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The artist formerly known as jhm8071
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I didn't totally start beekeeping for survival/preparedness, but it definitely played a part. This is my first year keeping bees and I have a lot to learn. So far it has been fun. I bought two nucs (short for nucleus hives), which are basically mini colonies. They have a laying queen, workers, and frames of brood (bees yet to emerge), some honey, and some pollen. I picked them up on the May 5th, and have been checking on them for the past few weekends.

Honey is an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. It has been used for centuries to treat cuts and burns. It will actually slowly produce hydrogen peroxide when put on wounds and work as an anti-septic.

Honey would be a great trade item if SHTF long term. Honey can store indefinitely. You just have to heat it a little to de-crystalize it.

Obviously you can eat and cook with honey. Breads, cakes, cookies, and other baked goods are excellent, and are usually more moist because honey draws moisture in from the air and makes cakes nice and moist.

Don't give honey to kids under one due to the possibility of botulism poisoning. Wikipedia has a pretty good article on honey which can be found here. Honey - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

So, onto some pictures.

This first picture is one of the nucs with one frame taken out.


This picture is of me holding up a frame of capped honey and brood that will be emerging in the next week. Honey is in the top middle and the brood is the darker tan part in the bottom right.


Here is the hive with a bunch of bees hanging out near the entrance.
 

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Very very cool and a great hobby. I used to know a beekeeper in my old neighborhood and he used to make a decent extra income selling his honey, it aint cheap. Besides being a great NATURAL source of consumption and medicinal purposes for a SHTF situation, it would be great to have many hives as a deterrant to anybody that would want to come onto your property. However the most important factor would be cross pollination in a disaster sitation to contribute to thriving crops and orchards. Its a very interesting and no doubt beneficial hobby. Enjoy it, looks like a blast.
 

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You've caught my attention, mostly for the hobby aspect, less SHTF. How did you get into it? What did you need to get to do it? What sort of equipment did you need?
 

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The artist formerly known as jhm8071
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Discussion Starter #4
They're on my parents property 45 minutes south of Rochester. They have a garden, so the bees should help most of the vegetables. There are a bunch of apple trees around as well. Hopefully the bees help us with a larger harvest.

Camper4lyfe. I have been wanting to keep bees for a few years now. I just decided to go for it. The Ontario Finger Lakes Beekeepers Association holds free introductory classes in the winter (Jan and Feb). That along with the forums at beesource.com gave me lots of information. I'd be more than happy to post more websites and information if people are interested. Getting into it was pretty simple. The club does a "group buy" and gets a great deal on the nucs ($85 + $10 deposit on the wooden nuc box). I paid for my bees in February at one of the classes. I bought the actual beehives at the beginning of April and put them together myself (just glue and nails).

Other than the bees and hives, you need a hive tool to scrape things, move things around, etc. A veil protects your face and neck from stings. Lots of people wear jackets or full suits so they don't get stung. I have a pair of gloves, but only wore them when moving the bees from the nucs to the hives. A smoker helps to calm the bees down when used properly. That's pretty much it for equipment. All said and done, it was almost $700 to get into the hobby, but it doesn't have the ongoing costs like a fish tank or motocross, or most other hobbies. You could do it cheaper if you were to make the hives yourself and catch the bees.

2 hives should get me a few gallons of honey next year, so I'll have plenty. The in-laws own an ice cream place and restaurant so I should be able to set up a small stand there. Maybe the hobby will pay for itself eventually.

You're welcome to come check everything out sometime. Unfortunately I don't have an extra jacket and veil yet. I do plan on buying one in the next month or so though.
 

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They're on my parents property 45 minutes south of Rochester. They have a garden, so the bees should help most of the vegetables. There are a bunch of apple trees around as well. Hopefully the bees help us with a larger harvest.

Camper4lyfe. I have been wanting to keep bees for a few years now. I just decided to go for it. The Ontario Finger Lakes Beekeepers Association holds free introductory classes in the winter (Jan and Feb). That along with the forums at beesource.com gave me lots of information. I'd be more than happy to post more websites and information if people are interested. Getting into it was pretty simple. The club does a "group buy" and gets a great deal on the nucs ($85 + $10 deposit on the wooden nuc box). I paid for my bees in February at one of the classes. I bought the actual beehives at the beginning of April and put them together myself (just glue and nails).

