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Country Discussion Topics
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Honey Bee's and getting the Honey?
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Donnie F    Posted 03-06-2003 at 04:24:41       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I recently bought a 100 acres here in eastern NC that has a few old pack houses, tobacco barns and two old home places on it. One of the old homes has a exterior wall full of Honey bees and honey. On the warm days you can see them going and coming through a crack in the weather boarding. They have been there for several years now and you can see the honey dripping down the side of the house. The bee's are fine where they are at but is it anyway I can harvest there honey for me and my friends to eat? Thanks,

Tom A    Posted 03-06-2003 at 04:31:58       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Whew! I've been asked to come do that a few times, and it is hard work...I won't do it again for free unless it is on my own property!

That said, you really should get them out of their, as eventually they will indirectly wind up damaging the house. For various reasons (diseases), wild bees don't survive too long anymore. Once they die out, all that wax and honey will remain. Without bees to take care of it, it will break apart and the honey will ooze all over everything, bugs will get in and it'll be a mess.

I can email you with some steps to take if you want to get them out yourself, but it isn't fun and may be too much if you haven't worked bees before.

Might be best to get a beekeeper to come in and take them, then a handyman to come in and clean up and repair.

just my 2 cents,

Donnie F    Posted 03-06-2003 at 22:07:03       [Reply]  [Send Email]
The bee's are in a old house that is sitting in the edge of the woods. The house is beyond repair as it is partially fell down. It's probably been there a 100 years. The bee's have been there for at least 4 or 5 years already. I was thinking of just leaving them there and just harvesting some of the honey once in a while. What do you think?

Tom A -- that'd work if    Posted 03-07-2003 at 04:11:25       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Ahhh, a different situation that what I'd thought! Yes, I think you could pretty easily get some honey out of there for your own use. Couple of things I'd point out:

You wouldn't be able to extract the honey, but would have comb honey, and wild comb honey at that. I happen to like comb honey, but not everybody does. The wild part is only important because sometimes you can get some brood (baby bees) mixed in with the honey. Very nutritious, but most folks don't like that.

Unless you're braver than me, you'll at least need a veil to protect your face when you harvest the comb. Honeybees normally don't bother much with folks, but they do know when they're getting robbed and get defensive then. Light colored, smooth (not fuzzy) clothing is best and use rubber bands to close up openings around your ankles (they crawl up and will sting you where you most don't want it!) and sleeves. A smoker helps a lot. Puff smoke where you're working, let 'em set for a couple of minutes and then start to work. Do as little banging and knocking about as possible (ticks 'em off!), and move as slow as you can (they don't notice slow movement, but will target in on a quick move like a missile).

Shake or brush the bees off and put your harvested comb in a bucket or pan, then cover it with a damp cloth to keep more bees out while you're working...they will smell the honey and try to steal it back! If you don't cover it, it will be covered with bees within a couple of minutes and once the "word is out" they'll get in there within seconds of lifting the cloth.

There's more to it if you want to finesse the operation, but that's probably the main points. Good luck, have fun!


Donnie in NC    Posted 03-09-2003 at 22:51:04       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I can't wait to get me a face net and get me some honey. I am kind of worried about messing up there place of residence and making them leave. If I go in and take a board off the house to get the honey comb it won't bother them to the point of leaving will it. Thanks for your help!

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