Newbie but have been put-off :-(

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leftofcentre2010 

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Hi all

Well i have been trawling through the posts on here and the numerous sites on the net over this fascinating subject of Bee keeping.

I was quite taken on by it all and the little beasts and was very enthusiastic about starting the hobby myself.

So much so that i have enquired with a member on here and also a few internet sellers about purchasing a Nuc to start off with next spring. I am quite handy with wood and have some stores of marine ply and was even going to build a Hive from scratch over the winter.

The next step was to arrange a Bee Keeping Course at first opportunity.

ANYWAY

You will note the above in past tense!

Having read the posts and comments under the thread "A very sobering experience" on the Stickies section, i have to admit i am rather put-off.

I guess i am quite scared of being stung. I have been stung before as a child (some 30 odd years ago) and again about 5yrs ago on the neck. The latter occasion i did not know what it was that stung me. All i know it was either a wasp or a bee and it hurt like buggary! Almost like being punched in the jaw! It did swell and ached but went away after a day or so. There was no sting left behind.

I have read on here that the bees can sting through protective suits and gloves??

My wife has indicated that she will assist the hobby only so far in that she will help brush me down after i have finished messing with the hive. She reckons seeing the moving mass of insects would freak her out!

Dont know what to do.

We live in a detached house in a little village in Warwickshire next to a farm. There are no adjoining houses but a few gardens are nearby say within 500yrds and even then seperated by about a 12' hedge.

I was going to position the hive behind the garage which is a 7' grass strip flanked by a Barn used to store machinery and Corn.

One of my concerns is that if the bees ever swarm, will they not make a lovely nest either in the garage eaves or barn roof? (there must be lots of nice little holes behind the guttering)

I was going to place a bamboo screen about 7' high on the open ends of the grass strip to persuade the bees to gain height quickly above the farm-access track.

My wife and i are i guess what you could say conservationists although not vegie (is this relevant? :bigear: ) and we are all for the preservation of Bees for the environment.

Indeed we also have several pigs in a nearby field and a rather large veg garden. We would have loved to have had some of our own honey and wax.


Has anybody any comments? Suggestions?

As it stands i am kind of steering to the opinion that it was a nice thought but perhaps best to leave this hobby to somebody more thick skinned!

Am i right about the nesting in the roof issue?

Look forward to hearing from you all soon.

Andy
 

Moggs 

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Hi Andy. Welcome.

Don't be put off as it needn't be as bad as it is sometimes made out to be (though there is of course always the danger of a severe reaction to stings but even that can be 'managed' to a degree). I've been stung countless times this year in manipulating up to six colonies. I hardly feel the impact nowadays (but I'm not complacent). Generally bees won't sting through good protective gear, unless they're really angry and determined but by this time, you would have closed the hive and moved away. They shouldn't get to this point of nastiness, if the beekeeper is gentle and has managed the colony to good effect.

I recommend loads and loads of reading. A course over winter. Involvement in some early apiary management in the spring at a local gathering. Get your hands in. See what you think. Find a mentor.

Swarms can go anywhere. They tend to drift off, away from the immediate vicinity of the hive so you mght find that they end up in your neighbour's roof space, not yours! By the way, it's not 'if', it's 'when'!

Good luck - don't go away!
 
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tonybloke 

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hi, and welcome to the forum!

my advice would be to approach your local beekeeping association first!!
then perhaps you could have a look through a few hives in the spring, go on a beginners course, etc, better to find out that way if you can 'be around bees' without the trouble / expense of buying equipment / bees first.

the sting in the neck you got sounds like a wasp sting, bee stings are more akin to a nettle sting (unless on sensitive parts)

rgds, Tony
 

Crg 

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Don't believe everything you read.

You're best off going to your local beekeeping association and getting some hands on experience before deciding whether you will enjoy keeping bees or not.
 

TBRNoTB 

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Newbie but have been put-off

Hi all

Well i have been trawling through the posts on here and the numerous sites on the net over this fascinating subject of Bee keeping.

