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Author Topic: Ordering new woodenware. Whats best?  (Read 3355 times)
BEH
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« on: February 20, 2008, 12:08:44 AM »

   I'm all excited!!  Feels like Christmas!  Been saving and planning to buy some hives.  I thought I knew exactly what I wanted.  Now that the time is here to actually buy them, I took a another look around and realized

  I REALLY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING

I think its plain old information overload, everythings just running together


8 frames/ 10 frames  Hive bobies, supers, shallow supers, pine, cypress, cedar, wax/plastic.....

  Which companies have the best quality?   Which offer the best value for the dollar?   Are there any I should stay away from?  Commercial quality or select, will I even notice a difference?   Should I just order from who ever is closest to me to save on shipping or should I pay the additional cost for someone farther away so that I dont sacrafice quality?
 


 Is all 10 frame equipment pretty much interchangable? Are the diminsions mostly standard?

How about 8 frame?   If I order a hive from say...Brushy Mountain will a top feeder or slatted bottom from ..oh Betterbee fit OK or will there be a noticable difference?

Once I order from a company should I stick with them to make sure everything fits allright?

I think I want to go with the 8 frame's but there seems to be alot more 10 frame available.   Is there specialty equipment I might want or need down the road that will be available for 10 frame but not 8?
  Are there advantages or disadvantages to both other than weight?   I mean will my bees winter better in a 10 frame because its a little bigger?   Or do I even need to worry about that here with our Virginia winters?   Does one size offer better ventalation and summer cooling than the other?

Will I be disapointed in the amount of honey/wax that comes out of the 8's?  Do 3 8 frames produce about the same amount as say 2 10 frames?

I planed on going with wax foundation then I started worrying about wax moths. How big of a problem are they? Will I be replacing all the foundation every year?

Those Bee O pac systems for comb honey look pretty cool. Perhaps not now, but down the road when I have more experience....Is there any reason I cant have a super of standared frames  and a super with the Bee O Pac's? Will this determin my other foundation? I mean will the bees reject the plastic Bee O Pac because they are used to wax?

Both 8 frame and 10 frame use the same frames dont they? Am I understanding it right that the difference in sizes is determined by the depth of the woodenware not the width ?

I noticed some 'complete hives' have 1 or 2 hive bodies and some are only supers. Is this simply a matter of preference and weight? Are there other reasons for this? I like the idea of all supers so that all the frames are the same, but as a beginner would I be better off sticking to standard dept hive bodies?


WOW! tongue Sorry for so many questions. Hope I didnt over do it. It just seems like this is all stuff I need to consider befor I start ordering anything. I really have been reading the posts here. I am sure most of this has been asked befor but there is a lot of imformation on this site and sifting thru it all can be difficult.

PLEASE    PLEASE   
PRETTY PLEASE!
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2008, 12:48:38 AM »

Let's use the KISS method here:

For one hive the 1st year you should be okay with the following list.
1.  Smoker, spend the extra few dollars for the taller stack--you won't regret it when yours keeps going when everybody else's has gone out.
2. A good veil.  I prefer the Excelsior style, but then, I'm old fashioned.
3. Gloves and guantlets.  I recommend getting the guantlets from Mann Lake or Bushy Mountain and a pair of doe or goat skin driving type gloves.  You don't always need the gloves (they get in the way and make you clumsy) but the guantlets will keep the girls from running up your sleeves.
4. 2 hive tools, one to use, one to lose.
5. Velcro strips for securing your pant legs, the girls crawl up there too.
6. 2 screened bottom boards.  2 means you have back up to catch a swarm.
7. 2 tops.  Migratory lids are cheaper, telescopic tops require inner covers.
8. 6 Medium 8 frame boxes.  Medium are lighter and easier to handle, 8 frames are easier and lighter than 10 frames.  You will never regret going for the less strain.  Besides all mediums means any frame fits anywhere in any box.  You will come to love this concept.  With 6 you have more than what you'll need for 1 hive yet still have enough if you catch a swarm.
9. A good feeder--I have found nothing that works better than a gallon jug or unused paint can and I've tried them all.
10.  If you buy 50 wooden frames you get 2 extra, which means you have replacement parts for those that break.
11. 50 sheets for wax foundation for the frames.
12. Frame Wire and embedding wheel.
13.  the Lucky number--a book on 1st lessons in beekeeping or such.

