Welcome, Guest

Author Topic: Your Very First Experience With Honey Bees!!!  (Read 1019 times)

Online Ben Framed

  • Global Moderator
  • Universal Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 12231
  • Mississippi Zone 7
Your Very First Experience With Honey Bees!!!
« on: August 28, 2023, 11:21:48 pm »
Friends I received a very nice PM from G3farms today. In that PM he described his very first experience inside a Beehive many years ago.
Do you recall the 'very first time' that you opened a beehive, or was with someone who opened a beehive as you viewed inside, or handled a frame of bees? Do you remember the thoughts that went through your mind? Where your were? Was it a hot day? Was the bees on a specific crop? etc.
It would be interesting if you would share your very first beekeeping experiences with the rest of us.... The more who join in the Merrier!

Thanks,

Phillip
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline Jim134

  • Galactic Bee
  • ******
  • Posts: 3044
  • Gender: Male
    • Franklin County Beekeepers Association
Re: Your Very First Experience With Honey Bees!!!
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2023, 08:32:37 am »
Following..
I will try to get some of my experienc. Up in the next couple of days.. Of the beginnings of beekeeping for me... This happened to me about 70 years ago
 Ha Ha Ha


    BEE HAPPY  😊  Jim134

"Tell me and I'll forget,show me and I may  remember,involve me and I'll understand"
        Chinese Proverb

"The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways."
 John F. Kennedy
Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA. http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/

Online Ben Framed

  • Global Moderator
  • Universal Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 12231
  • Mississippi Zone 7
Re: Your Very First Experience With Honey Bees!!!
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2023, 08:51:19 am »
Jim I look forward with great interest in reading of your 'very first' experience going into a beehive, as well as the type day it was, where it was located ect!  And 70 years ago! Wow! Outstanding!

Phillip
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline Jim134

  • Galactic Bee
  • ******
  • Posts: 3044
  • Gender: Male
    • Franklin County Beekeepers Association
Re: Your Very First Experience With Honey Bees!!!
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2023, 12:18:34 am »
   This is the history Of, how I got started in beekeeping.. It looks like I made a mistake already.. I said 70 years.. It should be 67 years.. Just a little back history before I start.. There was a man.. Who live two Houses away from me.. Who kept honeybees and also sold honey.. I remember stopping there with my parents quite a few times to buy honey.. Yes I live very much out in the countryside. In Athol Massachusetts..
  I grew up on a small hobby farm.. I remember one time during the spring. This was 1956.. (I was
8 1/2 years old) I was riding With my father . Who was driving on a horse wagon loaded with hay. Yes we had a horse on the farm.. As well as an international tractor. Yes we saw Mr. Day Getting ready to go in his beehives.. If I remember correctly there were 3 hives.. They were only about 20 feet off the road.. My father did stop the horse. And talk to him for a little while.. Then my Dad asked if I could watch him go through his beehives... He did say yes.. Many times over the summer of that year. Mr. Day and Myself.. Get to do many different things in his bee yard.. In my opinion it was so much easier to keep bees.. Less pesticides, herbicides. And NO
Varroa mites. Over the fall in winter. I managed to save enough money. For my first hive of honeybees. Which would have been the spring of 1957... I can still remember the price of the honey bees.. They were sent from Jessup, Georgia.. Ship by the post office. It was $12.48.. For a three pound package of honey bees with queen. The price quoted included bees and shipping. The first day Mr. Day he Show me a lot of things.. Worker bee, drones and queen.. And of course all the different parts of the hive.. Also seen 
 Workerbees carrying nectar as well as pollen. The First year I had honey bees was in the Spring of 1957.

Well this is the end of my experience of starting with honeybees..

BEE HAPPY  Jim134  😊
"Tell me and I'll forget,show me and I may  remember,involve me and I'll understand"
        Chinese Proverb

"The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways."
 John F. Kennedy
Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA. http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/

Online Michael Bush

  • Universal Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 19753
  • Gender: Male
    • bushfarms.com
Re: Your Very First Experience With Honey Bees!!!
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2023, 07:29:43 am »
When I was a kid my first experience was stepping on them.  Next would be a neighbor who had a colony in a shed.  It was those kind that were made of treated (creosote) wood that was brown to grey in color.  The bees were bearding on the outside and there was a patch of bees hanging on the rough sawn boards that was about 6 feet by 6 feet.  Some kids got the bright idea to throw rocks at them.  A few bees would take to the air, but they mostly ignored it.  My first encounter with a colony of bees was doing a cut out by myself.  I was dirt poor and wanted bees, so I cut them out of a barn.  My only protection was a veil and those ridiculous beekeeper gloves they sell.  I got stung a lot.  The bees just got madder and madder as I went.  I went from being gentle to just trying to get it done as quickly as possible.
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm  em portugues:  bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--James "Big Boy" Medlin

