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Author Topic: Newbie (or hoping to be anyway), but afraid...  (Read 3498 times)
OzarksFarmGirl
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« on: February 20, 2011, 11:27:28 PM »

I have been wanting to get bees for quite a while, but have been putting it off because I'm afraid.  Not of bees, mind you.  On the contrary...I LOVE bees and each year I have extensive gardens and fruit trees that are just teaming with bees.  What I'm afraid of is failure. I'm afraid that if I buy a hive, I will end up losing/killing them due inexperience and/or sheer ignorance.  Sad  Even though I have several books on beekeeping and have read them over and over again, I feel totally overwhelmed and even more confused then ever. Some seem to go overboard with the equipment requirements (full suite, gloves, veil, etc.) and a host of medicines and chemicals (my gardens and trees are all chemical free), and others not so much. But while I don't want to use anything that is not necessary or make things any harder than it needs to be, at the same time I don't want to not do enough and risk harming/killing the bees.

And as yet, I am still undecided as to the type of hive to buy. While I like the idea of an 8-frame garden style (it may be silly, but I like the pitched copper roof) and it would easier for me to handle, I have read from some that unless you keep buy from the same company that made the hive, it's hard to find frames and foundation that fit, and that even then it's subject to change. It seems as the 10-frame Langstrom is pretty much universal, no matter what company you buy from, but the 10-frame set up is heavier and would be much harder for me to handle.  Undecided   

Not only do I have to decide on the woodwork (8- or 10-frame, garden or standard, etc.), but I also have to decide on what strain of bees I should get. I really need your expert advice here, folks! And what about the bees that currently visit my gardens? They may be from a neighbors hive, but I don't know of anyone nearby that has any so they could even be wild, I simply don't know. What I do know is that they are very tame and they will crawl on my bare hands if I put my hand out to them when they are on the flowers. In the summer there are literally hundreds of them in my gardens and around the shallow water fountain I have set up. But what happens if/when I get my own hives, will they compete and fight? Will there be enough food to go around? I have a 5 gallon container of raw dark honey that I recently bought at an estate auction (the owner raised bees before he passed), and have that available to feed them if needed.     

What I do know is that if I'm going to get my own bees this year, I'd better get a move on before it gets to late to order. So I'd appreciate any and all feedback that would help me in my decision making.   Smiley
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2011, 11:50:55 PM »

Welcome farmgirl.  So you're afraid you will kill your bees.  Well, you might kill some but even if you do everything perfectly, some hives will die anyway.  That does not constitute failure on your part.  Reading is good and you have come to the right place to ask questions.  You can't learn everything at once, and some things are hard to learn until you have some bees to bother.

It's a good idea to standardize on frames and box size.  We have long hives and use only deep frames.  But if I were going to use Langstroth hives, I would consider standardizing on 8 frame mediums.   You would outgrow a garden type hive before you got through one season.   grin
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2011, 11:51:53 PM »

Welcome to beekeeping.
I would be better able give specifics if I knew your location, cold weather, warm weather, north, south, east, west...?

Read what is posted in this forum especially those by Finski, Michael Bush, BjornBee, Trot, Myself (humbly), and a few more I can't recall at the moment.  Jointly we probably represent over 300 years of beekeeping experience.  Locate and read a minimum of 4 different books on beekeeping from at least 4 different authors.

My recommendation for a new beekeeper would be to use 8 frame equipment and medium boxes (narrower, lighter, and easier to manipulate), Screen bottom boards, vented top (over entrace--an Imirie shim works well for this), and start your bees on 5.1mm or 4.9mm small cell foundation (don't believe what it says about being only for experienced beekeepers).

For a feeder use the 2 frame wide internal frame feeder with cover and ladders. 

As for tops, either migratory or telescopic are fine.  Garden style, IMO, are too expensive unless you're into astetics.
Paint the outside and edges of the boxes to extend life.

