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Author Topic: New Beekeeper's Equipment List  (Read 3481 times)
Honeytree
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« on: September 26, 2011, 11:39:00 PM »

I did a search for this and got some good ideas, so I'd love some feedback on the list I put together from others' suggestions.

I live in NW Arkansas, and will be starting with two hives in the spring.

(12) 6 5/8 medium supers, 8-frame
(96) 6 1/4 grooved top frames
(96) 3/4" small-cell wax starter strips (not sure if I got this one right...and do folks prefer to cut their own to size or purchase these ready-made?)
(2) screened bottom boards
(2) migratory covers  (where does one get an 8-frame migratory cover?)
(2) slatted racks (betterbee.com makes good ones?)
(2) hive stands
(2) 8-frame hive top feeders
large pro-smoker
smoker fuel pellets
zip-up jacket with veil
Italian or hook hive tool (many people said have several of these)
frame rest
BEES!

I used as one resource a list that someone here made in Jan. 2010. There was a bunch of good info there. I'm not asking anybody to repeat themselves, just trying to build on good advice. Many thanks.

*****

I'm going to try and keep the list below updated as comments and suggestions come in:

(12) 6 5/8 medium supers, 8-frame
(96) 6 1/4 wedge-top frames with the wedge turned to act as a comb guide OR groove-topped frames with large craft sticks as guides OR Walter Kelly 17-F foundationless frames
(16) Mann Lake PF-120s to get bees started right and to intersperse in subsequent boxes
(2) screen bottom boards plus Ziploc baggies for feedings OR (2) solid bottom boards with screened openings for syrup feeding
(2) migratory covers
(2) slatted racks
treated or cedar 2x4s for a stand (see diagram below in post #7), or cinder blocks, bricks
large pro-smoker
zip-up jacket with veil (Golden Bee, Ultra Breeze)
Italian or hook hive tool (many people said have several of these)
gloves (latex dishwasher kind or leather)
BEES!
« Last Edit: October 01, 2011, 03:17:07 PM by Honeytree » Logged
Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2011, 11:54:05 PM »

>(12) 6 5/8 medium supers, 8-frame
>(84) 6 1/4 grooved top frames

All good.

>(84) 3/4" small-cell wax starter strips (not sure if I got this one right...and do folks prefer to cut their own to size or purchase these ready-made?)

I would just buy the "Jumbo Craft Sticks" aka popscicle sticks or get some paint sticks at the hardware store or buy wedge top frames and turn the wedge.The wood is more durable and less trouble than the wax.  But if you really want the wax started, you'll have to cut them.  A rolling pizza cutter or or rolling cutter for quilting works nicely with a straight edge.  But if the wax is room temperature a pair of scissors can work.

>(2) screened bottom boards
>(2) migratory covers  (where does one get an 8-frame migratory cover?)

I prefer to make mine so i can get a top entrance.  Every manufacture I know of can get them, I don't know if they all list them.  Western Bee Supply, I know, will sell them to you.  Brushy Mt. has them with a notch for a top entrance and a metal covering.

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

>(2) slatted racks (betterbee.com makes good ones?)

Their racks are fine.  A lot of complaints lately about service there...

>(2) hive stands

I would not buy stands.  Bricks or concrete blocks or pieces of cedar or treated lumber will last longer, be easier to work with and cost less.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmisc.htm#hivestand

You can take treated two by fours (or cedar) and make a double barred "H" and level it once and put two hives on it:
sort of like this:
H
H

>8-frame hive top feeder

If you get solid bottoms you can make a feeder out of those:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm#bottom

>large pro-smoker

Good.

>smoker fuel pellets

Never bought any.  Pine straw works great.  Burlap lasts longer and stays  let well.

>zip-up jacket with veil

Even better an Ultra-breeze, but that's a good choice. I'd get the kind with a hood that don't require a helmet.

>Italian or hook hive tool

Love them.  Seems like Brushy Mt doesn't list them anymore but Dadant does.

>frame rest

I sold mine after several years of never using it...

>BEES!

