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Author Topic: Too late in the season to start?  (Read 3193 times)
cshallah
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« on: August 23, 2005, 12:25:20 AM »

I've never done beekeeping before and have two questions (for now).

1.  I would like to start a hive but am wondering if it's too late in the season.  I have two possible locations; one on the Oregon coast (West of Portland) in the woods somewhat or in a suburb of Portland.

2. I called some bee places but they informed me it's now too hot to ship the bees.  Is there a way I can attract new bees reliably and a queen?

Thanks!
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Chad S
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« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2005, 09:28:12 AM »

Your time between now and next spring may be better spent reading up on Bee keeping, attending classes/club meetings, and lining up equipment.  Keep us posted either way.

Chad
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2005, 09:47:29 AM »

>1. I would like to start a hive but am wondering if it's too late in the season.

Yes it is.  You can't buy packages now.  You MIGHT find someone willing to sell you a hive.

> I have two possible locations; one on the Oregon coast (West of Portland) in the woods somewhat or in a suburb of Portland.

Put them where it is convenient for YOU.  You won't enjoy them much if they are so far away that you seldom feel like driving that far.  The bees will adapt to almost anywhere but the arctic.

>2. I called some bee places but they informed me it's now too hot to ship the bees.

It has been too hot to ship queens.  Pretty much no one ships packages after May.  You need to order them early.  Like December would be a good time to start tyring to nail down an order for package bees.

> Is there a way I can attract new bees reliably and a queen?

Reliably?  No way at all.  You can put out swarm traps but you'll put out ten swarm traps and IF you're lucky you'll get one swarm move in and NOW is not the time for swarms.  Prime swarm season HERE (in Southeastern Nebraska) prime swarm season is the middle of May.  Not likely to get a swarm now and even in the middle of May I only get about one swarm for every ten swarm traps I set.  Sometimes I get a couple and sometimes I get none.  If you REALLY want bees, make arrangements in December to buy them in April.

Now is a good time to read some bee books and decide what to buy for equipment.  I would NOT buy a beginners kit.  There is not one item in a beginners kit that I would buy.

One of the decisions you need to make is what size boxes you want to use.  Which really distills down to how much you want to lift.  The "typical" hive in the US is two Langstroth deeps for the brood area and medium or shallow supers for honey.  The bees will often fill the top deep with honey and, when full of honey, it will weigh 90 pounds.  A typical ten frame medium full of honey weighs 60 pounds.  An eight frame medium full of honey weighs 48 pounds.  I already converted to all mediums by cutting down all the deep boxes and frames I had.  Now I'm cutting down all the ten frame boxes to eight frame boxes and only buy eight frame medium boxes.

Having all the same size frames is a huge advantage.  It means I can take honey out of the supers to give extra stores to hives that are light in the fall.  I can bait up the supers with some brood from below when the bees don't want to move up.  Interchangability is a wonderful thing.

If you want some ideas on how to deal with mites and lifting and other issues, check out my web site:

www.bushfarms.com
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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
OregonBee
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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2005, 07:19:29 PM »

I've had bees on the Oregon (around Siletz) and Northern Califorinia coasts for about five years now.  Pretty much everything you've heard is right on (too late to get a hive, etc).  However, I did have great luck catching swarms on the Oregon coast.  Two of three deep supers that I put out filled with swarms that did not originate from my hives.  The deeps had nothing in them aside from drawn comb.  This may have been pure luck, but I'll certainly do the same next year.  You might try other sources, but I've always had good luck with bees from Allens Bee Ranch, near Redding, CA.  But as others have mentioned, order early (March or before) as they go fast.

Best of Luck,
Your Oregon Beeman
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cshallah
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« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2005, 02:26:06 AM »

Mike,

You wrote, "I would NOT buy a beginners kit. There is not one item in a beginners kit that I would buy."  What would you suggest I buy (including a good book or two)?

Thanks!
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2005, 07:44:36 AM »

What would I buy instead of the beginners kit.  First I'd price some of this in various places including shipping and see what is the cheapest for you where you live.

