honey collection-or not

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jimred 

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First post

i have been reading up on Bee Keeping for a few months and would like to set up a hive mainly for pollination of my fruit trees and wildflower plot and to help the bees of course.
My question is, do you have to collect the honey, as this part of bee keeping isn't of interest.

would the hive run successfully otherwise?

great site

thanks

jim
 

JCBrum 

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No you don't have to collect the honey, but most hives are best operated if you do. If you get any that is ! Because a large part of the design is to encourage honey storage in the frames.

Probably a Top Bar Hive would suit your purposes best, and they are low cost too, especially if home made, which is quite easy, and you don't have to buy any wax or frames.

There are pictures and plans available from websites, and I think one or two members on this forum have them, although I don't have any myself.

If you didn't want to supply or maintain the hive yourself I'm sure a co-operative project with a nearby beekeeper would be welcomed. Try contacting your local beekeeping association, if this appeals to you.

I would supply a hive with bees myself, if you wished, but I'm in Birmingham and I don't know whereabouts you are.

:)
 

oliver90owner 

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Jimred,

Welcome to the world of honey bees.

would the hive run successfully otherwise?

You need to monitor for health of the colony. Apart from that bees have taken care of themselves perfectly adequately for the last umpteen million years.

There were no real issues - survival of the fittest, etc. etc. These days, however, with interference from Homo sapiens the problems are numerous - varroah mite, viral diseases, pesticides, habitat removal, even unsuitable strains transported around the globe, to list just a few.

The one thing they will strive for - like all of life - is to reproduce. In the case of honey bees this is increase in the number of colonies - swarming. Dependent on strain, size of enclosure, quality of weather and forage and a few other factors this could, or may not, occur on a very regular basis unless steps are taken to avoid it, if you need to.

Also, with everyone who is starting to keep bees, the advice is: run a minimum of two colonies, as when one would have died out (or does!) the beekeeper does not have to start again from scratch (well OK, one would have the equipment), or if a colony becomes weak, or has some other problem often it can be helped back to good strength with help from the other colony.

It certainly seems that TBH is a likely possibility for you, but don't decide in a rush (although a TBH may not cost more than a few quid if you build yourself) as changing hive type can be troublesome and expensive (but not imposible).

Regards, RAB
 

jimred 

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Many Thanks Rab, regular inspection of the colony is needed then to check all is well within the hive plus cleaning and good housekeeping to keep the colony healthy.
Can you recommend a supplier who could supply a hive & bees?
Thanks
jim
 

Rosti 

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Jimred, I am in my first season so still do very much more listening than speaking. One thing I have learn't though is that I am pleased I started with a swarm early in the season and have built a little knowledge and some confidence through the spring / summer. Preparing a colony for winter is significant and dependent on knowledge of their prior activity and future needs, that needs a reference point - you won't have one. Taking on a colony now wouldn't give you the time to gain confidence before winter prep and those all important early spring manipulations and assessments. I'd be tempted to start in the spring, use the winter to curl up with a few good manuals/books and brush up on my woodwork to build a couple of hives on the cheap. Come spring set a bait hive and with a little luck you might avoid buying bees altogether - if you get adopted next spring that is. If not then you are buying a nuc at the most favourable time. Welcome and good luck. Regards, R
 

JCBrum 

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Regarding recommendations Jim, here is a link to the Harlow Beekeepers website,

http://www.harlowbees.co.uk/

You will find a contacts page, and I suggest you say hello and go to one of their meetings. You will almost certainly find them helpful and they will have useful local knowledge too.

:)
 

oliver90owner 

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you are buying a nuc at the most favourable time

Most expensive too - but much cheaper than buying now, and losing it during the winter.

I was assuming you were readying for a spring start (having read up on the subject), not wanting to start at this time of the year. Your intro gave no inkling of your immediate plans, if that was you plan.

If you are wanting to start now, I would recommend a beekeeping course first. Books are OK but don't exactly offer any practical experience, which you need to decide what type of hive, if beekeeping is really what you you want to do, etc.

You will need adequate kit and the knowledge of how best to use it.

There are complete hives with colonies on offer from retiring beekeepers etc, even at this time of the year. I would not recommend a new starter to go that way, unless you make an arrangement with someone locally and they take the risk over the winter.

Your local association would likely know of local bees for sale.

They would, most likely be standard National hives.

They are likely to need monitoring for varroah and possible treatment in the coming months. The colony may need feeding. These are all high risk problems for a newbie.

Your local club will likely have a course, or recommend one starting early next spring and including handling the bees.

Starting with a full colony may be a very steep learning curve without a mentor. One may be available at you local association.

Rosti is a quick learner. His advice is good.

You will need help at some point, that is almost a certainty. Better local help than trying to find an answer in a book or even over the net when in a spot of bother.

So use the link JCBrum gave and start there. Stay here as well, of course. If nothing else you may understand some of the problems new beeks can come up with. We all started somewhere and we often do the same thing in sevaral different ways. We probably made the mistakes that we hope you can avoid, or at least rectify easily if and when it happens!

Regards, RAB
 

thebhoy 

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Hi there,

another option given that you are not too interested in the bi-product from keeping bees (a variable and NOT guaranteed return for your outlay /effort) is to consider letting a local beek to place a hive or hives within your property - this gives you the benefit of having your flowers /fruit pollinated but removes the need for you to purchase any bees, hives, equipment etc.

I am sure a small 'rent' of a couple of jars of honey could be agreed thus keeping you and the beek happy.

Prior to placement a beek can carry out a risk assessment in relation to the location of hive, potential negatives as well as positives for everyone -bees included - and the available nectar and pollen sources to help maintain a colony or two of bees through the year.

Just something to consider,

Thebhoy
 

oliver90owner 

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thebhoy,

I agree with you there. It is one alternative and one way to get some experience with bees

It was pretty well covered in post #2 by JCBrum If you didn't want to supply or maintain the hive yourself I'm sure a co-operative project with a nearby beekeeper would be welcomed. Try contacting your local beekeeping association, if this appeals to you.

Regards, RAB
 

steve1958 

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And now that you are considering it Jim.
Do it.
Its an incredibly interesting hobby.
It wont take long and you will be well and trully hooked :)
 

jimred 

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Thanks for all the help and suggestions, i am planning to set-up a hive in the spring but i would like to find a local supplier who could supply me with the hive,Bees etc, plus some advice. So everything is in place for next year including the Bees!

i have been in touch with Harlow Bee Club.

Can anyone recommend a supplier/breeder

Kindest Regards

jim
 

Hombre 

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Hi Jim,
For a supplier of prolific bees, try MiketheBee, EasyBeeProducts.co.uk located off the Shurdington Road, Brockworth near Gloucester. Spitting distance from the M5 junction 11a.

Order early , now, to ensure early April collection. Take a mentor along with you when you collect, for assistance and guidance.

Telephone Mike, his number is on the website.
 

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