Are Bees For Me? (Mark Johns, 2006) Why Do I Want to Keep Bees? Hobby Pollination Hive Products (honey, wax, pollen, propolis) Hobby Relaxation – if you’re a calm type to begin with… Excitement – yes, you will get stung. I just think bees are cool – me too! Pollination Add pollinators to environment in general Benefits the surrounding ecology Pollinate my crops in particular Bees concentrate on one nectar source Hive sends out scout bees May ignore your crop if large nectar source is available (i.e. blackberries in bloom) Pollination (cont’) Consider mason bees Especially good for orchards Cheap and easy to maintain Pollination (cont’) Consider keeping hives for a beekeeper Cheaper - small scale beekeeper will usually just want honey Less time – beekeeper performs all maintenance Hive Products Honey Beeswax Variable yields – 40 to 100 lbs/hive Depends on amount of rainfall, temperature, hive strength Small yield from honey comb cappings Pollen Gathering pollen can weaken hive Hive Products Propolis Tree sap collected by bees Used by bees to patch small holes/cracks in hive that might harbor bacteria or pests Time Expenditure Weekend setting up site and new hives Additional 1–2 hours installing bees Weekly visit: 2–3 hours (spring/summer of first year) Beekeeper’s club meetings: 3-4 hours month Education: Lots of hours reading books, internet beekeeping sites, beekeeper’s club Time Expenditure (cont’) Most time spent Spring – installing bees, medicating, feeding, adding honey supers Summer – mite checks, general health, feeding, adding honey supers Fall – mite checks, medicating, general health, feeding, honey supers, extracting honey Cost Expenditure $200 - $400 initial cost for two hives and basic equipment Two hives are better than one Can compare hives for health Can swap frames between strong and weak hives $50.00 annual maintenance (mostly medications) Basic Equipment Buy new – don’t inherit problems (mites, disease) Local supplier or mail order? Mail order – may not be cheaper after shipping Local supplier provides additional source of information, beekeeping classes The BEEZ NEEZ Apiary Supply, Snohomish Basic Equipment (cont’) Epi Pen – insurance against anaphylactic shock (requires a prescription) $30.00 Betterbee Inc. – ($225.00 assembled) 2 hive bodies w/frames 2 medium honey supers w/frames top cover inner cover bottom board w/entrance reducer Basic Equipment (cont’) hive tool smoker beekeeping book leather gloves helmet & veil (no bee suit) varroa mite screen/monitoring tray Basic Equipment (cont’) Additional hive ($60.95 assembled) single hive body (and no supers) top cover inner cover bottom board w/ entrance reducer Additional honey supers ($50 - $60) State hive registration fee ($10-$15) Basic Equipment (cont’) Bee suit (optional) $50.00 - $150.00 Can use “light-colored” work clothes Medication (annual) Varroa mite - $20.00/hive (ApiLife VAR) Tracheal mite – $5.00/hive (Menthol) Nosema virus - $10.00 (Fumagilin-B) Wax moths – can bag and freeze supers Cost of Bees 3 lb. Package of bees with queen $70.00 to $90.00 per package Can order bees from BEEZ NEEZ Apiary Supply (2005 price $78.00) Order bees by March for mid-April delivery Other Equipment Sugar water feeders - $25.00 Honey extractor (hobbyist): $225 - $350 May need to subsidize bees for winter Try to borrow one Electric fence - $100 Local bears, deer, skunks Bear Damage Still Want to Keep Bees? Join a Beekeeper’s Association Education and camaraderie Helps support university research (WSU) Washington State Beekeeper’s Assoc. Annual dues ($15.00) www.wasba.org Northwest District Beekeeper’s Assoc. www.nwdba.org (meets 2nd Tuesday) Other Beekeeping Resources Books Beekeeping for Dummies, Blackiston, 2002 First Lessons in Beekeeping, Dadant Press The Hive and the Honey Bee, Dadant The A,B,C's and X,Y,Z's of Beekeeping, A.I. Root Insect Pollination of Cultivated Crop Plants, McGregor Other Beekeeping Resources Internet BeeSource.com - www.beesource.com Links to other beekeeping sites page Discussion groups Plans for building equipment Mason Bees –www.knoxcellars.com Other Beekeeping Resources Suppliers The BEEZ NEEZ Apiary Supply, 403 Maple Ave Suite A, Snohomish, WA, 98290-2562, 360-568-2191, www.beezneezapiary.com Betterbee, Inc., www.betterbee.com Dadant & Sons, Inc., www.dadant.com Mann Lake Ltd., www.mannlakeltd.com Have Fun and Good Luck!