Good Luck!
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applebwoi
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« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2011, 11:52:58 PM »

If there is a bee club, join it.  Find a mentor if any are available.  I never had a mentor and no  bee clubs in the area so I just used these forums and jumped in.  Been going now for 5 years and still learning alot and using the forums. Don't fret about failing. You'll have successes and failures. Try and start with two hives cause it gives you a bit of flexibility.  I use all mediums and am happy I've gone that way.  When I started I had a collection of deeps mediums and shallows and I've never regreted using all mediums.  Bees seem to do fine and overwinter well, but I'm in an area with a relatively mild winter.  Good luck.
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OzarksFarmGirl
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« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2011, 01:06:43 AM »

Thanks for the warm welcomes! I'm in the only place in the Missouri Ozarks where the winters occasionally drop to -20°F with wind chills even colder, and with sweltering summers of high humidity and heat indexes that often exceed 110°F.   Most of the state is a USDA hardiness Zone 5b-6b, but there's a tiny section of the Ozarks that is a Zone 5a (think Iowa), and that's where I happen to live, surrounded by valleys and hills, woodlands and small farms. grin

I have a windbreak of trees and a 50' long x 6' tall board fence on the north side in order to protect my more tender perennial plants and my heeled-in young fruit trees that will be transplanted to their perm. location when they get a bit bigger. There is plenty of room for the hives to go against the fence (the fence shielding them from the north wind), although it gets very hot there in the summer as the position of the summer sun causes the shade of the trees to fall on the other side. I'm thinking the south side of the barn might be better as that area is shaded by a redbud tree in the summer, yet sheltered from the north wind in the winter and there is honeysuckle all along the woven fence that is connected on the west side of the barn, so would provide somewhat of a windbreak from westerly winter winds there as well.  Or maybe in the corner of one of the herb/flower gardens...       

I like the aesthetics of the garden style, and I don't mind paying a bit more for looks since I'm only planning on a couple hives for now. But if the migratory or telescopic tops are better for the bees, then that's what I'll go with. I just want whatever is best for them.   
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WPG
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« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2011, 01:34:31 AM »

Welcome,

You'll do fine. Bees survive uphere.

I think your location by the barn might be best for your heat in the summer and cold winters.
Afternoon shade works best in the summer.

I also recommend the 8-frame mediums.
Telescoping tops w/inner covers.
The garden top is just a fancy telescoping top, they are a lot heavier tho.
You could build your own sometime.

Don't feed the honey to the bees. Use it yourself. It might be bad for the bees but not for you.
The wildbees and yours won't fight each other on the flowers, just at the hive if a dearth is on and your hive is weak with lots of food.

Goodluck and have fun.
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OzarksFarmGirl
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« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2011, 02:28:45 AM »

8-frame on the south side of the barn it is, then.  Smiley
And now for the bees....Carni? Italian? Russian? I don't know what others there are.  But I have children, pets, and small livestock (not to mention a citified bee-wary hubby), and therefore gentle, non-temperamental bees are a must.  And if they are good honey producers, that would be a plus.  grin

 
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« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2011, 04:06:12 AM »

Welcome to the wonderful world of beekeeping.  Don't worry too much about killing your bees.  You could do everything correctly, and still lose them.  There are too many variables to take into consideration.  You simply do the best you can and hope for the best. 

As for bees, I have mainly italians and feral bees.  I prefer my feral ones, as they are more adapted to my specific climate.  With your winter temps, you may want to consider carnis or russians.  Italians are the most common, but the others are gaining in popularity.  I have one carni hive and it is gentle, as are all of my other hives.  I have no experience with russians.  If you could find some feral ones in your area, that would be the best, but you might not want to attempt this your first year.

Temperment depends on more than simply genetics.  You could have the calmest girls on the face of the earth, but if something starts bothering them, like skunks, their temperment can turn to the darkside.  Yes, it can be a real adventure, but I wouldn't give up my girls for anything.  It's cheaper than therapy!

This forum is a good place to gather information and ask for help.  Bear in mind though, if you ask 50 beekeepers the same question, you may get 50 different answers.  We all have things we do differently, and many problems are area specific, whice is why you should try to find a bee association and a mentor in your area.  Ultimately, it will be up to you to decide what's best for your girls.