I was quite taken on by it all and the little beasts and was very enthusiastic about starting the hobby myself.



The next step was to arrange a Bee Keeping Course at first opportunity.


Andy
Welcome!
Do please sign up for a course, meet like minded people and experts in your area. Better to get a 'grounding' in the subject before jumping in with a Nuc!
IMHO.
TBRNoTB
 

oliver90owner 

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Yes, Andy, stings can hurt, they can be a pain and they can cause swelling. I know, I suffer a bit from the swelling.

The sting? might hurt for a few seconds or a couple minutes. A lot of the time they are through someting else and much less of a pain and less swelling. But sooner or later one will get you just over the eye and it may close it for a couple days. Twice happened to me. A bit of a nuisance, but it happens and it passes.

The sticky you read is a very rare occurrence. I have stopped using ibuprofen, at least in the bee season. I have walked between hives most days all summer (they are less than 2 1/2 m apart and have not suffered a sting all season.

That said, it does not stop me beekeeping. Some get a few stings and they hardly swell and just ignore it.

The suggestion is to search out you local BKA and go along to their meetings in the summer and find out for yourself. No problem then, you can stay or walk away.

Bees can get feisty, but with 3 layers of clothing and some stalwart gloves, one can be impervious to the worst of their attentions.

Usually swarms go further afield, but there need not be any if you take appropriate action before or at the first positive signs of swarm preparations. Typically they search out a 30-50 litre cavity of the correct sort of shape and set up home, but sometimes in some odd places (outside a window, under a traffic cone, in a hedge) but these are few and far between.

It appears that you have a good patch, on which to start. I would say try out the BKA and then look forward to many years in a super pastime.

Regards, RAB
 

psafloyd 

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Before you decide, Andy (or spend any time or money), get yourself on to a course or find a mentor who can get you in there tout de suite in spring so you can a) see if you like it and b) get stung. It's going to happen, so better while you are with people who can help you or tell you you're behaving like a big jessie.
Also, get your missus along. She may not find it quite so appalling a thought once she sees the ladies at work.
I feared I might not like it once I saw into the hive, but I didn't even catch my breath and didn't look back.
As long as you're not allergic, one or two stings are not going to kill you and could prove highly beneficial to your health.
 

MuswellMetro 

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1] a bee sting is not a bad as a wasp sting
2] Bees last resort is to sting as it dies stinging, a wasp stings and runs
3] protective clothing helps and i have rarely been stung through two layers of clothing {suit and shirt}
4] bees sting at site of first sting, so wash your suit before each visit
5] if they sting through the suit then as you move the sting is normal pull out by the suit so you get less venum
6] if not removed by the suit then remove the sting ASAP with your hive tool
7] gloves, yes i have been stung through gloves but normal marigolds are thick enough to stop the sting really penetrating, does it hurt yes for one minutes and then about four hours later

what's the worst i have been stung, on the nose as i had a undone zip when extracting honey

i have five hives and last year four of them did not sting me but the fifth stung me five times, twice minor through gloves , once on my bald head as i forgot my cap under hood, one on my arm as it was hot and i did not have a shirt underneath suit, and once in the car because i forgot to check for bees in my hive tools bag so i am re queening that hive from my calmer stock
 

leftofcentre2010 

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Hi all and thanks for the swift replies.

Interesting that it was mentioned the opinion of it being a wasp that stung my neck. I remember the day well, thought i had gotten my skin trapped in the zipper of my jacket at first. My god did it hurt! Probably why i am a little afraid.

Dont think my family is allergic though. My 4yr old son was stung by a wasp on his finger at the summer village fete. Made him whinge for a while but thats all.

I appreciate all your positive comments. Like i say, my only real concern apart from the stings is them moving into the garage or barn!

Does anybody know of any Associations/Meets/Courses in the Banbury/Oxford/Leamington area?

