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NellieBelle

11212 Posts


Posted - Jan 03 2016 :  07:39:14 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I was just thinking that for those who were interested in keeping bees but don't want to start out just yet with honey bees, there are native bees (mason bees) that use houses and are great pollinators for your gardens and orchards. I have kept houses for years. Mine are getting rotten and so I just ordered some replacements that look like little bird houses. They are pretty cool in that they come apart and you can observe and clean easily. MaryJane wouldn't this be a fantastic project for young cultivators. They don't require much at all, just a structure for them to lay their eggs. And they are so fascinating to watch. One could keep a little journal of observation, drawing pictures, etc. They are a great benefit to have around and so entertaining to watch. I just purchased a couple new style boxes for this coming spring. There are all kinds. Just a thought.http://www.wildlifeworld.co.uk/p/educational-solitary-beehive?pp=24

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown

Edited by - NellieBelle on Jan 03 2016 08:17:20 AM

Ron

4666 Posts
Ronnie
Peever SD
USA

Posted - Jan 03 2016 :  08:20:14 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What a darn good idea! Maybe they also help keep the skeeters at bay ?

With a moo moo here and a moo moo there, here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo.
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NellieBelle

11212 Posts


Posted - Jan 03 2016 :  08:28:58 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I think they are wonderful little critters. I think everyone who has a yard should have one, two, three...

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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maryjane

7071 Posts


Posted - Jan 03 2016 :  09:15:02 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The minute of saw the hive in your photo I knew I liked it better than other mason hives I've seen. It's on its way for the girls. You're right, it'll be a great project for them. Thanks Janet! My first real entry in my bee journal.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001HIYW44?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00

A while back I purchased one of these teardrop mason bee hives as a gift but didn't get one for myself.
http://crownbees.com/

And my second entry in my journal. Today I purchased three 3 lb. packages of honey bee hives w/queens (Hygienic Italian as Janet recommended) from http://www.bbhoneyfarms.com/store/p-74-honeybees-packages-3-lbs-?keyword=bees

I have a new hexagonal wood hive made by a woman we featured in our magazine, a flow hive (still en route), and a pretty blue hive from http://www.organicbeehives.com/id69.html where they'll live.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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maryjane

7071 Posts


Posted - Jan 03 2016 :  09:20:50 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Today's bee quote in my journal is by Shakespeare himself.

"For so work the honey-bees, creatures that by a rule in nature teach the act of order to a peopled kingdom."

Also:

For most beekeepers, bees are more than a source of honey. The complex creatures are an endless source of fascination.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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NellieBelle

11212 Posts


Posted - Jan 03 2016 :  09:49:39 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Oh how wonderful! I have my bees ordered now too. If you don't order early, they sell out quickly. I bought 3#pkg each for both the Flow Hives coming and another 3#pkg. for out in the bee yard. I love your top bar hive MaryJane. I will have to read up on those. Now it's hurry up and wait. :) Won't it be special to see what the girls put in their little bee journals,(if they do journals), too cute. Cow journals, daily journal, garden journal, bee journal. They are starting to pile up here.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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maryjane

7071 Posts


Posted - Jan 03 2016 :  09:54:52 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Is there anything else I should be ordering? I have gear and hives. Are there things I need to treat them with that you recommend? Are there bee vitamins:)? I want the best for my little worker girls. I did discover last time that they didn't like my organic brownish tinted sugar made into sugar water. They wanted the white grocery-store bought variety. Do you have to supply sugar water?

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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maryjane

7071 Posts


Posted - Jan 03 2016 :  10:04:06 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
In the past I've turned too much of what the bees need daily over to others on board here and my gut tells me we lost our bees not to colony collapse but neglect. This time I'm going to stay very involved. One of the fellas who packages food for us is interested in helping me and I think he shows promise. Standing all day packaging food (actually, he's our mixer) is tedious so we like to give them outdoor tasks as well. I'm excited. Thanks for the prompt Janet. You re-inspired me. But I have a lot to learn.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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NellieBelle

11212 Posts


Posted - Jan 03 2016 :  10:19:45 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
No, I don't use any treatments. The only thing I do is feed them sugar syrup or honey off the frame from previous year to get them going in the spring until blossoms or sources of food are abundant. It depends when they get my new bees here. If it's May and apple, plum and other fruit trees are in bloom I haven't found it necessary. It's nice you have a mentor close hand. Relaxation for him, help for you.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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NellieBelle

