Comments: 305 • Responses: 45  • Date: 

OppositeImage93 karma

How many 20 year old bees do you keep?

ilikehoneybees19 karma

Just one left. All the others are dead :(

ME2460146 karma

Do you ever stop and think “What the fuck am I doing? I'm covered in bees!"

ilikehoneybees42 karma

No, not really. Honey bees are usually pretty chill and if they land on you, they're just curious. If they keep running into you, then you know its time to run.

shalafi7115 karma

What if they're just buzzing around near you? Have can you tell if they're getting aggressive?

BRB. I'm going to go look at the hives in my backyard and see if I have more questions. This is a really cool AMA by the way.

ilikehoneybees5 karma

They typically start running into me and so I just runaway before I find out if theyre seriously pissed.

beachedwhale219 karma

Oh my god yes! I always have been so curious about bees and have tons of unanswered questions, but I'll only ask one. How do bees actually produce the honey? Is it just bee shit?

ilikehoneybees33 karma

Its pretty sweet how it works! Bees go out to plants and collect nectar (typically from flowers), they then fly back to their hive and worker bees there suck the nectar out of their stomachs and chew it for about 30 minutes. During this process the sugars are broken down. They then store the broken down nectar in combs and fan the produce with their wings, during this process the water is evaporated and we get honey.

shitbaggins25 karma

tl;dr honey is thoroughly regurgitated bee-spit.

ilikehoneybees22 karma

kinda cool but nasty at the same time.

mre576512 karma

Are you impacted by colony collapse disorder?

ilikehoneybees18 karma

So far, no. They worst that happens is a hive will split, (its called a swarm) and half the workers will follow a new queen bee and leave the hive, then the hive can't produce enough honey or new bees to survive the winter.

Lavatis5 karma

I don't mean to judge you or anything, but I thought that a lot of keepers kept 3 or 4 hive boxes in a stack and kept the bottom honey one just for food. Do you do this and that still isn't enough? Or you don't also participate in this? Are you sometimes able to find a swarm that has split from one of your own hives?

ilikehoneybees16 karma

Yeah, I definitely won't take honey from a hive that is struggling. I have gone as far as to add honey from other hives to try and save it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. For sure! If I can find the swarm before it moves on (they usually hang out for a couple hours near the hive), all you have to do it is kill the new queen and the workers will go back to their home.

skyroket5 karma

Can they tell it's different honey, or does it generally have the same chemical makeup?

ilikehoneybees9 karma

I think its close enough to the same that they accept it. If the hive did survive, they have always eaten all the honey, no matter the source.

Yukaeshi12 karma

No question. Just want to say I have a weird fascination with honeybees and honey in general. Love them! And people like you are the ones fuelling my fascination so keep up the good work! Would love to visit a bee farm one day :)

ilikehoneybees9 karma

Honey bees are pretty sweet to just watch do their thing. If you're not scared to get that close.

whentheredredrobin7 karma

If you go near a hive to watch it, how much danger of being stung is there?

ilikehoneybees11 karma

Very little. As long as you don't make fast actions and don't touch the hive, they don't care that you're around.

ruthless757 karma

How did you get into this? Is it a family business or something you wanted to be? Also what do you think about wasps?

ilikehoneybees33 karma

My dad started it. He's big into stuff like that and so I learned it from him. No, its more of a hobby/pass time. I only have a couple hives so far so its nothing like a business. Just small production. Wasp are literally the worst thing ever. First they don't do any benefit for humans. Second, the like honey so they constantly try and get into the hives, and then the bees have to go to war to keep them out. They just suck.

ruthless7511 karma

Thankyou for reply. I knew wasps were good for nothing!

ilikehoneybees45 karma

Seriously... bastards.

7ewis6 karma

Bees and Wasps have wars?

How do they 'fight'?

ilikehoneybees4 karma

The wasp tries to get into the hive and the worker bees keep attacking them till they fly away or die.

Goran16931 karma

and then the bees have to go to war to keep them out.

