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Buying Bees Online

 
Kevin Mace
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Location: West Virginia
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This past winter has totally wiped out the bee business around West Virginia. A guy nearby that most people around here buy from lost over 70 hives and does have any to sell.
I am wanting to get one or two hives going this year but am forced to order online as nobody within 3 hours is selling bees.
Is there a place online to buy from that anyone recommends? This is not what I want to do, but it's either that or hope for next year.
 
Ernie Schmidt
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Kevin,
I have bought queens from this apiary. I haven't bought packages through them, but it appears they do ship them.
http://wolfcreekbees.com/
 
tel jetson
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I personally wouldn't buy bees at all, but I know relying on collecting or baiting a swarm is a but too uncertain for most folks.

this might be an especially good time for that, though: any feral colonies that survived when managed bees did not are likely to be particularly well-adapted to local extremes.
 
Kevin Mace
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tel jetson wrote:I personally wouldn't buy bees at all, but I know relying on collecting or baiting a swarm is a but too uncertain for most folks.

this might be an especially good time for that, though: any feral colonies that survived when managed bees did not are likely to be particularly well-adapted to local extremes.


Very good point. I was planning on buying one, and then trying to catch another (or two).
 
tel jetson
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that seems like a good compromise.
 
Cj Sloane
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That's my plan as well, but I'm buying a nuc from someone local who advertised on craig's list. Most of the "local" sellers get their packages from down south anyway.

I've finished my first Warre hive and I'll start on a Peronne. Not sure yet which would be more successful to try to drive the bees into.
 
tel jetson
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a swarm into either one should be pretty easy,CJ. a nuc would be easier into a Perone, though: you could tie the frames to the top bars. Langstroth frames into a Warré is not an easy task.
 
Cj Sloane
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Could you explain in a bit more detail why it would be harder to transfer into a warre? What is different about the topbars?
 
tel jetson
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Cj Verde wrote:Could you explain in a bit more detail why it would be harder to transfer into a warre? What is different about the topbars?


the issue is moving Langstroth size frames into a smaller box: they're too big. that means either cutting up the frames and comb, or cutting the comb out completely and putting it in new smaller frames, or one of a couple of other options. if you want to buy bees for a Warré hive, a package is much easier unless you can get a Warré nuc from somebody near you.
 
Cj Sloane
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tel jetson wrote:
the issue is moving Langstroth size frames into a smaller box: they're too big.


Ah, OK. Thanks for that!
 
Ray Star
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I don't have bees yet, but I have been picking the brain of a co-worker, from whom I buy my honey. My biggest concern about buying any supplies on-line, is then you become traceable, for inspection purposes. When I do get into bee keeping, I was hoping to go to a more natural style. Something inspectors frown, apparently. Our land is a mile up a logging rd, which is off a dirt rd, about another mile from any main rd. Meaning that unless I do anything to bring attention to my interest (like ordering on-line), there's not much chance of ever having to deal with inspectors. Maybe I'm being alittle paraniod, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. HTH Ray
 
Josh Wells
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I've heard good things about Wolf Creek although I've never personally bought from them. Stay away from Russell out of Mississippi if they are still around. I got ripped off on a couple queens that I paid for and never received as did many others.
 
Cj Sloane
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tel jetson wrote:
Cj Verde wrote:Could you explain in a bit more detail why it would be harder to transfer into a warre? What is different about the topbars?


the issue is moving Langstroth size frames into a smaller box: they're too big. that means either cutting up the frames and comb, or cutting the comb out completely and putting it in new smaller frames, or one of a couple of other options. if you want to buy bees for a Warré hive, a package is much easier unless you can get a Warré nuc from somebody near you.