11212 Posts


Posted - Jan 03 2016 :  11:08:24 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
In early spring I use a 1:2 ratio of sugar to water. It's thicker. And make sure they have a source of water near by as they need it to make the comb. I keep birdbaths full of water and the honeybees are always on it. Put rocks or floating piece of wood in so they don't drown. That's about all I can think of at the moment. I pretty much let the bees do what comes natural to them. Check them a few days after I install pkgs. then later on to check for brood and egg laying, now I'm excited. That's why I love the observation hive so much. You can kind of keep an eye on the observation hive and know what the ones outside are doing. But not this year. I will have enough going on without having bees in the house too.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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Mike

1667 Posts
Mike
Argyle WI
United States of America

Posted - Jan 03 2016 :  12:21:00 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This month's issue of ACRES USA has a good article on CCD. The US folks in power say CCD is a combination of things but both MY chemical readings and those published in Europe and South America say it is entirely up to neonicotinoids. Period! There are some 500 products containing neonicotinoids that are applied to either seeds before the farmer gets them or afterwards as sprays or dustings. The problems did not appear until these products were on the market for 18 months, then all hell started to break loose. You can tell CCD from starvation or mite related deaths because the bees do not return to the hive. They are just gone...died on the job, out searching for nectar and unable to find their way home. Neurological problem, brain dead, whatever you wish to call it.

USDA and FDA testing protocols are designed to NOT find certain problems that the powers that be, namely, agrobusiness, do not want brought to light. There is a lot of money to be made by the use of chemicals and we, the end user of food, are unfortunately, on the short end of the stick.

I do not know of any way to avoid being within striking distance of neonicotinoids.

In Italy, one or two states in the NE of the country tried an experiment. They eliminated all neonicotinoids use. Within two years the honeybees were back at almost full strength. That study doesn't get much print here, for obvious reasons.

https://www.google.com/search?q=neonicitinoids+banned+in+italian+state&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&channel=fs&trackid=sp-006&gws_rd=ssl
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NellieBelle

11212 Posts


Posted - Jan 03 2016 :  2:38:57 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you Mike!

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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Mike

1667 Posts
Mike
Argyle WI
United States of America

Posted - Jan 03 2016 :  4:23:09 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Only been a bee wrangler for 25 years so don't know much. Do know that the pollen they store for feed contains neonics as well as bT. It's like addict mothers giving birth to addicted babies.
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txbikergirl

3197 Posts


Posted - Jan 03 2016 :  4:45:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
thanks janet and mary jane, just ordered two of the mason bee hives. i have wanted some for years, just never liked what i saw... but this is adorable.

i have wanted honey bees for many years now. but my rough and tough texan lover boy is afraid of bees. like crazy afraid. no joke. he isn't allergic, just a bit insane about them. as it is his only flaw i can't really complain that much. he finally acquiesced to me getting bees as long as they are on the opposite side of the property and i move them whenever he has to mow the tractor near them. so that has kept me without them up to this point ;> and the fact that two cows are keeping me as busy as i need to be right now.

perhaps 2017 could be "year of the bee" at the thompson farmstead... hummmm

Firefly Hollow Farm , our little farmstead. Farmgirl living in the green piney woods of East Texas on 23 acres with a few jerseys, too many chickens, a pair of pugs and my Texan hubby (aka "lover boy")
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NellieBelle

11212 Posts


Posted - Jan 03 2016 :  4:49:05 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Why wouldn't it Mike. There is so much of it being used. You would think, especially farmers, when growing and producing a crop they would think about the importance and health of the planet instead of the $, but it doesn't seem to register, or if it does they don't care. Poor or no agricultural ethics.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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Mike

1667 Posts
Mike
Argyle WI
United States of America

Posted - Jan 03 2016 :  5:05:32 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Just sold Mangalitza's to a fellow up near Sheboygan, WI. He said land is $15k per acre up there, even with the glacial rocks. Down here a poor farm is for sale at $5k per acre. I've got 151 poor acres....wonder if they'll give me that? Well, there are about twenty darned good acres too, the bottoms. Water and four+ feet of topsoil. Folks at the feed mill joke about organic stuff. Trying to find feed corn without chemicals is rough. Few Amish and English farmers raise for other than their own consumption. There is organic barley for folks doing sprouting, that's a plus.

I'm looking at organic corn and wheat for running the mill with. Amish friend has set up one of my six Meadows mills and a bolter. He's a go getter, so we'll see what develops. Organic polenta/grits, some very old wheat varieties, some speltz. Should be interesting. We'll grow wheat here, as well as hulless oats. Need to find an oat roller, as well as a oat huller for the conventional oats. We have a man up mid-state who is a breeder of corn and wheat. He has a corn that is a net zero nitrogen user as it has bacteria colonizing the roots, like alfalfa, generating nitrogen from the atmosphere. Rush to patent that one is on.