That's it, the beginners kit that I recommend.  You will notice there is no mention of medications, queen excluders, and several other things.  These items just cause confusion for the beginning beekeeper.
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BEH
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« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2008, 09:54:33 AM »

Thank you Brian. I very much appreciate your voice of experience.
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jimmyo
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« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2008, 05:55:17 PM »

kelly has a good beginner's set up and so does Brushy mountain.  I think that wax foundation is best. You'l  need to wire in your foundation because the pus in pins don't work well on wax foundation for deeps.
   Jim 
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johnnybigfish
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« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2008, 07:33:59 PM »

Hey BEH!
 That WAS a ton of questions for sure! All good ones though! Brian knows tons more than me about the bees and so do most people here i think, But I'm gonna tell you what i did when I started and then tell you where I THINK i should have made changes..Also, this April, I'll be starting my 2nd year(Can you guys believe this???) but I am DEFINITELY a beginner in my minds eye!
 Ok,....I got my first stuff from Dadants....boxes, smokers, hive tool, suits etc...I used Dadants as thats the first bee supply place I found on the internet...Thats the only reason...I still prefer them over other places,..no particular reason, Although, Mann Lake gets some of my money too...I compare frieght costs between these 2 places and even though Mann Lake is farther away, sometimes its cheaper and sometimes freight is less even though they ARE farther away.
 I bought 4 deeps(bigger hive boxes that usually go on the bottom)
and 6 honey supers,(Dont ask me how big, I just know they're smaller boxes..I think most people use these for the honey supers)
 I got frames and foundation which were made"already made". They were called "E Z frames"..They came from Dadants also. Some people told me I wasted my money on these. They worked though and they were definitely E Z!!!..The only thing I found wrong with them was the PRICE. They cost between 2 and 3 dollars a piece I seem to remember...Another reason i went with the EZ Frames was because I THOUGHT that building frames and putting in foundation was going to be alot more complicated than it really is!  Ok,..Now, for the record, I wanted to build more hives this spring but it was a hard pill to swallow thinking about the cost of the EZ frames again, especially when I wanted a hundred( not many really when you see some peoples operations) Sooooo,...I went ahead and bought REAL frames AND Plasticell foundation...I learned, in about 30 seconds, that frame building and putting in the Plasticell is SUPER EASY!...Time consuming, but easy!...This saved me lots of money!!!
 I got frames for 25 cents a piece and had NO broken ones!

When you get to your bees, Packages or whatever, theres alot of videos on the web showing you how to put them into the new hives.Check them out.Look at ALL the videos you can about doing bee stuff!..It makes it easier!...For me, I was flying by the seat of my pants when I got my first bees..I had bees EVERYWHERE!!
 I even pulled out the WRONG plug on the queen cage!
And being that Paul and me had sugar water all over everything(I was told to spray the new bees with that) everything was sticky!!! And the plug that came from the wrong end of the queen box stuck to Pauls glove......And Paul thought it was a bee.....And he flicked it into the bushes!!!
 Anyways,...
 You definitely need a smoker...It calms the bee alot!...And it makes you look like you know what your doing when other people watch you!
 Get a bee suit too,...they really arent that expensive...I didnt know what kind to get so I just ASKED the Dadant sales girl to fix me up with whatever she would use( I ended up getting 3...2 jackets and veils for me and Paul, and a full suit for my wife). They're alot of fun too to take pictures when you wear them!!!..They make you laugh alot!!!..I dont much like them when I have to use them what they're intended for because they get REALLY HOT and sweat POURS into my eyes and gets my glasses so wet that I cant see!

Oh yeh,...I forgot to mention,...I make my own tops and bottoms and THAT saves ALOT of money..I use 3/4 inch plywood and 1X2 trim..What you can do is just buy one of each and copy what the manufacturer did.
 I did purchase stuff at first that I think I really didnt need..I didnt need the frame grabber tool as i rarely use it..A hive tool is needed alot but I usually cant find mine and end up using my pocketknife.(At least the part of the knife I havent broken yet prying into the hives)
 Well,...I better stop,,..I tend to write too long, and then I start "CLOWNING"....
 Keep asking questions though!!!
 I think you're REALLY gonna get a kick out of beekeeping!
  I think what i have learned more than anything doing bees is that"Nothing is written in Concrete" when it comes to how to do bees!
Your friend,
john
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BEH
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« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2008, 12:07:37 AM »

 Smiley No John, you didnt write too long at all!  Tell me more!  Smiley

I appreciate every bit of advice I can get.

I think Dadant and Brushy Mountain are the suppliers closest to me, maybe even close enough for a road trip.   Brushy Mountain's English garden hives are so pretty, but I guess practicality should win out, the copper tops are just an unnecessary expense. Besides it looks like the boxes are not dovetailed just nailed together.