This pic is from the wiki pages on Nucs


Is this a homemade nuc? Would it not work for a regular nuc because they don't open at the bottom?
 
tel jetson
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Cj Verde wrote:Is this a homemade nuc? Would it not work for a regular nuc because they don't open at the bottom?


a contraption like that is certainly an option. I've never tried it myself, but I've mostly heard that bees seem strangely reluctant to grow down into the Warré. even if it takes a while, that's certainly a less traumatic procedure than several other options. were I trying to transfer from a nuc into a Warré, I think that's the route I would go.

if the colony doesn't move into the Warré by winter, the nuc will have to stay. they're typically built of thin material that doesn't insulate very well. rigging up some sort of insulation might be in order, and making a nuc-sized quilt and roof wouldn't hurt either.
 
Ludger Merkens
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Building a special nuke seems like a pretty big expenditure to me. It is far more easy to sweep most of the bees (including the queen) into the new box (first batch). Keep the bees of every fith frame (one if your nuke has 5 or less frames) in the nuke to tend to the brood. Let the brood hatch in the nuke and add them to the box with the queen in a second batch (probably 2 weeks later). As both batches of bees are broodles, you can treat against varroa mite, by spraying them with a sugary solution of 3.5% w/w oxalic acid.
 
Cj Sloane
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Ludger Merkens wrote:Keep the bees of every fith frame (one if your nuke has 5 or less frames) in the nuke to tend to the brood. Let the brood hatch in the nuke and add them to the box with the queen in a second batch (probably 2 weeks later).


It took 1 1/2 hours for this to sink in.

So, if I get my nuc on May 1 and transfer 4/5 frames to a hive and then wait 2-3 weeks I'll have another queen and another batch of bees to transfer to 2nd hive? Cool. That'd be worth loosing the $15 deposit on the nuc.
 
Ludger Merkens
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So, if I get my nuc on May 1 and transfer 4/5 frames to a hive and then wait 2-3 weeks I'll have another queen and another batch of bees to transfer to 2nd hive? Cool. That'd be worth loosing the $15 deposit on the nuc.


Well, thats not exactly what I meant. I meant to add the second batch of bees, (Young bees, which hatched from the brood) to the first hive as reinforcement. (before the emergency queen cell they raise hatches). You could transfer all bees from your langstroth nuke to your warre hive, without cutting brood, or waiting to migrate into their new hive in just 2 weeks time.

But if you get your Nuke on May 1.st, it actually could work out for you, that they raise a second queen from uncapped brood, which could populate a second hive. Don't try this later in the year, but in may it might work.

If you want to try this, you should leave more bees in the nuke (at least from 2 frames), to make sure they have enough bees to raise a healthy queen.
This is risky of course. You start your first hive with the equivalent of a small swarm. And the second hive would be started with an emergency queen, which didn't mate, but needs to do this in your area. (Do you have drones in your neighborhood?)

Both hives would be very small in the beginning, so you hardly will harvest any honey from them this year. Both hives would need nectar flow in the first weeks after the tranfer. If you don't have this naturally, you need to feed them a sugar solution (1:1) (water:sugar). But they should develop in a way, that you can winter both hives.

p.s. english is not my native language, so if you have difficulties to understand me, be patient and ask back. It would be a pity to loose bees, because I didn't write as clear, as I should.
 
Cj Sloane
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Ludger Merkens wrote:I meant to add the second batch of bees, (Young bees, which hatched from the brood) to the first hive as reinforcement. (before the emergency queen cell they raise hatches).


I see.
Do they make more split up than if just all dumped in? I guess the brood hatches quicker. I'm putting them into a Peronne hive which needs many bees to fill it up.

Do you recommend a novice try it? BTW, your English is great.
 
Patrick Mann
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If there is no pre-existing comb in your warre or perone, then it'll be tough on the bees initially. A split hive isn't going to make it any easier. I'd personally just go with a package in this situation.
 
tel jetson
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Cj Verde wrote:
I see.
Do they make more split up than if just all dumped in? I guess the brood hatches quicker. I'm putting them into a Peronne hive which needs many bees to fill it up.


if they're going into a Perone, I would just tie all the nuc frames to the Perone top bars with the bees still on them. tie some loops out of something stout onto the top bars ahead of time so you don't have to do it with gloves on and perturbed bees flying around you. the bees will chew through most string or twine eventually which could drop the frames, so choose something they're not likely to make it through. or, if your Perone top bars are still loose, you could tie one at a time to a frame while they're still in the nuc, then move them one at a time to the Perone. this way, you'll keep all the bees together and you won't confuse things any more than populating the nuc already has.
 