The idea of using 8 frame mediums is a good one.  You only need one size frame and boxes.  I use telescoping covers, but that's because I'm cheap.... If you want the garden hive, go for it.  It's only money.  I bought one for Pam, and she loves it.  Yes, it's heavier, but then again, you don't need to put a brick on it to keep it from blowing off!   grin

Good luck with your girls!
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2011, 07:54:02 AM »

The garden top is just a fancy telescoping top, they are a lot heavier tho.
You could build your own sometime.
Yes you could build a copper topped garden type roof for one of your standard hives to have in an aesthetic location.  And you can get Brushy Mountian ( and probably other suppliers) to build copper topped migratory covers. 
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« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2011, 08:40:24 AM »

Welcome!
 
Like the others mention, don't worry about losing colonies. This happens despite using best practices. You may want to consider setting up two hives in your garden. It will take more investment, but not much more effort to work two; just a thought. I only use 10 frame equipment, but in your case, just starting out, I'd go with the weight benefits of an 8 frame setup.

Regarding the gentleness of the bees that visit your garden. This is not uncommon. Remember, honey bees die when they sting, so attacking is generally reserved for defense. People look at me like the "Bee Whisperer" when I let honey bees crawl around on my fingers outside Lowes when they put out the spring flowers for sale. They aren't defending the hive, so why attack? Most honey bees act this way when out foraging, so there is probably nothing special about the bees visiting your garden.

Russian bees have quite a deal of benefits, especially for chemical free bee keeping, but I don't think they're a good choice for beginners. They can have a tendency to swarm. I'm trying my first nuc of Russians this year. As a beginner, I'd stick with the Italians or Carniolans.

Regarding the honey you purchased, I'd avoid feeding it to your bees. The only honey I feed back to my bees is their own. Otherwise, I feed them sugar syrup. The honey you bought may be fine, but I'd save it for the biscuits.

Good luck!
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Bee-Bop
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« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2011, 10:32:30 AM »

OzarkFarmGirl;

We have all lost a few, either beginners or old timers.

I notice in your first post you mention buying 5 gallons of honey to feed with, most bee books and beeks caution against that !

 Yes it can get cold in the Ozarks, lowest I remember was Christmas Eve. -28 degrees, stayed below -5 for 10 days, then 6 weeks of below freezing, winter of 1982-83.

Matter of fact, I lost five 12-31-10, right here in the Good Ole Ozarks by a tornado, any thing can happen.

Join a Bee Club, find a mentor.

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« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2011, 11:44:27 AM »

one additional rec. that i might have missed as i skimmed:  start with more than one hive.  two or three if you can stand the cost.  that way if one is weaker or you need to combine hives, you have the resources. 

bees are living things.  all living things die.  you may or may not kill them.  they still die.  with bees, you just hope they don't die all at once  grin

if you would go back into your profile and put your location, you won't need to keep reminding us of where you live, later on.....

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« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2011, 11:52:58 AM »

Yep - extra hives for sure. And if woodworking doesn't bother you - you can use your first hive to get the measurements you need to build more. (frames can be a lot of work, but some people on here build those too)
I think this theme has already been touched on, but in just about anything you can do everything right and still have it blow up in your face - but you're guaranteed not to succeed if you don't try.
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« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2011, 01:04:48 PM »

Hi and welcome!

Ditto on the multiple hives...you can always split and recover a dead hive that way.  In fact I'd go so far as to say 3 or 4 hives.

There's going to be ups and downs.  Beekeeping success or failure can't be judged on one or even two years, since like farming it is so much out of your control.  The failures are heartwrenching and will occur, but nothing beats a warm sunny day sucking on the fresh pure sweetness of some burr comb while surrounded by tiny angry angels trying to kill you with their venomous butt-swords!!  grin

Rick
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« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2011, 01:21:24 PM »

I feel totally overwhelmed and even more confused then ever.

It can easily be overwhelming, but don't let that scare you away. It can be as simple or as complicated as you make it.

