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Author Topic: Questions/Issues with startup  (Read 1221 times)
Erick
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« on: February 26, 2009, 09:49:05 AM »

Hello:

I have a few questions about starting up.  Maybe they should be in separate posts, but here they all are anyway. . .

Is the race of bee important for location you are in and is it best (as I suspect) to get bees that are acclimated to your region regardless of race?

I am obviously looking to having the greatest rate of success, so is it preferential to obtain a package or a nuc to start with?  I would think the nuc would be best since the bees are established, but are there any difficulties or issues inherent to the transfer/installation that would make it less then desirable for a beginner.

Having said that, I am basically looking for 'relatively' local suppliers for my first attempt.  However, I do not usually get home in a timely manner to contact these people via telephone.  I have been relying on emails to various regional suppliers, but time is a factor I realize.  I am able to get on the net long enough to post on a forum while at work, but I cannot usually get near a phone to make outside calls...go figure rolleyes.

So after all that, does anyone have advice as what action to take? 
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jdpro5010
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« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2009, 09:52:21 AM »

I would prefer to get "local" bees in the form of a nuc.  That to me is more important than the race of the bee.  The best way to start out is always to get a mentor or local bee club to help you out.  That way the difficulties of any first time experience are kept to a minimum.
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mgmoore7
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« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2009, 11:13:25 AM »

Local bees in a nuc would be best but many thousands of hives are started with package bees that are shipped from another location.  You will be fine. 

I would highly suggest in either case that you start with 2 hives.  In my 1st year, if I did not have 2 hives, niether would have survived.  I made mistakes and had alot of issues in the first year that seemed to be uncommon. 
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DaveKow
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« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2009, 01:26:56 PM »

I would prefer to get "local" bees in the form of a nuc. 

JDPRO, did I hear you say you were going to sell me a "nuc"?  Package hive from last year didn't make it.

If I were to do a package again, I think I would re-queen as soon as local queens were available in my area.  That pretty much takes you up to the price of a "nuc".
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jdpro5010
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« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2009, 02:32:54 PM »

You never know come may I may have one to sell Dave! grin
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2009, 06:52:28 PM »

Hello:

I have a few questions about starting up.  Maybe they should be in separate posts, but here they all are anyway. . .

Is the race of bee important for location you are in and is it best (as I suspect) to get bees that are acclimated to your region regardless of race?

The race of bee can be a factor, condiser:
Black German bees hare from Northern Europe but have a reputation of being rather hot.
Italians are from Southern Europe (the mediterrainian) and a warmer weather bee.
Carnoilans are from East Central Europe and a colder climate then Italians but not necessarially as cold as Black Germans.
Russians are from Western Russian, this is the area where the German Army practically froze to death during WWII, they are definitely cold weather bees.
Caucasian bees are from the Odessa (Black Sea) area of Russian and the strain most commonly found the upper Middle East of Turkey, Iran and Iraq.  They are more or a warm weather bee.

With all that said, any bee can be aclimatized to local conditions.  It takes about 3 years of survival so if a person were to start with 100 hives the 1st year and didn't split he would probably loose 50-60% the 1st winter, and 30-40 percent the second winter and 5-20% the third winter, the 5-20% being considered an typical seasonal loss.

Quote
I am obviously looking to having the greatest rate of success, so is it preferential to obtain a package or a nuc to start with?  I would think the nuc would be best since the bees are established, but are there any difficulties or issues inherent to the transfer/installation that would make it less then desirable for a beginner.

Nucs are the best way to start, if you can obtain them, they are not always available and delivery is usually much more local due to the amount of bees, combs, and hive structure involved.
Packages are artificial swarms, as are splits, that can be shipped much easier since it is just the bees.  This is the typical way of obtaining a start in beekeeping.  The other ways are buying a split from a local beekeeper (a good option) or catching a swarm (chancy).

Quote
Having said that, I am basically looking for 'relatively' local suppliers for my first attempt.  However, I do not usually get home in a timely manner to contact these people via telephone.  I have been relying on emails to various regional suppliers, but time is a factor I realize.  I am able to get on the net long enough to post on a forum while at work, but I cannot usually get near a phone to make outside calls...go figure rolleyes.

So after all that, does anyone have advice as what action to take? 

Find local beekeepers near you.  contact the Nearest Extention agent who should have name and numbers of the officers of the local Beekeeping Association.  Read and research forums such as this and look at the various online beekeeping catalogs and suppliers for information.  Decide on the type of equipment (8 or 10 frame, deep or medium, etc) and then buy it in such numbers to obtain quantity discounts, which can often save the amount of shipping costs.

Look at:  Mann Lake Ltd, Dadant, Walter Kelly, Miller Bee Supply, Betterbee, Western Bees, Sky Blue Bee Supply, Ruhl Bee Suuply, Sol Bee Supply, etc.  Look for major supppliers that might have branch offices near you and loock for mom and pop operations near by.  Often clubs make up a Yearly package by and you might be able to get in on that as it will save you bucks in shipping and quantity.  They do this for package bees and equipment both.
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JP
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« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2009, 08:51:07 PM »

Superb advice Brian!


...JP
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fermentedhiker
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« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2009, 10:33:31 PM »

I went with a Nuc for my first bees last year.  They definitely had a headstart over a package.  The only issue I had with them(other than the fact that the beek I purchased them from overwinters them in Georgia so they aren't really adjusted for my locale) is that they came with all the associated pests intact.  Varroa and SHB etc...  Not how I was hoping to start out Smiley Which got me thinking that the break in brood production forced by how a package is assembled might have some benefits.
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Erick
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« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2009, 07:58:35 AM »

Thanks, everyone.  Especially for the thorough post by Brian D. Bray.

I have made some headway.

I will update.

I'm sure more questions are sure to follow.


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tlynn
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« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2009, 08:15:26 AM »

My first hive was a full 10 deep I purchased from a local beekeeper.  It was later in the spring and I couldn't find a package and didn't know about nucs.  It was great for us because it was a strong hive and I was adding supers immediately and had 2 harvests of honey that year.  So I saw fast results which was very encouraging. On the other hand, I probably lost out on some early learning opportunities of building up a hive as well the fact that it's a higher cost.
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Erick
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« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2009, 01:58:35 PM »

Well,

I'm at least started.

I almost done putting together the hive bodies and frames.  However, I am not at all satisfied with the craftsmanship of the materials.  Now that I know what it looks like, I can make my own next time. 

Also, it when they say unassembled....they weren't kidding!  It was a learning curve, but wow....the instructions were horribly vague....but on the bright side, being and engineer finally paid off...I was able to figure it out  Wink

I just need to paint the boxes and pick up the bees next month.
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Ken
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« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2009, 06:02:29 PM »

Erick,
here are some good tipson assembly:
http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,20491.0.html
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