I feel like this would be epic to watch.

ilikehoneybees3 karma

And its usually like 10 honey bees against once wasp.

tommytickturd7 karma

Are the bee's knees as excellent as said to be?

ilikehoneybees9 karma

The bees knees are... well, the bees knees!

bulba5aur6 karma

Why are people downvoting this?

ilikehoneybees14 karma

I wish I knew... :/

darktemptation6 karma


ilikehoneybees17 karma

I fell 45 feet out a tree trying to collect a swarm and broke my back in 3 places. Im okay now, but it sucked for that summer.

skyroket3 karma

How do you go about collecting a swarm, and was it some that split off from your other tribe (I don't know why I used the word tribe, but I'm gonna stick with it)?

ilikehoneybees6 karma

If theyre on a branch or something moveable, you cut it off and stick it in an empty bee box and then wait a while and then smoke them and go through the bees till you find the queen and kill her and then put the boox with all the workers on the original hive.

ClarkTheLegend3 karma

Got any tips for dealing with wasps and bees around your food in the summer?

ilikehoneybees2 karma

No. Wasp do what they want. Get raid. haha

TheDreamEscape3 karma

Are you by any chance, a Doctor?

ilikehoneybees2 karma

thats super funny, but no :( Im normal..

Ninjacherry3 karma

What's the cost of production? I have this impression that it must be difficult to break even, it's more of a hobby than anything else to most bee keepers... would I be correct in my assumption?

ilikehoneybees12 karma

Yes and no. Honey can sell for about $40 a gallon and when you produce 40 gallons, things aren't so bad. But yes, initial cost to start is high. You have to buy a queen bee ($30 or so) and all the boxes ($50-60 a box plus you have to build them), bee protection suits ($80) and tools to work with the hives ($40) plus all the time they need. So initial cost is high, but after thats done, it mellows out.

skyroket4 karma

How do they breed queens, and have you thought about getting into the queen breeding business?

ilikehoneybees6 karma

Im not sure. I haven't ever had interest in doing it, so I haven't looked up how.

Brad_Wesley3 karma

How often do you get stung?

ilikehoneybees7 karma

Not as often as you'd think. If you are just checking the progress of a hive, they dont mind too much. When its time to harvest honey, they attempt to sting a lot, but I wear a full body protective suit.

shitbaggins3 karma

Until you work with an africanized hive.

Those guys are MMFs... on more than one occasion I've seen them figure out how to sting through the bee glove.

ilikehoneybees4 karma

Even the gloves I have, I can kinda feel bites. Not too bad though unless one lucky bastard finds a hole and gets in your face mask.

Brad_Wesley3 karma

Do you ever get sick of honey?

ilikehoneybees6 karma

Nope, I only use it when I want it. The rest is sold or given away.

Brad_Wesley5 karma

Can I have some?


Does the honey ever taste different depending on what the bees have been eating nearby?

I only got "into" honey a few years ago while driving around the Balkans. In southern Albania is the most wonderful honey in the world made when they munch on some purple flowers that grow there.

ilikehoneybees3 karma

I can't really tell. I know fresh honey taste better then the stuff you'd buy at a store, but I haven't been able to tell a difference in my products.

Leporad2 karma

What types of honey is the best to buy at the supermarket. I herd that all cheap honeys' are not actually honey, but some type of corn paste. I don't want to eat corn paste... I want real honey.

ilikehoneybees13 karma

Anything organic is probably your best bet. But I'm not entirely sure since I haven't had to buy honey in a couple years. haha

FartingtonFartsworth2 karma

Any advice for someone with no experience who wants a small observation hive?

ilikehoneybees3 karma

Look in you local area for bee keepers meetings. They can be informative and help with any questions. Also read a lot of books on the subject. The more knowledge you have, the better. Then you just have to try. Also, paint the hives white.

skyroket3 karma

Does that do anything besides reflect more sunlight? Every bee hive I've seen is white, but I didn't realize it was intentional.

ilikehoneybees3 karma

It keeps heat down. Thats the main reason.

misophone92 karma

Do different bee colonies have different 'attitudes'? Like maybe one is less aggressive or anything?

ilikehoneybees3 karma

I haven't noticed from hive to hive but all hives seem to be much more pissy right after sunset.

misophone92 karma

Do you have any theories for why this may be?

ilikehoneybees4 karma

I think its because its their resting time, but not long enough for them to be asleep, so they get agitated when I come a long and disturb their rest.

shitbaggins2 karma

Former beekeeper here, and Jesus that's a tall hive. Have you thought about splitting it? 4x [however many pounds] of supers have got to be a pain in the ass.

