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Author Topic: one hive or two??  (Read 4482 times)
harvey
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« on: June 17, 2009, 06:21:16 PM »

Good evening Folks

Was just wondering all yalls opinion.  I have just started into beekeeping.  The bee's came to me so I gave them a home.  I have no desire to sell honey just get enough for me and my relatives?  Also help polinate my orchard.  I have 30 dwarf fruit trees.   I think this first hive is going to make it!

Question is :  Is one hive enough or should I maybe go to two?   Would it be to late in the year to consider ordering bee's and starting up another hive?   The one I have now was a swarm that landed in my orchard and then I picked up a couple brood boxes and supers from Dadent.  Whatsya think?
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doak
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« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2009, 07:22:20 PM »

You should have at least two. Forbid something happens in the one you will have some route to go to.
As in loosing the queen, you could give it a frame of eggs/brood and they could rear another queen.
Also have two so you can have someway to know how they are doing. Comparison.
You would unlikely have the same problem with two colonies at the same time unless it was some drastic occasion. My 2 cents. :)doak
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lotsobees
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« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2009, 07:24:40 PM »

My thots...

1) 2 hives might be a good idea as it gives you more options for combining a weak hive, etc
2) 1 hive is plenty to pollinate a small orchard of that size
3) Guessing, considering your climate/location, that it may be a bit too late. However, I'd find a beek (on this board or elsewhere) or bee supply shop locally and get a solid opinion.
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Tucker1
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« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2009, 07:40:23 PM »

Having two hives gives you a comparison, which is very helpful.  As already mentioned, it also provides you several options in cases of problems, that you just don't have with a single hive.

Good luck with your bee keeping.

Regards,
Tucker
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iddee
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« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2009, 08:00:20 PM »

I agree with the two, but I think you should just keep the one for this year and try to increase to two or more in the spring. Getting one through a Michigan winter will be an accomplishment for a new beek. Getting one this late and it surviving the winter would be a miracle.
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harvey
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« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2009, 09:23:51 PM »

OK well I don't want to waist miracles on a second hive this year!  I will do what I can to help this one along and through the Michigan winter,   Yes we do get deep snow in our area and a lot of sub zero temps.  If need be maybe I could put black tar paper around the sides or on the top in the winter to get a little heat from the sun?
   If next year I want to start another hive, I will probably not be so lucky to find a swarm so package bees,  are they going to be different or more difficult?   

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lotsobees
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« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2009, 09:28:06 PM »

OK well I don't want to waist miracles on a second hive this year!  I will do what I can to help this one along and through the Michigan winter,   Yes we do get deep snow in our area and a lot of sub zero temps.  If need be maybe I could put black tar paper around the sides or on the top in the winter to get a little heat from the sun?

There's differing opinion on that. I'd find someone local with 5+ years exp. keeping bees alive and learn from 'em. Smiley

Quote
   If next year I want to start another hive, I will probably not be so lucky to find a swarm so package bees,  are they going to be different or more difficult?   

My pref these days are Nucleus hives ("Nucs") which can get you jump-started quicker as opposed to package bees. Nucs are mini-hives and composed of 4-5 frames of bees and brood along with a queen whereas package bees are just bees and have the work of comb-building in front of them after you hive them. There is one caveat some say with Nucs -- you have to be careful of disease that might be coming along for the ride in old frames/comb. I think if you check around and find reputable supply and check things out well during install, you're likely ok.
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Pond Creek Farm
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« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2009, 11:21:36 PM »

One is not enough, nor will two be enough.  I have found that I need 4-6 hives to really get a good comparison.  I have also found that I like having more hives than fewer hives.  I have like packages and nucs. I even bought a whole hive last year.  (I somehow managed to kill it).  This is a great learning experience, but I really wish I had a mentor.  This forum is my only source of information, and while great, I would llike to have someone look at these hives with me as I open them.
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Brian
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« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2009, 11:35:09 PM »

I started with one hive and was very successful with them. They overwintered really great and ended up too strong and swarmed on me the second year. Then I had 2 hives for 2 more years.

I now have 4 hives and I feel more comfortable having 4 because there are so many things that can go wrong, and at least there are the resources available to help each hive to thrive. There is always something happening with one hive or the other, so I feel better now that at least I am not going to lose my one and only hive.
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troutstalker2
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« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2009, 08:29:34 AM »


 
 More than one is the way to go, but when you two you will wonder about three, and four......

