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I built a beehive according to the Abbey-Warre design (30cm squared, fixed top bars, stackable bodies), and put it out on the balcony under a tree that had tons of bees on it this Spring. Nobody moved in, but I think a more welcoming entry might have made a difference. I've read that lemon balm oil is very similar to the queen's pheremone, and it you rub it inside the hive, a swarm is more likely to take to it. Some raw honey and/or melted beeswax rubbed on the inside wood is supposed to help too. I've also read that certain varieties of orchids will produce the same effect on japanese honeybees. The best time to catch/lure a swarm is early Spring, but you can get them through the end of May/middle of June. July's too late for the new hive to have enough stores to last the winter. There are hives and swarms in the forests near agricultural land, and I've even read about a japanese beekeeper who collects swarms in the cemeteries of Osaka. Hope this helps. If you have any luck, I'd love to read about it.
Thanks, Travlrsong. Very interesting. My knowledge of the process is vague, to say the least, at the moment. A quick look at a UK beekeeping forum suggested people get their first bees from a beekeeping shop. I wonder if such a thing exists in Japan and how many you need to get started. I haven't noticed any bees here, just wasps. I'm in the suburbs with lots or rice and wheat fields around. Forests aren't too far. But it sounds like I'll have to wait till next year anyway. I'll look up that hive design.
I emailed them (in English) yesterday, waiting for a reply.
Apparently certain prefectures specialise in making honey. I wonder if it would be possible to send bees through the cold post. They're supposed to go into a state of suspended animation when frozen and come back to life none the worse for it when the temperature rises.
You can buy nuclei of live bees, and have them shipped overnight regular post. As long as they're packaged with some syrup, and the queen in her cage within the cage, they'll be fine. Again though, not until early Spring. There's a famous apiary near Matsusaka, but I don't know the name. They were featured on the TV a couple of years ago, and sell kits. Not sure if they're european or japanese honeybees, but I'd go with japanese here. They have a cool and effective defense against boogey-man hornets that the european bees do not.
I keep bees and have hives in 4 different locations. There is a difference in the hives, depending upon the type of bee that yiou keep. The Warre and Langstroth hives are for Western bees, while the AY (Aoki-Yoshida) hive is for Japanese bees. The Japanese bees are a bit smaller, and build comb that is narrower – so the hive box is tall and slender, while the Western hive is wider and shorter.
You can obtain either bee by having them shipped to you, but you would want expert assistance to get started.
If you have a suitable box or even a log – you can melt a bit of beeswax (find a candle, etc.) and coat the inside top surface. That plus a few drops of purchased honey just inside the opening may draw in a swarm. This is the right time for swarms.
I find natural hives in trees, and set my “catch-box” close by, and sometimes am successful in capturing them that way. I have two hives that brought in swarms here in Tokyo this spring, and more in Izu.
The Japanese bees are being affected by tracheal mites these days, while the Western bee is affected by Colony Collapse Disorder – so both are a bit harder to obtain right now.
Some Bee Stuff that Must Be on Your List before Starting Out a Beekeeping Business
If you want to succeed in your beekeeping business then there is a need for you to include some bee stuff in the list of the things that you need to buy. These stuffs are needed because they are the ones that can make your tasks easier and they will also serve as your protection in case the bees will attack you. As we all know, bees can be dangerous once they feel that they are being provoked. You will be safe and you will be able to perform your duties without any hassle if you will have these stuffs.
Harvesting honey can be one of the most enjoyable yet most difficult parts of being a beekeeper because this is the part where you will really get close with the bees. You must be aware that a colony is filled with numerous bees and you might get stung by them if you will just get the honey in their colonies without having anything that could protect you. Aside from the protective stuffs, you must also have these equipments that can help you in harvesting the honey. This article will focus on the stuffs that are truly needed so that you will be safe and your beekeeping business will be a success.
A pretty box, but not practical for beekeeping. I wouldn’t pay a nickel for it. It looks to be a non-standard size for Western bees, hence you wouldn’t find frames, queen excluders, bee escapes, bottom screens, etc. to fit. Worse yet – that dark brown might be odiferous, and could be quite a turn-off for bees.
The blurb describes it as for Japanese Honey Bees...
Kind of reminds me of a Warré hive.
See post 28. J-bees take tall and slender, not short "supers" (layers of boxes). But I do admit that a person could keep J-bees in almost anything. But if I were buying a hive, I wouldn't want to pay good money for something that is less than ideal for the purpose.
In that box, how is a person supposed to remove a layer, when the internal comb stretches from top to bottom? Those side wood strips overlap the box below on the outside, meaning that one needs to pry it up, hence ripping the internal comb. Not good and very messy.
OK for someone who only wants to watch the bees, but not manage them or obtain their excess honey.