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Author Topic: A novice asking novice-type questions  (Read 2960 times)
fuzzybeekeeper
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« on: April 09, 2005, 02:44:34 AM »

Hello from Brenham, Texas, home of Bluebell Ice Cream.  For those of you who have never heard of Bluebell Ice Cream, I pity you.

I am a "refurbished" beekeeper.  I had 3 hives 25 years ago and things have sure changed since then.

I am going to pick up my 6 packages in the morning from Weavers.  (It's 2:30 a.m. and I just finished painting my hives and puting wax in my frames!)  They are only 20 miles away.  I have been drooling when you guys from "snowbird country" get yours before we do!

There seems to be a lot of info on flowers and "flows" north of the Mason/Dixon line but very little about specific areas of Texas.   I have been listening to you guys in the Lubbock area but for you non-Texans, that's about 9 hours driving time from here with a totally different climate.  Is there a good source for what plants bloom when?  I do plan on asking the Weavers tomorrow, but I am looking for a long-term source of what to do when for Texas.

Also, I am running medium deep everything.  Since I only have one box ready for each hive, can I make do with one box per package for a week or so or should I have stayed up all night finishing the other box per hive?

Thanks for all of the information you have on this site.  It has been very helpful to a second time novice.  I feel like I am beginning to know some of you fairly well.

Fuzzy
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2005, 03:53:18 AM »

One box will probably hold them over for a week. As I understand it you don't add another box until the girls have drawn the first frames of foundation out about 70%. That would be 7 frames in a 10 frame hive body.

Being new to beekeeping, I had never had a reason for keeping up with what blooms when around here. So I'm no help there for sure. I would think you are well ahead of us up here in things flowering out. We have has these weeds with yellow flowers since December, they are every where, but I have yet to see a bee on them. But my bees have been bringing in pollen from some where.

I might take pix of these flowers today and post them. Perhaps some of our gardners will know what they are.

Gonna be another windy one the next few days.
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« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2005, 05:56:35 AM »

I think 1 medium might be a little tight, especially if your getting 3lb packages.  I would get busy on the second mediums and add them as soon as you can get them done.

I have never had a package abscond,  but perhaps if they feel there is not enough room, they might decide to look elsewhere.
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beesharp
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« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2005, 06:02:16 AM »

I've had Blue Bell Ice Cream and share your opinion!

I've had some of Weaver's bees and I'm sure you'll be very pleased. They are really great bees. I'm sure they can fill you in on local conditions, but if they're running 5,000 colonies they're moving them to  the different flows.

In the Dallas area, we have a nice flow of all different types of wildflowers with some mesquite. I don't think there's one dominant type of flower and our flow ends abruptly in early July.

Commercial beekeepers will put lots of bees South of San Antonio in early spring for "Brush Honey" - which is great honey and I think just a whole bunch of different wildflowers.

Later in the summer lots of bees will be moved around Houston for Tallow honey. I think that's a tree - Chinese Tallow? OK-honey. I'm not sure if any cotton is grown in your area, cotton can yield a nice honey.

I'm sure you'll be fine with 1 medium per package. It takes some time for packages to draw foundation and get new brood hatching.
Jim
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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2005, 07:16:09 AM »

I found this site for you, but it may take some sorting through to get the real flowering season organized. It does have a ton of information though.

http://uvalde.tamu.edu/herbarium/index.html

Beth
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fuzzybeekeeper
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« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2005, 08:22:07 AM »

Thanks so much for the quick responses.

Ironicly, Beth, I am originaly from a small town abut 10 miles from Uvalde (see the first word in your link).  Thanks for your search!

Well, I'm off (in more ways than one!) to go get my bees.  It's gonna be a busy day!

Hey, you Lubbock guys....My two sons are in Lubbock at the USA at Tech photographing a contest today.  I told them it was too far for me to go.  Maybe next year.

Fuzzy
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2005, 10:15:25 AM »

I install my packages in a five frame medium depth nuc.  They really take off when they are crowded like that for the first month.  Then, of course, they will have to be moved to larger quarters as soon as the first batch of brood starts to emerge.  I have put them in as much as three mediums to start with, and they did ok.  But not as well as they do in the five frame nuc.