David
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mgmoore7
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« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2009, 10:04:11 AM »

Go for 2.

I started with two and now have 17.  I am in my 2nd year.
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harvey
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« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2009, 11:50:44 AM »

seventeen!  that is crazy!  You must want or are trying a business,  I just want to be able to pass honey around to my family members and know that my trees are being polinated good.  As it is mid june I think I will try and get this hive through the winter and then pick another up in the spring.  To bad I couldn't just split the hive I have into to full brood boxex and then put an empty brood box on top of each of them.  or can I?   What would I do for a queen in the second hive?
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lotsobees
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« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2009, 11:55:45 AM »

seventeen!  that is crazy!  You must want or are trying a business,  I just want to be able to pass honey around to my family members and know that my trees are being polinated good.  As it is mid june I think I will try and get this hive through the winter and then pick another up in the spring.  To bad I couldn't just split the hive I have into to full brood boxex and then put an empty brood box on top of each of them.  or can I?   What would I do for a queen in the second hive?

The key for hive growth/multiplication is understanding the growth pattern and seasons... a hive needs enough "momentum" (good food stores, good number of healthy bees, healthy queen, etc) going into fall to make it through the winter. To split a fairly new hive right now would be taking a gamble, but possible. IF you knew a local beek that would be willing to give you some extra frames of brood and you found a good queen asap, you fed them a bunch, etc etc, you MIGHT be able to gat a hive rollin nicely.
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NasalSponge
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« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2009, 01:22:53 PM »

Again that far north I would wait to do a split until spring. I started with two at the beginning of May, I am now up to 5. I also prefer nucs, do a search on here for packages and do some reading....in theory they work like a swarm but with the potential for many more issues.
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vermmy35
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« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2009, 01:45:15 PM »

Harvey I started with one hive this year and now that I am having a blast with it I wished it would have been two.  Next year I plan on adding another hive maybe even two depending on what the Chicago city ordinance says; I definitely have my neighbors full support and they keep asking me if I have any honey yet.  So good luck with what ever you decide. Norm
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2009, 02:02:52 PM »

Hmm...well, being a participant in the Arctic north, I'll chime in... Wink

You can start a hive and get it through if you start now.  You can even split a hive and make it through.  But splits get a bit trickier, especially considering that you are starting from a reletively new swarm.

You are better off sitting back and enjoying them this year. There is a slim chance of getting honey.  You can do a split next spring and end up with 2 hives and still get honey next year.  If you have the extra money, a new hive can be built up enough by the end of the year.

The trouble is, though, that I can tell you've got the bug more than a little bit.  It is going to eat at you if you don't get two hives this year.  In two years you are going to have at least 10 hives.  grin

Rick
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mgmoore7
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« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2009, 03:35:38 PM »

seventeen!  that is crazy!  You must want or are trying a business,  I just want to be able to pass honey around to my family members and know that my trees are being polinated good.  As it is mid june I think I will try and get this hive through the winter and then pick another up in the spring.  To bad I couldn't just split the hive I have into to full brood boxex and then put an empty brood box on top of each of them.  or can I?   What would I do for a queen in the second hive?

The key for hive growth/multiplication is understanding the growth pattern and seasons... a hive needs enough "momentum" (good food stores, good number of healthy bees, healthy queen, etc) going into fall to make it through the winter. To split a fairly new hive right now would be taking a gamble, but possible. IF you knew a local beek that would be willing to give you some extra frames of brood and you found a good queen asap, you fed them a bunch, etc etc, you MIGHT be able to gat a hive rollin nicely.

lotsobees is right.  For me, in FL, we can do splits probably all the way into Sept/Oct and overwinter into Nucs.  There is no winter here there is no broodless time so there is little danger of them dying due to cold.  The biggest issue we have right now is keeping them strong enough to deal with the SHB.
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The Beekeeper
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« Reply #17 on: June 18, 2009, 05:48:40 PM »

I personally started with two hives, which I think is good when starting out because different hives behave and produce honey in different ways.

So when you have 2 hives you are able to compare your production.