Start with a couple of hives. If you like the copper roof - go for it, the bees don't care.  8-frame equipment is becoming very popular, so no worries there. You don't need a lot of equipment, a veil, a hive tool, a smoker, some old white shirts from the resale shop.

Lots of newbies fret about what kind of bees. Again, it doesn't make that much difference. I always recommend LOCAL bees. Find a beekeeper near you who will sell you a nuc. I believe it's better to get bees which are acclimated to your particular climate.

Find a local club. Clubs often offer beginning beekeeping classes, and are great places to find mentors and get connected with nearby beekeepers. Hopefully one of these is near you:
http://www.mostatebeekeepers.org/local_associations.htm

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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2011, 02:42:37 PM »

Some seem to go overboard with the equipment requirements (full suite, gloves, veil, etc.) and a host of medicines and chemicals (my gardens and trees are all chemical free), and others not so much. But while I don't want to use anything that is not necessary or make things any harder than it needs to be,

I would suggest you get an epipen, even if you are not allergic to bee venom.  Someone who visits you may be allergic or you could develop an allergy later. 

The minimum you need as far as clothing is long sleeve shirt and pants. Gloves are good.  You might get away without a veil in the springtime when the bees are not so defensive, but you will want a veil in the late summer, fall, and winter when the bees will be defending their honey.  Bees know where your face is and they will sting your face if provoked enough. 

If you want to  raise bees without using synthetic chemicals, you can do that.   We use powdered sugar for mites and sugar/vinegar/vegetable oil traps for small hive beetles.  Most folks here will tell you that you will have better luck going chemical free if you don't use large cell foundation.  Both cell size and genetics seem to play a role in success with chemical free beekeeping. 

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« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2011, 03:11:58 PM »

Quote
It can easily be overwhelming, but don't let that scare you away.

Many people are telling you to start with multiple hives and I know why they are saying that.  However you are trying to make up your mind if you should keep bees at all.  In order to not become overwhelmed I think you should start with one hive.  I have one now (new beek) and I want to get a second one.  I also know what would happen if you went with two hives and you lost them both the first year.  I have a local friend that went hog wild the first year and got 6 hives.  He made it through the first winter loosing two hives.  He just told me Saturday that he lost 5 hives and only has one hanging on.  He was so distraught he was thinking of throwing in the towel.  So I say don't set yourself up for failure.  Try one hive.  I know you will grow to more next year.

Quote
Lots of newbies fret about what kind of bees. Again, it doesn't make that much difference. I always recommend LOCAL bees. Find a beekeeper near you who will sell you a nuc. I believe it's better to get bees which are acclimated to your particular climate.

I think this is good advice for any newbee.  The closer you can find a bee source to your location the better.
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« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2011, 06:07:17 PM »

In order to not become overwhelmed I think you should start with one hive.

Of all advice I have seen on many forums, I think this is either the worst or second worst piece of advice I have ever seen. The only thing I have seen that even compares with it is, "remove all queen cells". One of them has to take the booby prize for worst.
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« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2011, 06:19:00 PM »

Welcome to a very addictive hobby!

I started with three book and an order for two complete hives. Everything else I've learned was from right here! Everyone on this forum is so very helpful! I'm a certified complete idiot when it comes to this, and I'm barely holding my own when it comes to this. But, these guys and gals are top notch at helping you along. One thing I did learn was to ask questions, no matter if you think it might be ridiculous or not. Had I asked earlier last fall, I still might have two hives running strong instead of the one  Sad

When I say it's addictive, I mean it; I even added a camera near the entrance of one of my hives just so I can watch the girls come and go! This time of year, it's not really active, but your welcome to have a look at: http://www.appalachian-weather.com

Jim



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greenbtree
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« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2011, 06:24:19 PM »

Hey, jump in.  This is my first year.  At one point I was up to eight colonies (I was picking up swarms).  Right now I am down to two.  Discouraging, but I have learned a LOT and intend to forge ahead.  I would start with two.  With two you have a back up and you can learn a lot by comparing the two.  I live in Iowa, in a landscape similar to yours (I am in a small, hilly patch that looks nothing like most of Iowa.)  Be warned, my husband considers beekeeping a mania.  From your desires I also would recommend 8 frame, mediums as light and easy to handle - bees do fine with them.  My bees are (or were rolleyes) local mutts and I have had no problems working them.  I console myself with the fact that the survivor rate of swarms in nature is pretty low to begin with and I will improve with time.  Find a mentor if you can.  Join a club. Read books.  Watch the Brushy Mountain Webinars (boy do I wish I had known about them last Spring!)  Have FUN!