Oh an one other question - in a couple of sentences - how does one perform swarm control? I have read about the peanut-type queen cells forming = signs that a swarm is looming. Does one remove said queen cells to resolve the problem or what?

Thanks again

Andy
 

oliver90owner 

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Does one remove said queen cells to resolve the problem or what?

You you either increase your colony count temporarily or permanently.

The hive is split, queen and flying bees to old site in new hive with just a frame of brood and any supers; leave other hive to raise a new queen (one or two precautions needed to prevent further swarms (casts). Later, when the new queen has proved herself, remove old queen and combine (unite) the bees back into one colony if that is what is desired, although easier keeping two colonies rather than one.

Regards, RAB
 

leftofcentre2010 

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Thanks Rab. Interesting information.

Also interesting how i keep reading that its easier to have TWO Hives rather than one???

If i did go ahead with this pastime it would have to be just the one hive or atleast just one hive occupied for the first season me thinks.



Hi Wilderness

Thanks for the link. I will deffo look into it.

Thanks again one and all.

Andy
 

Hivemaker. 

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leftofcentre2010
if you need any help regards getting some experiance,without initially joining an association,then i have a good beekeeping friend in Hook Norton,that may be able to help,...not far from you. Send me a pm if interested.
 

RoseCottage 

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Andy,
Welcome...you have obviously been reading the site which will reveal 'the mystery' of beekeeping as something relaxing, pleasurable, manageable, and immensely rewarding. The bit that is missing is a sensible explanation of the deep pleasure gained from watching these little creatures living their lives and being close to them.

I like beekeeping and have received a fair few stings in the last couple of years...but I am not some rough tough pain resistant hard man. Just an ordinary boy who curses when he stubs his toe. I had the same angst about being stung as you and when it happened first I realised that I had grown up and my fear was based on the reactions of a child not an adult. I went through a mental readjustment pretty quickly.
Having said that I now choose to wear gloves but in my first year I went the season without. I now have 2 colonies and the second is slightly more feisty and slightly more prone to act first and ask questions later...but still gentle.

I had a single colony first year and have moved to 2 which with my family's lifestyle is my maximum. This year I learnt the value of two - for beginners it is extremely useful to be able to add a frame of eggs to a colony when you are unsure there is a queen. You need 2 for this...it can save your colony from the consequences of a blunder.

A beekeeping course and membership of the local BKA is invaluable...for help numbers if nothing else.
You should give yourself the chance to try before you buy...kinder to you and the bees.
All the best,
Sam
 

Dishmop 

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Having read the posts and comments under the thread "A very sobering experience" on the Stickies section, i have to admit i am rather put-off.

Every day we hear of people killed in road accidents......

We still drive tho.

Go for it.
Join a group.

Look up on You Tube for vids on bees to see how different people handle them.
Two hives might show you how "bees do what bees do". Or that some bees dont do what other bees do.
 

madasafish 

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Hello Andy
I started beekeeping this year but only took it up after joining my local Association and handling bees first.

At that point, you realise you either like it or loathe it so I can only say my personal experience bears out the above recommendations.

As far as bee stings are concerned, I have had both them and wasp stings this year.. once on the same day. Wasp stings are worse - unless you are susceptible to bee venom. (I'm not). After a while, I get used to them - but don't like them!
 

Adam 

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I think everbody has the same nerves at the start. That shows a healthy respect, and will ensure you are not clumsy and that you will be careful to be gentle with the bees. I teach many beginners each year, and it's a reoccuring fear. However over time they come to realise that it's not that bad (being stung), and quite rare, proviing you are careful with regard to not overly upsetting them, and that it is highly unlikely that they will sting through gloves etc (possible but rare). When you watch beekeepers manipulating bees with short sleeved shirts and no gloves (e.g. Roger Patterson) it really does help to make you realise that the stings are not the worst part.

If you ask me, you'll find it's the sting to your wallet that makes you eyes water..... suits, hives, bees, membership, spare hive, spare roof, spare suit (for the missus), books, more books......

Adam
 

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