All the best!
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jojoroxx
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« Reply #18 on: June 18, 2009, 11:24:35 PM »

I had two last year. Both failed come spring (with abundant stores.) So I installed THREE packages on the drawn foundation and honey stores; one hive swarmed, so now I have FOUR! .... And I am already visualizing the bench for the next 8!!! ...I am thinking a bakers dozen, about 13 hives, would be about right. (a girl can dream!! grin) That way, I figure I'd have plenty of hives to absorb the losses, draw comparisons to, and draw brood or bees from. Losing a hive would also become less of a big deal.  More is better right? ....something about can't be too thin, too rich or have too many bee hives!! cool
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #19 on: June 19, 2009, 09:16:03 PM »

Two for all the reasons given.  The biggest issue is that the standard insurance/cure for a possibly queenless hive is a frame of open brood and eggs.  Without a second hive you won't have this resource.
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harvey
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« Reply #20 on: June 19, 2009, 10:02:41 PM »

Ok all yall seem to know what you are talking about!  I don't know much cept what I am learning on here.  I have no idea what to expect or how much honey I can get from one hive but I am sure that I want at least on other one.  I will purchase the hive this year and have it ready for spring.  I promised the bee's that I have now or should I say that decided to live with me that I would not bother them or check there hive for two weeks.  I have 10 days left fore I can open them up and check on there progress!   I built a platform out of two by six laid flat with a cedar top for them to sit on this year.  I like the idea of putting them on 4x4's with a bench type platform so I will build that this year and have it ready for next year. 

Now from the artic North,  A little more advice would be nice.  How much do the bee's need to winter over?  Should I protect the hive in any manner?  As you know we have fairly deep snow.  I am not really content with one hive but will manage till spring.  The hive I have now is from a swarm that landed in my orchard.  They seem to be very busy coming and going.  Funny,  I have lived hear since 1995 and have never seen a honey bee on the property,  always bumble bees and such.  Since they decided to come here I have decided to try and take care of them. 

A friend of mine used to be in the bee or honey business ten years ago or more.  He told me the other day that he has a two frame extractor and a hot knife that he will make me a real good deal on.  I think he means that If I stay with bee's he will give them to me.  He seemed excited that I had gotten into bee's.  He is the one that helped me take the swarm from the plum tree and put it in a cardboard box. 

How much honey could you take from a hive and still make sure they have enough.  I have two supers to put on when they are ready.  I guess I wait till they have eight of the ten frames drawn out in the top brood box?   
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #21 on: June 19, 2009, 10:15:55 PM »

>I have no idea what to expect or how much honey I can get from one hive but I am sure that I want at least on other one.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesexpectations.htm

>Now from the artic North,  a little more advice would be nice.  How much do the bee's need to winter over?

The hive, here in Southeast Nebraska, should weigh about 150 pounds going into winter with a large Italian cluster.

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

>  Should I protect the hive in any manner?  As you know we have fairly deep snow.

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

>a friend of mine used to be in the bee or honey business ten years ago or more.  He told me the other day that he has a two frame extractor and a hot knife that he will make me a real good deal on.  I think he means that If I stay with bee's he will give them to me.

Even if he wants $100 that would be a fair deal...

>How much honey could you take from a hive and still make sure they have enough.

That's not the right question.  It may be you can't take any and you have to feed.  It may be you can take 200 pounds and they still have 150 pounds left.

>  I have two supers to put on when they are ready.  I guess I wait till they have eight of the ten frames drawn out in the top brood box?   

Yes.
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Michael Bush
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harvey
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« Reply #22 on: June 19, 2009, 10:27:41 PM »

Thanks,  I realy am learning a lot on this forum from people like you and I do appreciate it.
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mick
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« Reply #23 on: June 20, 2009, 03:57:20 AM »

Go for two, hardly any more work than one and good insurance. Besides with those trees, you will get the best yield ever! As for honey, in a good year you might get a couple of hundred pounds a hive, in a bad year, maybe 40, less than that and theres a problem. Thats when 2 hives will come into play providing honey for the growing list of relos.

Since I went to two, I have something to compare and if one dies, I can rebuild it using the other as I have done already.

Above all, having two is more fun.

You have snow, so I  imagine having two is even more sensible. A two frame extractor brand new is a few hundred bucks for a cheap one. They last forever, a good buy as soon as you can afford it and sounds like you can afford this deal.

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