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JephSullivan
11-11-2009, 12:26 AM
As a new home owner with a nice big yard in an agricultural section of Maine, I am considering the possibility of keeping bees some day.

I plan on finding a local beekeeping mentor; but in the meantime, I would like suggestions on any good beekeeping books or references that I can peruse.

I am a complete newbee, so if there are any books that are generally known to be great sources of beekeeping knowledge, I will add them to my Christmas wish list. Thanks!

Also, if you keep bees in Maine (I live in Auburn), and you'd be willing to show me the ropes, I would love to provide you with some free labor next season. :)

Sasper
11-11-2009, 12:44 AM
Although I don't own any bees (yet). I found beekeeping for dummies to be very complete and useful. I'm currently reading natural beekeeping and a couple others I found at the library. I wish you luck in your endeavors! I can't wait to get my hive :).

beeboy
11-15-2009, 07:33 PM
Get a subscription to Bee Culture, the magazine has a lot of good articles and is a great source for beekeeping vendors. Root's ABC,XYZ of beekeeping is one of the most comprehensive books out there. It's a little expensive but worth it if you are serious about entering the hobby. Find a bee keeping course at a local agricultural college or something run by the state. Also expect to loose some hives, I was bee keeping in Pennsylvania for ten years and lost about half my hives each year. If you are up in Maine plan to put some type of heater in the hives for the winter. I used a flat bird bath de-icer/heater in my hives from November till the start of March which really helped the hives to get through the winter. The heater is a flat element that I was able to lay on the bottom board under the brood box. Maine really gets cold in the winter for bee keeping and even strong hives will have problems making it through the extended sub zero weather you get up there. It's a fun hobby, good luck with it.

andrewschwab
11-16-2009, 11:23 PM
Get a subscription to Bee Culture, the magazine has a lot of good articles and is a great source for beekeeping vendors. Root's ABC,XYZ of beekeeping is one of the most comprehensive books out there. It's a little expensive but worth it if you are serious about entering the hobby. Find a bee keeping course at a local agricultural college or something run by the state. Also expect to loose some hives, I was bee keeping in Pennsylvania for ten years and lost about half my hives each year. If you are up in Maine plan to put some type of heater in the hives for the winter. I used a flat bird bath de-icer/heater in my hives from November till the start of March which really helped the hives to get through the winter. The heater is a flat element that I was able to lay on the bottom board under the brood box. Maine really gets cold in the winter for bee keeping and even strong hives will have problems making it through the extended sub zero weather you get up there. It's a fun hobby, good luck with it.

Heater really???
Cold does not kill bees. Lack of food, or being wet and cold, that kills bees.
Bees where wintered in the midwest for years with 10% losses over the winter and Dang it gets cold there......
Ok now that mites are here the losses are higher, but it still remains cold doesn't kill them..

BUT yes go to classes this winter and spring, read a couple books, they all have there good and bad. Look for the common thread in them, that is solid information. As with anything it will take time to get your groove on with the beekeeping. Heck I have been around bees my whole life and I am still trying to get my groove on:eek:

Best of luck, and don't give up.

AToE
11-17-2009, 12:10 AM
Lots of bees up here and it gets down to -40 celcius sometimes, though I have no clue with what % losses that causes for the bees, wild or "domestic" (not that bees are ever domesticated).

beeboy
11-18-2009, 10:30 PM
It's the extended cold weather that causes the problem. The cluster won't move around on the honey comb when it is real cold and ends up running out of food. You will find a lot of dead bees head down in the empty honey comb with capped honey along the edge of the frame. Do what you want, they are your bees, I was just making a suggestion to try something that has worked for me. I think the average winter hive loss is closer to 25-30% in the midwest with a spike of over 50% caused by mites three or four years ago. Heating hives in the winter is strictly for the hobby bee keeper like I am with only three or four hives in the back yard, it's not pratical for large operations.

Sabar
11-24-2009, 12:11 AM
One idea towards hive heating I have seen, is building a box out of the blue insulation board that will fit down over the hive + one supper. Under the hive place an empty supper rigged with a light bulb. remember the hive doesn't have to be room temp, just warm enough to knock out the BITTER Cold. One thing else, If the hive is unhealthy, it probably will not do alot of good any way.

beeboy
11-29-2009, 04:56 PM
I just got a 1975 copy of "The Art and Adventure of Beekeeping" by Ormond and Harry Aebi. It's a little outdated when it covers pests but it makes a great read with a lot of good information on how to work hives. Thier call to fame is that they were able to set a Guinness Book of Record with 404 lbs of honey from a single hive. If you can find a copy get it.

JephSullivan
11-30-2009, 01:33 PM
Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I'm excited to learn more about the hobby, and it's good to know that there are some experienced small-scale beekeepers here. I'll have to check the local community colleges for beekeeping courses.

Sabar
12-01-2009, 12:55 AM
I am not sure if every one will agree with me on this. But if you are looking into getting into beekeeping then maybe the local college isn't the best place to start. (yep pretty sure I just upset some one out there)

College's, in my experience, are not exactly "up" on general beekeeping. Great place for knowledge in mites, Virus's, and theory, but not so great in information on how to get started and actually raise bee's.

Contact your local extension office and try to get contact info on your state's beekeepers, and local county bee keeping clubs. For Maine it is Maine State Beekeepers Association (http://www.mainebeekeepers.org/) and look under Regional Chapters For a local club.

These people would probably be better suited to get you on the right path, with out filling you with alot of lets call it less than important information.

Sorry if I upset any one.

Sabar

andrewschwab
12-01-2009, 11:16 PM
What Sabar said, that is great information. Look into local bee clubs.
The state chapter is a good place to start.....
Remember, there is no ONE way. Whatever works for you and of course the bees. So don't let those old timer's push you around... ;)