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Are there any beekeepers here?

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Posted: 5/18/2014 6:31 PM

Are there any beekeepers here? 


We've been beekeepers for 45+ years and I wondered if there are any others here on the gardening forum.  I saw a NHbeekeeper member, I believe, but don't know if  they are active on the forums  here or if there may be others.

The honeybees have been on the decline, very sadly, for a number of years and many beekeepers have given it up due to the declining populations and some diseases and hive beetles threatening their survival.

We seem to be in a constant battle with chemicals and farm spraying and that threat to our bees.
Sarah in SE IL, zone 6b/5a, a country girl to the bone who never gets tired of planting more beauties.  Life member of NHGC since 12/1996.

Last edited 5/20/2014 12:12 PM by honeyBEE49

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Posted: 5/19/2014 2:47 PM

Re: Are there any beekeepers here? 


I built a nesting block for my local mason bees. Does that count? So far in two years nobody has used it. Sigh...

Good news! The rate of decline of honey bee hives has decreased over the last year or two. Saw that tidbit on the national Farm Report. Nobody knows why. Bad news is they are still declining some. And nobody is exactly sure why that is either.

High desert grass and shrubland, zone 5, cold desert of Northern Nevada. 
Reporting live from the deadly Forty Mile Desert of Nevada.

Last edited 5/19/2014 2:48 PM by ruby2s

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Posted: 5/19/2014 3:27 PM

Re: Are there any beekeepers here? 


Our bee hives are registered annually with the IL Dept. of Agriculture-Apiary Division and they send us info re various diseases and the like affecting IL hives.  They have asked us for our specific latitude and longitude data so they can/have compiled a list of bee hive locations for agriculture spraying operations to avoid.  Not very effective, I'm sorry to report.  They, this past Dec., gave us info to follow at driftwatch.com.  I truly believe the decline is due to agricultural spraying more than anything else.  It ruins water supplies as well as the crop flowers the bees work.

I'm getting ready to write our power company and ask to be placed on their Do Not Spray list to protect our bees.  I'll write more details on this problem later; I'm too tired to type it up right now.  It irks me to no end what others can come in and do on your property and harm bees and food crops just because they think they can.  It's an interesting story when I get time to explain it.
Sarah in SE IL, zone 6b/5a, a country girl to the bone who never gets tired of planting more beauties.  Life member of NHGC since 12/1996.
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Posted: 5/19/2014 4:39 PM

Re: Are there any beekeepers here? 


Try putting some honey inside the block.  If that doesn't work order some hormone.biggrin
Lisa    -    Zone 5  -   Port Jervis, New York
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Posted: 5/19/2014 4:45 PM

Re: Are there any beekeepers here? 


Sara I have been thinking about putting up some hives for a couple of years.  I have a farmer friend who knows how to to do it.  Maybe this year.  I have noticed that my bees are living in holes in the ground until summer starts.  When I start mowing is about the time I notice they leave.  Two years ago I had a ton in one hole about 6" wide.  The property is near Lake Ontario in New York.  There is still hope.biggrin
Lisa    -    Zone 5  -   Port Jervis, New York
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Posted: 5/19/2014 6:33 PM

Re: Are there any beekeepers here? 


Mitzy, the mason bees are not honey makers, and I don't think they are honey stealers either but could be wrong on that. Mine just seem to prefer cracks in rocks instead of my fancy living quarters. There are NO honey bees around my house, no nearby agriculture and not enough flowers to support a colony. I just have the wild bees and wasps that live in holes. Actually, there are a couple fly species here too that pollinate.

High desert grass and shrubland, zone 5, cold desert of Northern Nevada. 
Reporting live from the deadly Forty Mile Desert of Nevada.
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Posted: 5/20/2014 7:59 AM

Re: Are there any beekeepers here? 


Mitzy...our favorite bee equipment suppliers are Glory Bee and Brushy Mountain Bee Farm...the Glory Bee catalog is a masterpiece of beauty and inspiration and information.

glorybee.com/

When the page comes up, look at lower right corner for a place to request a catalog.
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www.brushymountainbeefarm.com/

You can request a catalog via link at the top of the page that comes up.