Other than the bees and hives, you need a hive tool to scrape things, move things around, etc. A veil protects your face and neck from stings. Lots of people wear jackets or full suits so they don't get stung. I have a pair of gloves, but only wore them when moving the bees from the nucs to the hives. A smoker helps to calm the bees down when used properly. That's pretty much it for equipment. All said and done, it was almost $700 to get into the hobby, but it doesn't have the ongoing costs like a fish tank or motocross, or most other hobbies. You could do it cheaper if you were to make the hives yourself and catch the bees.

2 hives should get me a few gallons of honey next year, so I'll have plenty. The in-laws own an ice cream place and restaurant so I should be able to set up a small stand there. Maybe the hobby will pay for itself eventually.

You're welcome to come check everything out sometime. Unfortunately I don't have an extra jacket and veil yet. I do plan on buying one in the next month or so though.
That's pretty neat stuff. I'm not ready to jump into it yet, but it's a neat idea for once I have some space.
 

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The artist formerly known as jhm8071
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Discussion Starter #7
They brought all the nucs for the club up on a trailer from down south where they produce them. There were over 200 of them ordered.

I know UPS will ship bees. I would assume the drivers get a little nervous, especially the ones who are allergic.
 

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They brought all the nucs for the club up on a trailer from down south where they produce them. There were over 200 of them ordered.

I know UPS will ship bees. I would assume the drivers get a little nervous, especially the ones who are allergic.
Those are probably the only packages that UPS delivers 100% of the time undamaged. ;)
 

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The artist formerly known as jhm8071
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Discussion Starter #9
Those are probably the only packages that UPS delivers 100% of the time undamaged. ;)
I should start writing live bees on all my packages! Maybe they would arrive in one piece.
 

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The artist formerly known as jhm8071
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Discussion Starter #11
It's possible. The amount of hives needed per acre of crop varies greatly though. Some crops require up to 4 or 5 hives per acre. There are people locally that do it though. I know a few of the farms near me have beehives around the edge of them.

It is really popular for some crops like almonds and oranges. Beekeepers are contracted out and move hives in while the plants are in bloom. It's not something I'm really interested in because it is so much work. Maybe when I retire in 30 years!
 

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This has been on my to do list for sometime. After reading about it I was even more convinced. But like everything, between work, fishing, hunting , yard care, there aren't enough hours in the day right now.

Whats also interesting is that depending on what is pollinated, and also each batch of honey, it will have a different taste and color. First batch will be light, 2nd take a little darker etc.

Btw, the only reason why I would do this would be for making mead, or honey wine. I make a stout mead, 2lbs of honey for every gallon of water. So 20lbs of honey gets expensive lol. If anyone doesn't know, when fermenting the yeast eats the suger, and one of the byproducts is alcohol. More suger = more alcohol :)

Now tell me when shtf situation you wouldn't want a nice stiff drink ? :)
thats a ell of a barter implement
 

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The artist formerly known as jhm8071
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Discussion Starter #14
I've already got a good blackberry melomel recipe picked out :D
 

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Go over to Beesource.com, there's more reading on that site than u can shake a stick at...been keeping bees along time...one thing I learned is that bears love honeybees, so if there is even a remote chance of a bear in the area, u need an electric fence...a good one..and it doesn't matter how close to the house u have the hives, they will still rip them apart..it's not as easy as it sounds to keep bees...lots of things u should watch for..including diseases and mites....it's fun though, and the rewards are sweet..:)
 

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i was doing it for about 8 years till the bears put me out of service it was a blast
 

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The artist formerly known as jhm8071
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Discussion Starter #17
An electric fence is on my "to get" list. The hives aren't near electric though. I'm going to have to invest in a solar charger I believe.
 

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solar chargers work ok just keep grass away from the wires when they have dew on them they can cause the unit to continually discharge
 

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An electric fence is on my "to get" list. The hives aren't near electric though. I'm going to have to invest in a solar charger I believe.
Mjight better invest in a good 12 volt charger and 2 deep cell batteries...solar is not dependable for bee fences..
 

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you could also put a solar trickle charger on the batts for a little extra insurance, put some partially cooked bacon on the wire because a bears fur is thick and to get them shocked you need a good contact like the nose or tongue also put a low line in front of the opening , skunks have been know to stay in front and grab bees one at a time as a treat
 
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