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Beekeeping questions.......  RSS feed

 
Randy Bucher
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I do apologize ahead of time for the long winded paragraph but I wanted to give some background information along with what equipment I have obtained and my goals.

I decide last year to graft some apple trees and plant them on the property , now I want to get into beekeeping.  It was mid July when I decide this so I quickly built 2 swarm boxes to see if I could catch a late swarm and get some bees for free. Needless to say it did not happen which might have been a blessing because I did not have the equipment or knowledge that I needed to keep them. Since then I have been reading and watching videos but the local bee association has a lot to be desired in my county. I think there last post was in July.... anyways. I went and purchased 2 hives ( 2 deep , 1 medium, bottom board-screened , inner cover , telescoping cover , all 8 frame "not 10" all Langstroth also purchased 2 extra mediums for future use.). Then  I found a bee supply company that I put an order in for 2 - 5 frame nucs in the spring of 2018. So my bees are already paid for so that is one less thing I have to worry about. After more research I realized that I might have to split these hives before the end of summer to stop them from swarming. So I built 2 nuc boxes figuring I would use them for the split. After thinking and kicking myself in the @ss and realizing I has enough lumber laying around I would just build my own 8 frame deeps and other components in case of the split. My equipment so far is as follows> 2 complete double deep hives with a medium on top.  2 nuc boxes  2 single deep boxes and 2 swarm boxes. I have a smoker ,2 queen excluders , beetle traps, front feeders and top feeders, hive tool, lemongrass oil for the swarm boxes , hive fasteners so the boxes do not fall  I know I still need a bee suit.Never thought I would have this much time and money invested this already. I built an 8 foot long hive stand out of cedar that I had in the shed as well. I was told not to expect any honey this year from the hives being it was the first year which is fine with me, the honey is just an added bonus to me but "yes" i do look forward to getting some. That is some background information on the equipment that I currently have purchased. Now that I built an 8 foot long hive stand how close can I put the hives together or how many should be placed on the stand? I have read about propolis traps , is there a benefit of putting one on the hives or just let the bees do their thing? How long is propolis good for if I do decide to use one ? I know the hive should be facing the morning sun in order to get the bees going but on my property the only morning sun is out in the yard facing the whole back yard. When I mow the yard am I going to have to put a bee suit so that I do not get stung on the mower... ? I have one other place I could put it but it is close to a building/shed that I use for storage. I would have to set the bees back about 10 feet on a concrete pad facing the side of the building. Is this adequate space for the bees or is it to close. I as well will have to weed eat the creek/ run off ditch on the other side of the bees so is there going to be a problem there as well with the bees?  What kind if any medications should or can I buy ahead of time that I may need later ? I did contact the local extension office about possibly being informed in the spring and getting a phone call to go capture swarms. They took my number and told me they would call me because last year they had about 10 calls for swarms. when I did talk to them about beekeeping information they directed me to the county beekeepers association. I left a message on the website introducing myself and asking a question it was never replied to after 4 weeks so I just left the site. How many swarms/ total hives can I get without running out of equipment along with being efficient and not killing the bees ? I am not sure what if any are going to swarm since I am new to beekeeping. I just do not have that knowledge yet. I live in central NC so the weather is not brutal as it would be up in the northern states.
I have included a picture of what I have obtained so far.
Thank you for your reply in advance.

  I know something is going to be said about my artistic skills so I will put it this way to you - I consider myself a carpenter not a painter and "no" I do not plan on quitting my day job ( laughing )
 
hive-stand.jpg
[Thumbnail for hive-stand.jpg]
 
David Livingston
master steward
Posts: 3789
Location: Anjou ,France
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Firstly bee prepared any bee keeping question to bee keepers will get you lots of different replies depending on how many bee keepers you ask . As you shall discover
Some Beekeepers like minimum intervention  leaving the bees to be bees and only collect swarms when they happen and collect honey once a year if the weather has been good in summer . At the other end of the spectrum some folks inspect their hives once every two weeks every season extract lots of honey and feed the bees lots of sugar in winter treating them with medicines as they go. Whilst most lie between these two poles .
Me I am in the first camp . I would spread your hives around your site to maximise your chances of catching swarms on their own with out your intervention. Since I dont inspect I dont need the bees close together . Having the bees close together whilst making things easy for the beekeeper I think favours pests, diseases, robbing  and other issues . I try to mimic the natural state . You seem a handy sort of chap Why dont in future you make your own hives either top bar or warre hives http://warre.biobees.com/ . If you are just keeping bees for your own honey do you really need lots of equipment ? ( I would say no )
I am sure others will chime in soon  but in the meantime you might be interested in these folks http://www.naturalbeekeepingtrust.org/

David
 
Bryant RedHawk
garden master
Posts: 3132
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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I have to agree with David, I don't mess with the hives often and about the only time I will collect honey is if we are low on honey in stock.
I prefer warre type hives or top bar hives and they are not close together since most of them are in the woods.
I have never purchased or collected swarms, the bees that occupy my two hives found them on their own and moved in. There is also one tree hive on our land

I am anaphylaxic to stings, so I try to be very calm around a hive or swarm.
I learned to listen to the hives, bees that sound calm, are usually calm and as long as you don't jostle the hive they will remain calm so you can do what you need to do.
The guy that taught me the little I know, doesn't wear any "bee keeper" clothing.
When I started this adventure, my wife thought I might be crazy (she should have already known the answer to that LOL).