Online Ben Framed

  • Global Moderator
  • Universal Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 12231
  • Mississippi Zone 7
Re: Your Very First Experience With Honey Bees!!!
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2023, 08:26:49 am »
That was very interesting Jim 134, and NO varroa mites to deal with! Thanks for sharing your first experiences as well as the story behind it. It was nice of your Daddy to ask Mr Day if you could tag along, and nice of Mr Day to show and teach you..
Thank you Mr Bush also!

Phillip
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline Kathyp

  • Global Moderator
  • Universal Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 20288
  • Gender: Female
Re: Your Very First Experience With Honey Bees!!!
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2023, 11:43:15 am »
I had always been fascinated by bees, but didn't think I had time or money to do it.  One day we were removing old drywall to insulate a room and there was the outline of an old hive that someone had removed from the wall.  As I cleaned up the property, I found some old beekeeping equipment. 
Started researching and found a family-owned bee equipment place close to me.  Took one class and ordered bees.  As soon as they came, I wished I'd taken more classes! Somehow they survived in spite of me.
 Eventually, I found my way here and to other sites and learned a lot from the people who posted. 

Made a lot of mistakes!  I didn't want to spend tons of money on bees when I  knew I could get them free with a little work.  The first cutout I did was great on the customer end, but I was so nervous that I made a mess of putting the frames and the hive together, and that hive didn't last long. 
There is no week nor day nor hour when tyranny may not enter upon this country, if the people lose their roughness and spirit of defiance.? --Walt Whitman

Online Ben Framed

  • Global Moderator
  • Universal Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 12231
  • Mississippi Zone 7
Re: Your Very First Experience With Honey Bees!!!
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2023, 12:14:28 pm »
Thanks Kathy!!
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline paus

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 658
  • Gender: Male
Re: Your Very First Experience With Honey Bees!!!
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2023, 04:24:25 pm »
My first experience was a tree cutout.  After we, and experienced Beek and 14 year old, removed and hived the bees we heard a loud buzzing and some of our bees settled on a limb, or so we thought.  Well we got these bees in the box and we patted ourself on the back.  Next morning most of the bees were dead and the old beek found two queens, his conclusion was that we had the cutout and a swarm.

Offline The15thMember

  • Global Moderator
  • Galactic Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 4346
  • Gender: Female
  • Traveler of the Multiverse, Seeker of Knowledge
Re: Your Very First Experience With Honey Bees!!!
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2023, 07:31:57 pm »
Sorry it took me a while to dig this up, but I knew I had it somewhere.  I e-mailed this is to a friend of mine right after I got bees, and I thought it would be cool to share my first reactions with you in my original words from that time.  Just for a little bit of context, I had never had my hands in a bee colony until I got my first packages.