BEH   AKA  Barbra  grin
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Angi_H
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« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2008, 12:31:05 AM »

Another great book is Beekeeping for dummies.  Only get it off of Amazon.com as it is much cheaper. Another one yet is Backyard Beekeeper


Angi
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indypartridge
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« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2008, 06:05:06 AM »

   I'm all excited!!  Feels like Christmas! 
  I REALLY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING
I think its plain old information overload, everythings just running together

Although I spend way too much time on these online forums, "information overload" can definitely be a problem: ask a question and get several different answers. I highly recommend getting connected with a local beekeeping group. Find a few mentors to help you sort thru all the questions/answers and find a good solution for your particular location. Looks like Virginia has quite a few local groups:

http://www.virginiabeekeepers.org/association_map.htm
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johnnybigfish
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« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2008, 09:57:44 AM »

 Hi Barbara!
Ok,...just a little bit more stuff....
 I AGREE wholeheartedly about Angies suggestion getting "Beekeeping for Dummies". I was reading all kinds of bee books at first but in most cases it was like reading Chinese!  I feel like for me, The "Dummy" book opened the window to understanding what all the other books were trying to tell me I got the "Backyard Beekeeper" from the library. I cant remember all about that one but I do remember it was easy to understand also.
 Ok,...When you get a chance, watch "Ulees Gold"...Peter Fonda is a bee keeper..You get to see alot of bee things he does...You probably wont learn anything but you'll like the movie..I just watched it again 3 days ago!!
 Theres 1 other thing i do when ordering stuff...I ask the salesperson if THEY have bees!..It seems most of them do!  I figure if they have bees, they have an interest in their job, right?.Then, when I dont know about a purchase decision, I just ask them what they would do in my shoes! THATS how I got my mind made up on what suits to get, and later what veils to get..I trusted their experience. This is also how I got the deal on the frames for 25 cents..The frames are in the catalog but I thought it was too good to be true.The sales person said I might try them, and I woould probably have a 10 percent junk pieces...I had all good ones though!
 Another thing,....This is kinda dangerous though, financially...When I order stuff sometimes, I wont look at the bill. I just pay more when the statement comes in! This works for me. I was in a financial hole years ago and it took me 4 years to dig out, but I DID!..I dont use the credit card except for bee stuff and fishing lure supplies..Well, occasionally I might get something from the internet but not very often.
  I didnt join a bee club for quite awhile after I got my first bees, but I had a friend, Luke, who had a couple of hives,,He used to have a bunch but he's gotten most of them put away. He told me he just didnt have enough time to manage them anymore...Anyways, he helped me out with alot of information at the beeginning. I still call him when I have  questions.Sometimes its better to have people in front of you or on the phone for bee questions..My bee club is ok but I'd prefer to get my info. from here and out of books..I mean the bee club people are good people and try to help...Sometimes I feel that theres just "Something Missing" at the club. I cant put my finger on it though.
  In the club, I'm liike the youngest person there!...ok, maybe, now that I think it over, the 3rd youngest!!...And I'm 50!
 I guess what I'm trying to say is, beekeepers really ARE a special breed of people! I think that the beekeepers who have lots of hives and are trying to make a living at it( on their own especially) are harder workers than roofers and bricklayers!! Bee stuff is HEAVY!!
 I appreciate when I see a young person here interested in bees.
Kids have lots of stuff going on nowadays and hard work and responsibility arent parts of these things. Even "Normal" people usually dont want to work hard for a hobby like a beekeeper does.
For someone like me, its not so hard as I only have 3 hives and mostly I just look at them...BUT,... every now and then I have to do something with them...like get honey, or move a hive, or look inside the bottom boxes.I'm REALLY lucky to have a friend who helps me do these "Heavy"things! Alot of people here  in the forums are'nt as fortunate as I am in this aspect....I hope Pauls still my friend when he sees all the other hives start showing up this summer! I gave him a new set-up (beehive) a few weeks ago hoping he might get some satisfaction out of keeping his own beehive.
 One last thing...I kinda feel like God picks certain people to do bees.I dont mean we're better than other people, just hired to do something peculiar. For me,for instance, I didnt start bees until my  earlier years started catching up to me( I KNEW they would eventually). Now, after having bees, I've been noticing things and seeing things in a "Different Lite" so to speak!..The bees have helped me to open my eyes to stuff I never even noticed!...I see flowers everywhere!!..Hidden in the grass, hidden in trees..I look at trees differently. I see them as potential "Bee rest areas" or bee homes. When I look at ANY vegetation now I say to myself,"Bee forage!"  I even smell smoke differently!..And, EVERY time I come across a flying bee, no matter where I'm at, I put my hand out towards it to see if it will lite! I'll tell people that it may be one of MY bees!!
 My wife tells me I should get a robe like a monk and wear that around my place!(She sees ME in a different like now!)
 And dont forget..have a camcorder ready when you get your bees!
This will be a time that you will never forget!
  oh boy,...I cant wait till Spring!!
As Cindi will tell you>" Have a most glorious and beautiful day on this earth we live in!"                  (hows that, Cindi?)

