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Author Topic: New to Beekeeping  (Read 538 times)
Parksguyy
House Bee
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Location: Ottawa, Ontario


« on: August 22, 2012, 02:14:22 PM »

Hello everyone, I'm new to beekeeping this season having set up two hives for myself (and a friend has two hives) ... all new equipment so no drawn foundation.  We are Canadians, living near Ottawa, Ontario.  We have our hives next to 15 acres of sunflower.  We got our nucs in late June and so far they have progressed well, two are doing very well and the other two are growing but not as quick.  The weather has been hot and dry all summer here.  All the hives are into their 2nd brood chamber, the two larger ones more so.  We tried placing honey supers on two of them, but after a week nothing was happening.  I pulled them off, because I was getting concerned that we really need to concentrate on getting them ready for winter.  I now understand that the bees were likely reluctant to move into the honey supers given its all new foundation.  So, next year no queen extruders initally from what I understand.  I am looking for any advice anyone might have for a first year beekeeper, and if you happen to live in Ontario even better because you will be familar with our climate and the timing of fall preparations.  We will be feeding, just wondering when we should be starting.  Any advice regarding winter protection would be awesome too.  Any advice would be much appreciated by this new beekeeper. Thanks   
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AllenF
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Location: Hiram, Georgia


« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2012, 07:17:35 PM »

You rarely get honey from a first year hive.   
Never use a queen excluder with undrawn frames.  You have to have combs or the bees will not go up there with the excluder in place.   
2 to 1 feed for fall feed.   And you may want to wrap your hives, but I am down here and know not since it is not as cold as up there in winter.   And welcome to the forum.
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BlueBee
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Location: Mid Michigan


« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2012, 07:29:10 PM »

Unfortunately you’ll get 101 different ways to winter your bees.  You’ll have to throw a dart and pick which one of the 101 ways to try.  I think Finski’s ideas makes the most sense for those of us in cold climates; insulate your hives!  Also best if you can get the top box filled with food of some sort (honey, sugar water) before winter.  Bees usually move up in the winter and stores in the outer position of the lower box can go unconsumed even as the bees starve to death in the top box.
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Nyleve
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Location: Ontario, Canada


« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2012, 09:28:43 PM »

So last year was my first season with bees. Started with a package in May - I live in Ontario, near Peterborough. The bees took off like gangbusters. I had a honey super on the hive by July with a queen excluder in place and nothing but plastic foundation on top (there was drawn comb in the 2 brood boxes below). Not only did I get honey in September but I got, like, 50 lbs. of honey from the one hive. Didn't feed in the fall but did insulate. I put a 1-inch layer of fibreglass insulation on top of the inner cover, under the outer cover (but with a hole cut for ventilation). Then I stapled a layer of tar paper over the outside of the hive and put a mouse guard on the entrance. Let the tar paper hang down over the entrance a bit to reduce the opening. Replaced the screened bottom with solid. I realize that last winter may not have been typical in that it was unusually warm but the bees came through very well and didn't even need feeding in the spring.

I'm planning to do the same this year. Will check the brood boxes to make sure they're heavy with honey but if I don't have to feed with sugar, I prefer not to. Fingers crossed. Veteran beekeepers please tell me I'm nuts, if necessary.
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Joe D
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Location: Ovett, Ms


« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2012, 10:02:25 PM »

Sounds like you did pretty good last winter and maybe it will work again this year.
  That's one thing down here we have a few days along that are kind of warm during the winter and we can check on stores etc.  Last winter was my first also, I had 3 hives that during the winter and spring were feed 1 gal of sugar syurp each, which they really didn't need had honey left over.  In fact when I was getting supers off this spring and checking hives, some of their stores had crystalized.  Good luck to you and your bees.


Joe
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