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Tales of the Hive: So you want to keep honeybeees?

By xC0000005 in Culture
Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 10:36:13 PM EST
Tags: Beekeeping, honeybees, stinging insects, radioactive mutant cannibals (all tags)

"Are you aware, by any chance, that honeybees have stingers?" the woman asked as I placed the order for my first bees. I was. "And that they use them?' That too, yes. "And you still want to do this?" Yes. Yes, I did. She smiled and ran my card through the machine. The machine beeped and gargled, I signed my name and as I turned to walk away she said one thing more - "You'll be happy." She was right.


Reasons
The reasons for keeping bees are as widely varied as the people who keep them. Some do it for pollination. Some are fascinated by the insects and the society of bees. Others come lured by the promise of honey. Beekeeping is like a potluck stew - you can't just get one of these. Even the smallest hobby keeper gets a good dose of each in time.

Perspective
To be clear: I am a hobby beekeeper. A hobby beekeeper puts more into the hobby than he gets out most of the time, and honestly has little expectation otherwise. Sideliners are people who supplement their base income with money from the bees. A sideliner counts the costs and balances the books. A pro makes his living keeping bees and following the bloom. The pros know the operation to the penny and their actions are all about time because it's the one currency they can never make more of. Each set does things differently. I'm a hobby beekeeper, and most of what I say will have to do with keeping bees from that perspective. Many of the things I do are impractical beekeeping on a large scale. To compound this there are a dozen ways to do most things in beekeeping, and I can already imagine the comments and mail I'll get from beekeepers who say "I don't do it like that" or "That's just wrong." If you actually start keeping bees then after your first season you'll look back and most likely say "I didn't do things that way." Or "That didn't work for me." This is my story, you get to hear how I do it.

What do you need to keep bees?
If you go to Brushy Mountain Bee Farm or Dadant or Betterbee they all have "Beginner's kits." I'll say up front that I'm not convinced that beginner's kits are a good investment. On the up side they contain everything one needs for a hive. On the down side you can get your equipment much cheaper by ordering piecemeal from the cheapest places and building the simplest things (bottom boards and lids) yourself. Shipping, by the way, costs as much as your materials. Later when I recommend that you get with a club it's because many times you can order things together and pay vastly reduced shipping. I've built everything that goes in a hive except the bees and I can say that if your time is worth anything it doesn't pay to build frames and it usually doesn't pay to build the hive boxes. Note I don't mean put together. Most bee equipment comes "knock down" - a fancy term for "not put together". You like it like this, really - it lowers shipping costs and lets you do it right - glue and nails on everything.

  • Somewhere to keep the bees: The bees will not normally seek you out to sting you, so you can share some space with them so long as they have a nice clear flight path to the hive. A nice back yard with a six foot fence and some understanding neighbors are all you need space wise. Sunny, southern facing areas are even better.
  • Something to keep the bees in: A good way to understand what goes into a hive is to take a look at Rosetta's Guide to Bee Hives, where I have a description and a picture of all the components of a honey bee hive. Not everything there is absolutely necessary - a bottom board, a hive body, ten frames and lid are the absolute bare minimum woodenware one could start with. There are two major varieties of hive - Langstroth hives (the prevailing design) - the square boxes that most people envision and top bar hives - essentially boxes with pieces of wood laid across the top. Top bar hives are considerably cheaper because they don't use frames, don't use foundation and generally use less materials. I've seen top bar hives built from coolers, furniture, water jugs and flower pots. I use Langstroth hives. Two hive bodies, twenty frames, a bottom board and a lid are all the woodenware you have to have to start. You'll need more but you can start with less. Why would you need more? Hint: You want honey, right? That honey has to go somewhere.
  • Protective equipment: I finally broke down and bought a bee suit but I spent the first years using a World War II class veil (literally), then upgraded to a jacket and only got the suit because when you do removals a suit is really nice. You can get stung through anything - the protective gear is really to install a false sense of confidence so you can work comfortably with the bees. A veil is the minimum protection but many people wear gloves as well.
  • A smoker: Yes, you can make these. Don't. On ebay you'll see "antique smokers". They often sell for around 8 dollars because they aren't really antique, just old and dirty. They will work fine as long as the bellows is intact (and if it isn't just staple cloth over them). Anything that smokes but doesn't produce roaring flames makes good fuel. Wood shavings, cardboard, rotten wood, burlap, etc. Don't buy smoker fuel.
  • A knife, screwdriver or hive tool: A hive tool is used to split the hive bodies, pry up frames or scrape off burr comb. I like the hive tool. You can get by without it.
  • You do NOT need to buy a several hundred dollar extractor: Extractors fling the honey from the comb but they cost hundreds of dollars and you can build your own honey extractor. You can produce beautiful cut comb honey with just a knife or crush and strain the comb to produce liquid honey. You don't need queen rearing kits, you don't need bee vacuums or other such toys. You might eventually want them but you don't need them to start.
  • You need to know something, anything about keeping bees: There used to be a pamphlet called "First lessons in beekeeping" that you got along with bees if you ordered them. This explained basically how to install the package of bees and how to light one's smoker. Check out a beekeeping for dummies book or "The backyard beekeeper" and read up before hand. On the internet we have beesource, whose message boards contain the wisdom of more beekeepers than you can shake a box of agitated bees at.

