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Horizontal log hives in Arabia: my colonies have doubled (from 5 colonies to 11) in 4 months.

 
Neal Spackman
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Location: Makkah, Saudi Arabia
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Hey all,

I'm very new to beekeeping, but I have hired a local beekeeper to take care of the maintenance and then making sure he follows directions. Hives here are like nothing i've ever seen in the states--they are horizontal constructed logs made from zizyphus wood.

I purchased 5 colonies in May and brought them to my demonstration site. We have about 2000 trees, but the only ones flowering at the time were the Albizia Lebbeck. I expected them to cease flowering in June, and was thinking the bees would just eat the honey they had from July-November when it cools down and some of my other trees start to flower.

Well, since then, my bees have swarmed 6 times so we now have 11 colonies, and my local practitioner felt good enough to pull about 15 pounds of honey from the bees. To be fully transparent, he has been giving them sugar water (since the flowers were gone) as well as a supplemental yellow cakey kind of thing that I hate but he has insisted on using it this year, on the promise that we won't ever again. (it's hard to change people's attitudes and practices!)

I have pictures but they're on instagram and i can't figure out how to embed them here. If anyone can help me with that, i'll post them here.

Anyway, it is exciting to have bees foraging off the trees I planted 20 months ago. We are planting 4,000 more this coming winter, and i am sure that as the savannah develops that we will be able to produce a lot more hives and a lot more honey, which is very exciting to me.

 
Burra Maluca
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Neal Spackman wrote:

I have pictures but they're on instagram and i can't figure out how to embed them here. If anyone can help me with that, i'll post them here.



Do you have a link? If so, post it here and I'll have a fiddle and see I can figure it out.
 
David Livingston
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Are these honey bees ? or are these a different species as I know folks in India have other possible species.
Its looking good for you on the honey and bee front.

Is it not written ?

16:68 And your Lord inspired to the bee, "Take for yourself among the mountains, houses, and among the trees and [in] that which they construct.
16:69 Then eat from all the fruits and follow the ways of your Lord laid down [for you]." There emerges from their bellies a drink, varying in colors, in which there is healing for people. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who give thought.

I always liked that bit in the Quran

David
 
Neal Spackman
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Location: Makkah, Saudi Arabia
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Here are the links:

http://instagram.com/p/npGgK3nqvt/

http://instagram.com/p/oLJCcknqs1/

http://instagram.com/p/sEBOKpHqqo/

http://instagram.com/p/sF-zxQnqrN/

http://instagram.com/p/rSagrwnqqM/
 
David Livingston
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Super pics Neal
Those hives are like nothing i have seen before . I would call them barrel hives as opposed to log hives They seems so small . They seem more like japanese traditional hives in size only horizontal. Are you sure they have european honey bees ? See here for information about japan http://www.tokyofoundation.org/en/topics/japanese-traditional-foods/vol.-22-japanese-honeybee
No frames I notice what are the dimentions .?Also brave folks with no ankle protection . My bees like a good bare ankle if they are annoyed .

David
 
Neal Spackman
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Location: Makkah, Saudi Arabia
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Yes these are honeybees--apis mellifera jemenetica are the local species, and that's what I've got.
 
Neal Spackman
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They have these hives in very small and very large, but this is the standard size--they are about 10 inches across. They cut the comb from the hive and sell the comb/honey together in a tin and that's how it's traditionally bought here (i think a standard tin is shown in the last photo). I should mention that the honey we are producing sells for about $100 a pound and almost rivals yemeni honey for price. That price is for the zizyphus honeys and then our mixed honeys should go for about 75-80 dollars a pound.
 
Burra Maluca
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OK, I rummaged in the page source and found the link to the photos!

I also made a quick resume of how I did it. Here's the link - Posting Photos from Instagram











 
Neal Spackman
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Location: Makkah, Saudi Arabia
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Thanks Burra Maluca!

Let me talk through these photos--the first one is the guy I bought 5 colonies from. He moved them over to my site.

The second photo is the Albizia Lebbeck flowers my bees were foraging from when they first showed up. I have a few hundred of these planted on my demo site.

Third picture is a recent one of a swarm moving into one of these "barrel hives" with the queen in that little plastic container and some honey to get them started.

Fourth picture is of a swarm in an acacia tree on my demo site.

Fifth picture is how the honey here is traditionally packaged and sold. We had a nice bright clear honey and a darker amber one.
 
Patrick Mann
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
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Neal Spackman wrote:I should mention that the honey we are producing sells for about $100 a pound and almost rivals yemeni honey for price. That price is for the zizyphus honeys and then our mixed honeys should go for about 75-80 dollars a pound.


Who are the customers for honey at that price?
 
Neal Spackman
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Location: Makkah, Saudi Arabia
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Hi Patrick,

That's the price for raw local honey--even my bedou pay that much for it and then they save it for medicinal uses.

Neal
 
Cj Sloane
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I thought there was a religious reason for eating honey in Muslim countries.
 
David Livingston
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Hi CJ
My understanding is that since it is mentioned in the Quran ( see my quote above ) as a medicine . It is widly used as such in muslim countries . Its used as a medicine too in the west as well of course

David
 
David Livingston
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I found this web page on the Saudi beekeeping industry
It seems they have a different type of bee than found in europe , its smaller and more yellow

http://www.saudibi.com/index.php?page_id=115&id=140&type=link

David
 
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