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txbikergirl

3197 Posts


Posted - Jan 03 2016 :  5:14:22 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
mike, thanks for all the commentary today. its truly interesting, and i love you sharing your experience.

coming from a background of big ag, and now finding myself in a lifestyle that is a complete 180, i can tell you that i truly don't think it is a money issue. people in big ag really don't think that synthetic chemicals and all they do make a difference. most of them truly believe they are doing no harm. i know it is hard to believe, but i grew up around them and even worked in the big ag business as an adult for many years... they truly believe they are stewards of the land and don't see what is happening around them.

once you step back and take a whole world view, you can see that they are living in a vaccumn. and i really don't know how to change it, except for one farm one person at a time. and that is what lover boy and i are doing here. its all we can do, but we are converting some to our way of thinking as they see what a difference we are making in our own little piece of land. so that is something.

Firefly Hollow Farm , our little farmstead. Farmgirl living in the green piney woods of East Texas on 23 acres with a few jerseys, too many chickens, a pair of pugs and my Texan hubby (aka "lover boy")
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NellieBelle

11212 Posts


Posted - Jan 03 2016 :  5:32:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I would like to see changes here but it's just not happening. I am only able to do what we do here and keep hoping things will change, that something will create a light bulb moment and farmers will see how much harm they are causing. I probably won't live long enough to see it but I'm hoping it happens for the next generation. To think of no songbirds, honeybees, monarchs, or other insects etc, could disappear and beyond return is just too heartbreaking. Perhaps one farm at a time.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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Mike

1667 Posts
Mike
Argyle WI
United States of America

Posted - Jan 03 2016 :  8:06:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Cindy, I guess you are right. The ranch in ND we had, old Walt ran a crop spraying service in the sixties. I almost went into spraying with a plane.....until I watched the man who ran the service shiver and shake inside his rubber suit......then die. I did learn some fancy flying though!!!
Farmer up here who buys out his neighbours as fast as he can told us he could grow corn on a bowling ball with the chemicals he has to use. Buys a farm, burns/buries the buildings, tears our fences and farms every cubic inch of soil he can. He's up over ten thousand acres and growing. His farms are all paid for. He's not normal but ahead of the curve. Most big guys here are a few thousand acres and in debt a little. The real losers are the dairy farms who the bank owns and they must do as the bank says.......get bigger.

No solutions here.......

Wish the population was at WWII levels...... just me thinking that I guess. We are breeding ourselves off the planet.

Back to bees!! :)
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maryjane

7071 Posts


Posted - Jan 06 2016 :  10:40:37 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My Flow Hive arrived yesterday! I'm not sure but I think it's the entire hive and not pieces of it like I thought would arrive first. I will let you know but I have to say that Nick and I opened the top up and were super impressed with how well it's packed, and not one ounce of Styrofoam was used. My husband's comment was, "Wow, I've never seen packing with cardboard done so well. Someone put a lot of thought into all the little pieces of cardboard cut just so to keep it from getting damaged." You'll see when you get yours Janet. They sure did put some care and thought into the packaging. So far, so good.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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NellieBelle

11212 Posts


Posted - Jan 06 2016 :  11:52:31 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Oh, I'm excited. I think they said I could expect mine in March. I hope that holds true. I guess our bee adventure begins, and you have another entry to put into your Journal. Nice to know they took such care in the packing. Thanks for the update!

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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farmlife

1413 Posts


Posted - Jan 06 2016 :  12:16:32 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Where is the best place to put a mason bee hive? Does it need to be low down by the flowers, or could it hang in an area with flowers, but just above?
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NellieBelle

11212 Posts


Posted - Jan 06 2016 :  12:27:38 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Anywhere your heart desires. I have found their little homes up high, low, in the house siding, in light fixtures, etc. Can't go wrong. I've had them on my porch where the railing are, up on buildings. They will find them.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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NellieBelle

11212 Posts


Posted - Jan 06 2016 :  12:37:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
http://houseofbees.com/mason-bees/ Two good books on Mason Bees, Also a good source www.knoxcellars.com

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown

Edited by - NellieBelle on Jan 06 2016 12:57:19 PM
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txbikergirl

3197 Posts


Posted - Jan 06 2016 :  4:08:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
thanks for the info janet, good stuff. my mason bee homes arrived today ;>

Firefly Hollow Farm , our little farmstead. Farmgirl living in the green piney woods of East Texas on 23 acres with a few jerseys, too many chickens, a pair of pugs and my Texan hubby (aka "lover boy")
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CloversMum

3486 Posts


Posted - Jan 06 2016 :  9:05:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
More info to tuck away. Cindy, let us know how it goes with your mason bee homes.

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; A few Jersey cows; a few alpacas; a few more goats, and even more ducks and chickens
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