Join a club and get a mentor to show you the ropes. Beekeeping is easier with friends. I have people I can call and ask for advice, brood, even equipment in case of emergency. Letting a beekeeper place hives on your property is a good way to get a "trial run" with bees and eventually you might just purchase them from him. (you do not have permission to inspect his bees unless he gives it to you!) Learn all you can, go work with a beekeeper to see what it is like, do these things before you buy your equipment and make your decision. If you've decided to go for it then you are going to need some bees. This is as good a point as any to note that you should start with multiple hives. Multiple hives are actually easier as if one goes queenless you can pull eggs from the other. Multiple hives will let you know when pollen is coming in or if you have a problem. It also means more honey. But you don't get any honey if you don't have any bees, so let's move on to:

Ways you can get bees:

  • Ordering Packages of Bees: Packages of bees are artificial swarms, where a bee breeder shakes workers into a box and adds a queen to create the basis of a new colony. Packages cost between 65 and 100 dollars this year (2008). They come with no brood - that is, no baby bees, so the package population drops sharply in the first three weeks when there are no new bees hatching each day. The colony in summer can produce around 3 thousand new bees a day (sometimes more!) and honeybees use the Chinese "overbreed and overrun" methodology. That makes three weeks with no new bees a hardship. Advantages of packages; They are the sure thing. You know you will get a queen. You know you will get workers. You know when you will get them. Disadvantages - They are pricey. They have no brood. Also because they were not prepared to leave the home colony the bees in the package are not primed to draw wax - that is, to create the honeycomb that is the basis of the hive. A package must be fed syrup constantly to help them draw out the wax honeycomb.
  • Buying a nuc (Nucleus Colony): A nucleus colony is essentially a tiny colony, usually three frames of bees with a frame of honey and a frame of pollen. Advantages: Nucs have brood and therefore don't suffer the package population drop. Nucs are far more likely to give honey due to the increased population. Disadvantages: Nucs cost more, starting at around 90$ and going much higher. Plus Nucs come on drawn comb which may contain diseases. If you can't inspect the nuc first you don't know if the queen is good or not. You might wind up with a box of bees that just dwindles away. Buying a full colony is the same, only more expensive. A full colony will almost certainly produce honey but it's all the problems of a nuc multiplied.
  • Collecting Swarms: Bees reproduce by swarming, where roughly half the colony leaves with the old queen to find a new home. If they land on the front porch whoever lives there will not be amused. So people who come and collect swarms get the bees for free (and sometimes get paid to get them!). Swarms are also primed to succeed - unlike packages these bees knew they were leaving and prepared to draw wax. They have nurse bees and foragers ready and a proven laying queen ready to take over. Swarms can and do produce honey on the first year because it's how they'll survive in the wild. Advantages: Free (or better), Ready to draw wax. Disadvantage: Not a sure thing. You may get no swarm calls whatsoever. You may get the call and they may be 200 feet up a tree, or they left while you were driving there. You might collect the swarm and kill the queen by accident. You also have no idea what the temperament of the swarm will be. Most swarms are gentle but when they are not it is amazingly unpleasant. Plus, even Africanized bees are gentle as swarms. In Africanized counties collecting swarms may not even be legal.
