Bees, anyone?

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Hi,
My name's Estelle and I'm a product design engineering student at the University of Glasgow investigating the reasons why people choose or are put off beekeeping. I'm hoping to try and address some of the barriers to beekeeping through product design.
I was wondering if anyone here has ever considered keeping bees? If so, what was the outcome? If not, would you ever consider keeping bees?
I've put together a wee questionnaire that basically asks the same questions, and I'd be immensely grateful if anyone finds the time to fill it out:
http://tinyurl.com/5u2vhrx
If questionnaires aren't your thing, just let me know your thoughts here!
Thanks for taking the time to read this, I look forward to hear from you.
Estelle
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Buzz off :) I will stick with the pros: https://www.dadant.com /
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Enjoy Life... Nad R (Garden in zone 5a Michigan)

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On Thu, 27 Jan 2011 13:38:11 +0000, ectosaur wrote: ( EDITED QUOTE )

Ok, I will check it out. You sound like a nice person.
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wrote:

I took your little survey and hope the responses are helpful in your project.
I didn't set out to keep bees; a friend of mine asked if he could use my garden, so I said OK; it sounded kewl, and I would be getting honey. It was awesome! When they swarmed, they hung from my apricot tree in a huge bulge; not dangerous; just waiting till the queen signals it's time to go.
The only reason I discontinued was that a neighbor mentioned that he was having bees in his attic. I was afraid to get ticketed or whatever, since it isn't permitted, so eventually I had to ask the friend to remove them.
But it was a great experience while it lasted.
HB
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If you live in the boondocks beekeeping is ok, if they swarm.. So what... However, the beekeeper should have inspected the hive more often and should have removed extra queens bees from the hive as they are formed. this helps minimize swarms. When beekeepers put hives in other people yards the hive inspections tend to bee (pun) non existent.
Beekeeping and gardening timings are almost the same. From planting to harvest.
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Enjoy Life... Nad R (Garden in zone 5a Michigan)

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On Fri, 28 Jan 2011 02:26:38 +0000, Nad R wrote:

Removing extra queens is a poor method of preventing swarms, it is far better to make sure they have enough brood space at all times so that they have no reason to make the extra queens in the first place, both for better swarm prevention and for better hive health. I recommend that anyone considering honeybees read "Hive Management: A Seasonal Guide for Beekeepers" *before* getting their first hive.
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I will agree with that. However, an occasional inspection can help. Even with that extra brood space they can still make extra queens. The bees will not swarm without a queen. Where there is a swarm their is a queen leading them.
I know that inspecting too often will give the honey a smokey off taste so inspections is a balancing act. Like i said in the country who cares. Bees in the city needs greater care.
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Higgs Boson;911277 Wrote:

Hi all,
Thanks for all your responses, and the comments on my survey, which were really helpful - I'm sure if I ever have to write another survey for any reason it'll be much better! I did put some time into making it, but probably ended up focusing too much on getting it to ask questions dependent to the previous answer, instead of constructing stronger questions. Thanks for putting up with it in any case :)
Higgs Boson, your story is particularly interesting, as it's the kind of situation I've been thinking about in more detail. I've noticed quite a lot of people keep their bees away from their homes, and was looking to design a tool to make it easier to look after them.
My current idea is to fit a sensor package that monitors weight, temperature and acoustic feed to a beehive, with the data collected transmitted wirelessly to the beekeeper. From the weight you can get an idea of the size of the colony so you can decide whether to go and check if you need to expand the space. Apparently listening to the frequency of the 'buzz' inside the hive can be used to predict swarming ('Beesource Beekeeping Apidictor' (http://tinyurl.com/5waul68 )) so the system could give an alert if the swarming frequency is detected.
Here's a wee concept sheet illustrating the idea: 'sensorconcept.jpg picture by ulk - Photobucket' (http://tinyurl.com/64trn5z )
Does anyone have any thoughts, comments or criticisms about this idea? Just for the record I'm not trying to revolutionise beekeeping with my mad design skills, just exploring how technology might enable a wider range of people to take it up.
Cheers again! Estelle
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snipped-for-privacy@gardenbanter.co.uk says...

I'm scared of getting stung. Because pain hurts.
Also, I live in the 'blurbs. So my neighbours probably wouldn't be thrilled, either.
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I filled in the questionnaire. :) I'd like to keep bees, it's just time, I don't have much of it and I don't have the right outdoor space, that and I don't know very much about them either.. Although I do like them. They are lovely creatures. :)
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Lovely creatures? Bees can KILL.
Yorkshire Terriers, now they are lovely creatures. Like a few other creatures, they can only harm your heart and your wallet :)
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Nad R;911766 Wrote:

Bees, unlike wasps, only sting when they are very scared.. And they can die when they sting too. So because they don't do it to be spiteful, I don't hold it against them.
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When near a hive, if ONE bees stings you, it can sets off a hormone that bees react to. If bees in the hive detect that hormone, Almost ALL the bees in that hive will come out and sting that same spot or nearby that first sting.
Now that is where that smoker comes in, it blocks that chemical hormone so other bees may not know about. The smoke confuses the bees. So one sting or two should have no effect on the other bees. Without the suit or the smoker.... RUN if you can! Also carry an injectable drug called Epinephrine, just in case.
One odd thing, the queen can sting as much as she wants without dying.
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Nad R;911836 Wrote:

Thanks, I learnt something new there! To be honest even though I don't really mind bees I would never approach a beehive. I find it odd that the queen can sting as much as she likes without dying, am I correct when I see she is significantly larger than the other bees? - that's what I've been told, if so, that's pretty interesting too and I wonder why that is. :S
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Queens are larger but rarely seen. One queen to about thirty thousand drones. If you see a swarm there is a queen in the middle. It will be a young queen that does this. Once the colony finds a home, empty log or another hive. The queen never leaves the hive, lives it's entire life in the dark, becomes blind and makes more bees. The worker bees and drones serve the queen, feeds it royal jelly and protects it.
In the north, honey bees typically will not survive the winter without a hive. So many do not worry about swarms in the north. Honey bees are not native to the Americas. Honey bees comes from Europe. The Italian bees are the mildest and the most commonly used by beekeepers.
Now the most common bee one sees in the garden in the americas are bumble bees, they do not produce honey for human use and are native to the Americas.
To me the Bumble Bee is the cool one and probably the one that is in the most danger of survival.
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Just so we keep this in focus, "animals provide pollination services for over three-quarters of the staple crop plants that feed human kind and for 90% of all flowering plants in the world." <http://www.pmac.net/birdbee.htm
Man, them carpenter bees look like bad dudes ;O)
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The mean ones are the yellow jackets here. Many call them wasp, I still think of them as bees. However yellow jackets pollenate also.
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Nad R;911874 Wrote:

Agreed! Bumblebees are cute and fuzzy in a sleepy-looking sorta way. Never been stung by one so wouldn't know how they compare in that respect! Apparently the queens and workers can all sting indefinitely too... If you've got a nice garden (which I'm sure all of you do ;) ) you can build a wee nest box to attract them: 'Bumblebee nest box trial' (http://tinyurl.com/4pn6s4e )
And let's not forget the solitary bee! 'Make a Solitary Bee House' (http://www.foxleas.com/bee_house.htm )
Apparently mosquitoes and bats are good pollinators too ;)
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Interesting web site on bees. Bats are pollinators? I wonder how bats do it? Now googling.
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Mosquitos too.
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