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First hive

 
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jsallington
Nurse Bee


Joined: 14 Jan 2014
Posts: 31
Location: Two Rivers, Wisconsin

PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 7:57 pm    Post subject: First hive Reply with quote

So I just finished my hive. Is there anything I need to do before I get bees? Or do I just buy the bees and dump them in? I read I should rub the hive with wax and drip it on my top bars. Are there any other recommendations?
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Houstonbees
Guard Bee


Joined: 25 Jul 2012
Posts: 81
Location: Houston Tx, USA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, I'll step in with the first obvious question as details are lacking. What type of hive did you construct?
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R Payne
Foraging Bee


Joined: 11 Apr 2011
Posts: 123
Location: USA, Kansas, Wichita

PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you read the stickies? (threads pinned at the top of the beginners' section)
Also have you looked for someone to mentor you close to you? IF you can find someone, it can make things much easier.

In addition to "what type of hive?", "how are you planning on populating your hive (package? swarm? find a nuc and chop to fit?)?"

The more details you can provide the better answers you'll receive.

ron
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Bugscouter
Silver Bee


Joined: 19 Mar 2012
Posts: 808
Location: USA/California/ Sacramento

PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jsallington,

I see from your other post that you built a topbar. Great work BTW. I'm envious of your woodworking skills. But I'm a little afraid that you may not be completely aware of the task you've set for yourself.

Beekeepers run the gambit from "Bees are livestock" to "Bees are the spiritual center of the universe". If you ask 50 beeks their opinion, you'll probably get 60 different answers. You'll going to have to find the style you're most comfortable with. That means reading as must as you can, joining a local association maybe, talking to locals, maybe a class, and asking questions on here and other forums. Lots and lots of questions.

Swarms and nucs are functioning colonies. Packages are many times made up of bees from more than one colony and are not related to the queen. Package bees need a little more care when they're introduced, at least until they get started.

There are a lot of videos on YouTube that talk about introducing bees to a hive, including some by Phil (search for biobee). Yes, rubbing bee's wax on the bars will help them get started in the right direction. You may want to look at how to correct cross combing so you're ready when it happens. A couple drops of Lemon Grass Oil will help convince them to stay. You'll also need to think about feeding if you purchase a package because they'll bring nothing with them other than what's in the can.

I don't want to discourage you from starting a hive this year. In fact, welcome to the club, these little buggers will get under your skin, but thanks to pesticides, mites, viruses, and beetles, the days of "Bee Having" are pretty much over. Its going to take some knowledge to get started.

My first colony figured out that I had no idea what I was doing in about two weeks and they up and left. Its an ugly feeling.

BTW, if you're looking for some good books, go to Amazon or B&N and search on Phil Chandler, Christy Hemingway, and Les Crowder to start with.

And keep us posted. We like hearing about folks successes.

Ron
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jsallington
Nurse Bee


Joined: 14 Jan 2014
Posts: 31
Location: Two Rivers, Wisconsin

PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the input, yes sorry it is a top bar hive and I am about to start making a second. I posted pictures in the photo's section if anyone is interested. As of right now I am talking to a few locals trying to get a mentor, and I am reading and viewing as many youtube videos as possible. I did drip beeswax on a small blade of wood hanging down from my top bar in hopes that would be a good starter strip. Do I still need to add string? I asked this particular question because I was trying to decide whether I should buy nucs and cut them so I have some comb or buy two packages. I was trying not to lead the answers though. I know the packages are $80 each but I'm not sure about how much more the nuc was going to cost. I am also looking for a place to get some lemongrass oil. I do grow lemon balm in my house. Would just smearing those leaves in the hive work? It is very potent. I do realize that this is a huge undertaking but it is something I've wanted to do for awhile and I am sold that this will be for me. I also made a 40L swarm trap and bought some lure so maybe I can get a third hive up and going in case my purchased bees don't work. Any and all input is appreciated. Thanks, keep the feedback comming
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jsallington
Nurse Bee


Joined: 14 Jan 2014
Posts: 31
Location: Two Rivers, Wisconsin

PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also if you look at the photo's you'll notice that I have a feeder in the beginning of the hive.
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Bugscouter
Silver Bee


Joined: 19 Mar 2012
Posts: 808
Location: USA/California/ Sacramento

PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, my response may have been a little over the top. I'm the new class coordinator for SABA (coordinator, not instructor) and I'm suddenly getting phone calls asking for advice. I keep gently steering them towards the mentors. I may be having difficulties turning that off.

