AMA - Beekeeping

Author: Kamikaze ,

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  • Kamikaze
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    Kamikaze
    Hello,
    I just finished my first year of beekeeping. I can't wait for the years to come, and I spend a lot of my free time reading and writing about bees.
    Ask me anything about bees or beekeeping :)

  • Swagnarok
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    Swagnarok
    How many times have you gotten stung?
  • blamonkey
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    --> @Kamikaze
    What do you BEElieve is the BEEst part about beekeeping? Do you get to keep some of the honey.

    Also, thoughts on the Bee Movie?
  • Zeichen
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    --> @blamonkey
    Reading, watching documentaries, you name it - if it has bees, you can count on me being there. Except for the Bee Movie, which I've never seen.
    ;) 

    Don't forget that the bee movie doesn't feature real bees, and therefore only offers a false depiction of bee life.

  • Kamikaze
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    --> @Swagnarok
    Three times. Twice through the suit, once on bare skin. 
    It takes time to figure out exactly how gentle you should be - even if you are gentle, you still might tick them off.
    I was about to go out of town for two weeks last June, so I asked my friend to feed the bees while I was gone. I invited him over so that I could show him how (you use sugar water). Now, I have a full bee suit and a half of one that covers the top of the body plus your head. I let him wear the full one, and I wore the half suit, but I wore shorts that day - bad idea! Everything went pretty well at first until I took off the inner cover and set it down on the ground. I had only been keeping bees for a month at this point, so I didn't yet understand that slower movements are the way to go. So when I set the inner cover on the ground, not as gently as I should have, they got MAD. About 5 seconds later, one of them stung me on the shin. When a bee stings you, they release an alarm pheromone that tells other bees to go after you too. You can use a smoker to mask the pheromone, but I was being an idiot and didn't think to light it and bring it out there with me. Not wanting to get stung by more bees, I ran a little bit away, scraped out the stinger, and yelled over to my friend the instructions for how to feed them. 
    That wasn't very smart on my part ;)

  • Kamikaze
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    --> @blamonkey
    Nice puns xD.
    My favorite part so far is the inspections, where you open up the hive, and make sure that everything is going well. This takes about thirty minutes per hive.
    And yes, you do keep some honey. The bees usually make WAY more than they actually need, so the beekeeper tends to take a lot of it.
    However, I did not keep any this year, as it was my first. There are many different opinions on pretty much every aspect of beekeeping. Some people say you can take all of the honey off and just feed sugar water, and others say you should leave all of it for the bees during their first winter so they can become fully established going into the colony's second year. I went with the latter option, just to be(e) safe. 
  • Kamikaze
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    --> @blamonkey @Zeichen
    I can't really speak much on the Bee Movie, as I've never seen it.
    When people my age find out I'm a beekeeper, they always ask me how the movie compares to a real bee colony. I jokingly call the movie fake news, since the main character is a male worker bee, whereas all worker bees in real life are female. Furthermore, male bees don't have stingers in real life, but Barry B. Benson does. I know it's just a fictional kids movie, but I just think it's funny to point those parts out.
    I don't know if I'll ever watch it, because the reaction I get out of people when I tell them I've never seen it (What?! You're a beekeeper and you've never seen the Bee Movie?!) is probably funnier than the movie itself ;)

35 days later

  • Polytheist-Witch
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    --> @Kamikaze
    Why do you feed them are there no flowers? 
  • ResurgetExFavilla
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    --> @Kamikaze
    Have you ever seen someone who makes tupelo honey? How do they ensure that they only feed on one specific type of tree? Is there just nothing else in bloom then, or do they somehow restrain the bees from seeking out other flowers? Do they have to stop the bees from harvesting other nectar until the trees start to bloom? I remember tasting it when I was in Apalachicola, and the guy who sold it said that it was monofloral, and that it wouldn't crystallize because of the high fructose content, but he never really explained how it all worked production-wise.