Bob Haney, of Warsaw, shows off one of his hives during a demonstration talking about beekeeping Wednesday at the Kosciusko County Fair. Photo by Jacki Gorski
Bob Haney, of Warsaw, shows off one of his hives during a demonstration talking about beekeeping Wednesday at the Kosciusko County Fair. Photo by Jacki Gorski
Bob Haney, of Warsaw, has been beekeeping for about eight years.

He was given a one-box hive and, being a woodworker, had to build more. He now has 14 hives.

Haney talked about the knowledge he has learned about bees in a demonstration Wednesday at the Kosciusko County Fair.

A back yard is all the environment a person needs, Haney said. Bees have a two-mile radius. Bees will start looking for what they need close to their hive and work their way out.

People can buy bees if they are just starting out. Haney showed an empty 3-pound box that would normally hold between 10,000 and 12,000 bees, which will cost between $130 and $150.

The bees however, have to be fed.

Haney said he feeds his bees with sugar water with a 50/50 mixture.

“The first few weeks are the toughest because they have nothing to feed on,” Haney said.

“You can’t make a mistake,” Haney said. “Bees live in trees by themselves. They don’t have anyone to help them.”

People also may have to buy new queen bees or replace them as they set the tone of the hive.

“I’ve had some good hives and I’ve had some bad ones,” he said, depending on the attitude of the queen bee.

According to Haney, it’s all about the queen.

When starting off with a new hive, bees will work on making combs right away for the queen to lay eggs.

Within four days of being put into the hive, the queen will start laying eggs. After about two weeks, she’ll be laying up to 1,000 eggs a day, but that’s not the most she’ll lay.

“She’ll eventually get up to 2,000 eggs a day,” Haney said.

Haney also mentioned how much queen bees work.

“Queens works 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he said, in the process of laying eggs. They’ll rest for a couple seconds, but will go right back to work.

Once the bees are born, “they’re going to build up” to the point where there’ll be thousands of bees in a hive.

Even though the bees may accumulate, they have a very short lifespan. According to Haney, from the time the egg is laid to the point where the bee’s wings wear out will be about 42 days.

Beekeepers do have a way to keep queen bees from laying eggs. They will limit which boxes the queen goes in. Haney said people don’t necessarily want to use honey with bee eggs in it.

“Some people use queen excluders, some don’t,” he said. A queen excluder is a selective barrier in bee hives that allows worker bees, but not the larger queens and drones, to get through it.

Haney uses a queen excluder and adds boxes on top of the excluder. He uses the honey from those boxes in the hive.

Haney said he doesn’t have a set time frame of when he gets the honey from his hives. It depends on how productive the bees are. Haney will only take the honey from hive boxes when they’re full.

Haney said for two boxes in a hive, he can get about two gallons of honey out of it. However, it does it take some effort by the bees to get to that point, as it takes the lifetime of 12 bees to make one teaspoon of honey.

Haney does have some safety recommendations for beekeepers.

“I recommend using a beesuit when working with bees,” he said, saying there’s no sense in taking risks. However, he will get a few bees in his suit on occasion.