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Author Topic: New Plan, tell me what you think...  (Read 1678 times)
SgtMaj
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« on: July 19, 2008, 10:43:04 PM »

Well, the more I learn, the less I think my plan on where to put the bees is appropriate.  I'm thinking now that they will do much better in the front yard than the back (it faces mostly east, slightly north, but not north enough to create shade).  I'm going to place them fairly close to the house, maybe about a foot or two from it, in a little nook that would put a wall on the west and north sides, which because the rain is driven in from the west or north, would leave the hives completely out of the rain, and would provide morning sun, and late afternoon shade.  Also, although highly visible, this spot is seldom walked by, and I believe the location would cause the bees flight paths to better avoid the kids in the area.

I'm also now planning on 1 and a half hives instead of just one (that is one hive, with a springtime split to a nuc, and fall recombining back to 1 using the Emerie method).

I was originally thinking about using a swarm or cutout for the initial bees, then requeening later, but now I'm thinking that I should get a package of italians (w. pedigreed and marked italian queen), then requeening the following year using a carniolan queen with the spring split.  Using the italians in the beginning to get more drawn out comb to use later with the carniolans.  To prevent robbing during the first split, I'll move the carniolan nuc around to the north side of the house until they are recombined and the italian queen is replaced.  After that I'll just stack the nuc on top of the strong hive and orient the entrances in different directions.

I'm going to use all medium hives for greater ease of management, and will use a screened bottom board on both the main and nuc (as long as I use sticky board on the nuc SBB all the time, it should work as a passive control on mites).  I'm also now planning on painting the hives white instead of using varnish, this will help them blend in with the white siding and will help keep them a little cooler on those blisteringly hot summer days.  Finally, because several neighbor's have pools that the bees might find appealing, I'm going to place a bird bath in the front yard and run a hose under the lawn and up the middle of it that will just barely have water running to keep it constantly replenished.  In the top of the bird bath, I'm going to place some egg crate (the kind used in light fixtures, not the kind used for eggs) to provide plenty of easy access to the water for the bees, and will help deter birds from using it as a bath.

As for the foundation, I'm thinking of using plasticell.  I'm not completely set on that decision though, so your thoughts may help me decide.

Alright, so let me know if I've missed anything, or if I am just being stupid about something here.
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contactme_11
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« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2008, 11:49:34 PM »

Sounds like a good plan
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Bill W.
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« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2008, 12:03:45 AM »

I think you'll find that location matters more to you than the bees, so a convenient, out-of-the-way place is good.

I would think seriously about starting two hives.  It really makes life easier if you have a problem.

If I had my start in beekeeping to do over, I'd skip the package bees and wait for a swarm.  My feral swarm bees are my best bees.  My Italians are fine too, but they cost a lot more than free swarms.
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SgtMaj
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« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2008, 12:30:21 AM »

Yup, I really think the front yard is going to be a better location.  It will definately spark some conversation with the neighbors, but it will be much less of a problem, especially since the neighbor in the back has a new pool right there that would be very tempting for them... plus he has a batting cage and coaches softball, so having the hive on the other side of the house will be much less of a problem.  And that's not even counting the weather and daylight benefits to keeping it there.

Space there is at a premium, which is one reason I'm going with the 1 and a half hives instead of two.  Plus, with keeping carniolans, I'll need to split them and requeen every year to keep them from swarming anyway.

I suppose I could get a swarm and requeen immediately with an italian queen, but there's no guarantee they would accept the new queen, and even then, if they aren't an italian swarm, it could be months before they start drawing comb out at the rate italians would.  I know the package bees will be more expensive... but I'll just ask my wife for them as an anniversary gift (our anniversary is in January), and of course the rest of the equipment I'll just put on my Christmas list.  Of course the bees won't arrive in January... but I will get in my order in January.
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Robo
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« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2008, 07:57:41 AM »

I suppose I could get a swarm and requeen immediately with an italian queen, but there's no guarantee they would accept the new queen, and even then, if they aren't an italian swarm, it could be months before they start drawing comb out at the rate italians would. 


Swarms are in the comb building mindset.  They come with full stomachs and their wax glands in full gear.  It is there instinct, if they don't get comb built ASAP and get the queen laying,  their chances of survival is at risk.   Here is a cut-out I did this Spring.  They were there exactly 1 week.

Furthermore, just because you buy an Italian package doesn't mean the bees are Italian, just the queen.  The bees will be from whatever they have in their yard to shake.  You aren't assured Italians until after a few brood cycles,  but you need comb for that, catch 22.   I'd take a swarm over a package anyday.

I wouldn't be so hell-bent on requeen with an Italian either.  A feral queen is acclimated to your area and will do better.  Another nice thing about swarms is that they don't come with SHB like packages might.  Though being in Tennessee, I assume you will end up with them eventually,  but why battle them while your trying to establish your first hives?   I do not have SHB,  and I hope to keep it that way by never bringing another package into my yards.
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kathyp
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« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2008, 09:28:37 AM »

ditto Robo.  my swarm hives built comb in a week that others took a  month to do.  great queens in most.  virgin on one small swarm and no evaluation on her yet.  my swarm hives and 2 of my cutout hives have done far better than an other splits, packages, or requeened hives.
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« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2008, 06:43:16 PM »

I agree too, swarms are naturally going to build up quick.  My first swarm of the season has already filled two hive bodies.  Nonetheless always start with two hives.  I have always found that one will be stronger and you might need to swap some brood or stores to help the other one along. 

David
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SgtMaj
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« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2008, 03:27:42 PM »

IF I could get an italian swarm, that would be great, but suppose I get a carniolan swarm... sure they might fill out a medium with comb pretty fast, but then they're going to slack off.  Italians will out-do them in just a few months, and by the second year, will have drawn out about twice as much.  Now I'm trying to get about 100 frames fully drawn out in the first year and a half (two summers, one winter)... that's not going to be an easy task, and will definately require bees with a predisposition to drawing out frames, as well as aggressive frame management, I may even get two packages, one for the main hive and one for the nuc that I would combine in the fall, then split again the following spring.  Having drawn comb ready will be vital to my future hive management strategy.
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KONASDAD
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« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2008, 04:04:50 PM »

I would get bees anyway thats guaranteed. Period.  Packages, cutouts, swarms are all good and bad for different reasons. I would personally look for a local provider. Contact your local bee club, find a commercial pollinator, craig's list etc before you buty a package. Swarms are awesome, but availability is questionable at best.  If you want to experiment w/ genetics, get your hive started and requeen. As a beginner, you will never have enough comb, bees or equipment in the begining either. As for what gentics a swarm is, stop worrying. Most bees are part italians b/c they are the most commonly used commercially. Carniolans havent been here so long either.

As for location, again stop worrying. Pick a spot thats ideal for you, and reasonable for the bees. there is no such thing as a perfect spot. Whats perfect for April, may be too hot for august, but  horrible for september.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2008, 08:26:35 PM »

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfaqs.htm#locating
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