your friend,
john
 
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johnnybigfish
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« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2008, 10:02:55 AM »

If I could afford it, i would have all garden hives!
your friend,
john
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BEH
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« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2008, 02:02:43 PM »

As for books, I already have "Dummies" and "A Book of Bees" with "The Backyard Beekeeper"  on its way (it should have been here days ago!! Come on Amazon whats the hold up ? You have an impatient Newbee here waiting...well.... impatiently!)

 I rescued the bumble bee nesting box from my recycling bin and hung it back up on the far side of the yard. Hopefully my dogs won't be to nosey with it. Its stuffed with dog hair and ocassionally they decide it therefore belongs to them. Saw the bumble queen again, so when I shooed her off she didn't take offence. It has turned cold again however, one day its 65 the next its 32, hopefully she has a hidey hole someplace she can cozy up in, or maybe she will find the nest box. We shall see.

Hummm, Ulees Gold, I'll see if I can hunt it down. Sounds like a must see!


 Smiley Barbra
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« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2008, 03:46:16 PM »

I have a Friend, which I consider my Mentor, that I get some of my supplies from. He has "seconds" on boxes and I get those for 5 and 6 $'s per each. Of course I have to assemble.
Some have knot holes but They are not hard to contend with.I cut some of the deep ones down to medium and use the scrap elsewhere.
Get your frames where ever you can get the best deal, wooden or other wise.
Hope this helps.
doak
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2008, 06:27:08 PM »

>  Which companies have the best quality?

They are all pretty acceptable.  Shipping is the biggest issue when choosing a supplier.

> Commercial quality or select, will I even notice a difference?

Commercial.  Always.

>  Should I just order from who ever is closest to me to save on shipping

Yes.

> Is all 10 frame equipment pretty much interchangable? Are the diminsions mostly standard?

Sort of.  It's the beespace between the boxes that's not so standard.

>How about 8 frame?   If I order a hive from say...Brushy Mountain will a top feeder or slatted bottom from ..oh Betterbee fit OK or will there be a noticable difference?

Betterbee and Mann lake's 8 frame equipment is 14" wide.  Brushy Mt and Miller Bee Supply's are 13 3/4".  They are close enough that you could make them work, but it's probably wiser to plan to buy all the accessories to fit.

>Once I order from a company should I stick with them to make sure everything fits allright?

It's helpful, but not required.

>I think I want to go with the 8 frame's but there seems to be alot more 10 frame available.

A lot more as in what?  You can buy as many of any size box you want.

>  Is there specialty equipment I might want or need down the road that will be available for 10 frame but not 8?

It's pretty much all available from Brushy Mt or Betterbee.

>  Are there advantages or disadvantages to both other than weight?

I think they winter SLIGHTLY better in the eight frame mediums, but it's not that big of a difference.

>  I mean will my bees winter better in a 10 frame because its a little bigger?

Not in my experience.

> Or do I even need to worry about that here with our Virginia winters?

They have winter in VA?

>  Does one size offer better ventalation and summer cooling than the other?

No difference.

>Will I be disapointed in the amount of honey/wax that comes out of the 8's?

No difference.

>  Do 3 8 frames produce about the same amount as say 2 10 frames?

2 eight frame mediums = 1 ten frame deep
4 eight frame mediums = 2 ten frame deeps = 3 ten frame mediums

>I planed on going with wax foundation then I started worrying about wax moths. How big of a problem are they?

A pain, but only in stored equipment or failing hives.

> Will I be replacing all the foundation every year?

No.

>Those Bee O pac systems for comb honey look pretty cool. Perhaps not now, but down the road when I have more experience....Is there any reason I cant have a super of standared frames  and a super with the Bee O Pac's?

If you have all mediums, sure that works.

> Will this determin my other foundation?

No.

> I mean will the bees reject the plastic Bee O Pac because they are used to wax?

No.  They will reject it because they don't like working in little spaces.  If you crowd them enough you'll get them over it.