Quote
I have bees!  Yeah!!  Oh, everything is going so well!  So I am a beekeeper, but the bees didn't come on the date originally expected.  They were delayed until the 13th of April because the weather was bad.  This was actually really good because once we knew that we were getting packages instead of nucs, I wanted to get a queen excluder for each hive.  We ordered them through a local farm store, and they took FOREVER to get here.  Had the bees not been delayed I would have had to rig something.  Definitely not going to order from them again.   
   The day we drove to Asheville to pick them up the weather was great, sunny and warm.  It took us a while to get there because the Mapquest directions were missing a step (?!), and so we missed a turn.  The place we picked them up, Wild Mountain Bees, is a beekeeping store, and I could have spent a lot more time in there just looking at all the stuff they had.  All the people who worked there were really nice.  They were all young and hip, part of the urban tree-hugger Asheville scene (and I don't mean that in a negative way, Asheville has a great vibe).  We went into the back area of the store, and all the packages were sitting there, lined up on the floor.  The girl told us to pick whichever ones we wanted.  Me and Haley walked up and down the rows, looking to see which packages had the tightest cluster of bees and no stragglers on the outside.  Before we left I watched their installation video on a TV they had set up in the store, and I also bought 2 shims (those are just 1 inch spacers to provide some extra room for feed). 
   When we got out to the car, we noticed a bee sitting on the outside of one of the packages.  We felt bad just leaving her there when she wanted to be with her friends, so we put her in a mesh bug catcher we'd brought along for this very purpose.  We put the packages in mesh laundry bags to contain any other stragglers that might escape, and put them in the back of the Suburban, surrounded by pillows and towels and stuff to keep them from sliding around. 
   When we got home I lit my smoker just in case I needed it, and me and Haley got suited up.  We had done a dress rehearsal a few days before, so we were fully prepared with everything we'd need.  We took the first package up to the hives.  I took out the queen cage, shook the bees off the outside, and took a look at my first queen, Cleopatra, to be sure she looked okay.  I tacked her cage to a frame and then turned the package upside-down and shook all the bees in the hive.  Some of them flew, but not too many, and I was shocked at how easily they just tumbled out!  I would have thought they'd at least try to hold onto the box, but they really didn't!  We closed up that hive and let the bees settle down a little bit.  A lot of them were flying in circles around the hive, orienting themselves with their surroundings.  When bees move into a new hive, all the bees take turns going outside and familiarizing themselves with the landmarks around the hive, so they can find their way back when they leave to forage. 
   The second package went just as smoothly.  The queen in that package looked good too, Queen Boadicea.  Her namesake is the queen of the ancient Celts, pronounced bo-ah-di-KAY-ah (in real classical Latin, at least).  Since that's kind of impossible for anyone but me and Haley to say, we usually just call her Boa.  We spent the rest of the afternoon on lawn chairs in the driveway, just watching the bees orienting and sometimes coming over and investigating us. 
   I learned from my bee forum that the sugar bricks are harder for the bees to digest, and so the guys on there recommended that instead of sugar bricks, I feed the girls warm liquid sugar, so they can build comb faster (feeding stimulates their wax glands).  So every evening I warm up 2 mason jars full of syrup and go out and put a jar in each hive.  I also have a feeding stimulant called Honey-B-Healthy that I put in their sugar.  It contains mint and lemongrass essential oils, and it makes the syrup smell so good.  Me and Haley always say we wish we could drink it.  :)
   One week after the bees arrived, me and Haley went in the hives to check on the girls and remove the queen cages.  Both hives had released the queens from their cages, and both hives had bees gathered on the top bars and -- It was so exciting! --  new white honeycomb on one or two frames!  It's a behavior called festooning, when the bees form a chain by essentially holding each other's feet to create almost a scaffolding from which to work.  Then they exude wax scales from the wax glands under their abdomens and form it into cells with their mandibles and feet.         
   Last Wednesday, we did our first real full hive inspection.  Since I have foundationless frames, we have to cut out any comb they've drawn the wrong direction and rubber band it onto the frame straight.  We went into Cleo's hive first.  Her girls had built some rogue comb in the tray that I have under the syrup jar (in case the jar leaks, then it doesn't flood the hive and make a mess).  But shockingly, all the frames in there were drawn straight, no cross-combing at all.  They were a little bit off-center on the top bars, but they hadn't connected anything.  They had started building a little comb on the wall of the box since they were off-center, but we just scraped it off.  They had capped brood on 4 frames, as well as nectar and pollen.  I couldn't believe how calm the bees were.  They were super chill.  They just went about their business, hardly any of them were even flying while we had the hive open.  In fact the only ones really flying around were the male drones, who are really dumb and sort of bumble around into stuff when they fly.  We had been planning on only doing Cleo's hive that day, but it went so well that we decided to just do Boa's hive as well. 
   Boa's girls had also built some comb in the drip tray and had actually filled some of the cells with pollen and nectar, as well as stuck the tray to the inner cover.  The hive was much the same inside, except the girls had drawn their first comb a little crooked and off-center, so on two of the outer frames there were actually 2 combs per frame, and the one was cross-combed onto another frame a little.  We cut off the weird comb and rubber banded it to empty frames to try to correct their spacing.  It took us a while, we wanted to go slow to make sure we didn't harm Boa, since we didn't know where she was in the box.  It's not unusual to not find the queen (We couldn't find Cleo either.), but since there was brood, we know that she's been laying, which means she's in there somewhere.  The bees tend to try to keep her away from where you are working, and me and Haley are not very good at queenspotting yet, though we have been practicing online.  #queenspotting: People post pictures of full frames of bees with a queen somewhere on the frame, and it gives newbees, and anyone else who likes seek-and-find I guess, a chance to practice.  Once again the girls were just wonderful.  We were in that hive for probably upwards of 30 minutes and cutting out and man-handling sections of comb with bees on it, and only toward the very end did they start to get antsy.  We still have yet to get stung.   
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Online Ben Framed

  • Global Moderator
  • Universal Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 12231
  • Mississippi Zone 7
Re: Your Very First Experience With Honey Bees!!!
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2023, 12:48:44 am »
Thanks Reagan! 😊
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

 

anything