Very useful to put with the hives...
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Honeytree
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« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2011, 12:02:28 AM »

Thank you kindly for that reply, Mr. Bush. I cross-posted with you correcting for my math. I had a little trouble multiplying 12 x 8.  Smiley
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BlueBee
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« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2011, 12:25:56 AM »

I would recommend getting some gloves too.  I find the rubber cleaning gloves you can buy locally works best.  The propolis sticks too much to canvas gloves and the bees can sting though all but the thickest leather.  You just can't get a good grip with thick leather.  As a newbee, you’re going to want some hand protection.

Your list of parts looks fine to me.  Personally I’ve never used my frame rest either, but you might.
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Honeytree
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« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2011, 12:32:03 AM »



>(2) migratory covers  (where does one get an 8-frame migratory cover?)

I prefer to make mine so i can get a top entrance.  Every manufacture I know of can get them, I don't know if they all list them.  Western Bee Supply, I know, will sell them to you.  Brushy Mt. has them with a notch for a top entrance and a metal covering.

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

I found the link for the Western Bee one. But I'll call Brushy Mtn. tomorrow to see about the one they don't have listed; I don't have many tools, so would love to get a cover that's top-entrance ready.

>(2) hive stands

I would not buy stands.  Bricks or concrete blocks or pieces of cedar or treated lumber will last longer, be easier to work with and cost less.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmisc.htm#hivestand

I saw that picture on your website. So the plywood (or cinder blocks, or bricks) does the job of a hive stand, but cheaper and on a larger scale?


>8-frame hive top feeder

If you get solid bottoms you can make a feeder out of those:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm#bottom

OK, so let me be sure I understand what's happening here. You made the solid bottom board into a feeder for syrup, but it's screened in so that the bees don't use it as another entrance and so there's not robbing? And then you can still do solid sugar vs. the syrup by using one of the other methods you have listed?

Could one use solid sugar exclusively to feed? And if so, would there be another advantage or disadvantage to screen-bottom or solid-bottom boards?



>BEES!

Very useful to put with the hives...

Smiley Yes, and I almost forgot that one... Smiley

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Honeytree
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« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2011, 12:34:21 AM »

I would recommend getting some gloves too.  I find the rubber cleaning gloves you can buy locally works best.  The propolis sticks too much to canvas gloves and the bees can sting though all but the thickest leather.  You just can't get a good grip with thick leather.  As a newbee, you’re going to want some hand protection.


Thanks, BlueBee.

Am I understanding you correctly that the bees can still sting through the rubber gloves, but that it's at least some protection?
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BlueBee
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« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2011, 12:59:51 AM »

I've never been stung through latex cleaning / dishwashing gloves yet.  I don't think the bees can get a grip to get their stinger through the gloves.  I used to get stung through pretty thick leather gloves before going to Home Depot and buying the rubber gloves in their cleaning isle.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2011, 02:12:28 AM »

>I saw that picture on your website. So the plywood (or cinder blocks, or bricks) does the job of a hive stand, but cheaper and on a larger scale?

I don't use plywood.  But treated or cedar two by fours work nicely.  If your plan is to only have two hives, you can make one with one eight foot two by four.  The two long pieces of 2 x 4 cut to 34" and the two short cut to 14".  Put the short ones between the long ones and screw them together with deck screws to make a short of a double barred H:
--------
  |    |
--------

That would be for two hives.  For four  I would take a sixteen foot two by four and cut 4 32" pieces and two 40" pieces and put it together like this:

Code:
|------|
|      |
|------|
|------|
|      |
|------|

The hives would sit one in each corner

>OK, so let me be sure I understand what's happening here. You made the solid bottom board into a feeder for syrup, but it's screened in so that the bees don't use it as another entrance and so there's not robbing?

There are two kinds listed.  One is Jay Smith's version with no screen and a bottom entrance.  The other is mine with a screened area and only a top entrance with the bottom blocked.   I try to feed in the evenings and have it all cleaned up by morning to help with robbing, especially if you have the Jay Smith version.

> And then you can still do solid sugar vs. the syrup by using one of the other methods you have listed?

You can also do dry sugar on top, yes.   But it is nice to have a way to feed syrup.

>Could one use solid sugar exclusively to feed?

