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DANZIG

Bee Keeping

332 posts in this topic

The art and craft of keeping the honey bee Apis mellifera.

Honey bees are highly social insects, living in extremely well-organised groups; each member has a specific job to do, and no bee can survive without the colony. Beekeepers provide hives for colonies of bees to live in. A hive will have one queen who lays eggs in the brood chambers. The drones’ sole purpose in life is to fertilise the queen, and the rest are workers, who make the cells of the combs, clean them, fill them with pollen and honey, feed and tend to the young bee larvae, guard the hive and forage for nectar and pollen.

The skill of the beekeeper is to maintain the colony at maximum strength while they are producing honey, and to prevent them from becoming overcrowded and swarming. Bees only need to be tended in spring and summer; from late autumn and throughout the winter they remain in a state of semi-hibernation. The beekeeper takes the surplus honey and in a good season a single hive can produce up to 80kg - plenty for a large family, with a surplus for local sale or barter. Bees are an excellent enterprise in an urban area, if you have a small garden, or even a rooftop space to site a hive. The bees will thrive on the abundant flowers in gardens and their flight path will be well above human heads.

The art of beekeeping brings together people interested in improving agriculture, local economies, gardening, education, food and cooking, ancient craft skills and science.

what are the benefits?

80% of fruit tree pollination is by bees; they can also improve crop production and can travel up to 3 miles from the hive. Also, bee products can provide local, natural alternatives to many environmentally-damaging synthetic products.

Bees can provide all the sugar we need, in the form of honey, without the need for costly and polluting transport and refining. Honey can be used as a sugar substitute in all cooking, including jam-making and brewing (wine or mead). Honey is a healthier option than refined sugar and beekeeping is said to be one of the healthiest professions.

Apitherapy is the use of bee products to treat ailments, boost the immune system and promote healthy tissue growth. Honey is also said to relieve stomach troubles and is a disinfectant in wound cleaning and healing. And of course hot honey and lemon is the sensible thing to take if you have cold symptoms. Apitherapy is just one of the natural ways to reduce our reliance on the pharmaceutical industry.

Beeswax has a myriad of uses: candles that burn longer than paraffin versions; rust prevention and a lubricant on screws and nails; it can be made into metal or wood polish; and it is a leather conditioner and waterproofer.

Soaps and cosmetics can be made using bee products, - rich in minerals and vitamins, and with antibiotic properties.

All honey and wax products can be obtained locally from small-scale producers.

Beekeeping is an extremely cost-effective hobby. It’s possible to buy all the equipment you need to start off (with one hive) for around £200. If you consider that you can produce up to 80kg from one hive in a good year, then you will start making a profit from year two. You can save money by getting your equipment at auction (a typical price for a brood chamber plus a colony is c. £50); the ‘Bee Craft’ newsletter of the British Beekeepers Association contains dates and locations of auctions. If you're up for it, you can have a go at making your own.

You need to know what you’re doing though. LILI run a useful introductory course, where you will handle bees and get the basic information to decide if it’s for you. It’s also a good idea to read as much as you can, and join your local beekeeping association, where you’ll meet enthusiastic beekeepers happy to share their skills and knowledge with beginners. Many run longer courses, as well as summer apiary meetings, honey shows and winter lectures, and for a £5 annual subscription, you can get 10% discount on equipment, insurance to cover loss of bees and damage to kit, and be able to share more expensive equipment such as extractors. Ask someone who lives locally if you can join them on some of their hive visits and start handling bees under supervision.

You don’t need to register anywhere to keep bees, and as long as you apply common sense when locating your hive(s), you won’t cause a nuisance to neighbours. When you’re not extracting honey, bees just need checking every 10 days; in other words, they do most of the work.

If beekeeping really isn’t the thing for you, there is still plenty you can do to support local beekeepers: buy honey locally, as well as other bee products such as candles, furniture polish, soaps, cosmetics and herbal remedies; you could even learn to make them yourself.

BRITISH BEEKEEPERS' ASSOCIATION

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got a bee in yer bonnet danzig ? :ouch:

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i'm a bit beephobic meself but both my brother and my partner are beekeepers, they are truly fascinating but standing amongst 1000's of the little blighters is a step too freaky for me, suit or no.

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i am terrified by them things same as wasps :ouch: i run a mile

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Seen an interesting thing on bees on the tv the other night... think it was that River program?....

A young lad is making himself a nice bit of pocket money with Hackney Honey! He has hives on top of the house, in the middle of London! :ouch: Was inspiring to see young minds at work with good ideas...

Bees... would never kill a bee....all animals have there place in this world :(

Ms Powerband :D

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Bees are wonderful, recently I was within a yard of a hive, with my allergies( bee and wasp stings) and was not bothered at all.

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Just as an added piece of info.... if you heat honey it loses most of its essential qualities :innocent: The food of Nature....gonna go make me a honey buttie now :wink:

Ms Powerband :spliff:

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C'mon the Bees :spliff:

I always wondered what would happen if you used bud in your Bee smoker :innocent:

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Just as an added piece of info.... if you heat honey it loses most of its essential qualities :spliff: The food of Nature....gonna go make me a honey buttie now :woot:

Ms Powerband :wink:

i pulled this lump of comb from one of my hives yesterday :innocent:

post-2-1212843759_thumb.jpg

first taste of my own bees honey, but i did have to chase, catch and rehome three swarms this week so i definitely earnt it :rofl:

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Nice one J

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first taste of my own bees honey, but i did have to chase, catch and rehome three swarms this week so i definitely earnt it lol

how do you catch a swarm of bees ? :unsure::ouch:

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Very carefully :unsure:

A bucket and a bee smoker, smoke the swarm when they settle on a branch, bucket underneath, tap the branch and they will fall into the bucket, net over the top, there you have a swarm o bees !

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Very carefully :ouch:

A bucket and a bee smoker, smoke the swarm when they settle on a branch, bucket underneath, tap the branch and they will fall into the bucket, net over the top, there you have a swarm o bees !

can ya do that with any old bees ? wild bees

or are they ones that have escaped there hive :unsure:

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e2a

Hi HMT, you can start a hive with a wild swarm but most folks buy bred bees as the wild swarm can be infested with pests and diseases.

Edited by Hughie Green

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Just as an added piece of info.... if you heat honey it loses most of its essential qualities lol The food of Nature....gonna go make me a honey buttie now :rofl:

Ms Powerband :g:

i pulled this lump of comb from one of my hives yesterday :ouch:

post-2-1212843759_thumb.jpg

first taste of my own bees honey, but i did have to chase, catch and rehome three swarms this week so i definitely earnt it lol

Mrs Sibs asks how much for a jar of uk420 honey will pay postage :yes:

:unsure:

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