Episode-00991- Ned Farrell from Happiary.com on Beekeeping

Ned and His Wife Sharyn in Bee Keeping Mode

Ned and His Wife Sharyn in Bee Keeping Mode

Ned Farrell has been a beekeeper for the last 24 years.  Part of his beekeeping experience was in Paraguay, South America, teaching farmers how to keep honeybees with the local African (killer) bees.

Ned uses and teaches people how to keep bees with both the modern Langstroth hives common in the U.S., along with what he considers “more appropriate technology”, top bar hives common in other parts of the world.

Ned like many beekeepers feels the honeybee in the United States is in trouble. tis is due to a combination of factors like the overuse of pesticides, attacks by predatory mites, and Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).  Due to these occurances honeybee numbers in the U.S. are dwindling at an alarming rate.

Ned wants people to understand that only honeybees can pollinate our flowers and crops to the extent we need. Honey, with all of its nuances and health benefits, can be produced only by bees. Our vast scientific knowledge cannot manufacture hive products in the laboratory. Without the honeybee to take care of pollination and to create the hive products, we are in trouble.

He joins us today to discuss how we can help the bees reestablish the populations many of us remember from the not so distant past.  How to get started bee keeping and why top bar hives really are all they are cracked up to be.  We also discuss how you can keep bees just about anywhere and where to get the equipment you need to get started.

Resources for today’s show…

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15 Responses to Episode-00991- Ned Farrell from Happiary.com on Beekeeping

  1. I have not listened to this podcast but have listened to all the previous Bee Keeping ones.
    One thing I want everyone to know is about the Africanized Bees. If you live
    in the far southern part of the US you should never capture a wild hive.
    There no easy way to tell if they are Africanized.

    This includes all the state bordering Mexico and Florida south of I-4.

    The only way to tell if the bee is Africanized outside of a genetics lab
    is if a swarm starts to chase you and they stop after you get to the end of your driveway they are OK, if they are still chasing you after you have run
    a mile you are in trouble they are likely Africanized.

    • There is a guy named McCartney Taylor who has a book out on swarm trapping. He is from Texas and catches many swarms every year. He is experienced, but does not seem to share your opinion. According to him cavities of different sizes are attractive to Africanized vs European bees.

  2. Michael Jordan

    The Bee Whisperer here from A Bee Friendly Company out of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Good interview. A few points. I keep 4 types of honey bees and cross breed them. I have two hive crossed Russian an African. They live good in winter and make comb brood and honey fast.love them. I also have been working with people in India to get stingless honey bees for green house work. Somthing to look in to…MJ

  3. Michael Jordan, I’m a noob in this area, but I believe European bees are also stingless. There is a cool video on youtube, anyway, where 30 hornets kill a hive of 30,000 defenseless bees, and I think they said they were European bees.

    • That is incorrect. All bees in the US are european bees. There are no bees native to the US. Are they all have the ability to stink except for the drones(males).

      Bees can only sting once and then they die, Hornets can sting multiply times.

      • Doug

        That is incorrect. There are many native US bees. The squash bee for one (Peponapis pruinosa) is native to North America (probably with a native range in the US). Also don’t forget the American Bumblebee, et al. I suspect though you meant there were no native honeybees to the US. That is true.

        Jason

      • Yep, meant honey bee.

        We have lots of native pollinators. Just let a broccoli go to flower and try to keep count:-)

  4. Don’t have time to comment much. But I have to say I enjoyed every minute of this one. I’m beginning to doubt that there is such a thing as “two beekeepers who agree on everything.” But I LOVED Ned’s perspective and manner of presentation.

    I too, worked Africans (in Mexico) for some years. I even learned some more about that, from the podcast.

    I believe everyone who has been on, about bee keeping, has agreed that a person wanting to get into beekeeping would do well to find a local beekeeper and get some mentoring. This is so important. I have never met a beekeeper who taught himself without a mentor. A mentor will save you a lot of pain and mistakes, even if their style of beekeeping isn’t what you eventually settle upon.

  5. I have a question. How big of a deal is to move a hive once you set it up? Not repeatedly but if you should move. I’m thinking about beekeeping, but I will probably be moving in a couple of years.