Sort of.  You can keep them from starving that way, yes.  But it doesn't have the exact same effect as feeding syrup.  Sometimes this difference is to your advantage and sometimes it isn't.  Dry sugar is a poor way to feed when they are building comb because it leaves empty space at the top where they may want to build comb.  Also, it is not such a stimulant for brood rearing and comb building.  In the spring with a package you are better off with syrup than dry sugar until the nectar kicks in and then I wouldn't feed at all.

> And if so, would there be another advantage or disadvantage to screen-bottom or solid-bottom boards?

Screened stay nice and dry.  Screened are nice for providing enough ventilation to get them to stop bearding in the summer.  But propping the top may do as well.  The theory is that SBB will help with Varroa.  I think that is negligible.  The other advantage to screened is they are easy to use to monitor mites by examining the tray.

As far as gloves with the jacket, I just buy some buckskin leather gloves at the hardware store.  They are supple, and they are easy to get one and off and I tuck them into the elastic sleeves of the jacket.

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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
caticind
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« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2011, 10:28:43 AM »

>>(96) 6 1/4 grooved top frames
>>(96) 3/4" small-cell wax starter strips (not sure if I got this one right...and do folks prefer to cut their own to size or purchase these ready-made?)

Since you're going foundationless, I'd recommend these instead:  https://kelleybees.com/Products/Detail/?id=3336333533363338&grouped=1

Kelley makes nice 1-piece foundationless frames which have produced straighter comb for me than my early experiments with starter strips and are much less work.  If you do decide to use wax starter strips, no need to buy small-cell.  The bees will not continue the cell size from the starter strip, but will build according to their own wishes.  Regardless, make sure you keep a close eye on the first few frames and be quick to correct any crazy comb.

If you want to attempt regression to small cell or encourage smaller natural cell with your package bees, you will need some kind of foundation or solid frames, at least to start with.  I would recommend these:
http://www.mannlakeltd.com/ProductDetail.asp?idproduct=1277&idCategory=
Mann Lake PF-120 are small-cell plastic frames.

>>smoker fuel pellets

I also just use pine straw...

>>zip-up jacket with veil

Recommendation for the UltraBreeze jacket seconded if you can afford one.  They are sturdy and the jacket is machine washable (veil zips off and can be washed by hand).
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The bees would be no help; they would tumble over each other like golden babies and thrum wordlessly on the subjects of queens and sex and pollen-gluey feet. -Palimpsest
Francus
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« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2011, 10:36:00 AM »

My .02:

I use the diswashing gloves and like them much better than the goatskin ones I wasted money on. The goat skin once busted at the seems in a month.

And...get a burner like the plumbers use. The ones with the blue tank. It is the best way to light a smoker. I also use the smoker fuel from Brushy. I just like it better than newspaper or pine needles. I think it may burn cooler, but I have no scientific proof of that. And I use about 1/4 of a disk and it does fine for inspecting two hives.

I like my frame rest and always use it. Some people just rest them on the ground. It's a personal preference.
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Honeytree
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« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2011, 10:58:37 AM »


If you want to attempt regression to small cell or encourage smaller natural cell with your package bees, you will need some kind of foundation or solid frames, at least to start with.  I would recommend these:
http://www.mannlakeltd.com/ProductDetail.asp?idproduct=1277&idCategory=
Mann Lake PF-120 are small-cell plastic frames.

So you would just put a couple of these in each box, and then let the bees make their own comb for the remaining empty frames? What you're saying is you would not advise someone to go all foundationless right from the beginning?

Thanks, caticind and Francus, for the replies.

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kathyp
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« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2011, 11:18:35 AM »

Quote
So you would just put a couple of these in each box, and then let the bees make their own comb for the remaining empty frames? What you're saying is you would not advise someone to go all foundationless right from the beginning?

you can, but sometimes the bees don't cooperate and draw straight comb.  sometimes the beekeeper is not diligent in following directions or staying on top of messed up comb.   Wink

you might consider one full sheet per box to start.  this helps give them a guide for the frames on either side and if they get started straight, your odds of success with foundationless are increased.  once you get a few boxes started, you can swap out frames of drawn comb to start new boxes.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2011, 11:25:57 AM »

