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Beekeeper getting started  RSS feed

 
Jennifer Quinn
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Greetings everyone,

After working as a commercial beekeeper for the past three years, I have the opportunity to start my own venture with a more sustainable focus. For me, this will mean keeping a smaller number of hives (200ish), chemical-free, without moving them across the country to pollinate. If all goes well, my significant other and I will be settling down in Arkansas next spring with 48 nucleus hives. We will finally be able to grow a garden, get some animals, and begin working toward a goal of self-sufficiency.

Right now, I am in the planning stages and permies.com keeps popping up in my research. You guys have already answered a lot of my questions in addition to sparking my interest in things I hadn't yet considered (such as hugelkultur). But what makes these forums stand out is the civility. In other forums I read (particularly one related to beekeeping), threads frequently devolve into petty bickering and drama. Not only is this annoying to sift through when looking for pertinent information, it also makes me feel less inclined to participate. So, I would like to thank Paul for nurturing an oasis of good manners on the internet.

I am reading up on mushroom cultivation, hugelkultur, natural ponds, fruit trees, and various herbs/flowers (specifically those useful for making tea that I could sell with my honey). I am also interested in raising chickens and pigs and good sources to buy them from. I would be very thankful for information on these things or anything else that might be useful for someone who is just getting started. I know how to raise bees, but not much else!

Thanks

Jen
 
Amedean Messan
pollinator
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Location: Melbourne FL, USA - Pine and Palmetto Flatland, Sandy and Acidic
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Awesome, keep us posted!
 
David Livingston
steward
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Location: Anjou ,France
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Welcome Jennifer
I did wonder which beekeeping site you had been to I take pârt in the Warré yahoo group run by David Heath and I find it very civil and helpful I also check out Biobees from time to time .
I assume you are referring to another site where they insist that having bees in small cells is the "only " solution to everything from CCD to blue honey .

David
 
Jennifer Quinn
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David Livingston wrote:Welcome Jennifer
I did wonder which beekeeping site you had been to
David


Thank you! I won't name any names but I will check out the other forums you mentioned!
 
David Livingston
steward
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Location: Anjou ,France
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What type of hives are you intending to use ?
Perone and Warré are favoured by many of us who try to keep bees in a more natural way

David
 
Angelika Maier
pollinator
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Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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You could teach others how to keep bees too. Travel once in a while in the next city and do a course about beekeeping.
 
Jennifer Quinn
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David, I am going to stick with foundationless 10-frame Langstroth hives (for now) because my nucs will be in similar equipment and Langstroth is what I am accustomed to. They are also very convenient for making honeycomb sections, which I intend to be my focus. I am not against other hive configurations and Warre does have a lot of appeal. I have not heard of Perone but will do some research. In any case, I certainly will try top bar hives at some point! What kind/how many hives do you have?

Angelika, that is a great idea. Maybe if I have extra nucs in the springtime I could sell them with a crash course in beekeeping + consultation. Is there a lot of demand for something like this in your area?

Jen
 
David Livingston
steward
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Location: Anjou ,France
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I only have one hive at the moment , its a hybrid Warré Dadant. For the same reason you are going for foundationless Langstroth , thats what size the nuc was . Its A Dadant body with a Warré roof and Warré style top bars Just one super for this year and I intend to harvest next spring and put any prime swarm I get in a Perone, I will make in the winter plus I will make a Warré to put any casts in . Crossed finders that the girls make it through the winter .
Here in France a nuc costs about $200 I am not intesrested in making money as there is a lot of competition in the market here plus you would need over 300 hives .
If I have enough honey for me and family thats enough for me . To make money means spending time selling marketing etc etc and dont get me started on the local paperwork and department for making you sad here in France . One of the advantages of the Warre and perone is that you can make them yourself
David
 
Angelika Maier
pollinator
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Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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I think milkwood permaculture does that their prices are a bit on the steep side, but you might get some inspiration.
 
Jennifer Quinn
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David Livingston wrote: dont get me started on the local paperwork and department for making you sad


Haha I hear you, the paperwork and bureaucracy seem neverending! In my home state, Montana, they are currently trying to make the laws more stringent for beekeepers who sell at Farmer's Markets by requiring them to get a Food Manufacturer's License (which would in turn require them to use an inspected facility for extracting/packaging their honey). For the hobbyist, this can be very discouraging. For me, it's worth it, because selling directly to my customers and getting to know them is my favorite thing about beekeeping (aside from the bees themselves).

David Livingston wrote:One of the advantages of the Warre and perone is that you can make them yourself


You may be overestimating my carpentry skills Then again, I am always up for learning something new I really want to try something like this: http://www.badassbees.com/roundobs/roundobs.html I think it would be a great way to draw attention at a Farmer's Market

Angelika Maier wrote:I think milkwood permaculture does that their prices are a bit on the steep side, but you might get some inspiration.


Thanks! I'll go have a look
 
David Livingston
steward
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Location: Anjou ,France
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If I can make a Warré then frankly anyone can . Many people make them for free . They are just simple wooden boxes . http://warre.biobees.com/plans.htm
Not like the WBC hive http://www.scottishbeekeepers.org.uk/Portals/0/Documents/TDS%20number%207%20wbc%20hive.pdf very pretty but a bugger to build . Proffessional carpenters only .
I think there are already such elf and saftey regs here in France I know I will have to register my hive soon I am told there used to be a law that said you only paid tax if you had over 40 bee hives .Amazing the number of beekeepers with 39 hives was immence.
Not sure about taking hives to market stressful for the bees and if (when ) the little darlings sting someone ....... Even if its a foreign bee not yours ...Do they have people who make a living Sueing others in the States?

David
 
Jennifer Quinn
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David Livingston wrote:
Not sure about taking hives to market stressful for the bees and if (when ) the little darlings sting someone ....... Even if its a foreign bee not yours ...Do they have people who make a living Sueing others in the States?
David

These are some valid concerns. Lots of beekeepers do bring observation hives to their markets here in the states, and they just make sure to close the entrances first. As for whether it stresses the bees, I think they'd be ok as long as they had shade and good ventilation. Obviously if they seemed unhappy I would stop bringing them. I do feel that it's worth a try; it would be an excellent tool to get more people interested in bees and sustainable living. Imagine being a kid and seeing an observation hive for the first time!
 
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