest a minimum hive size, I would say 24 bars is probably as small as makes sense. So that's what's mean by starting small.

But there is an advantage to starting with two (or more) hives - several advantages really. One is: how much more you will learn with two hives - it's not just twice as much, it's probably 10 times as much! It's unbelievable how different 2 hives, even in the same location, can be.

Another advantage is that if you have a problem in one hive, you may find that you have the resources to fix it in the other hive. The best example of this is the ability of the bees to make a new queen so long as they have a bar of brood comb containing "open larvae." The bees are able to take a worker bee larva, turn the wax cell, rebuilding it a bit to make it vertical, and then they feed that bee a diet of royal jelly, as they would a queen bee, and that worker bee will turn into a queen. Voila! Bee Magic!

So if you'd really like to start small - just go with one hive. If you'd like a little insurance, go with two!
Bzzzzzt!

-- Christy
 
david tyler
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Hello Christy
Thank you for your time and sharing your knowledge.

I am curious as to the pesticides that they are claiming to be responsible for CCD, are these chemicals that are killing the hives off making it in to the honey supply therefor being consumed by the public?
 
Christy Hemenway
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david tyler wrote:Hello Christy
Thank you for your time and sharing your knowledge.

I am curious as to the pesticides that they are claiming to be responsible for CCD, are these chemicals that are killing the hives off making it in to the honey supply therefor being consumed by the public?


Hi David --
In brief, here is my take on systemic pesticides. If you paint a toxic chemical on a seed, and that chemical them becomes "systemic", that means that as the plant grows, the chemical goes into the stem, the root, the seed, the leaves, the bud, the flowers, the fruit... that would mean that it's also in the nectar and the pollen as well, of course. And so how could it possibly not end up in the honey?

We forget too easily how tightly things are connected.


-- Christy

 
Emily Cressey
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I just saw an article talking about how RoundUp was being found in human breast milk. Babies are being born with over 200 toxins in their bodies. My son has autism and this has been something I've been learning about as part of my efforts to heal his condition. Detoxification is a big part of it.

The founder of a naturopathic college out here in Seattle ( Dr. Joe Pizzorno, founder of Bastyr University) will give a neighborhood lecture on environmental toxicity and detoxification and he notes, " I am starting to think that about 1/3 of all chronic disease is now due to environmental metals and chemicals. I think most people don't realize that only 20% of disease is genetic. The primary causes are diet, lifestyle and environment."


I think toxicity in our food, water and air is a subtle but increasing concern.

Emily
 
Adrien Lapointe
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So I ran the winner picker app in the forum software and we have 2 winners.

Adam Klaus
and
Peter Hartman

Congratulations Adam and Peter!

I sent you an email to ask for the email address of the person that first referred you to Permies.com. That person (if qualified) will also get a copy of the book and a permies care package.
 
Peter Hartman
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This is awesome. I never win anything.
 
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