  • Removing Established Colonies (Cut outs): If a swarm of bees isn't collected by a beekeeper, they'll do what instinct commands. They'll find a home and build a colony. That colony will sometimes be in the wall of a house or inside a shed or a box. The owners of the home will not be amused. At some point (hopefully early) the colony must be removed, the comb and honey taken out and the cavity resealed. This process is a cut out, and a good beekeeper can extract an entire colony, get honey and get paid. Oh yes, cut outs pay good money. 75 an hour, 150 minimum is a common cost and people will pay it. If that tells you something then you are thinking ahead. Why are people willing to pay you to cut out the colony, knowing that a $300 bill is an easy possibility? Because it's hot, hard work. Swarms are gentle. Nucs are too. Established colonies have a home to defend, honey to protect and brood to fight and die for. And they will. I've known of people who did their first cut out without a bee suit then used the money to purchase protective gear and hives. That's like jumping out of a plane to get money that you'll use to buy a parachute. Don't do this. Advantages: You make money and get bees. Disadvantages: You couldn't pick a harder way to get into beekeeping.
Costs
So what does all this cost? The answer is "It depends." If you build a top bar hive and catch swarms you can get started for less than 30 dollars for a veil, used smoker and hive tool. If you buy a complete Langstroth starter kit you'll shell out $285 dollars. I suggest you join a club and pick up some equipment used - veil, smoker, hive tool. Boxes you can build if your time is worth little or buy in a bulk buy with the other members of your club. Frames you should buy new. Used ones will be cheap but I don't recommend it. The lure of drawn comb and the advantage it gives your colony is huge but unless you trust the guy who you are buying from let your bees do the work. Draw out your own foundation, let your bees make their own wax. If you really trust someone a comb or two can make a huge difference. What you need to ask yourself is "How would I feel about digging a hole, putting my hive in it, pouring on gasoline and setting them on fire?" That's exactly what you get to do if you get American Foulbrood from used equipment.

Don't go overboard on ordering equipment but a few extra boxes never hurt anyone. Over time you will accumulate equipment to the point where you say "Will I ever use all of this?" Maybe. You can't make up for what you don't have when you need it, so be prepared.You might be surprised. You might find yourself ordering more bees next year. And catching swarms, and doing cut outs. Keeping bees isn't an all or nothing endeavor. You don't need to quit your job and follow the bloom to get honey. You can have a family and still pollinate your garden. And for the wonder, the joy of keeping bees you need only a little time, a little patience, and of course the bees.

Links and Suggested Reading:
Bush Farms - more beekeeping knowledge than I will learn in my entire life.
How to install a package of honeybees - You have the box and the bees, what now?
The Hive and the Honeybee - One of two "definitive guides to beekeeping"
The ABC and XYZ of Beekeeping - The other "definitive guide", as much as one can be definitive about something where almost any method works.
Hive Management by Richard Bonney. Thankyougustad's favorite book on the subject.
First lessons in beekeeping by C P Dadant - classic writing that still applies today.

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Poll
Do you want to keep bees?
o Yes. I'm getting them. 17%
o No, you've got to be kidding. 21%
o Love to but can't. Just can't. 35%
o Like the honey part, dislike the stinging buzzing part. 25%

Votes: 28
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o impractica l beekeeping
o Brushy Mountain Bee Farm
o Dadant
o Betterbee
o all the components of a honey bee hive
o you can build your own honey extractor
o crush and strain
o "First lessons in beekeeping"
o beesource
o the package population drops sharply
o Bees reproduce by swarming
o Bush Farms
o How to install a package of honeybees
o The Hive and the Honeybee
o The ABC and XYZ of Beekeeping
o Hive Management
o First lessons in beekeeping
o Also by xC0000005


Display: Sort:
Tales of the Hive: So you want to keep honeybeees? | 80 comments (50 topical, 30 editorial, 1 hidden)
+1fp, ensign beefucker (1.75 / 8) (#5)
by chlorus on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 09:10:23 AM EST

keep molesting bees, yo.