JC
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« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2011, 06:25:07 PM »

Of all advice I have seen on many forums, I think this is either the worst or second worst piece of advice I have ever seen. The only thing I have seen that even compares with it is, "remove all queen cells". One of them has to take the booby prize for worst.
I think iddee is right.  Late in the season, it is hard to buy new queens if you lose yours.  If you don't have a second hive to share resources, including open brood, your season can be a total waste.  Having that second hive is NOT twice as much effort and it can save the day.

But "remove all the queen cells" is probably worse.  grin
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« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2011, 06:42:04 PM »

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Well, you might kill some but even if you do everything perfectly, some hives will die anyway.  That does not constitute failure on your part.

First response to her dilemma...

We all do dumb things as new beeks.  I am sure you were no different thy great one when you were a new beek.

Robo's response was a good response like many others.  But if farmgirl suffers multiple losses on the first attempt it will crush her.  There is no need to double the investment for her first year WITHOUT having a mentor to keep her from having a major emotional blow.

Farmgirl, failure is defined by giving up.  Losing a hive is no big deal all you have to do is get more bees.  Loosing all your hives will turn you off because you will start thinking of all the money you spent.  You said you were overwhelmed right?  Don't make it worse.
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« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2011, 06:54:46 PM »

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If you don't have a second hive to share resources, including open brood, your season can be a total waste.


This is absolute nonsense.  It will not be a total waste.  Her bees will have pollinated her gardens and she will end up with 20-40 pounds of honey which more than pays for another nuc to start again next year.  She will spend time on this forum through the winter trying to figure out what went wrong.  she may find an answer or she may not.  The point is she stands a better chance of sticking with it.

You think just because she has a second hive she is going to know what to do next if the first one fails?  Yeah, right, sure ... let me know if that works.  She is starting out OVERWHELMED.
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iddee
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« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2011, 07:06:21 PM »

If one argues with a fool, others may have trouble telling which is which. Have it your way. I won't argue.
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« Reply #24 on: February 21, 2011, 07:20:27 PM »

I just concluded my first season as a beekeeper and the one piece of advice I wish I'd heeded was to start with 2 hives.   I only had one for the same sort of resevations (will I like this?  I'm not sure about the extra effort, extra cost).   I would have been able to identify a struggling hive much quicker if I had some comparison and been able to swap frames to help out the weaker colony.

I think the worst case scenario is that you end up investing a little more money if indeed you find out this isn't for you.  Worst case of starting with one is that you feel like you spent a whole year spinning your wheels and figuring out what you missed a month too late.  If you've gotten this far, I doubt you'll want to quit after one season, so the risk of two hives vs one is minimal.

That doesn't mean that you cant start with one and things will go great!   But I strongly suggest starting with two hives.

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« Reply #25 on: February 21, 2011, 07:34:32 PM »

Even experienced beekeepers have hives die, sometimes many of their hives die.  Don't allow the fear of a hive dying stop you. 

If you are worried about the financial investment, I'd recommend trying to obtain local swarms.  Odds are, they will survive better than bees bought from another state.

Honeybees are honeybees.  Descriptions of traits are more stereotypes than what you will see.  You will usually see more difference between two hives of the same strain than in two different strains.  Many people have success with Italians, and even most wild bees (my preference) have a lot of Italian genetics.

