Need advice!

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Zeevah, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. Zeevah

    Zeevah New Member

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    Sorry I haven't posted much since joining because, been busy!

    I need advice about opening hives in winter.....(I don't open them!)

    Background: I was talking to a man in the village last week who knows I'm a beek. He said his wife does apitherapy and was wondering if he could take some bees from my hives "from time to time". I said (confused), "In the winter?" He said "yes" and that previously another beek let him. He said, "I just take the top off the hive and then knocked on it until some bees come up through that hole in the, what's that thing called?" I said, "the inner cover", he continued, "yeah, that, then I just scoop some up and put 'em in a jar and take them." I was taken aback that a beek would let him do that in the winter and told him politely, "not from my hives". I had to rush and catch a bus and didn't have time to explain why, other than to say opening the hives in winter wasn't a good idea.

    Where I live the winters are "mild" with temps in the 30s- low 40sF in the day and 20s-30sF at night. It's a northern island and rains constantly, 10 months out of the year. It also snows when the temps drop into the teensF, but being a maritime climate it's still wet. It snows, then rains, then snows, creating layers of snow and ice. Also a lot of storms and high winds, so the wind chill factor makes the temps feel cooler. Bottom line, a calm, clear day is VERY rare to non existent in winter. The last 2 years it has rained up to July, and we only had sunny weather from Aug - Oct. Even when things are blooming the bees can't forage due to heavy rain. So it's a challenge to keep bees here and all the beeks I know work hard just to keep them alive. Feral/escaped swarms don't survive.

    Sorry to go on and on.....I'm just trying to give a background about why we don't open hives during winter here. No opportunity. We make sure that light hives are fed in autumn and only open hives in Jan. or so if it's absolutely needed for an emergency.

    Meanwhile, even though I told the man "no" about opening hives in winter, he emailed me and asked again if he could. I haven't responded to him yet because I want to get more opinions. I did talk to the Pres. of our local bee club and he said a very adamant "Nooooooo!" and said he couldn't think of anyone he knows who would agree to it either. He said, "We all work too hard just to keep them alive, no one in their right mind would allow it......"

    So, how do I explain it to the man who wants "a few bees" for apitherapy (year round)? He doesn't know anything at all about bees, but he will question why I'm saying "no" because some unknown beek on the island did allow him to take bees in winter.

    (Sorry again for this long post :oops:)
     
  2. srvfantexasflood

    srvfantexasflood New Member

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    Just for clarification, are you located in Puget Sound?
     

  3. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    I would tell him i didn't know anything about bees when i started either, but you can learn by joining a bee club and reading books. I wouldn't open my hives in the winter for that purpose either with the weather you described, with only a 4 month forage period out of the year i don't know how they could survive asit is?? Jack
     
  4. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I would tell him no, but if he wanted to buy a hive I would keep it at my place and care for it. He could get bees when he wanted them, but if they died out, he would have to replace them. In return, I would get any honey they produced.
     
  5. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    Iddee, you're one sharp cookie. That's two for two perfect answers lately! :thumbsup:
     
  6. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    It obviously didn't work out well for the other beekeeper. Other wise he would still have bees so he could supply them.
    His wife can buy already extracted bee venom. But it is expensive getting bees for free is what he is after.
    Send him this maybe they will appreciate coming from a holistic [FONT=&quot]naturopathic apitherapy[/FONT] background.

    Knocking on the hive to get the bees to break cluster and come to investigate will stress the bees. Stress from mites, bad weather, predators, all contribute to bee viruses that are causing colony collapse disorder. I try to practice a holistic approach to keeping my bees so it would go against my [FONT=&quot]conscience [/FONT] to purposely stress my bees and cause them possible harm.
     
  7. Lburou

    Lburou Member

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    What happened to the other beekeeper and his bees? I don't suppose you could keep the man out of your hives if he is determined....There would be less risk on days with temperatures in the forties. What that man needs is an observation hive of his own. That would solve his 'bee' problem. :)
     
  8. Zeevah

    Zeevah New Member

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    Thank you so much for the responses. I really appreciate it! I agree with what everyone else has posted, I just felt like I needed back-up before emailing him back.

    Iddee: I considered something similar to that! Except I was going to offer to take care of a hive if he bought one on his property, but I didn't think about getting honey in return. I was just thinking about him not getting into someone else's hives. I like your idea better!

    ApisBees: "Knocking on the hive to get the bees to break cluster and come to investigate will stress the bees. Stress from mites, bad weather, predators, all contribute to bee viruses that are causing colony collapse disorder. I try to practice a holistic approach to keeping my bees so it would go against my [FONT=&amp]conscience [/FONT] to purposely stress my bees and cause them possible harm."
    ____________________________
    Those are exactly my thoughts! Thank you! And I hadn't considered the fact that it obviously didn't work out for the other beek or he wouldn't be asking for mine! I also suggested his wife could buy bee venom but he dismissed that idea real quick!

    brooksbeefarm: I also think he and his wife should be educating themselves about bees, not just using them for apitherapy without knowing anything. As far as keeping them alive with such a short forage season, most beeks here have Carnis. Italians don't have much chance. I've heard of beeks having Italians here, but the only ones I've met personally always say, "Why do all my bees always die?" I tried Italians once but they stayed in their hive while the Carnis were out foraging, so I requeened with a Carni.

    Thanks again so much everyone!