I love your photo of your hives, One tip I have is that you will want to set those up off the ground and I never have an opening larger than 2 inches wide and 1 cm. tall, this keeps outsiders (wasps and raiders) away usually.
 
Todd Parr
pollinator
Posts: 1416
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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You may give a Perrone hive a try as well.  They are easy to build and in my limited experience, very robust hives.  I also don't open my hives or inspect them.
 
Randy Bucher
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I did not know I was going to start something like this when I posted my questions. I do however like the different viewpoints from different people. I appreciate all your replies so far and hope a lot more will be posted. I do see some questions in the first message "not" being addressed.

1-propolis trap ? Is there an advantage or disadvantage to collecting propolis and how long will it keep ?
2 - mixed replies on how many hives on an 8 foot long stand ? I am limited to the space so spreading the hives over a acre lot would be very hard.
3- placement of the hive ? Is there enough space if I put it close the building/shed?
4- Medications that i might need in the future. Live in North Carolina so the summers are hot and humid. Just go organic and its advantages/disadvantages ?
5- The original picture shows what equipment I currently own. How many hives should I consider getting with that equipment and still have enough on hand so that I do not have to purchase or build more?  2-double deeps  - 2 single deeps -2 five frame nuc boxes- 2 swarm boxes ? They are sitting on top of the 8 foot hive stand I built out of eastern red cedar. ( 16 inches high ) Do I just put any splits into the nuc boxes or straight into the single deep boxes ?
6- I purchased some hive fasteners . Does anyone else use them and how do you like them or is this just a waste of money ?

All the equipment is 8 frame not 10 frame. Nuc and swarm box are 5 frame.

I am self learning beekeeping and I do understand that everyone does it different and I have to find something that works for me. I as well understand or at least think I understand that beekeeping sorta evolves when new pests,disease occur so I will never know everything but I do want to straighten out the learning curve as much as possible and give the bees every chance of survival that I can give them. I will have to learn my own technique and that is the reason I enjoy reading these post and trying to see various viewpoints.

( Thinking .. No one has said anything about my artistic skills ... whew..   )
 
Ken W Wilson
Posts: 547
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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1 I believe some people collect propolis and sell it for natural medicine. I would think it would make the bees work harder.
2 It depends. 3 hives would probably work as long as they are about the same strength. 4  8 frame might work. It's really handy to have space on the stand inbetween the hives to set boxes when you are unstacking the hive.
3 it would be great to put them on a concrete pad. The small hive beetle larvae could not get to the soil as easily. Also weeds wouldn't grow too close.  Ten feet is probably enough. Another factor to consider is how much sun they'll get.  Full sun is best except for really hot climates. This is because of small hive beetles.  Yes, they are the enemy.
4 I don't use medications or treatments. I don't want them in the honey. I want my bees to become hardier every generation instead of weaker. I also plan to let them requeen themselves, so they can adapt to local conditions.
5 You have enough equipment to get started with the bees you ordered and to try swarm catching. You could end up needing more, but I would see how things go first. You can get hives boxes delivered pretty fast if you are in the US, probably most places. Where are you?
6 I have never seen hive fasteners in use. They seem like a good idea but not really necessary here, maybe somewhere with extreme winds.

I'm impressed with your commitment to this new hobby. Most people don't go all in from the beggining. Your hives look great!

I should tell you that I've had from 1-8 hives for about 5 years. I have three now. I have had losses. I am not expert.

I don't like telescoping covers or inner covers. It's two things to handle instead of one. It gives small hive beetles a lot of hiding places. I use a piece of plywood with a tapered door shim on the sides and reduce the top entrance with a shim. This was invented by Michael Bush, I believe.

I started with screened bottom boards. I'm trying solids now. I'm not decided on which is best yet.  Oh be sure the bottom is closed up when you introduce the new bees. Too much light will make them abscond, sometimes.

Some things depend on your location, like you may not have small hive beetles there.