"THROW YOUR HANDS UP AND LET THE CATS DECIDE" - hallo

Dick riding? $ (none / 1) (#18)
by toki on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 12:23:53 PM EST



[ Parent ]
UH OH SOUND THE ASPIE ALARM (none / 0) (#20)
by chlorus on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 12:57:48 PM EST


"THROW YOUR HANDS UP AND LET THE CATS DECIDE" - hallo
[ Parent ]

Where's the '0'? $ (none / 0) (#21)
by toki on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 01:07:42 PM EST



[ Parent ]
would you like one? (none / 0) (#22)
by chlorus on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 01:10:52 PM EST


"THROW YOUR HANDS UP AND LET THE CATS DECIDE" - hallo
[ Parent ]

MASSIVE CUNT DETECTED IN THIS SECTOR CAPTAIN // (none / 1) (#43)
by The Hanged Man on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 05:07:05 PM EST


-------------

Dificile est saturam non scribere - Juvenal
[ Parent ]
enjoy the quaint hobby while you still can (2.30 / 10) (#7)
by circletimessquare on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 09:28:56 AM EST

all the bees are dying

on the plus side, xC005 (word notation is better than a double word notation my friend, as long as alias's are concerned) will soon be fabulously rich. as bees become extinct and each one of his bugs begin to approach the value of their weight in palladium, a gulf state prince in abu dhabi decides he needs a bee themed hotel foyer, and buys all of his stock. consequently, xC005 decides to use some of his vast fortune to pay rusty $4.34 to buy k5, far beyond its market price. much worry among the random retards here commences as to how xC005 will change k5. but all he does is change the vomit blue and grey color scheme to a nice beesy black and yellow. unfortunately, despondent over the loss of his buzzing sexual fetishes, xC005 commits suicide by force feeding himself honey until he goes into insulin shock


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

ITYM hyperglycemia (none / 0) (#53)
by rpresser on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 09:50:16 AM EST

Insulin shock cannot be caused by consuming carbs, but only by excessive insulin.  Nice fantasy anyway.
------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]
true, insulin shock is from hypo,not hyperglycemia (none / 0) (#54)
by circletimessquare on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 10:48:12 AM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Stories like this one (2.20 / 5) (#23)
by wiredog on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 01:18:54 PM EST

are why I originally came to K5. The intersection of Technology and Culture. Good writing as well.

The idea of a global village is wrong, it's more like a gazillion pub bars.
Phage

What about those of us who live in the city? (none / 0) (#27)
by j1mmy on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 02:22:41 PM EST

Can I keep bees in my apartment?

I've seen it done on the balcony and on roof tops. (none / 0) (#29)
by xC0000005 on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 02:23:39 PM EST

Balcony requires understanding neighbors. Roof requires landlord assistance.

Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't
[ Parent ]
keep them in your bedroom (none / 1) (#45)
by rhiannon on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 05:26:41 PM EST

girls love honey, it's perfect!

-----------------------------------------
I continued to rebuff the advances... so many advances... of so many attractive women. -MC
[ Parent ]
Check your city bylaws (none / 1) (#71)
by janra on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 08:14:24 PM EST

I can't keep bees on my balcony; I checked.

Where I live, only single-family houses with yards or duplexes with yards are permitted to have a beehive; condos, townhouses, apartments are not permitted - even with strata or landlord permission.

So check your city bylaws first.
--
Discuss the art and craft of writing
That's the problem with world domination... Nobody is willing to wait for it anymore, work slowly towards it, drink more and enjoy the ride more.
[ Parent ]

So long as... (none / 0) (#78)
by jd on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 12:51:45 PM EST

...you pay your pet deposit per animal.