Yes, there is a lot to learn in beekeeping.  Yes, it can be overwhelming.  This is why I recommend finding a mentor - someone who will 'hold your hand' and help you find answers to your questions if they don't know the answer.  A good mentor is invaluable in beekeeping, and odds are, you'll gain a good friend in the process too.
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OzarksFarmGirl
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« Reply #26 on: February 21, 2011, 08:34:34 PM »

Thanks for all the great advice!  I bought the honey initially for us to use, as I still hadn't made up my mind on getting bees this year (although I have dreamed of having my own hives for quite a while), but thought if I did, then it might be better than sugar water so was going to give up us eating it for them.  Now I'm glad to hear that we get to eat it all!  grin

As I said, my greatest fear is that I would screw up and kill the bees. It's not that death is a stranger. Anyone that has ever raised livestock has had to face losing animals. I just don't want it to be because of something I did, or else didn't do but should have done. 

I'm not so much as worried about the cost factor, as I've spent more for less such as for tickets to attend renowned operas, and I already have enough budgeted and set aside for two complete hives, allowing extra just in case there was something I forgot that the bees just have to have.  To me, it just makes good sense to start out with a minimum of two hives. Like with livestock, I try to schedule breedings/hatching so that I have at least two due around the same time.  That way if I have a mom that can't raise her baby(ies) for whatever reason, I can foster the young on to the other  mother. But if I don't have another mom ready, things become more difficult.  Somehow I don't think it would work to try and bottle raise bees. grin  But I would like to have enough knowledge to not only see my first two survive, but for them to actually do well enough to divide at a later date.  Oh, and I just found a beek just a half hour or so away that has a few 3# pkgs of Italians each with a Min Hyg queen for just under $100 per pkg!  Although they won't be ready until mid-April. But hopefully that will give me plenty of time to get my woodwork purchased and all set up.  I don't plan on getting the big bee suit and all toots and it's whistles. I think I will do fine with just one of my LS white shirts and my white trousers, and just buy a veil, smoker, a hive tool and a brush.  And if I use gloves at all, it will probably use latex gloves (already have a few boxes of those) rather than buy thick, bulky bee gloves.  And yes, I have epi pens. I guess I'm what people nowadays would call a prepper, what with being prepared for just about any emergency.  Having lived without without electricity or indoor plumbing for a while when growing up (and mentally/physically prepared to do it again if the need arises), I've always just thought of being prepared for whatever comes was just plain ol' common sense and country living.  Getting into raising bees has been a long time in coming and I've been reading everything I can get my hands on them, and putting together a 3-ring binder of notes that I've taken from various posts on this forum and other experienced beekeepers.

I have to say, this is both exciting and apprehensive...like when waiting for kids to be born. And I'm really looking forward to this new adventure!
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« Reply #27 on: February 21, 2011, 09:01:24 PM »

If you mess up, the bees will die. If you do everything right, the bees will die. Don't worry. Just raise them faster than they die off. Don't worry. Most of us keep bees for pleasure. There isn't any pleasure in worrying. You will have some live and others die, just like livestock. You will still have bees after winter comes and goes.

Oh, did I mention? Don't worry.
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« Reply #28 on: February 21, 2011, 09:09:12 PM »

  What I'm afraid of is failure.

Just do it! Don't let your fear consume you.

 I'm afraid that if I buy a hive, I will end up losing/killing them due inexperience and/or sheer ignorance. 

It happens!

 Sad  Even though I have several books on beekeeping and have read them over and over again, I feel totally overwhelmed and even more confused then ever. Some seem to go overboard with the equipment requirements (full suite, gloves, veil, etc.) and a host of medicines .  Undecided   

From my own personnal experience books have their place but don't let them scare you. I think a lot of books are overwritten in terms of things that could go wrong. A novice reads about diseases and other ills and comes away frightened. Give your bees a good home and they will do well. My vet claims things do better with benign neglect then continuous intervention.
Try to find a local bee source and buy from him. If the source has any savvy he will help you get started. You don't need to overdo it with medicines and epipens.

.   Smiley

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« Reply #29 on: February 22, 2011, 08:56:18 AM »

The #1 thing that I would recommend:

Find a mentor or somebody who has bees (or friends at a beek club).  Do what the mentor says for a bit.  This is helpful as well because if you only want to start out with one hive, they will often be willing to help you out if you run into trouble.  My mentor saved my hive a couple of times....