I would NOT put them in two mediums to start with.  One will be plenty big.
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Michael Bush
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fuzzybeekeeper
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« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2005, 11:16:41 AM »

Thanks, Michael.

Things went very well while installing the packages.  I got my first sting on the ankle because I didn't get my pants leg tight enough, but that was my fault, not theirs.

My wife even came out and took photos of the whole thing.  I was so surprised that she even helped move some of the boxes and all she had on was a sleeveless shirt.  She continues to surprise me every day with the things she does for and with me.  (Ain't love GRAND?)

As I lay trying to settle down last night, I realized that I may have made one minor mistake.  I put the jar of syrup on small pieces of wood OVER the inner cover and then two empty boxes and the outer cover over the jar.  I bet I was supposed to put the jar directly on the frames or maybe on a couple of pieces of wood directly on the frames instead of over the opening in the inner cover.  I don't think this is a major problem, so I'm not going to go out today and break everything open and correct it unless somebody more edumacated than I thinks I need to.

One other comment that I have not seen mentioned is that I used gallon glass jars for the syurp and drilled 6 or 7 small (smaller than a pencil lead) holes in the lid.  Since I didn't have enough sugar to make the correct mixture, the jars still had about an inch and a half of space to be full.  When I turned the jars over, quite a bit of syrup ran out until a vacuume could be formed in the jar.  That made quite a mess on the inner cover (again, a mistake?) but I'm sure the ladies will clean it up.  I think the jar needs to be FULL so you can turn it over without making a mess.  I probably should have just added enough water to do that.  It wouldn't have diluted the mixture that much.

By the way....is the inner cover supposed to go on with the large-spaced side to the top or to the bees?

Sorry I'm so long-winded.  Just my nature.

Fuzzy
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2005, 11:23:22 AM »

I had to move my jar off to the side of the hole and placed on sticks. The change in day/night temps made the thing breath and syrup was dumping on to the frames.

Even totally full the syrup will dribble out as you turn the jar over. I do it to the side of the hive so it falls to the ground and then place the jar.

For bee space I believe the large space goes up.
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rainbow sunflower  Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.   rainbow sunflower

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fuzzybeekeeper
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« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2005, 11:33:52 AM »

Thanks, Jerry.

I'm envious of you guys in the Lubbock area that are all working together on your projects.  Sure wish I had that kind of group around Brenham.

Soooo....if there are any other active members within 50 miles of Brenham, let me know!

Fuzzy
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2005, 01:33:16 PM »

You talking about Brian and me? We have only seen each other one time. Most of the communication is through here.
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rainbow sunflower  Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.   rainbow sunflower

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Michael Bush
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« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2005, 01:52:10 PM »

I'd put the jar ON the inner cover hole so the bees CANNOT get into the upper box holding the jar.  Bees LOVE open spaces where they can build their own comb.  I've had them move into a miller type feeder from Brushy Mt that has the floats in it.

http://incolor.inetnebr.com/bush/images/BroodNestInFeeder.JPG

Don't prop it up on the top bars with exta space around it.  Don't prop it up on the inner cover in such a way that the bees can get into the empty box on top.  They may cluster up there and make a mess.  If the slot in the inner cover is larger than your lid, use a pice of metal to fill the gap.  You can cut a piece from an aluminum can with a pair of scissors.
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Michael Bush
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MoKen
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« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2005, 09:02:24 AM »

I'm in a very similar position. Using only mediums and getting packages next week. So if I understand correctly, I should use one box initially, until the bees get a good start in it.

I would like to feed using a plastic bag with holes punched in it. What is the best arrangement? Do I place it on top of the inner cover? If so, do I need a really short (1" or so) upper box to give them room to get to the bag but not enough room to encourage comb building? Or should I put the bag directly on top of the frames? Or something else???

Thanks.

Ken
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2005, 01:40:04 PM »

There is always the risk when comb building is going on, of them filling the space with comb.  The smaller the space the smaller the risk.  I'd use a one by two and build a spacer to go on top of the top box and put the bags on the top bars and the inner cover on top.  But you could also put the bags on the inner cover and the spacer on top of the inner cover.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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