>Both 8 frame and 10 frame use the same frames dont they?

Yes.

> Am I understanding it right that the difference in sizes is determined by the depth of the woodenware not the width ?

The width is what determines how many frames.  A ten frame box is 16 1/4" wide.  An eight frame is either 13 3/4" or 14" wide.  The DEPTH is what determines the kind of frames it takes.

Standard 10 Frame boxes
Name(s) Depth Weight full of honey Uses

Jumbo, Dadant Deep 11 5/8" 100 - 110 pounds Brood
Deep, Langstroth Deep 9 5/8" 80 - 90 pounds Brood & Ext
Western Bee Supply 7 5/8" 70 - 80 pounds Brood & Ext
Medium, Illinois, 3/4 6 5/8" 60 - 70 pounds Brood & Ext & Cmb
Shallow 5 ¾" or 5 11/16" 50 - 60 pounds Cmb
Extra Shallow, ½ 4 ¾" or 4 11/16" 40 - 50 pounds Cmb

8 frame boxes:
Jumbo, Dadant Deep 11 5/8" 80-88 lbs
Deep 9 5/8" 64-72 lbs
Western Bee Supply 7 5/8" 56-64 lbs
Medium, Illinois 6 5/8" 48-56 lbs
Shallow 5 3/4" or 5 11/16" 40-48 lbs
Extra Shallow 4 ¾" or 4 11/16" 32-40 lbs

>I noticed some 'complete hives' have 1 or 2 hive bodies and some are only supers. Is this simply a matter of preference and weight?

Yes.

> Are there other reasons for this?

No.

> I like the idea of all supers so that all the frames are the same, but as a beginner would I be better off sticking to standard dept hive bodies?

No.  You'd be better off with all the same size and a box you can lift.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm#uniformframesize

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Michael Bush
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2008, 12:29:03 AM »

Quote
Betterbee and Mann lake's 8 frame equipment is 14" wide.  Brushy Mt and Miller Bee Supply's are 13 3/4".  They are close enough that you could make them work, but it's probably wiser to plan to buy all the accessories to fit.

Western Bee offers them in 13 1/2, 13 3/4, 13 7/8, and 14.0.  I get the 13 7/8 so that it is easy to make the 13 3/4 or the 14.0 fit.
BTW Western Bee cuts the end pieces after you order.
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« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2008, 02:11:49 PM »

May God Bless Your Bees, Michael! You had the patience to answer every one of my questions, You are an Angel ! and I greatly appreciate it!  Kiss 

No amount of book reading can beat experience. And since experience only comes with time, trial and error, for a beginner, nothing can top the sage advice of those with years of experience under their belt.

THANK YOU ONE AND ALL !!

 Based on everyones combined advice I have decided to go with all 8 frame supers from Miller Bee Supply in NC.  For me, they are the closest place that carries 8 frame equipment.  Shipping shouldnt be excessive, and if I need to I could make a round trip there and back in a day.  When I spoke with them they appeared friendly and knowledgable.  And, if I get additional stuff from Brushy Mountain later, it sounds like they are more or less interchangable.
  For this 1st year I'm going with preassembled frames with the crimp wire wax foundation.  Putting together all those frames squarely seems a little daunting to me so assembled will be best.  Surely, I can figure out how to install the foundation.  I will order extras, as suggested, so I will have spares when I break some.  Which I'm sure I will.

For a round veil and suit I am considering Betterbee. Sounds sturdy and reasonably priced.

What about Mann Lake's smoker?  It appeares a little different then everyone elses.  Ofcourse, they advertise theirs is the best (but then everyone thinks their own is the best don't they)  Does anyone here use this one?

With much appreciation, Barbra  Smiley
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« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2008, 02:26:07 PM »

I do not have the Mann Lake smoker, but I have played with it when I visited their showroom. It looks great to me and something I will treat myself to one day.

Sincerely
Annette

 
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« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2008, 02:23:25 PM »

This is the list I have come up with for my first year with a single hive:

2 deep hive bodies
20 assembled deep frames with ritecell
1 hive tool
1 smoker
1 veil/hat
1 screened bottom board
1 inner cover
1 tele top cover
1 feeder jug

1 3# package of Italian bees <-- don't forget this part Smiley

I will pickup a honey super this summer just in case the girls need more room for winter honey.

-Steve
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« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2008, 08:15:08 PM »

>I have decided to go with all 8 frame supers from Miller Bee Supply in NC.

The majority of my equipment now, has come from them.  They have been honest, helpful and courteous.  I highly recommend them.
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Michael Bush
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