I purchased my lemon grass oil at Sprouts if you have one. Whole Foods or another natural foods or health food store would be good choices. I think some folks had rubbed the leaves on with success. I have the lemon grass oil for bait boxes so I add a couple of drops to the hive just as an added "insurance".

$80 for a package? Wow. They're $130 here.

I'm just going to get out of your way now.

Ron
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1564
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Also if you look at the photo's you'll notice that I have a feeder in the beginning of the hive.


Just wanted to mention that it is best to feed at the back of the hive if possible. Feeding near the entrance, even if it is inside the hive can lead to robbing. Best to make sure the back of the hive is bee and wasp proof and can only be accessed through the colony's nest area.... ie via a hole in the follower or in the nest area itself but behind it.

For some reason I now can't see the pictures of your hive to see what sort of feeder you have made but just wanted to offer the above tip, especially when you mentioned the feeder was "in the beginning", by which I assumed you meant entrance.

As regards your query about lemon grass and lemon balm, I bought lemon grass oil to bait hives but use lemon balm to rub over my hands before I do a hive inspection (I prefer not to wear gloves unless I absolutely have to). It was a tip given to me by someone who got it on a conventional beekeeping course and I really like it. I assume it masks the human smells of my hands and unlike clove oil, which I had previously used, it doesn't offend/repel the bees. It might be more of a psychological benefit (perhaps giving me more confidence to handle the bees barehanded) but if that keeps me calmer then it also keeps the bees calmer and it smells pleasant without being overwhelming like the clove oil.
I do still get stung on the hands occasionally, so it's not fail safe, but I keep a sprig near to rub over the sting to mask the attack pheremeones and I rarely get another one. The odd sting during an inspection is to be expected and unless you are allergic, does you good in my opinion.

Sorry, I've got totally off topic here because I was too lazy to go back and find your other post.

I thought your hive (when I could see the photos) looked very well made.

I'm curious to know where the entrance holes are as I couldn't make that out from the brief glimpse of the photos I had. Most of us now go for end entrances either sloping side or vertical end rather than the centre entrances that Phil initially advocated.
Also, I can't stress enough how important it is to have good comb guides when you are first starting out. The thin slat of wood dipped in wax should work fine but make sure it extends almost the full length of the bar as they sometimes curve the ends of the comb round and onto the next bar. I believe the string dipped in wax was just a simple technique to put a guide onto a flat bar for people who didn't have access to power tools to cut a kerf etc. A lot of people find a triangular profile piece of wood pinned to the underside and rubbed with wax is the best as it provides a more solid anchor point for the comb. I got some reclaimed tongue and groove paneling that had sustained damage mostly to the groove when it was ripped out. I ran it through the table saw to take off the tongue and groove and found that the tongue part with a little bit of shoulder attached worked very well pinned under the top bars and dipped in wax.

Anyway, best of luck getting your bees and keeping them and not having to deal with any cross comb.

Regards

Barbara
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jsallington
Nurse Bee


Joined: 14 Jan 2014
Posts: 31
Location: Two Rivers, Wisconsin

PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the tip on the feeder. I will move the feeder to the back of the hive so anything that wants to rob it will have to go through the entire hive. I put the entrance off to one side of the hive, not in the middle. I was worried about this because of all the conflicting info. My comb guides go up to 3/4 of an inch away from the wall. Hopefully that'll work. Thanks for the great input Smile It was almost 20°F outside yesterday and sadly it felt like a heat wave and now I have bee dreams at night...
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