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Author Topic: start over  (Read 1421 times)
bill
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« on: May 12, 2005, 03:13:43 PM »

Well I have been struggling through a few months of trying to be a beekeeper. I was given what was left of an old friend of mines old beekeeping tools hives and one colony of bees.  that had not been opened in a long time.probably two three years I would guess. Well to tell the truth I have been spinning my wheels. Today I am going to make a new start. I was given a huge amount of hive bodies old frames inner covers,some good some not so good. A large extractor,a tank.for bottling a queen excluder In other my friend set me up in the honey business. I have read huge amounts of literature, watched videos,participated in this forum drove my wife crazy, captured two swarms, but still I am just spinning my wheels. The trouble is I think is my scottish blood. I have been putting frames together that should have gone in the trash. I have been trying to put nucs together using frames out of the old hive. On the videos I noticed that the frames were a beautiful yellow, and the drawn comb was a beautiful white. And I have been thinking they just use that because they are doing a video and their real hives are just as horrible as mine. But I just came in from inspecting my swarm hive that I got last week I had given them a bunch of honey frames from my failed nucs, an as I told you earlier they evicted or joined the other nuc which was made out of the same ol burrcomb drawn on old twisted plastic foundation that probably dates back to world war one. On the ride back to the house I decided it was no use to put on a bee suit and go through the motions of inspecting a hive when I know no more about the hive as I did when I started. I am accomplishing absolutely nothing. I don't know how to go about but it, but I will find out thanks to this computor. I am going to replace every frame in all my hives with new stuff. stuff that looks like the stuff on the videos. I am going to find a way to use reading glasses inside a viel, I am going to look at pictures of queens till I can tell which one she is at first glance. I may not get any honey for a while but I have an idea that in the end I will get a lot more honey in the long haul. When I can recognise a queen I will requeen all of them. Well if it doesn't work it won'be from the lack of trying
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billiet
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« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2005, 03:44:36 PM »

Bill,

It seems you are struggling, but not discouraged enough to quite all together.  That is good cheesy   Be patient and take small steps.  The nice thing about the internet is that there is a ton of information available.  The bad thing about the internet is that there is a ton of information available.

Don't be in a rush to throw out all your comb and replace it with new. Never judge comb by color alone.  I don't have any pictures handy,  but I'm sure you have seen Micheal Bush's avitar.  That is beautiful comb,  try buying drawn comb,  it is not something that people want to readily part with, and if they do, they want top dollar for it.  

I'm sure you can sort through all the comb you have and pick out they better ones to use.  My rule of thumb is only to cull out frames with more than 10% drone (or unusable) cells.  Once you have the best of your comb picked out,  slowly cull the bad combs out and replace with the better comb.  To do this,  slowly move the bad combs to the outside of the super and install your better combs in the center.  Moving them over to all foundation will really hamper their progress as they will spend much effort to draw out new comb.

As far as finding the queen,  you narrow down her whereabouts with your excluder. Put the excluder on top of the bottom box and after a couple of days check back to see where the fresh eggs are (much easier to spot on dark comb than that "nice" yellow comb).  If they are below the excluder you know to seach only the bottom box.  If they are above the exclude, you can move the excluder up another box and try to isolate her even further.

Good luck  and hang in there,  just remember bees have their own minds and don't alway react the same way as the internet says they should.
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"Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison


Miss Chick-a-BEE
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« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2005, 03:48:54 PM »

It can be alot easier for a new beekeeper to start with new stuff - fresh foundation, and strong hive bodies atleast. It's bad enough what bees can do to a hive in six months time, but to try and use frames that haven't been cared for in YEARS? I'd imagine they were a mess. Smiley It's also a good idea to start with fresh frames because you know they don't have some illness covered all over them.

The nice white wax you see is the new wax a bee will make. But it does turn darker and darker in the brood area as several generations of bees grow up in there. It doesn't stay white for long. Your frames where they store honey will turn from white to yellow as they age, or slightly brownish. But there's no way around having dark brown to black brood comb. It just gets that way after awhile. And using the same old frames in your hive (if it's always been in that hive) is ok. There are people out there using the same frames in the same hive for 30 years. But as it gets used and ages, it gets darker, and often the cells get stretched out - leaving them only useful to the queen for an area to lay drones.

It's all about management. If you start with some fresh stuff, you can see the development and changes on your own in the hive. If you have old stuff, but are a new beekeeper, you have no way of knowing what's normal or not normal.

Hang in there. You're learning even now.... even though it's sort of the hard way.

Beth
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2005, 04:06:51 PM »

http://www.bushfarms.com/images/47mmComb.JPG

This is comb that is only one year old.  I have a few combs that are 28 years old and black as night.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Chad S
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« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2005, 04:53:32 PM »

Bill,

I had a simular situation.  I got 10hive bodies, 5 bottom boards inner covers outer covers, and 11 shallow supers.  No bees or extractor I might add.  The crap grime mouse poop, and fiberglass insulation I cleared away was gross.  I think I spend 40+ hours getting my gear sharpened up including all new foundation with cross wires.  I added new frames where need, but kept 90% cobbled some together where it made sence, and used the rest to start fires in the wood stove (old frames burn like crazy).  Sounds to me like your deep into it, and have already done some stuff that I would consider advanced bee keeping.


Chad
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bill
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« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2005, 05:32:34 PM »

well I am finished crying now. I am really glad that i was given the chance to get into beekeeping. and I love it but I can see that I am goi8ng to have to hold myself to a higher standard and spend a little money. My first hive has produced a super of honey now even though I have been robbing the brood frames trying to make increase. both of the queens I bought are gone. I acleaned up as much of the old comb out of the swarm hive. they have a couple of deep frames of honey and a bunch of foundation. It is a long season here so maybe I can get them built up before winter. MY nuc I just don/t know if it has a queen or not. until I can get some brood in it. the trouble is that I can't seem to see good enough when I am in the hive or I just don't recognise very young brood I can only tell what it is if it is capped or it has a worm in it too big to be queen material.I just wish there was an easy to tell whether there is a queen in a hive or not. when I can do that I think I will be on my way, but I am still groping in the darkI think if I can renew as many frames as possible  that will help a lot and I am thsinking now of taking a magnifying glass in my bee suit pocket, I don't know why I didn't think of that today. Anyway It would be worse if I had not found this forum  thanks a lot
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billiet
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« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2005, 08:23:31 PM »

Just keep working on it. A hive that old is prob not the best for a begginer but I am shure you can handel it.  Cheesy
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Ryan Horn
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