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Looking for advice on if I should start beekeeping


#1

Hello Everyone,

I have done some research and wanted to get peoples views before progressing any further with a flowhive.

I love the flow hive idea and have watched them over the years grow as a family, community & company and now thinking about getting one. I have some questions and looking for your help as I’m completely new to this.

  1. How much time does it take the setup and get the hive going?
  2. How much time do I need to maintain the bee’s each week/month?
  3. I have bushland behind my house which I will put the bee’s home in which is all green land, not to many flowers, will this be ok or do i need to plant plants for the bee ’s?
  4. Do I need to have someone look after them if i’m on holidays for 4-6 weeks?
  5. Can I have non-stinging bee’s?
  6. What would be the cost of setup after I buy the flow hive?

I don’t have a lot of free time as I have a young family and work at this point in my life, so I would like to consider all my options before I commit to getting a flow hive now or later in the future when I have more time.

I believe it’s important to know everything before jumping in and looking after mother natures families.

thank you and if I have missed anything please let me know.


#2

The time it takes to setup & get going can be many hours. I didn’t have a flow hive from the start, however I’m sure it takes a few hours in assembly, preparation & painting/oiling. The hours spent studying bee culture, going to a bee club, finding a mentor, chasing up a colony, etc etc, can involve a lot of time.

After that you may need to allow maybe 4 hours a month.

You will not need to plant anything on your property to help the bees. Maybe just supply a convenient water supply for them.

You probably can work it so that you can go away for 4-6 weeks without involving another beekeeper. However it’s handy to have someone your neighbors can call on if needs be.

Sorry, stingless native bees don’t work in a flow hive. Only EHB’s that sting.

And #6. That would depend on what you buy with the hive. Such as bee suit, smoker, gloves, hive tool etc. The cheapest I see bees on Gumtree is $160.00 (mine) The other items I mentioned could cost well over $200.00, maybe $300.00.

Beekeeping is not a good option for someone who is time poor.

Good luck with your decision, cheers.


#3

Thanks for the question and now is the best time to find out if beekeeping is for you.
I like @JeffH answers and advise.
Too bad you only gave your location as Queensland and not included your town. My reason for saying that is that if I were you I would ask for a beekeeper to show you the ‘ropes’ so that you get an idea if bee keeping is for you. Most bee keeper would be happy to do that and most have a spare set of protective gear. Some hands on experience and some one to ask question of would be invaluable to you.
For example I am at Coolum Beach and often have interested people to my apiary.
Cheers


#4

Hello and welcome. I agree with the comments above. Both @JeffH and @Peter48 are in Queensland too, and both are exceptionally helpful, so they could be an excellent resource for you if they are close by.

I agree with the need to spend time on studying (read and watch youtube, get a mentor etc). After that, building the hive will take you about 2-3 hours, then another couple of hours to seal or paint it.

If you buy a nucleus or one of Jeff’s colonies, it will take you about an hour to install them if you have never done it before, or about 15 minutes if an experienced beekeeper helps.

They will then need time to build up their numbers before you can think about putting the Flow super on for harvesting honey. That will depend on the season and your local microclimate and forage availability. It could be anything from 2 weeks to several months. Only inspections will tell you when they are ready.

I allow about 1 hour per week per hive. As you get more experience, you can do it faster than this, but at the beginning, it may take you much longer.

It depends on what is in the bush. You will need to research that yourself, or tell us where you are located a bit more accurately, so that any locals on the Forum can advise. Some flowers are not very conspicuous, but they are loved by bees. Unless you are willing to plant farmland sized areas of bee friendly plants, you will not be able to feed the hive from only your own property.

I would, especially during a nectar flow. If you don’t look at them every one to two weeks, they have a sneaky tendency to swarm on you, which can take 2/3 or more of the population away from the hive within a few weeks.

Not in a Flow hive, and not if you want decent amounts of honey. Native bee honey is very tasty, but very low quantity and doesn’t keep well. Native stingless bees are too small to use a Langstroth or Flow hive. If you get bees from a reputable supplier, they will usually make sure that they are from a gentle stock. You will still need protective equipment like a suit or jacket, gloves and a smoker.

Depends on what you want to do. You will need the equipment I mentioned above, a hive tool, glass storage jars and a few other bits may come up that you want. I would budget for another $300 to $500, but many of us spend a lot more than this when we really “get the bug” and want to purify wax, have nice labels, etc.

Keep asking questions if you can’t decide. Bees need attentive beekeepers, but they don’t need huge amounts of time, they just need consistency.


#5

Hi @Dawn_SD, your quote: “but they don’t need huge amounts of time, they just need consistency.” I think that is the key. Inconsistency can lead to major issues & undo all the good work that was done during consistency.

One thing we didn’t mention is all the time spent just watching the bees, going on tangents & looking for & photographing flowers etc.


#6

I love those moments of just sitting and watching the comings and goings at the hives in contemplation as to why we are bee keepers, then come up with so many reasons we do it. It is so easy to loose track of time.
Cheers Jeff


#7

Get yourself a Native beehive. Costs about $450, no time needed, no stings and depending on your climate and conditions you could get a couple of jars of honey a year by placing a small honey collector on top …