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Both catalogs offer lots of ideas...even Dr. Oz and his son put in bee hives at their home. We have a honey shed and a small manual 2-frame extractor. We bought a lot of extra equipment from a forensic pathologist in Evansville, IN who was retiring and going to travel with his family with no time to be around to maintain his hives.
Sarah in SE IL, zone 6b/5a, a country girl to the bone who never gets tired of planting more beauties.  Life member of NHGC since 12/1996.
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Posted: 5/20/2014 1:05 PM

Re: Are there any beekeepers here? 


An ongoing episode with our bees and their safety seems to never end. Our power company did absolutely no maintenance or brush clearing from the late 40s until 2002. We are served by a rural electric cooperative; I always keep a log of power downs and before they began a major brush clearing project, we'd have 36 or more power downs annually. Really got monotonous to always have the power going off. Ice storms would give us 3 days with no power in frigid temps when limbs and brush would fall onto lines when the ice got heavy and the winds were wicked.

Our power co. took on a major brush clearing project and now we have maybe 10-12 power downs per year. They chopped and ground up trees way back from the power lines along the roadways. Then, every three years, I believe it is, they have contracted with a company to spray a high powered brush killer all along the roads to keep trees from growing up into the power lines. It is always windy when they spray and we just cringe at all the fog that comes down to our house which is way off the road...we can smell it strongly and we have bee hives in several places around the house and yard. The spray is not bee-friendly. It fogs onto the bees flowers and the creek water the bees use. They chopped our brush here in 2003. They sprayed in 2006 and 2009 and we just sucked it up and knew our poor honeybees were taking a jolt. Actually, in 2009, the truck came down to our house and the guy said when he saw our sign about Illinois Acres for Wildlife and saw our beautiful place he thought he'd better come down and see if we'd want to be skipped. I thanked him immensely for being considerate and told him there was no way we had anything growing under the power lines that would ever get tall enough to harm the lines. They left us alone that time.

Two years ago, in 2012, they did their spraying on July 9. Our house had been struck by lightning the day before and it charred our phone NID box where the lightning hit. I was waiting for the phone co. to get here to fix that issue when I heard a loud slow-moving truck coming up the road toward our place. Then I saw the spray rig and shut the door so I wouldn't breathe the spray. They have always just sprayed along the road but it fogs clear down to the house and beehives. They got their spraying done and I thought we could draw a line thru that episode for 3 more years. Keep in mind that 2012 was the worst drought year we've had here since 1953 and 1955.

Then, on August 22, I heard a loud vehicle out on the road and went out to find a spray truck with men spraying way down into our field coming toward the beehives and house. The spray truck makes a lot of noise as it agitates the spray in the tanks and I knew it was the power co. at it again. I hate the spray so badly and know what it does to our health and the bees and other critters...but, I went out and walked down to the end of our property and a guy saw me and came to talk to me. I told him they just sprayed July 8th here and we have beehives all around where his idiots were spraying. I could see the fog of spray shooting up into the air where they were spraying all the very short vegetation that was under the power line that comes down to our house. I told him they came down and asked us 3 years prior if we'd want to be skipped due to all the yard plantings and I said yes and they left us alone. I said this is twice this year and we have bees and this spray kills the bees and their foods and water.

He told me due to the ungodly hot summer and drought (we'd had daily highs of 108F for weeks) the leaves were just like leather and their first spraying on July 8 didn't kill things like it should have. How lucky could we get to get fogged twice in a matter of weeks? I told him again about the bees and he said we should contact the power company and ask to be placed on their Do Not Spray list. He said they maintain lists and maps that they must follow and not spray those properties.

I typed up a letter at that time and saved it and need to get it sent to our power co. to avoid this mess again next year when they'll again be around on their 3 year spraying cycle.

There is no doubt in my mind why the honeybee populations are on the decline. We have crop spraying planes and farmers fogging on their crop herbicides and insecticides all around us twice a year at least. It is windy when they spray and the bee flowers and water supplies get contaminated from the sprays. I always close our windows as soon as I know that they are fogging their sprays. Two years ago, the spray smell got into our house before I got all the windows closed and my husband got the worst case of sinus problems he'd ever had because he breathed in a bunch of the fogging spray.

We are avid birdwatchers and way back about 1981, we had a bluebird nest in a tree just a few feet from our house. The guy that farmed our farm field sprayed for weed control and in two days the baby bluebirds were dying in their nest box. The parent birds were getting bugs out in the crop field that had been blasted with poisonous spray and the sprayed bugs were killing the baby bluebirds.

