Author Topic: Greetings From Western Alaska  (Read 281 times)

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Offline yukonjeff

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Greetings From Western Alaska
« on: May 16, 2017, 01:29:12 PM »
Hi All

I am a second year bee keep in remote western Alaska 70 miles inland from the Bering Sea. We don't have feral honey bees here.

 I had a lot of problems my first year my own fault of course, my only hive did not make it through winter.

I had two more packages flown in April 8 and now have two strong hives almost ready for a second deep.

Its spring here now and we have a lot of willow pollen and they are making honey off something I am not sure since we only have a few flowers blooming yet, itsstill early spring here, plenty more flowers will be blooming soon.

I will be asking a few questions at some point if you don't mind.







Thanks

Offline G3farms

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Re: Greetings From Western Alaska
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2017, 02:03:43 PM »
Welcome aboard Jeff!

Fire away with your questions, some might be area specific though.
Bees are bees and do as they please!

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Online Lburou

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Re: Greetings From Western Alaska
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2017, 02:10:25 PM »
Welcome Jeff!    :welcome:
Lee_Burough
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Re: Greetings From Western Alaska
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2017, 02:13:50 PM »
Welcome aboard!

It is good to hear that your bees are doing well.

One of the things beeks in this community often advise is getting bees from as close by as possible, since they will have adapted to the climate.  If you ordered your first batch from too far South, the problem may have had as much (or more) to do with climate change as your actions.
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Offline neillsayers

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Re: Greetings From Western Alaska
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2017, 02:51:59 PM »
Welcome! Tuned in to hear all about beekeeping in Alaska. :)
Neill Sayers
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Re: Greetings From Western Alaska
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2017, 04:29:24 PM »
 Welcome yukonjeff to the forum, I was there in the AF, beautiful country, to cold for me though, good luck with the bees for I did see quite a few beautiful flowers while I was there, oh I was station out in the boondocks when I was there.

Ken
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Offline Les

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Re: Greetings From Western Alaska
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2017, 05:12:22 PM »
Welcome, questions are a normal thing here.
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Offline Perry

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Re: Greetings From Western Alaska
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2017, 05:40:14 PM »
Great picture, sitting next to the hives overlooking the snow and ice! :photos:
I can't imagine a tougher situation to try and keep bees in, but I will be very keen to follow your progress. :)
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Offline Green bee

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Re: Greetings From Western Alaska
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2017, 06:53:15 PM »
 :welcome: nice pictures!!
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Offline yukonjeff

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Re: Greetings From Western Alaska
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2017, 01:17:45 AM »
Thanks for the warm welcome and good advice,and good to see a couple former Alaskans on here. I am the only local bee keeper the nearest is about 500 miles east in the Anchorage Fairbanks area.

I am hoping to figure out how to raise my own queens someday and from the advice I have gotten from knowledgeable people ,sounds like a real challenge and need to keep separate bee yards a couple miles away.

I have a Russian hybrid queen from Iowa coming in June ,I want to make a nuc and hope to overwinter it.

I am also trying to figure out what tundra spring flowers will be a good nectar source, they are hauling in loads from something,I seen them on the cranberry flowers today and they have frames of nectar already and some capped honey.

Here are a few of the flowers that popped open recently, some would fit right in a Dr. Seuss book.


 





Offline PappyRick

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Re: Greetings From Western Alaska
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2017, 07:36:27 AM »
Welcome Jeff.  I think you'll enjoy the forum.  I'm a new beekeeper, and I have gotten a lot of useful advice so far.  I have visited AK quite a few times and always find it a fascinating place.  Not sure I could last the winter though.  PappyRick
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Greetings From Western Alaska
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2017, 08:07:43 AM »
Welcome to the forum, Jeff.  It will be fun hearing about your extreme beekeeping.  Have you any idea yet how many pounds of honey it will take to overwinter the colonies?  I think the trick will be getting your colonies ramped up enough for spring blooms.  With such a short growing season, the queen will have to be laying in anticipation of nectar flow.

