Strange Reason to Beekeep?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Pilotbeekeeper, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. Pilotbeekeeper

    Pilotbeekeeper New Member

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    or so I thought....wanted to run it by the rest of you for an opinion. I ran into an old friend at a non-bee related meeting this weekend. In catching up on old times we discovered that both of us had started beekeeping within the past 12 months. She stated that her reason for beekeeping was simple to throw off as many swarms to created new wild bee colonies as possible. Have any of you ever heard of this reason to keep bees? Just seems strange to me. I mean it's all i can do to keep them from swarming, i can't imagine raising them for that purpose and not caring anything about honey at all.

    Thanks
    PBK
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Well...................I guess that all depends.
    Is she going to be an active beekeeper and manage her hives to try and help prevent disease, etc. or is she going to take a "hands off" approach and create trouble for anyone near her?
    A few years ago when I lived in Lunenburg we had a couple new keeps start up within town limits and both promptly threw off consecutive swarms and afterswarms. Two of those swarms took up residence in anything but ideal circumstances, and both keeps walked away from any responsibility. I ended up doing a trap-out on one over the main front door of a B & B, caught a swarm hanging over the backdoor of a neighbourhood pub, and caught another one 32' up in a tree right behind town hall.
    Needless to say 2 homeowners went to the next town council meeting and asked for a prohibition on beekeeping within town limits.
    There is a difference between beekeeping and beehaving.
     

  3. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    I bet or at least hope she is sarcastically pulling your leg :grin:
     
  4. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    hmmm....creating new wild bee colonies? :confused:
    pbk said....
    "I mean it's all i can do to keep them from swarming"......:lol: (very true)
    what perry said....
    and this "There is a difference between beekeeping and beehaving."
     
  5. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Yes, I have heard of people keeping bees for this reason. In a sense they are simply keeping a feral hive on their property and letting it do whatever it wants. I see no harm in it. What if the bee colony they were hosting was a wild one living in a tree on their property? Would we be quick to judge them if they just wanted to let it live there undisturbed? (assuming no Africanized bee issues of course)
     
  6. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    In the original post there is nothing to give us a sense of the type of surroundings. That would be key to deciding whether or not they were deliberately or negligently responsible for creating potential grief for their neighbors. Regulations regarding American foulbrood could raise some interesting scenarios. Famous feuds have come about from lesser provocations!
     
  7. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    well, the media has been calling honey bees endangered, so I can see where she is coming from. But you're fairly far south, are african bees there yet?
     
  8. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    Irresponsible beekeeping is what i call it. Her neighbors most likely don't want swarms hanging from their trees or taking up residents in the sheds, play houses, tree forts, and homes. Bees to survive need a little human intervention with out she is dooming them to death from mites, SHB, starvation, disease and pests.

    The good news is hang some bait hives around her house it could yield you half a dozen hives a year.
     
  9. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    I don't know, we've had a few feral colonies I know of in my area that have been in the same location for many years, seemingly perfectly healthy and robust. I like knowing that they are there, and are within breeding distance, adding their survivor genetics to my new queens!
     
  10. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

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    How far does a swarm move from their origin? Or, is there such a number? My reason for asking is because my nearest neighbor is at least two miles from both of my apiaries. There were bees on my property before I brought my first packages a year ago this past April. I'm just 200 miles north of Mexico, we have AHB.
     
  11. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a lazy shooter snip..
    How far does a swarm move from their origin? Or, is there such a number?

    tecumseh:
    why yes there is and as a matter of fact there is even a distribution around a mean number. a good mean number is about half a mile. the location of an 'acceptable residence' may make this number smaller or larger. it seems to me that some folks are greatly exaggerating their own importance in the operation (life and death) of a hive. as far as I can tell the honeybee did just fine for several million years prior to man kinds existence. it seems to me that it is quite incredible that honeybees have survived this long given the interference of mankind.... them girls are just much tougher than some folks might think.

    I am more than a bit with Omie on this one.... although I don't think in highly populated areas this is a strategy that would win you many friends.
     
  12. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    We've got a guy in our bee club who likes having his bees swarm, and doesn't do anything to try to prevent it. He lives in a rural area, so neighbors aren't an issue. He does a couple of inspections a year, harvests honey only when there's a considerable surplus, and generally leaves his bees alone.

    Some might call him a "bee-haver" instead of a beekeeper, but the survival rate of his is bees is very enviable.
     
  13. Pilotbeekeeper

    Pilotbeekeeper New Member

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    Crofter: "In the original post there is nothing to give us a sense of the type of surroundings"

    It's a rural/farming community

    Ome: (assuming no Africanized bee issues of course)

    None that I'm aware....the only AHB I've read about in NC are located at the Ports along the east coast and are closely monitored.

    Note...another interesting note on this. She said the hive, all the tools, clothing, etc. was 'given' to her daughter (a senior in high school) through some type of school program. I can't remember the specific group; whether is was the FHA or FFA....anyway, it was Agricuture related. I would assume there was a period of instruction given on proper care of the bees? Is it possible that this Ag group is encouraging farmers to use this as a pollination management program? Would obviously be cheaper than paying beekeepers to bring hives to you farm, and cheaper than buying new equipment, boxes, frames etc. for every hive.


    Tks
    PBK





     
  14. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    pbk said:
    "I would assume there was a period of instruction given on proper care of the bees? Is it possible that this Ag group is encouraging farmers to use this as a pollination management program? "

    ffa=future farmers of america?

    if so pbk, i would also think there would be some encouragement of planting for or providing for native species, who are more effective pollinators than our own honey bees.

    i am with apis a bit on this subject. just another aspect, in my area, two neighbors took up 'having bees', i am trying to keep my bees mite and disease free. every year their italian bees swarm. what doesn't swarm, absconds because of conditions, or starves in the fall after all of the honey is harvested leaving them nothing. what is left of the hives, starves, succumbs to mites and dies out. guess where some of their bees wind up? my hives. it is hard enough to keep my own hives from robbing each other out let alone the robbing from hives that are not cared for, not to mention the mites. in addition, several of my rural neighbors are not liking where these swarms sometimes wind up anymore, in their trees, roofs, sheds, barns, tractors.....etc. at first for them it was a great experience but not anymore, and some have resorted to spraying them. :shock:

    with 80 acres of woods, i might be wrong but, i have yet to see any of these bees surviving anywhere in my woods.
     
  15. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I daresay feral bee survival rates would be best with a warm climate that gets rain. Just at a guess. The feral colony that pollinated my garden for 8 years started out in hives down near the highway, I noticed them for the first year or 2 after I moved in, then just the cinder blocks were left. The bees meanwhile moved into a vacant rent house and they were prolific and good pollinators for about 5 years, until the owner of the house discovered them. As a result every bee within pollination range of my garden died. Yellow jackets, bumbles, anything that would eat poisoned honey.

    And as a result, the next year I became a beekeeper. But not a bee-haver. To my knowledge I caught all my swarms except the one that went to my neighbor's "bee shelf" where I'd had a hive during the summer. And he's keeping that one housed and fed and tended. He made enough bee candy for both of us.

    When you have lost all the pollinators in your area, you value bees. While something that was given for free is often not valued.