    • Michael Jordan

      be there like union workers there up with the flowers open up in ur home when the flowers close. you put feeders in the highs and put screens over the entrance ways and you can move the hives at night if you’re moving you just go ahead and put them on a trailer and move them when I get out the next day they’ll start working that’s how they do pollination and grows want to go to California for the
      almond field

    • When moving hives keep in mind the rule of thumb that you should never move a hive more than 2 feet or less than 2 miles. The point here is that once bees are oriented to their hive position, they use visual landmark queues to return home. Moving more than 2 feet (like from one place in the yard to another 15 feet away) allows the bees to use those same cues as they leave to forage, but they keep the visual cue when returning to the hive at its old location. Moving two or more miles allows the bees leaving to forage a chance to realize that the local landmarks have changed, and allows them to take some time for orientation flights to reorient to the new location without receiving confusing cues from within the range of the old location. I’ve read about folks who moved the hives less than the two miles and even within the same yard of perhaps 10-20 feet, and then pile brush and other obstacles around the hive to make the bees think that the hive has moved, and getting them to do their reorientation flights, but I have never done this nor do I know anyone who has, so from my perspective, the rule stands.

  6. gator bee gal

    Hey Ned – mba’exepa from a fellow Peace Corps Paraguay beekeeper – Aregua 12 ’93-95’! I had a similar experience to yours as far as having no real beekeeping experience before joining the Peace Corps, using top bar hives and working Africanized bees. My now 10 year old son is a budding beekeeper after telling me in kindergarten that he wanted to keep bees. We didn’t have any hives at that time and that was my excuse to get back into beekeeping. Love it as much as I did back then! Great interview Jack and Ned – thanks!

  7. Joe,
    I can only speak to moving Langstroth style hives. But I have moved a good many. I wouldn’t want to move them too frequently, as it is heavy work, and it disturbs them. But it’s not all that hard.

    You should have your new site all scouted out and set up before you bring the bees.

    Well before dark one straps the hive, so it won’t open during transit (very unpleasant for everyone). I have wooden blocks which perfectly fit the hive entrance. Before, I’ve blocked the entrance with some rolled up netting or screen. But I like the wood blocks, as long as they truly fit. Don’t block the hive entrance until after dark, and all bees have come in for the night.

    After the hive is secure, I move it. If well done one can even move it in the cabin of a passenger vehicle. But beware! One roaming bee can cause an accident!

    * One miscellaneous detail: when bees cannot see, they avoid flying. If a bee gets out of the hive, inside a moving vehicle, she may crawl around until getting squeezed by an unsuspecting human. This will result in a sting. If a hive breaks open, in the dark, the bees will largely CRAWL around. This makes for far more stings than when they are flying, as they seem to find their way into ones clothing when crawling.

    Unload them at their new site, setting them up on their stands. Then, pull the obstructions out of the hive entrances. You can undo straps during daylight hours.

    You could travel for more than a day, this way. Personally I have never gone over 100 miles.

    ***Also, and this is extremely important! The bees must have ventilation! They can die in short order without ventilation. My absolute favorite is to simply use the new screened bottom boards. That way the bees have lots of fresh air. Heat can also kill your bees. So be extra careful to have plenty of ventilation, and to keep your hives out of direct sun (unless they have REALLY GOOD ventilation). They must be able to cool themselves, or they can easily die.

  8. Joe Terry,
    I bought my hive at a Dadant store about 100 miles from my home. The hive had a screened bottom board stapled on, a board and duct tape closing the entrance, and the top nailed down. We transported them in the trunk of my car.

    We stopped a few times at rest stops on the turpike and splashed water up into the bottom per instruction from the seller. They made it fine. Although
    we got some strange looks at the rest stops with us lifting the hive to the
    edge of the trunk and splashing water.

  9. Great comments, everyone. Thank you for listening to me go on about beekeeping, and I could have spent another hour easily doing so. I loved reading the dialogue here.
    One point I would like to reiterate: whenever in doubt, ask an experienced beekeeper in your area what he or she would do. This is a big country that spans climate zones, as well as having various conditions like desert, forest, shoreline, mountain, etc. These all call for augmenting beekeeping knowledge to your area.
    gator bee gal – mba’e la porte. Aregua 7 ’89-’91. That’s so cool your son has taken up beekeeping at an early age. Enjoy!