Ludger Merkens
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Do they make more split up than if just all dumped in? I guess the brood hatches quicker.


* No, don't try the split as a beginner.
* No, they won't make more bees, at least not in the short run. (In the long run, a second queen can of course produce more offspring)
* No - The brood doesn't hatch quicker without a queen, the time the brood needs to hatch, is almost a constant. There are very little variations due to temperature and cell size. (But thats a different matter)
(a worker bee needs 21 days to hatch, 3 days as an egg, 6 days as larva without capping, 12 days as capped brood)

So if you want to populate a perone hive (and not a warré) - thus having the space to hang your langstroth frames into the brood chamber of the perone - just do so. (Unless you need to treat against varroa mites and need to have your bees free of brood)

The approach I described, is meant to populate a warré hive from a nuc. To put brood from a langstroth nuc into a warré hive, you normally have to cut your comb (which is messy), because the langstroth frames are too long to be put into the warré hive. (In germany the method is sometimes used to move bees from "Zander" or "Dadant" to "Deutsch normal Maß")
As an alternative, to avoid the problem with the brood, you could of course use a bee package to start a warré hive.
 
Cj Sloane
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One more nuc question:
Do the empty nuc boxes make good bait hives?
 
tel jetson
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Cj Verde wrote:One more nuc question:
Do the empty nuc boxes make good bait hives?


not big enough.
 
Ludger Merkens
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Hi Cj Verde,

according to Bait Hives for Honey Bees - by Thomas D. Seeley
a bait box has to be the volume of appoximately 40l, shape doesn't matter.

His Recommendations for Bait Hive Design are:

  • Height: about 15 feet (5 meters) above the ground

  • Shade and visibility: well-shaded, but highly visible. Bees avoid or abandon bait hives in direct sun

  • Distance from parent nest: not important

  • Entrance Shape: not important

  • Entrance Position: nea the floor of the hive

  • Entrance Direction: facing south preferred, but other directions are acceptable.

  • Cavity Volume: about 1.4 cubic feet (40 liters). This is about the volume of one standard ten-frame Langstroth hive body

  • Cavity Shape: not important

  • Dryness and Airtightness: dry and snug, especially at the top

  • Type of Wood: various types acceptable; many types of trees have been occupied. Bees may avoid new lumber

  • Odor: The odor of beeswax is attractive. However, putting in piees of comb is not advisable, as comb also attracts wax moths and can harbor disease organisms. If a hive body is used as a bait hive, a good solution is to insert a fre wired frames, each containing a strip of foundation. Commercially available chemical lures that smel like limon grass and apparently mimic the scouts communications scents work well and can be used in bait hives of any shape.


 
tel jetson
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Ludger Merkens wrote:
  • Odor: The odor of beeswax is attractive. However, putting in piees of comb is not advisable, as comb also attracts wax moths and can harbor disease organisms. If a hive body is used as a bait hive, a good solution is to insert a fre wired frames, each containing a strip of foundation. Commercially available chemical lures that smel like limon grass and apparently mimic the scouts communications scents work well and can be used in bait hives of any shape.




  • I wouldn't worry too much about harboring disease and wax moths. your colonies will be exposed to both of those, anyhow, and wax moth debris can make a cavity even more attractive to a swarm. old comb is a good lure, especially old brood comb. lemongrass oil (Cymbopogon citratus) works well, too, as does propolis (I use propolis tincture).
     
    Cj Sloane
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    If you haven't watched the webinar from this thread it's really good and Thomas D. Seeley is the instructor.
     
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