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Bees Arrived!

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I ordered two packages of bees back in January, they arrived this past week. Placed them into hives after work with the help of my daughter. I haven't had any hives for a couple of years. The last hive disappeared on me while I was out of town. What does this have to do with canoeing? Not much other than I usually harvest the honey right around Labor Day give or take which is a week or two before my annual 10 day canoe trip up North somewhere.....of course all of my paddling buddies wind up with a big jar. A plastic bottle of fresh honey usually makes it into our food pack along with the makings for biscuits....a lay over day treat. Pretty fascinating little creatures. They maintain a year round internal hive temperature of approximately 93 deg. F. In the Summer if it gets too warm, they will place water into the honey comb cells and then vibrate their wings over it to evaporate and cool hive down.

Mike
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Mike, I have a local retired teacher in my town who has done bee keeping for years. With all the stuff going on with bees in recent years it is good to see small independents keeping at this alive. I know that last year my guy lost most of his bees and had to reorder. He used to give me a "honey beer" container of honey every year for Xmas and it made it's way on to most of my trips. A bit o' that with butter on a muffin in the morning is a little slice of heaven!

dougd
 
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Cool! I’m “bee curious” but have enough irons in fire… the more people doing this the better.
 
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I looked into, with the intent of actually doing it... unfortunately there are bylaws that more or less prevent bees in an urban area (at least here)
 
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I ordered two packages of bees back in January, they arrived this past week. Placed them into hives after work with the help of my daughter. I haven't had any hives for a couple of years. The last hive disappeared on me while I was out of town. What does this have to do with canoeing? Not much other than I usually harvest the honey right around Labor Day give or take which is a week or two before my annual 10 day canoe trip up North somewhere.....of course all of my paddling buddies wind up with a big jar. A plastic bottle of fresh honey usually makes it into our food pack along with the makings for biscuits....a lay over day treat. Pretty fascinating little creatures. They maintain a year round internal hive temperature of approximately 93 deg. F. In the Summer if it gets too warm, they will place water into the honey comb cells and then vibrate their wings over it to evaporate and cool hive down.

Mike
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Hey Mike,
How much honey do you get from two hives in a year?
 
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Hijack warning.. something else arrived today.. Swarming.. black flies. However I will till the yard.. I ordered a lot of wildflower seeds from Johnny's seed company in Winslow. Hoping they do well!
Beekeeping has always been a mystery to me. I would think you have to place those hives in a place with plenty of pollinating plants!
 
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@Black_Fly - I do this strictly as a hobby......I wind up giving away most of the honey to family, friends, and neighbors.....with that said, two hives in a good (non-draught) year, I have gotten 5-6 gallons of honey from them. I also leave quite a bit behind for the bees to Winter on. Pro beekeepers would typically harvest that honey as well and feed the bees a sugary syrup thru the Winter. With this being the first year for these hives and the fact that they are starting from scratch with honey comb building, I may not be able to harvest any honey....time will tell!

@yellowcanoe- Your right, pollinating plants are a big help! I live in the city in a rather unique neighborhood in that we are nestled in between two rivers with several parks and lots of "green space". It's also an older neighborhood with lots of ornamental flowering trees (think crabs apples, red buds, to name a couple). They are in peak bloom right now. Also lots of wild flowers in the neighborhood and along the river. Being an older neighborhood, a lot of lawns have the "white" clover (throwback to 60's-70's when that was popular for hearty lawns) which will come in in a couple of weeks. Along the rivers and in the neighboring parks, we get a lot wild (red) clover and patches of thistle...both late Spring early Summer. Many of the neighbors also have "urban" vegetable/fruit/flower gardens. On top of all that, the bees will travel up to 7 miles in search of pollen/nectar.

One of these years, I will try and make mead.....One of our local breweries expanded last year and opened a "Meadery". They get their honey from a bee farm in Columbus, Ohio and offer a dozen or so flavors of mead by the flight, pint, or bottle.

Mike
 
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One of these years, I will try and make mead.....One of our local breweries expanded last year and opened a "Meadery". They get their honey from a bee farm in Columbus, Ohio and offer a dozen or so flavors of mead by the flight, pint, or bottle.

Mike
Perhaps when your bees start producing you should offer to trade some of your honey for mead?
 
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Even the most gentle of bee keepers get stung. The good news about honey bee stings, is that bee keepers do not get arthritis. My grandfather had ten hives of bee’s lived into his 90’s never had arthritis, but grandma did. My father kept bee’s, once a month mother would have him bring in a bee to sting her on the back of her hand, alternating hands. She lived into her mid 90’s never had arthritis, knitted & did fine needle work until the day she died. I kept two hives of bee’s for 20+ years, worked the bee’s without gloves, would get stung a half a dozen times a year. I don’t have any arthritis at age 75 either. My wife didn’t want anything to do with bee stings, but has arthritis. Small sample size and maybe old wives tale but, I am a firm believer in bee sting therapy. Of course if you are allergic to bee stings they can kill you too. I got five to eight gallons of beautiful clear fireweed honey each year. Kept what our family needed sold the rest to co-workers, real cheap, in about a hour of my lunch time. More than paid for cost of bee’s and equipment. Big plus was it was also a very interesting hobby and the garden thrived with the pollination they provided.
 
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One of these years, I will try and make mead
Mead (& wine) are unbelievably easy to make. I've always been thankful that I didn't realize that fact while I was still in college.

If you ever decide to pull the trigger on that project, pm me. I'll get you the archive of a now-defunct website that did an outstanding job of teaching you all you'll need to know.
 
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