So sad what our modern farming practices and power companies have done to the health and safety of our bees and our own human and critter safety.
Sarah in SE IL, zone 6b/5a, a country girl to the bone who never gets tired of planting more beauties.  Life member of NHGC since 12/1996.
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Posted: 5/20/2014 1:14 PM

Re: Are there any beekeepers here? 


Ennapic...what a wonderful set-up you have! We own 26.67 acres here and 10+ acres is farmland. We quit farming it years ago and just have a guy mow it after August 1st each year to control tree growth and the like. We avoid the crop sprays as much as we can and enjoy the peace and quiet of not farming it. I own another 80 acres of farmland which is half of my old dairy farm childhood home place. There are maybe 15 acres of it that is not good for farming and we leave it for the critters.
Sarah in SE IL, zone 6b/5a, a country girl to the bone who never gets tired of planting more beauties.  Life member of NHGC since 12/1996.
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Posted: 7/4/2014 8:20 AM

Re: Are there any beekeepers here? 


My sister and her husband have a fruit and vege farm. They have bee hives they maintain. They have been saying for years that there certainly is a decline in the bee population because of all the chemicals people spray. They have to spray their apple trees, but they use some kind of natural stuff. No bees, No pollination, No food.
I put up a bat house years ago, because the bats got that horrible virus that killed off many of them. Have never had the bats come back, but the bees are in it now.
I do my best planting for bees, hummingbirds, etc. NO chemicals for me anymore.
Dawn.......Zone 6a.......Niantic, CT
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Posted: 7/4/2014 9:49 AM

Re: Are there any beekeepers here? 


We bought this old pasture field 40 years ago next month and we do all we can to make a safe habitat for all the bees, birds and other critters...except coons and groundhogs.  Last week, when we were discussing the god-awful-to some-Listerine and Dawn for pests, my 26.67 acres was being fogged for the second time this planting season...right across the road from our entire acres...the farmers who rent the land south were spraying soybeans a second time.  The wind was out of the south and southeast about 11-14 mph according to WeatheBug Plus live...coming right over onto us and all of my plantings I've worked so hard for and landing on the grass and plants/flowers the birds, insects, rabbits, chipmunks and other critters dine on.  I heard a loud noise over the fans and loud TV (no A/C) and shuddered as I opened the door to see what it was; it was the blankety-blank spray rig with his boom 8' up in the air so the drift would be 3x worse than if he would have lowered the spray boom down closer to the ground.  I get so sick of others horning in on lives with chemicals and they don't worry a peg about it.  

We have so many bees of all kinds this year, not just our honeybees, that I don't dare walk in the yard in flip flops...we have lots of clover in the yard and the bees are just thick working the clover.  I've had bee stings on the bottoms of my feet before and the stingers keep injecting pain until removed.
Sarah in SE IL, zone 6b/5a, a country girl to the bone who never gets tired of planting more beauties.  Life member of NHGC since 12/1996.
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Posted: 7/7/2014 7:48 AM

Re: Are there any beekeepers here? 


Sarah, I think I'd call DHEC and talk to them about it and see what they have to say. Seriously. If they can't or won't do anything about it, they should know who to tell you to talk to. Maybe your State Dept of Agriculture. I can call DHEC here and report people that burn trash outside and they'll come investigate. Burning trash is against the law here. i wish all outdoor burning was, but I understand bonfires and BBQ are traditional, so I wouldn't want to go that far.
--
Chris Behrens
Pendleton, SC (near Clemson, SC)
USDA Cold Zone 7/AHS Heat Zone 7
thatcompostguy@hotmail.com
National Home Gardening Club member since 1998


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Posted: 7/13/2014 9:08 AM

Re: Are there any beekeepers here? 


Gee Sarah, I would call the DEP !!!!!
Dawn.......Zone 6a.......Niantic, CT
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Posted: 7/19/2014 12:19 PM

Re: Are there any beekeepers here? 


Trying to start beekeeping here in IN but this last winter did a number on all the insects especially the honeybees I just started seeing them in June which is unusual.  We hung a top bar hive in our tree for them to swarm to but according to the local bee keepers they aren't swarming very much this year so no bees in the hive yet.  I put out a hummingbird feeder that allows bees to drink and they were all over it in June and now are all over the wild flowers and sunflowers that we planted as well as the veggie garden.
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