The Magazine For Those Of Us Who Won't Just Lay Down And Die!

With ingenuity, with preparation, with creativity, with determination, with inventiveness, and with faith, we will overcome!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Beekeeping on the Cheap

Yes, it's true.  I'm a beekeeper, and have been for around 15 years or so.  My brother, Timothy, kind of got me into it.  He had been a beekeeper for quite awhile, both in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and around the Santa Fe, New Mexico area.  While in Santa Fe, Tim served for a time as a State Bee Inspector, which means he knew quite a bit about beekeeping, enough at least to impress his brother, myself.

As I said, I've been keeping bees, sort of in an on and off sort of manner, for around 15 years or so.  I've been lucky to have had 12 hives at one point, and at this moment I have exactly 0 hives, which could be interpreted as saying that I'm NOT a beekeeper, at this moment.  My last hive perished when, in the midst of last winter, the hive moth larvae got the better of my bees and crowded them out.  They perished, at any rate, while I was left with a web, cocoon, and feces clogged hive body, and no bees!

So I was talking with one of my brother-in-laws on Sunday, at the family Easter party, and he happened to ask me about my bees.  He asked me how many hives it would take to be able to make a good living, say $50,000/year in profit.  I flipped a number out there of 500 hives might do the trick.  Then he asked whether I felt it likely that I could find places to put 500 hives in the area of the country that I live in.  I said, "Yes, I believe I could."

So here I am, two days hence, and thinking about reviving and greatly enlarging my bee operations.  I have a ready supply of good lumber that I can get for free from a nearby window company, and some woodworking equipment.  I think I could do this on the cheap.  I already have around 30 workable hives worth of boxes, but I need more frames, and boxes to get the thing going.  I will also have to figure out how to produce my own queens, after purchasing some from suppliers to get started.  I will probably be able to capture some swarms this spring and summer, since I'm on a local swarm list, which means that fire and police departments around town will eventually call me to see whether I want to come out to a location and catch a swarm of bees that some civilian called them about.  That will help, both with populating my hives and with diversifying the genetics of my bees.

If you would like to start keeping European honeybees where you live, there are no doubt, as there are here, clubs or groups in your area of the world with people that would love to help you get started.  There are surely suppliers in your country that will be able to send you all the equipment you might need to get started and to expand your beekeeping enterprise.

If, however, you are a serious do-it-yourself-er, and you have carpentry skills, like Jesus of Nazareth, you might want to download a copy of Google Sketchup, a free and fee-based 3D CAD program that will come in handy, as well as free models of many different sorts of beehives.  With these, you should be able to create all the hive parts that you need, from scratch - if you're crafty.  Be crafty - it pays off in the end.

Here is a link to download Sketchup.  That is the English language version.  To get your copy in your favorite language, do a bit more searching.  Here is a link to applicable beehive models.  This should get you started.  The hot type of bee in our area is still the Italian, but Russians are coming on strong, as there is some evidence that Russian bees are more robust and resistant to many of the problems that their Southern cousins are susceptible to.

A sample image of some Sketchup models you might want to use -

Thats all for now, folks.  I hope you enjoyed this post, and that it inspires you to jump in and get going with beekeeping and prepping in general.  Be brave, be bold!  Don't be afraid, you can do it!

Take care, and please comment on my articles.  If you would like to see an article on a specific subject, please let me know, and I'll see what I can do.  Also, please share these articles on facebook, twitter, google+, Pinterest, and others, and feel free to repost them, AND please spread the word and send others to my blog.  I'd really appreciate it.  We're up to 5500+ readers at this point, and climbing rapidly.  I am still working on putting together a magazine by the same name as this blog, Survive Magazine.  Please let me know whether you'd be interested in subscribing to it.  It will be a free download to begin with.  I really appreciate your help, and enthusiastic readership.  Chime in often.  Leave comments.  Let's talk!  Let's share ideas, wherever you hail from, wherever you live - I want to hear from you!

Para ustedes Hispanos, queúbole!  Esta articulo toca en la tema de apicultura.  Si usted quiere tener la chanza de leer mis artículos en castillano/español, deja un comentario que dice q si.  Si hay suficiente interes en eso, le voy a hacer.  Creo q tengo muchas ideas q el mundo hispano puede utilizar para su avantage o bondad y quiero compartirles con ustedes.  Trabajo con muchos hispanos aqui en Ohio y aunque soy blanco como la nieve, soy hispano en mi corazón.  Sí puedo ayudarles a ustedes le quiero hacer.  Adios, hermanitos!  Que Dios les bendigan!

Thanks so much!



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