Read on the forums, but don't get too tied up with ideas and opinions.  Forums can really confuse issues more than clarify them. My first several years were hard because I was getting 1000's of ideas from the forums, but didn't really know how to implement any of them, and most didn't jive with what the old beek who started me out did.

None of our ideas are gospel.  We're all right and all wrong, it all depends on how you like to work.  Get a hive, get used to the bees, get comfortable with them knowing they may die, and then think about the ideas you can do with them.  If you have issues, ask for help, but then pick the opinion that you think will be best for you.

Rick
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« Reply #30 on: February 22, 2011, 09:05:53 AM »

Quote
Find a mentor or somebody who has bees (or friends at a beek club). 


If you can find a mentor that will visit your hives and lead you along the way it doesn't matter if you started with one hive or ten hives.  The fact is very few new beeks have this option.  That is why they are here.
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« Reply #31 on: February 22, 2011, 10:08:22 AM »

I see by your location your residence is in ; Hopelessly Lost, were is Hopelessly Lost, in the Ozarks ?

I know there are a lot of hopelessly lost people in the Ozarks !

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« Reply #32 on: February 22, 2011, 04:57:19 PM »

I still hadn't made up my mind on getting bees this year (although I have dreamed of having my own hives for quite a whileAs I said, my greatest fear is that I would screw up and kill the bees.  

Oh, and I just found a beek just a half hour or so away that has a few 3# pkgs of Italians each with a Min Hyg queen for just under $100 per pkg!  Although they won't be ready until mid-April.
  I don't plan on getting the big bee suit
  Getting into raising bees has been a long time in coming  

I have to say, this is both exciting and apprehensive...like when waiting for kids to be born. And I'm really looking forward to this new adventure!


The biggest mistake you will ever do is not to have bees.!!  grin

The minimum amount of hives you should have i a bee yard is two , why ?

If you lose the queen in one of the hives and there is no eggs for the bees too make a queen cell of , you can lift a frame with eggs from the hive that has new eggs into the hive with out and they can make a new queen..

Too late in the fall to make,mate a new queen , ? combine the hives to one , and you will have a strong hive that you can divie the next year.

One of your hives  is a bit slow in developing use the strong hive too make the week one stronger by lifting over  a brood frame that i s hatching.

If you start with  a small hive / or packet bees they and your confidence will grow under your first year as you get to know each other.

STOP DREAMING AND START BEEKEEPING  grin


mvh edward  tongue
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« Reply #33 on: February 22, 2011, 06:30:01 PM »

Quote
STOP DREAMING AND START BEEKEEPING 


If she started with one hive three years ago how many would she have today?
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« Reply #34 on: February 22, 2011, 07:31:46 PM »


Join a Bee Club, find a mentor.

Bee-Bop
Phelps Co. Mo.

We are in the same county! Wanna volunteer to be my mentor? grin

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« Reply #35 on: February 22, 2011, 08:25:37 PM »

I mentor new bee keepers all the time. I have made mountains from mole hills but without extra moles I wouldn't have been able to make squat.  I usually have resources to reinforce their apiaries but its not always the case.

Find a mentor and start with at least two hives. That way you or your mentor can save the day, if it comes to that, but with bees one must have resources, as the saying goes, nothing from nothing leaves nothing.

Enjoy your journey into the wonderful world of bee keeping!


...JP

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« Reply #36 on: February 22, 2011, 08:30:12 PM »

...  To me, it just makes good sense to start out with a minimum of two hives..., I try to schedule breedings/hatching so that I have at least two due around the same time...for whatever reason, I can foster the young on to the other  mother...

You have the right idea and apparantly all the right experiences to be good at this.

Quote
  Somehow I don't think it would work to try and bottle raise bees...
Ya, and think of all those little bottles to keep clean-a nightmare. tongue

Quote
I've always just thought of being prepared for whatever comes was just plain ol' common sense and country living... I'm really looking forward to this new adventure!

You definitely have what it takes. Go for it.

Isn't it amazing how those with little sense or nerve want everyone else to be just like them.