[ Parent ]
Glad to see this (3.00 / 3) (#36)
by Kariik on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 03:56:48 PM EST

It's been a while since I saw a story I really liked on K5, something that opens my eyes to new stuff that's actually pretty cool. Thanks for writing, this kind of article is the reason I came to K5 in the first place.

One question though that keeps popping up in my head, what exactly is a smoker used for? Aside from the obvious answer of making smoke.

One editorial: change 90$ to $90.

Smoke calms bees (well, some bees). (none / 0) (#38)
by xC0000005 on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 04:01:55 PM EST

Established colonies are calmed by smoke because it masks the alarm pheromone and encourages the bees to think about things other than stinging you, like how bad it would be to die in a fire. Using smoke on a package or a swarm is like using an air raid siren on a mouse in a cage to let it know it needs to run and hide. The mouse has nowhere to go and is likely to wind up more pissed off than protected.

Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't
[ Parent ]
Re: Smoke calming bees... (none / 0) (#68)
by tchuladdiass on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 01:00:24 PM EST

I always heard that the way that smoke calms the bees is that it causes them to start consuming their honey, in order to protect it from a forest fire.  And that in turn has an intoxicating effect. Which is why it doesn't work on a swarm, as they don't have any honey to consume.

[ Parent ]
Well, sort of. (none / 0) (#69)
by xC0000005 on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:20:48 PM EST

Smoke does calm the bees and the theory has always been that it's because they consume their honey. The problem is that I personally know beekeepers who have come back to find their bee hives ashed by a fire, bees inside. At one point there is no doubt that fire was a factor in forcing the bees to abscond (a normal migratory practice for bees) but I suspect that the brood pin them to the hive in the case of a fire just like in the case of freezing to death. Africanized honeybees are noted for abandoning brood when they abscond. In Apis Melifera, masking the alarm pheromone is a big deal.

Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't
[ Parent ]
I'm thinking about it. (none / 0) (#42)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 04:54:10 PM EST

Mind you, not because I like bees particularly (though you have made them out to be nice little guys (gals?) quite a bit), but it'd be more of a business partnership. I'm trying to move my life in a direction where I have a little hobby farm or something, and after reading about how much of a pain hand pollination is, I figure I'd let the experts handle it.

I don't actually know whether I'm allergic to them though, and I'd like to test that without dying before I start doing this. So that'll be a factor. (Though, it does reinforce how nice you make them out to be... 34 years, and I've only ever been stung by wasps, bees just bounce off of me, say excuse me and go about their business.)

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.

Allergies. (none / 0) (#44)
by xC0000005 on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 05:09:17 PM EST

You will note there's no FDA recommended daily dose of bee venom. We're all somewhat allergic. The question is whether or not you are massivly allergic or not. To determine this you usually need two stings. One sting. If that one doesn't cause it get another a few days later. That's where you need to be very careful. By fall I'm usually mostly immune. That doesn't mean it doesn't hurt. Just that I don't swell/itch.

Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't
[ Parent ]
The second sting, eh? (none / 0) (#46)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 05:52:10 PM EST

Can you take the stick of epi with you for that one, or is it prescription only?

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]
Scrip based. One thing about allergy testing - (none / 0) (#47)
by xC0000005 on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 05:55:08 PM EST

scratch or other test almost always will show you as "Allergic". Remember there's no recommended daily dose of bee venom for a reason. Don't bother with those. What you want to know is: Do I stop breathing and die when stung? First sting usually causes the allergic reaction to develop. Next one is where the fun starts.

Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't
[ Parent ]
I have an allergic friend who's an ag researcher (none / 0) (#52)
by MichaelCrawford on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 02:06:41 AM EST

She often goes to farms to collect samples. She always carries an epi-pen with her.


--
Looking for some free songs?


[ Parent ]

I have said it all before (none / 1) (#49)
by mybostinks on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 08:03:26 PM EST

and a great addition to your canon. I too came to K5 for articles like these.