Usually the kit has a veil.  I prefer a jacket with a zip on veil for a beginner.  It will give you more confidence.  If you want something cooler, I'd buy a bug baffler (www.bugbaffler.com) but it's not sting proof, but you can get the jacket with veil and get a bit more protection and still stay very cool.  If you have the money to spend, I'd get a Golden Bee Products suit.  Expensive, but pretty much stingproof (more than most suits) and very breezy on a hot day.

http://www.beeworks.com/Beekeepersuits.htm

Usually the kit has a small smoker.  The big ones are easier to keep lit and that will be your biggest problem.  I'd buy the big ones:

http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?pcode=750


With the jacket, I prefer an ordinary pair of deerskin gloves tucked under the elastic of the jacket sleeves. But you could get a pair of beekeepers gloves.  They are just harder to get on and off when you need to.  I don't care for the plastic ones much.  I prefer the goatskin or other light leather.  Occasionally they work a stinger through them, but not often.

http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?pcode=720M

A bee brush is a nice to have, but a nice turkey or goose feather works better.  If you can't find a feather then here's the bee brush:

http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?pcode=775

The only hive tool I use is this one:

http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?pcode=591

Most come with 10 frame deeps for the brood.  I'd buy eight frame mediums.  Three is a fair start, but you'll probably need a few more.  Five would be a nice start for one hive.  But I'd start two hives.

http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?pcode=254MS

Then you need a bottom board.  Most kits come with a solid one (for a ten frame hive) I'd buy the SBB (for the eight frame hive).

http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?pcode=254IPM

One for each hive and a spare.   You never know when you'll have a swarm.

You'll need some kind of lid.  You could just cut some plywood to fit.  I do that plus put some shims on to make an upper entrance and close off the bottom one.  But you could buy a lid if you like:

http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?pcode=575

You'll need frames.  I like to take the standard ones and plane 1 1/16" off each side of the end bars and put 9 in an eight frame box to get smaller cells, but you can use them as is without doing this.  I would put something in them for a comb guide but I wouldn't use standard foudnation.  If you really WANT to use foundation, I'd use the small cell (4.9mm) foundation.  My favorite frames are to buy them from Walter T. Kelly with a solid top and bottom bar (no grooves) and cut the top bar on a bevel first, but you can buy any old grooved top bar frames and put popscicle sticks in the groove if you don't have a table saw to cut them.

http://go.netgrab.com/secure/kelleystore/asp/product.asp?product=163

I'd call Walter T. Kelly and order them with solid bottom bars at least.  Smiley  But any grooved top and grooved bottom medium frame (6 1/4") will work.  You'll need eight per box (unless you want to cut them down 1 1/16").

If you REALLY want to use foundation here's what I would use:

http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?pcode=278

My favorite feeder is here:

http://www.beeworks.com/usacatalog/items/item130.htm

But you can get by with an old jar with very small holes poked in the lid and put this over an inner cover.  Either of these feeding methods will take a different cover and an extra super or two to make room for the feeder:

http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?pcode=254IC
http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?pcode=254TT

or use a GOOD frame feeder like this one (I hate most of them):

http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?pcode=711

or a hive top feeder:

http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?pcode=729

But make sure IF you use the hivetop feeder you make sure the bees can't get into it from the lid and drawn.

Buy several good books on beekeeping.  All are rather "standardized" in the sense that they have one simplified view of beekeeping with deeps for brood etc.  But they all have the life cycle info (also found online if you search) and the basics of manipulating a hive.  Unfortunately they also are fond of chemicals and foundation.  Smiley

There are some good videos available:

http://www.beeworks.com/usacatalog/cat28.htm
http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?cat=23
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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
zan
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« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2005, 07:59:03 AM »

Michael, why do you change your hives from 10 to 8 frames?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2005, 10:05:32 AM »

Because I had lots of 10 frame equipment when I decided to change to 8 frame.   I wish I'd just bought 8 frame mediums to start with, but I started with 10 frame deeps.  Then I cut the 10 frame deeps down to mediums so I wouldn't have to lift 90 boxes anymore.  Then I cut the the 10 frame mediums down to 8 frames so I wouldn't have to lift 60 pound boxes anymore.  Now I'm happily lifting 48 pound boxes.  Smiley

I still have a couple of ten frame deeps with bees in them that I didn't get moved yet.  I bought them new 31 years ago.  Smiley  Considering the longevity of the equipment, I would choose carefully what you are willing to lift.

