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Author Topic: First Hive in 2009  (Read 703 times)
manfre
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« on: December 16, 2008, 12:46:52 PM »

Backstory:

I plan on building a KTBH this winter and getting bees sometime early next year. I have about .8 acres in the center of an uptight town. I've read the ordinances while investigating chickens (banned) and did not see any restrictions against honey bees. My property has 15 semi-dwarf/full size fruit trees, fig trees, lots of clover (planting more since I hate grass) and several vegetable gardens. By the end of winter, ~40 blueberry/blackberry bushes will be in the ground. I figure there will be plenty of pollen for the bees.

I have started to read many of the threads and articles posted here and will read a few of the recommended books for beginners.

Questions:

I would like to know if my to-do list is missing anything that would make life easier and safer for both me and the bees.

- Build the hive. Would the bees reject a hive made out of decking material (trex) with wood top bars? It would be cheaper than cedar and wouldn't require staining/painting the outside of it. For untreated wood, would using low vox paint (on outside only) and letting it air for at least a month be a problem for the bees? Just trying to figure out alternatives to linseed oil/wax stain and cedar.

- How large of a water source would 1-2 hives need? Would a bird feeder with in 10' be enough? Or would they ignore than and go to the larger fountain 50' away next to my porch?

- Purchase Gear - smoker, veil, suit, mini pry-bar/knife to detach comb, epi pen

- Investigate to make sure insurance company will not drop me for this hobby. I don't plan on selling anything for a few years.

- Talk with only neighbor who will be able to see the hive without trespassing.

- Contact local group. Figure out if I can tag along on inspections well before I get bees. Even lang experience is better than nothing. Inquire about getting bees.


Thanks,
Manfre
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2008, 01:54:18 PM »

Welcome!
Sounds like you are doing your homework ahead of time!

You have a nice setup in your yard.  Likely the bees will pollinate your trees and garden, but most of what they collect will not be from your yard.  But rest assured that there are plenty of pollen/nectar sources around.

Hive materials - I'm not familiar with the decking material, but I'd recommend just going with pine or spruce.  It is cheap, and may not last as long, but at least you know what it is made of.  And as long as the paint/stain stays on the outside of the hive then there isn't any issue with airing it out, etc.

Water Source - The bees will likely go to the source that is 50' away,  but it is good to keep one closer as well.

Neighbors - it isn't usually the next door neighbors that are the problem, it is the one paranoid 3 houses down that will flip out on you when they find out you have bees and they, their kids, and  their dog has deadly allergies to any kind of insect bite, sting, touch, etc. 

Sometimes it is better to ask for forgiveness, because if the neighbors don't know anything about bees then they may be afraid, but if you have them for a while before the neighbors find out, then they can see that they aren't a problem.  But it is good to talk to them first if you know them and they aren't afraid of their shadow.  It's good to have a backup plan as well.

Bee clubs -  Yup, highly recommended to get local contacts.  The internet forums are great, but its sure hard to diagnose something from 500 miles away (or however far).

Read lots, and have fun planning! 
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manfre
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« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2008, 03:06:22 PM »

Trex is a mix of sawdust and plastic. From what I've been reading, bees generally don't like building comb on plastic frames, which might reduce attachments to the sides. I just worry that they might reject building comb in a box made of this stuff. I also need to read more to see if there would be health issues with using it. I've read that it's safe for using with vegetable gardens, so I'm assuming it should be safe enough for bees.  I might make 1 hive out of trex as an experiment. I need to buy a bunch of it anyway for another project. What's 1-2 more boards?

My goal with the water source near the hives is that I want to keep their flight path away from my porch as much as possible. The fountain is near a kids play set. I'll need remember to check that frequently for swarms. I can position the hive further from the house and/or provide a larger water source for the bees. Moving the hive means that it might be visible from the street, instead of only visible by my neighbor and from my backyard.

As stated, only one neighbor can see my backyard without trespassing. I don't think the others would really find out about it. I also have a neighbor down the road with two warre hives in his front yard and he hasn't caught much flak this year. I only saw one email complaint to the town (based upon public record request).

I am tempted to wire a webcam to video the hives 24/7. It'll add to the fun and help mitigate liability. "I'd like to present exhibit A, the plaintiff's moronic child walking around the caution sign to throw a rock at the hive."
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Robo
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« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2008, 03:24:25 PM »


- Build the hive.
The only issue I could see with composite is weight.  The bees won't care one way or the other.
Quote
- How large of a water source would 1-2 hives need? Would a bird feeder with in 10' be enough? Or would they ignore than and go to the larger fountain 50' away next to my porch?
Quote
It depends on the quality of the water.  Adding a splash of clorox seems to lure them fairly well.   Ten feet might be a little too close for them, though boardman feeders filled with water also work well.


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manfre
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« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2008, 03:39:08 PM »

The only issue I could see with composite is weight.  The bees won't care one way or the other.

Didn't think about weight. It might be a little bit heavier, but I already thought of physically moving hive as a two person job (when occupied). I'm sure if I tried to move it by myself the webcam would yield a horrifyingly entertaining video on youtube.

It depends on the quality of the water.  Adding a splash of clorox seems to lure them fairly well.   Ten feet might be a little too close for them, though boardman feeders filled with water also work well.

What is a good distance for a water source? I haven't purchased a bird feeder/water source yet.
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