I visited AK back in 2003.  Magnificent country.  I would like to go back. I seem to recall Fireweed growing everywhere.
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Re: Greetings From Western Alaska
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2017, 11:21:58 AM »
Jeff, would you be willing to help us understand more about your weather?  Keeping bees near Anchorage in Eagle River Alaska, (1982-86), we had a long winter but not severely cold...How does the winter treat you there along the Yukon river? 

I suspect your bees won't have much chance for cleansing flights from fall to spring, that is their biggest challenge and why the Russian bees are your best chance for survival.  I overwintered Italian bees from California back then.  :)

P.S.  Riverbee is our expert on Russian bees.
Lee_Burough
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Offline Les

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Re: Greetings From Western Alaska
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2017, 03:29:52 PM »
I know you might roll your eyes or maybe not but I understand the Kilcher family from the tv show "Alaska's Last Frontier" keep bees.  I know Eivin Kilcher has a Facebook page, perhaps you can reach out to them via FB to ascertain their experience with bees.
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Offline yukonjeff

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Re: Greetings From Western Alaska
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2017, 02:19:40 AM »
Thanks again for the warm welcome. Alaska is an awesome place if you ever get a chance to visit, you wont be disappointed.

I am not sure how much honey I will need, I will feed till they are heavy as I can get them if need be. they are making cranberry honey now, blue berries will be flowering in a couple days then its cloudberry,iris and all kinds of other stuff till the major fireweed flow starts in July. stays green here all summer till fall with flowers blooming the whole time.

I just read that willow has nectar ? they started bringing in nectar the same time as pollen ,and not sure of the source but we are in a huge patch of willow and alder bushes with scattered groves of cottonwood, in fact that's all we have for trees here,its mostly open tundra full of flowers :)

The weather here is not as cold as the interior of the state since we are near the Bering sea we get warm icy storms a lot in the winter where it can get up to 40 f but the wind and rain wont allow for a cleansing flight.( they could ever make it back from) we do get down to -30 but usually - 20 ish is the coldest we get but we do get extended periods of below 0

I am hoping my new Russian queen works out, I feel bad for the hybrid Russian I got last year that I bumbled up and would like to try one again.

 Les  I have heard of the Kilcher show but don't have TV and never seen it, they do live in a different region with much different weather. Dont do facebook either, I do miss out on a lot of bee keeping by avoiding that place even our state association is on there.

Well thanks again I will be reading up as much as I can and hope I can keep them alive, they are doing great so far I just added a second deep to the strong hive, they are packing the brood chamber with nectar pretty fast.


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Re: Greetings From Western Alaska
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2017, 06:34:09 AM »
Welcome Jeff. I think it is really great raising bees in Alaska. Good luck and welcome to the forum.
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Re: Greetings From Western Alaska
« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2017, 11:44:50 AM »
Jeff, I, for one, would be interested in reading a thread chronicalling your beekeeping adventure in Alaska.  What do you think about starting a "Beekeeping in Alaska" thread in one of the general forums?  I know your pictures are excellent, and the subjects that interest you are of interest to us.  :)
Lee_Burough
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Offline yukonjeff

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Re: Greetings From Western Alaska
« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2017, 01:31:33 PM »
Thanks Jim

Lburou Yes, thanks I will put up some of my AK bee keeping when I get time if your interested.

Also I got a package from Texas today that had some dry pollen sub.

Thanks Much  !  ;)

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Re: Greetings From Western Alaska
« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2017, 10:01:22 AM »
Welcome aboard from Arizona and I sure like the photos you post  :yes:
Cheers, Bill
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Re: Greetings From Western Alaska
« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2017, 01:41:33 AM »
Welcome to the forum.
It will be very interesting to hear how you progress. Keep us posted.
Quite a few of our members get "cabin fever" during the winter. I do. This forum is one of the ways to keep interested.
I also, am a member of a New Zealand form. Our winter is their summer. With the Manuka demand, it's like lawless Klondike conditions.

In the UK, before modern beekeeping, the bees were housed in straw or willow skeps. To over-winter, some of the skeps were kept in stone built recesses in farm buildings ... bee boles. Locally, we have a bee house. Built of stone, against a slope, the lower room was for farm use (pigs ?), and the upper room had stone shelves and recesses for the skeps.
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