Bee Questions

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Thought I would put a post out there that simply asks for questions.  A lot of issues surround the health of bees and in keeping bees.  So I would like to just open this up to questions and I will respond as they come in.

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12 thoughts on “Bee Questions

    1. Tyler Roberts Post author

      I suppose its possible but I’ve never heard of a license or permit being required. Check your local cities ordinances. Most cities allow beekeeping. They will of course have guidelines regarding how the bee are to be kept, but the ones I am familiar with are not that tough to comply with. In my own town, about 5 years ago, I had begun to keep bees and then found out it was not allowed. I met with the city council and over the course of about 6 months got the ordinance changed so that it now allows beekeeping within city limits. I used to live outside the city and then the city grew out to us, thereby bringing us under the rules and guidelines required by the city.

      Bottom line – most cities allow it and you simply need to find out what the ordinances require to be able to keep them.

      Reply
  1. Notes To Ponder

    Why don’t commercial bee keepers allow natural selection of the queen. Correct me if I’m wrong but my understanding is “big bee” uses the same DNA over and over again and “selects” queens on the receiving end. Hope my question makes sense 🙂

    Reply
    1. Tyler Roberts Post author

      Good question. I’m not a commercial operator in the sense that I have hundreds of hives, so I’m not speaking from experience, but I do know a number of folks who work in the industry. The main reason natural selection is not allowed by commercial bee keeps is because before a hive will replace the queen by raising a new queen, the old queens egg production really slows down. That translates into fewer bees and a less productive hive. Since most commercial operators are in the business of pollinating, they want as many bees as possible. Its expensive to transport the beehives and there no sense in transporting empty (or nearly so) boxes around. Even if they are only producing honey they still need a high count of bees. A healthy hive will have 50,000 to 60,000 bees in it. That requires a healthy queen.

      Secondly, in most cases new DNA does come on board when a new queen is mated. After the queen hatches she goes on a mating flight. She will be bred by numerous drone bees, sometimes upwards of 50. These drone bees can come from anywhere within about a 4 to 5 mile radius. So even if they did not want new DNA interjected into the equation it would be nearly impossible to control. This comes into play in another way. A lot of work is going into breading queens that are resistant to mites. (Mites kill off a lot of hives) Then these new mite resistant queens are sold to bee keeps like myself. The problem is when these new super queens raise their own queens, those new young queen fly out and are bred by numerous drones, most of whom have not likely been raised to be mite resistant. At that point you water down the gene pool and lose a lot of the mite resistance that was bred into the original queen.

      The main issue facing bees today are the neonicotinoid pesticides that are used on GMO crops. They are deadly to bees and are responsible for massive bee loses. Bee numbers across the country would recover quickly if the use of these toxins were outlawed.

      Thank you for the question.

      Reply
    2. mycitybees

      Tyler raises a number of good points. In addition, experience shows that hives will only successfully re-queen 1/3 to 1/2 of the time. There are many possible contributing factors to that, but if you’re a commercial beekeeper you can’t afford to take a chance that a hive will be missing a queen at your busiest time of year.

      Reply
  2. Tyler Roberts Post author

    Well we all need a drink once in awhile… just kidding. Feeding in the spring will cause the queen to begin laying sooner than if you waited for natures nectar flow. Then when natures nectar flow begins the hive already has numbers up and this is what you want if you are going to split a hive. (create a new one from an older existing hive) Just remember, once you begin feeding you cannot stop until the bees are bringing in nectar on their own. At that time they should give up the sugar water mixture you are providing. Sugar water mix in the spring is a 1-1 ratio sugar to water. Use cane sugar not beet sugar.

    Yes, I will begin feeding soon as I am looking to do a number of splits this season.
    Thanks for the question bowrm. Will you be getting bees of your own this spring?

    Reply

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