 
Randy Bucher
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I have put fasteners on the hives because I have grandsons that love to play basketball in the driveway (5 & 6 ) The basketball hoop is probably about 70-80 feet away from the building.. I am scared a wild loose ball might go over and hit the hives and maybe knock one. ( just a safety precaution on my part ) We all know that basketball's do sometimes go astray. 
  I am thinking of placing them on the concrete pad facing the building with about 10 feet in between them. That will still allow me to go to the back sides of the hive to take care of them when needed. I think this should be enough room but honestly I am not sure and that is the reason I am asking. I know on the concrete pad they would get the earliest sun possible for about 20-30 minutes before it ducks behind the building for about another hour. After that it would be getting the rest of the day in sunlight. I live in Central North Carolina.
I have read that here in NC the majority of people do use screened bottom board so that is of course what are on all my hive boxes.  I do know that screen is not cheap..
With me getting 5 frame nucs and putting them into an 2 frame double deep hives should I expect to get any honey this coming year ?
Thank you for your reply.
 
Randy Bucher
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Picture of the fasteners on the box. They are adjustable.
Hive-Fasteners.jpg
[Thumbnail for Hive-Fasteners.jpg]
 
David Livingston
master steward
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Location: Anjou ,France
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1 If I want some propilise I collect it from a dead hive it keeps a long time as long as its in a dry sealed place . Lots of hives die naturally if you do the math if they did not we would be up to our eyes in the little darlings.
2 Its up to you but for the bees the more you have in a small space the less available forage for each hive remember they need flowers over a long period unless you move them about liker lots of commercial keepers do . Would you rather have two strong hives or 4 weak ones is the way I look at it . Why not find a friend who would let you keep some bees somewhere else
3  I often have mine close to buildings the bees normally fly 5m up
4 Poisons are poisons I would not do it . the bees know best 
5 You have loads to start with
6 I dont bother with them as I am mean plus the girls weld everything together with propolis

I have studied some of the beekeeping pests  Verroa like cool hives and dont like the normal mid hive temperature of about 32c so my thinking is that everytime I open the hive the hive looses heat and pheranomes  the verroa become more active and lay more eggs . Otherwise the verroa lay eggs at the cooler edge of the comb where the drones  hatch .

David 
 
Todd Parr
pollinator
Posts: 1416
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Ori Bee-Shir wrote:Hello,
I don't know why you would not inspect your hives. when you don't inspect you hives many problems can arise. The main culprit is the Varroa Mite. Please study up on the life cycle of the Varroa mite. .......

...... so I personally go with plastic.


Some people, like me, don't inspect their hives for several reasons.  I leave my hives alone because I think nature can handle the problems the bees will encounter better than I can.  I believe the argument can be made that bees would already have adapted and taken care of the varroa situation if people didn't keep interceding with chemicals.  Suppose I open my hive, inspect, and find varroa.  My choices are to use chemicals to try to correct the situation, or leave the bees alone and see if they survive. If they survive, I know they are better adapted to dealing with the situation than the hives that don't.  That being the case, I may as well leave them alone and not stress them so they have all their strength in the varroa war.

As far as the foundation being wax or plastic, there is a third option.  Don't use foundation and let the bees build comb themselves as they have evolved to do.
 
Gregory T. Russian
Posts: 61
Location: Mad City, Wisconsin
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Randy Bucher wrote: I do apologize ahead of time for the long winded paragraph but I wanted to give some background information along with what equipment I have obtained and my goals.
... 

My two cents:
1)read this site - http://horizontalhive.com/how-to-build/hive-frame-swarm-trap.shtml
2)then read this site - http://forum.tfbees.net/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=890

Then review what is it you want again.
 
Todd Parr
pollinator
Posts: 1416
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Gregory T. Russian wrote:
Randy Bucher wrote: I do apologize ahead of time for the long winded paragraph but I wanted to give some background information along with what equipment I have obtained and my goals.
... 

My two cents:
1)read this site - http://horizontalhive.com/how-to-build/hive-frame-swarm-trap.shtml
2)then read this site - http://forum.tfbees.net/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=890

Then review what is it you want again.


I may now have heard of everything.  Sleep with your bees - no, really.
 
Gregory T. Russian
Posts: 61
Location: Mad City, Wisconsin
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Todd Parr wrote:
Gregory T. Russian wrote:
Randy Bucher wrote: I do apologize ahead of time for the long winded paragraph but I wanted to give some background information along with what equipment I have obtained and my goals.
... 

My two cents:
1)read this site - http://horizontalhive.com/how-to-build/hive-frame-swarm-trap.shtml
2)then read this site - http://forum.tfbees.net/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=890

Then review what is it you want again.


I may now have heard of everything.  Sleep with your bees - no, really.


Maybe not everything...
Not only sleep with your bees - LIVE with your bees.
Pretty common thing to do as well as a good therapy.
I am finding out US beekeepers have been missing out on some real stuff. 
Catch up time.
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