For a preview, go to the hardware store and pick up a fifty pound box of nails.  This is what an eight frame medium full of honey weighs.  Now put another fifty pound box on top of that one and lift TWO of them at once.  This is what a ten frame deep full of honey weighs.  Which would you rather lift?
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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
zan
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« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2005, 03:04:10 AM »

Michael, may I ask you dimensions of your hives, 10 deep, medium and 8 frames?
I get 2-2.5 kilos honey from my frame and for 10 frames that is 20-25 kilos and that is about 40-50 pounds honey + weight of deep. How can you get 90 pounds?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2005, 07:29:06 AM »

I've heard some people estimate 80 pounds, but I don't think that's right.  When it's full of honey it's about 90 pounds.  Of course it varies some.  You'll get a few pounds difference from yellow pine instead of white or plastic foundation instead of wax.  Anyway about it, an eight-frame medium weighs half as much as a ten frame deep AND is not as unwieldy.

A ten-frame deep is 9 5/8" by 16 1/4" by 19 7/8"

A ten-frame medium is 6 5/8" by 16 1/4" by 19 7/8"

An eight-frame medium is 6 5/8" by 13 3/4" by 19 7/8"
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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
zan
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« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2005, 09:41:06 AM »

90 pounds is weight of honey, frames and box. And half of that is honey?
But I took out frame-by-frame, brash the bees and prepare to extract.
Michael, what do you mean about 7 frames box?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2005, 02:01:21 PM »

>90 pounds is weight of honey, frames and box.

Yes.  And probably bees too.  Smiley

> And half of that is honey?

More than half.  I don't know how much will still be stuck in the wet frames, stuck on the side of the extractor, stuck in the filter etc. but I'd expect to get 60 pounds of honey at least from a 10 frame deep full of honey.

>Michael, what do you mean about 7 frames box?

8 frame box?

An eight frame box  is 2 1/2" narrower than a ten frame box.

Picture of eight frame super on a ten frame brood nest:
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/TenFrameToEight.JPG

Picture of two eight frame hives with a ten frame between them:
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/EightTenEightHives.jpg

Picture of cutting a ten frame box down to an eight frame box:
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/8FrameCutdown02.jpg

Eight frame equipment:
http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?cat=109
http://www.millerbeesupply.com/8framehive1.htm
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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
zan
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« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2005, 04:25:19 PM »

Thank you for your answers, you are very kind and I ask too mach, but I realy mean why 8, why not 7 frames?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2005, 06:15:57 PM »

I'm not exactly clear what the question is.

The reason I go with a standard size is I can buy equipment that size.

I can buy all kinds of eqiupment (tops, bottoms, feeders, inner covers, stands, bee escapes, etc.) in both eight frame and ten frame size.  But eight frame or ten frame SIZE is just a way to refer to the width of the box, since I'm actually putting 9 frames in the eight frame brood boxes (by shaving the end bars down) and 7 frames in the eight frame supers, I guess they are being USED as 9 frame and 7 frame boxes.

If you mean why not cut them down another 1 3/8" to make it a seven frame box, there is the standards issue and then there is the fact that an eight frame medium full of honey is exactly what I want for weight.  Wider would be too heavy and narrower would be too light.  Smiley  Eight is just right.
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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
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« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2005, 10:25:08 PM »

Great beginners list above Michael!  This site should make a copy of that and put it in a special place where all beginners can go and find it!

One thing I'd add, cheap smoker fuel.  A big bale of untreated cedar pet bedding available at any store that sells pets works great, costs less than four bucks, and will last a beginner a couple seasons with 2 to 3 hives.

Oh, yeah.  And by the way, most beginner's kits seem to want to sell you a queen excluder.  Skip it.
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Joseph Clemens
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« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2005, 10:57:00 PM »

Hey, I like my queen excluders. Besides keeping the queen and her brood out of the honey supers they have many other uses.
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zan
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« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2005, 04:54:45 AM »

Sorry Michael.
I can buy here just 10 frames boxes but not 8 frames and I thought if you cut them from 10 to 8 or you make your owns you can cut and make also 7 frames.
I understand now, you can buy 8 frames boxes.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2005, 07:08:57 AM »

I was cutting them because I already had a lot of ten frame equipment.  Yes you could cut them any size you wish if you're cutting them down.  If they aren't assembled yet, the process woudl be MUCH simpler than the one I did.  Smiley  Many suppliers will make you eight frame boxes and equipment if you ask, but don't list them as a standard item in the catalog.  They usually charge the same amount as the ten frame equipment.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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