There are a lot of different strategies you can use.  If you don't mind plastic, the PF120s seem to always get perfectly drawn.  If you give them a full box of them (so they don't ignore them to do the foundationless), by the time it's done they should be pretty much regressed.  Then you can intersperse some of those drawn combs with some foundationless in the next box.  In other words you'd need 16 PF120s for two hives total. Then make the rest foundationless.  I have had the best luck with the triangular top bars like the Kelly frames, but the wedge turned sideways works pretty well as does a wood strip in the groove of a grooved top bar.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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caticind
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« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2011, 02:00:12 PM »


If you want to attempt regression to small cell or encourage smaller natural cell with your package bees, you will need some kind of foundation or solid frames, at least to start with.  I would recommend these:
http://www.mannlakeltd.com/ProductDetail.asp?idproduct=1277&idCategory=
Mann Lake PF-120 are small-cell plastic frames.

So you would just put a couple of these in each box, and then let the bees make their own comb for the remaining empty frames? What you're saying is you would not advise someone to go all foundationless right from the beginning?

Thanks, caticind and Francus, for the replies.




Actually, I think all-foundationless from the start is great. 

But package bees on foundationless frames won't draw small-cell comb.  Their natural cell size is larger.  That doesn't bother me, but it seems like you want to regress your bees to small-cell.  In order to do that, you have to regress them first and wait until the bees from the package have been replaced by smaller bees before giving them foundationless.  Then their natural cell size will be smaller.

If you want to regress, I would recommend putting each package on a full box of plastic small cell frames like the PF-120s.  They are generally well accepted.  Subsequent boxes can be either small cell or foundationless frames, as you like. Remember to move at least one drawn frame up into the next box to serve as a ladder/guide for straight comb.

If what you mainly want is to go foundationless, then don't worry about small-cell.  Just give them all foundationless frames.  In this case it is important to check often for crazy comb in the beginning and be quick to correct comb build out of the frame so that future combs will be good.
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2011, 09:52:48 PM »

So you would just put a couple of these in each box, and then let the bees make their own comb for the remaining empty frames? What you're saying is you would not advise someone to go all foundationless right from the beginning?
If you put all foundationless frames in, they may draw straight comb, or they may not.  If you start with all pf120s, they will draw straight comb.   Then you can guarantee that subsequent foundationless frames will be straight by placing each one between two pf120s.  The drawn comb is the best guide for the drawing the next frame of comb.

If you want to use pf120s for this reason, you can't just put a couple of them in, because package bees (being large to start with) will prefer the foundationless to the small cell pf120.  So the pf120 will never get drawn fully.   

I would suggest starting with enough pf120s to last the bees for 6 weeks.  By then, the larger package bees will have moved on to being foragers or will have died.  That way, you guarantee that the house bees that are drawing your foundationless frames are not the original big bees but rather the smaller bees that came from the pf120s.  Only they can draw small cells as part of the natural comb in the foundationless frames.

Bottom line is this:  To get straight comb in foundationless frames, it's good to have drawn comb as a guide.  But how do you get those first drawn combs?  You need foundation of some sort.  But if you use standard large cell foundation, that just prolongs the time it takes to get to true natural comb.  I know this sounds complicated but it's not really.  If what you are reading about this does not make sense, just keep asking questions until it makes sense.  grin
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Honeytree
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« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2011, 10:14:51 PM »

FRAMEshift, it makes perfect sense! Thanks to you and catacind for explaining it so well.
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kathyp
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« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2011, 12:07:07 PM »

or....if you want to save the money, just use a sheet of wax foundation.  i'm not into "regression" because it's not the same as natural in most peoples minds.  before you decide on what to use and your budget, make sure you understand the difference between what most people mean be regression to small cell,  and natural. 
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

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« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2011, 12:12:21 PM »

If I may add some items...a queen catcher and an excluder. You may rarely use either, but they will come in mighty handy. For the two items your just looking at an additional $20.
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buzzbee
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« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2011, 10:09:17 PM »

Honeytree,
Here is a thread about what people wish they wouldn't have bought:
http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,34275.0.html
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Honeytree
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« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2011, 12:34:56 AM »

K9, thanks for the addition. And buzbee, I took *very* careful notes from that thread! Thanks for the link.
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