I want a print copy somehow, some way, some time.

One day there will be a book. (none / 1) (#50)
by xC0000005 on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 08:49:49 PM EST

I've talked with professional copy editors about it and they agree that I'm approaching the "go" point for having enough material. I'll draw a line in the sand and pay for copy edit services to resolve the grammatical crimes. Then I'll contemplate seeking professional publishing versus POD/Vanity sites.

Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't
[ Parent ]
I have a friend who's a freelance copy editor (none / 0) (#51)
by MichaelCrawford on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 02:04:43 AM EST

She's quite good - she even is able to edit physics textbooks without knowing anything about physics. There a lot of tricks to it.

One that I came up with on my own is to read my piece backwards, sentence by sentence. That is, read the last sentence forwards, then the second to last, all the way through.

That was each sentence is completely out of context, which makes grammar errors and poor wording leap out at you.

I'm planning to publish a dead-tree edition of my writing on mental illness at Lulu. It's a print-on-demand self-publishing service. If you pay a modest fee for an ISBN number, they can get your book into distributors and onto online sites like Amazon.

A big advantage of using Lulu is that you get to keep the rights. Most conventional publishers require that you assign them the copyright to your work, especially if you're a relatively unknown author.


--
Looking for some free songs?


[ Parent ]

1NAS wouldn't bother me. (none / 0) (#59)
by xC0000005 on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 02:56:43 PM EST

Full consignment of rights, that's another deal entirely. Anything I do is always first na serial.

Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't
[ Parent ]
I gotta second Lulu (none / 1) (#70)
by localroger on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 08:05:48 PM EST

The only bad thing about the global distribution service is that it really increases the price, and then Lulu has to charge the same increased price to people who buy directly from Lulu (though you get a lot more of the money).

It is rather cool to walk up to the search terminal at Barnes & Noble and put in "Prime Intellect" and see my own book come up.

alexboko: I think, how do animals view our behavior?
Sgt York: Opening
[ Parent ]

Be careful with vanity. (none / 0) (#79)
by jd on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 01:17:43 PM EST

They're "cheaper", but professional publishers are reputed to automatically dislike anyone who has worked with one, and the return you get is often barely worth the effort by all accounts.

Given the quality of the material and the relatively high demand for hobbyist material (as opposed to "technical" texts), I'd strongly advise going to professional publishers first. Expect the first five or ten replies to be rejections, as publishers unfortunately tend to hire idiots to screen material.

Also expect copy editors - at least, those who are any good - to be unbelievably picky. They're not paid to be nice. If anything, it's better for them to find problems than for publishers or readers.

Of course, most of this is "obvious", as is the suggestion that you get at least one (highly trusted and independent) pair of eyes to check over the initial text and a second (also trusted and independent) pair of eyes to check over the proofs.

Of course, putting some of the material on K5 is essentially the same as getting that first pair of eyes. The idea there is just to make sure that you're not missing out things that you know and therefore read in, and K5 readers cover a broad enough spectrum to be ok there.

[ Parent ]

Yeah, I have a few friends (none / 0) (#80)
by xC0000005 on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 02:59:19 PM EST

with published works and they've advised me carefully regarding self publishing vs an established house. There are effectively two major (major being relative) publishers of beekeeping books.

I know a couple of copy editors. They are nice people. I asked one of them about prices for freelance copy edit (which she does) and she said she has a standing rule never to edit for anyone she knows. She says as a copy editor it's her job to be incredibly anal and she likes her friends to not wince when she comes in.

Oddly, publishing on the web doesn't significantly diminish value according to the editors I've talked to.

Thanks for the feedback, I'll keep it in mind as I continue to slog forward.

Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't
[ Parent ]

asian giant hornet vs. bees: DEATHMATCH (1.50 / 2) (#55)
by circletimessquare on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 11:33:32 AM EST

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIoQQgtGstA&feature=related

watch as the bees are initially passive and frightened of the giant hornet, they run away, avoid him

at the same time, they start doing this weird synchronization dance with their wings... all waiting for the right opportunity...

then, in a flash, they all pile on the fucker

what's going on?

the fuckers are cooking the hornet: the temperature in the center of the bee ball is enough to kill the hornet

a video like this just blows my mind, makes me ever respectful of mother nature and evolution


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Been mentioned before in beeguy's stories. (none / 0) (#62)
by BJH on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 08:46:21 AM EST

I get some of those hornets in my garden occasionally. Scary bastards the size of a finger.
--
Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
-- Oscar Levant

[ Parent ]
yes, mentioned b4 my ME (none / 0) (#63)
by circletimessquare on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 12:57:59 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
MOVE. (none / 0) (#64)
by xC0000005 on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 01:37:20 PM EST

Man are those things scary. There's a video of a guy feeding one that apparently came to him every day. Makes my skin crawl. I read that there were efforts underway to find and kill as many of the nests as possible.

Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't
[ Parent ]
Yes, efforts are underway... (none / 0) (#66)
by BJH on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 12:10:12 AM EST

...but because they're about as common as termites (really, there's nests of the things all over the place in rural areas), it's a bit of an uphill struggle.
--
Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
-- Oscar Levant

[ Parent ]
Yeah, I grasp the problem. (none / 0) (#67)
by xC0000005 on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 12:54:28 AM EST

I know you can't move (any more than we can move to escape africanized bees) but still, wow. Scary.

Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't
[ Parent ]
this is the opposite: (2.00 / 4) (#56)
by circletimessquare on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 11:38:24 AM EST

the japanese hornet. evolved to deal with bees. one scouts a beehive, shows up with 30 of his friends... 30 friends murder 30,000 bees. grab, sever head, discard... grab, sever head, discard... time passes, the bodies pile skyhigh. hardcore carnage and warfare

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDSf3Kshq1M&NR=1

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

repeating yourself (none / 1) (#76)
by tetsuwan on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 01:28:15 AM EST

like a broken record

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

Made for a smile in otherwise stress laden inbox.. (none / 0) (#58)
by CindySueWho on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 12:48:22 PM EST

Including J1mmy's comment thread..

Been on my Bucket List for years.. One of these Days.. :))

Cyber hugs.. :)

all hail the beeguy! (none / 0) (#60)
by nononoitaintmebabe on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 11:19:00 PM EST

There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance.
Henry David Thoreau


Outstanding (none / 0) (#65)
by Grayworld on Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 09:29:40 PM EST

This post is a good example of you putting alot more into your hobby than you'll ever get out of it! But thank you very much for bringing the discovery channel to K5. I enjoy your stuff very much. I get out in the country here in the midwest fairly often and I can't remember seeing your standard stock bee flying around now for several years! Lots of big fat insatiable bumblebees around but none of the little bees I used to see hovering over clover all the time. Where in the country is the honey industry concentrated?
Fair but a bit unbalanced to be sure!
Seems that the latest edition of... (none / 0) (#72)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 10:22:51 PM EST

Mother Earth News has an article much like this one in it.

Still not as cool as x0000beeguy's.

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.

Izzard (none / 0) (#74)
by Ignore Amos on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:28:34 PM EST

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xs-tl6GBOBo

And that explains why airplanes carry cargo on small boats floating in their cargo aquarium. -

That and CTS's hornets (none / 0) (#75)
by xC0000005 on Tue Mar 04, 2008 at 12:56:59 AM EST

seem to come up every time. :)

Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't
[ Parent ]
nicely timed (none / 0) (#77)
by dilinger on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 09:16:18 AM EST

I'm in the process of looking for packages.  I've read your bee stories for years, and my girlfriend wants to try keeping bees.  This spring will be the first attempt, we've found a local CSA (farm) that will allow us to keep hives on their property.  We're going to start w/ two hives.  As far as reading material, we're in the process of reading The Backyard Beekeeper and Natural Beekeeping.  Thanks for the suggestions and great stories over the years!

Tales of the Hive: So you want to keep honeybeees? | 80 comments (50 topical, 30 editorial, 1 hidden)
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