Once you see what a hive looks like, throw another together from scrap so you have a place to put that swarm someone is going to call you about.
 It'll happen.
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« Reply #37 on: February 22, 2011, 08:44:31 PM »

and just buy a veil, smoker, a hive tool and a brush.

And a brush?  Why, is your hair messy?

If you want the bees off a comb, give it a hard shake.  Or you can hold it by one end, and give it a good thump or two on the landing board.

A bee brush is really good at making bees really irritable.  If you do use a bee brush, DON'T brush with it.  That just rolls the bees and makes them mad.  Use the brush to flick the bees off the comb with small flicks.
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« Reply #38 on: February 22, 2011, 09:28:46 PM »

if you think you are interested in going after swarms, i'd invest in a good jacket with attached hood.  bees have a way of getting under that veil when they are aggravated. 
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« Reply #39 on: February 22, 2011, 09:37:19 PM »

Swarms...thanks for reminding me about them, kathy.

If you get a swarm stuck to the side of a building or vehicle, or on a fencepost, a brush can come in mighty handy to getting them into your box.

I do have a bee brush - but it's probably one of the least used bee tools that I have.
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« Reply #40 on: February 22, 2011, 09:44:35 PM »

And a brush?  Why, is your hair messy?

If you want the bees off a comb, give it a hard shake.  Or you can hold it by one end, and give it a good thump or two on the landing board.

A bee brush is really good at making bees really irritable.  If you do use a bee brush, DON'T brush with it.  That just rolls the bees and makes them mad.  Use the brush to flick the bees off the comb with small flicks.

Only on days that end in "y".   grin
Seriously though, thanks a million for the heads up on the brush...I'll nix it, as I certainly don't want my girls to get irritated.
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« Reply #41 on: February 22, 2011, 09:53:27 PM »

Send me a PM;
I'm a mile north of Rolla.
The Bee Club meets at 2 pm. 3rd Sunday of the month, at the St. James Visitors Center.
You are more then welcome to stop in.

May be taking orders for Nucs at this months meeting.

Bee-Bop
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« Reply #42 on: February 22, 2011, 11:39:56 PM »

Send me a PM;
I'm a mile north of Rolla.

PM sent....and you may have just solved my mystery of to whom belong the bees that have been visiting my gardens. Wink
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« Reply #43 on: February 22, 2011, 11:58:00 PM »

If you have access to goose or turkey feathers three or four tied together makes for a great bee brush and doesn't piss them off nearly as much! A handful of long green grass works ok too.

Scott
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« Reply #44 on: February 23, 2011, 12:11:34 AM »

If you have access to goose or turkey feathers three or four tied together makes for a great bee brush and doesn't piss them off nearly as much! A handful of long green grass works ok too.

Scott

Great tip! I'd much rather use feathers or grass than a store bought brush anyway.  Smiley
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« Reply #45 on: February 23, 2011, 08:00:10 PM »

Really not much else to say, lots of great advice. But I will add as was mentioned before, beekeeping may well be the most subjective hobby to exist meaning we all do it differently and we all think we do it the right way. You have already seen some of that in this thread. Once I got thru the "I don't know what I am doing" phase of beeking (no internet back then) I calmed down and began to "experience" beekeeping. Instead of getting frantic or emotional when I found a queenless hive I took it as an opportunity to try the proven methods of getting them a new queen. I don't know maybe I am rambling....I hope you decide to get them, I think from your posts you will love the hobby. Smiley
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« Reply #46 on: February 23, 2011, 08:15:22 PM »

>>>we all do it differently and we all think we do it the right way.<<<

You should say we all do it the right way, not think we do. We all have different goals, different climates, different bees. We do it the way that works. That is the right way.

Example... A guy asked me a question last week. I explained what he should do. He replied: "So that's how you do it". I said "no, I keep bees for a different reason then you. That is what you should do for the way you keep bees".

Ozark, go into beekeeping to have fun and learn a thing or two about a fascinating little creature. They are much more resistant than you can imagine. You will do fine if you just relax and enjoy them.
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