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Highly Interested in Starting BeeKeeping

 
Jason Vath
Posts: 146
Location: Hardiness Zone 6
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Hello Jacqueline,

I have been wanting to start beekeeping for a few years now, even bought a seed mix called 'Save the Bees' in preparation.

The naturalness of using a log as a beehive really has me inspired!
I haven't dedicated much time researching it much yet though. I'm a DIY type who loves building just about anything, however I never start something until I'm confidant I have a solid understanding of the subject.

Some basic questions I have now is, what species of trees are favorable for creating log hives from? Does it really matter? Should it be green or seasoned?

Thanks.
 
Jacqueline Freeman
instructor
Posts: 83
Location: southwest Washington state
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Hi Jason,
You might want to start with a top bar hive just to get familiar with them, then after a year or three, try the log hive. I have a few log hives and I'm glad I know the basics so I can care for them better.

They like old hollow trees so I'd suggest you get one from a logger and then set it up so the opening and hollow are at least 4' (higher is better) off the ground with a good solid section underneath it. Our newest log hive stands about 6' with the bottom 3' solid log. Then there's the deep litter area just above that where the hollow begins. The upper 3' section is hollow with about 6" solid at the top. We keep a sheet of corrugated plastic on the top so the exposed top doesn't get too wet and drip down in there. We just got this hive a few weeks ago and soon we'll build a hat roof for it to keep the top dry.

Log hives we don't do much with. I think of them as swarm producing hives rather than honey hives. Just there to live as bees do.

warmly
Jacqueline
 
Jacqueline Freeman
instructor
Posts: 83
Location: southwest Washington state
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bee cat forest garden trees
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Jason, I didn't fully answer your tree question. They like old wood but are often in trees that have a hollow but are still alive.

I prefer trees that last a long time, even hollow, like oak or cedar or locust. I have an alder hive and I have had to tie rope around it to keep it solid. Alder and a few other fast growing trees get punky fast and you don't want that. Because of the punkiness, we have been transitioning the alder hive slowly into a warre hive by placing empty warres on the top of the cut off tree and encouraging them to use the hollow as well as the new warres. They have been living in both for the past few years. A success in my book!

warmly,
Jacqueline
 
Andrew Rule
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This is my first post to Permies. Yay! Now I think I will dig in instead of just reading.

I'm in the same boat for starting. I got a roof that I want to use to she alter the bees, but now I need to start. I was going to last year, but didn't jump on it fast enough.

We have a lot of snow here from the coldest winter on record. Me hen do I begin the hive?
 
Valerie Dawnstar
Posts: 292
Location: North Central New York
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Hi Andrew and welcome to permies! Good luck with being a bee steward! I think your last question was when to start and I was wondering that, as well.

Oh, and good luck to you, Jason, also!
 
Jason Vath
Posts: 146
Location: Hardiness Zone 6
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Top bar system is probably what I should do then. Later on perhaps, I'll try what you suggested with the log information you gave.
Thanks a lot, that'll be a good start.
 
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