Also, I can't tell from the pic, but do you have a queen filter (I forget what they're called) between the bodies and the supers?

ilikehoneybees2 karma

Theyre a pain to move, but the hive was doing so well I didn't want to split it and mess up progress. And kinda. There is one at the top of the hive but thats it. They usually seem content to stay in the lower part of the hive.

EvaporatedSnooze2 karma

When I saw the title I was wondering whether you have been bee keeping for 20 years, you bee keep bees that are 20 years old, or you are 20 years old and you bee keep..

ilikehoneybees6 karma

Im 20 years old and I keep bees.

york1002 karma

Do the bees ever leave your hives and set up there own? Have you ever thought about being a little more creative than a square box for the hives?

ilikehoneybees5 karma

They will try sometimes. Its called a swarm. The hive makes a new queen and she leaves the hive and take half the worker bees. Its pretty bad for hive so I try and not let them get a new queen. And someone wise said, "if it isnt broken, dont fix it." Square hives seem to work great, so I dont try anything else.

york1003 karma

Can you transplant a hive in a tree to one in a box? I have no idea how you would do that. Also, how do you prevent them from selecting a new queen?

ilikehoneybees3 karma

Ive never heard of it being done. Its just more simple to buy a queen with workers. In the spring you go and open the hive and there are things called queen cells, which if given time would become potential queen bees, so you go and take them out of the hives.

shitbaggins2 karma

Tell us about all the tools you use, and how they work, etc

ilikehoneybees3 karma

You probably should get a smoker, a mini crow bar,a hive mover, and a honey extractor. The smoker calms the bees and makes them less agressive. Its used when its time to hardest honey. The mini crow bar breaks the bonds the bees use to keep trays in place or the boxes together. The hive mover has two handle and it locks onto the handles of the boxes and it helps move heavy hives with ease. And the honey extractor is like a big barrel with a grated device in the middle that spins the honey out through circular motion.

allenahansen2 karma

Bears. Please discuss?

ilikehoneybees2 karma

I live far enough away from the trees that I haven't ever had an issue.

tomaleu1 karma

how many people have you killed.

ilikehoneybees3 karma


DontSendMeBoobPics1 karma

Do you think your profession should have been better represented in the Village People?

ilikehoneybees1 karma

I never saw village people.

Goran16931 karma

Is this your profession? Like, do you make the honey for sale? Or is this just a hobby of yours?

ilikehoneybees1 karma

Yeah its just a hbby. But it can be sold for about $40 a gallon.

jednorazowa1 karma

Do you have any measures in place to stop your bees from running away? I've heard they always return to the hive, but I've also heard that sometimes a whole swarm of bees will decide to relocate to a new hive. If they just had a meeting one day and decided to relocate to a new hive, is there anything you could do to stop them?

ilikehoneybees2 karma

You can try and kill the old queen that is leading the swarm, and kill queen cells before the grow into queens, but thats all I know to do.

Iosefowork1 karma

Which one is better, hornets or wasps. And why.

ilikehoneybees2 karma

I dont know. They both just suck.

7ewis1 karma

Do queen bees look different to normal bees?

How do they elect a queen bee?

ilikehoneybees1 karma

Yes, theyre bigger. Queen bees come from fertile eggs and are feed a special jelly to help them become queen bees.

HowdyHoYo1 karma

ever get stung?

ilikehoneybees1 karma

Usually not bad, but ever once in a while one gets lucky.