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Author Topic: Package or split for first hive  (Read 1638 times)
jammer
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« on: December 15, 2012, 08:40:23 PM »

I am a new bee keeper from alabama and trying to decide if I should get a split or a package for my first two hives. Undecided  My dad and brother both had hives when I was a kid so I have been around them before, but it has been a lot of years.  I also like honey very much!
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RHBee
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« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2012, 06:12:37 AM »

Hey Jammer,
I don't have experience starting up with someone else's splits. I started my yard up with Nucs and Packages. I got the package earlier than the nucs. I think the nucs might build up faster but I found that people selling nucs use this as a way to cycle their old comb out. I didn't know any better. I also found that nucs bring the small hive beetle and varroa along for the ride. I think that I will buy packages from now on. If you buy a package treat for varroa while they are broodless (Oxalic Acid), put them over a full bottom board beetle trap (Freeman Trap) and feed them well (1 to 1 cane sugar syrup, pollen patty) they should take off during the flow. Just my opinion based off of my first year.
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Later,
Ray
jammer
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« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2012, 03:48:11 PM »

Thanks for the info!  I hadn't thought about pest transfer and will take that into consideration. 
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bailey
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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2013, 07:30:42 AM »

Ray. I'm going to have to disagree with you.  I make nucs. And even if I wanted to cycle out old frames that isn't how I would do
it.  I use 2 frames from a hive to start a nuc. The other 3 are brand new, empty frames with starter strips.  When the bees finish drawing the other 3 empties then they are close to ready. 

If I wanted to get old comb out of a hive I wouldn't waste it on a nuc.  It would be far more valueable
In a swarm trap somewhere. 
Don't know why you seem so anti nuc but some of us do it the right way.
Just my opinion.   If I didn't know any better I would swear the ( getting rid of old combs ) thing was coming from a guy who sells packages.
Bailey
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most often i find my greatest source of stress to be OPS  ( other peoples stupidity )

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PLAN-B
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« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2013, 12:29:09 PM »

Jammer thanks for asking this question as I too am new at this and had the same question in mind... I am leaning towards Nucs... Bailey I know you are from around my neck of the woods. What do you do about the heat down here in southeast Louisiana. Do the bees fair well or are there a lot of things I need to do to help them with during our extreme summers?
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Marshall
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« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2013, 01:30:14 PM »

Hey plan b.  
as long as you have an open entry way the heat isn't an issue with bees here.  
They circulate the air and use water and evaporation to cool internal parts of hive.  
I paint hives using light color oops paint and place them out in full sun so they warm faster in the morning.
I have only had one heat issue and it was my fault.  Tried to do a combine in mid summer.  
Put newspaper between boxes and didn't give the top box a way to get ventilation.  
I should have propped the top open slightly but didn't know that at the time.  
Wound up cooking the top box of bees , including the queen.    Felt like a murdering moron !
Other than that heat hasn't been an issue.  
You might want to provide a water source near your bees.   I take  plastic drums and cut the tops off.  Leave the bottom half about knee high and add a layer of oyster shell.   ( I don't know why bees like it but they will pass up fresh clean water to get to the water with oyster shell. I assume its the calcium )
I then fill with water.  Slice pool noodles in cross sections about like a sliced pineapple and toss them in the barrel.   This provides a place for them to land and drink from without drowning.



« Last Edit: January 15, 2013, 03:41:07 PM by bailey » Logged

most often i find my greatest source of stress to be OPS  ( other peoples stupidity )

It is better to keep ones mouth shut and be thought of as a fool than to open ones mouth and in so doing remove all doubt.
PLAN-B
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When all else fails go to PLAN-BEE


« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2013, 05:07:08 PM »

I appreciate the helpful hints. This upcoming year will be my first encounter with bees, just trying to get as many tricks of the trade as possible before i dive in head first...  You will see me around, i promise...lol
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Marshall
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« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2013, 10:55:32 PM »

this is just my opinion but bees are going to come with mites and most likely hive beetles no matter how you get them down here in the south.  i would lump split and nuc into the same category so the question is package vs split.
the split will have a pretty big jump on the package even if you get it a few weeks after you would have put a package on foundation.  the split also shouldn't need to be fed. (obviously i'm leaning toward the nuc/split program even though i used to sell package bees many moons ago.)
i found a guy that was selling full colonies back in the fall and picked up a couple.  one was a double deep and the other was a deep with two mediums. 
i also did a removal in october of a sad little colony and took advantage of the two that i bought.  i put one frame of brood in with them to bump the population enough for them to cluster and have a chance and over the weekend i swiped another frame with honey ad pollen so they wouldn't starve out.  i have high hopes for those bees because they had no beetles and no mites when i found them.  i actually introduced a couple of beetles with the brood frame and i think they've been trapped or removed since then.
these bees are extremely docile and the queens shut down completely when food got scarce.  my afro-italian bees continued to raise brood through the fall and what we call winter at a pretty fast pace. 
i suspect that that would be the african influence.  they'll be swarming by the first week of march if i'm right and they will swarm on a regular basis after that all through the flows.
the amazing thing is that they are marked queens and the guy was paying for these genetics.  he won't work them without a full suit ( i've never owned one) and says they are way more gentle than what he used to have.
anyway, i'm getting off topic.  get a nuc or split as early as you can and try to split it while there is still a good flow on.  more bang for your buck in my opinion.
get two go into winter with 4 that won't need much if any feeding as long as you don't get greedy.
there was a guy on dothan craigslist selling colonies back in the fall.  he was in midway alabama if i remember right.  he runs all medium equipment (not my thing but it would be easier on the back).  see if his listing is still there.  he claims he doesn't treat only used screened bottoms and beetle blasters.
i've got a friend in huntsville that might be willing to sell you a nuc or two.  if your interested let me know and i'll ask him.
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RHBee
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« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2013, 10:55:52 PM »

Ray. I'm going to have to disagree with you.  I make nucs. And even if I wanted to cycle out old frames that isn't how I would do
it.  I use 2 frames from a hive to start a nuc. The other 3 are brand new, empty frames with starter strips.  When the bees finish drawing the other 3 empties then they are close to ready.  

If I wanted to get old comb out of a hive I wouldn't waste it on a nuc.  It would be far more valueable
In a swarm trap somewhere.  
Don't know why you seem so anti nuc but some of us do it the right way.
Just my opinion.   If I didn't know any better I would swear the ( getting rid of old combs ) thing was coming from a guy who sells packages.
Bailey



Sorry Bailey, I didn't say that you did that sort of thing. I was only speaking of my own experience. As for selling packages, I wish I had the resources to do that. Maybe some day. I'm in my first year and have six colonies. You sound like someone I would buy a nuc from if your methods are as you describe. The two nucs I bought last year one was full of SHB and the other was full of black comb. I wish that it had been different. Just trying to keep that from happening to someone else.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2013, 11:06:37 PM by Ray Bayless » Logged

Later,
Ray
Joe D
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« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2013, 12:25:22 AM »

You can join  local club, and there might be some one there wanting or would sell you a complete hive at a reasonable price.  When I got mine in 2011 there was an older fellow that was quiting because of his health.  Sold me 3 hives, single deep brood boxs and 15 to 20 shallow supers, not all in the best of shape, but full of bees for $400 for the lot.  There was another guy last year that was goning to reduce his yard wanted 225 I think for ones he was going to sell.  Just another option for you.  Good luck



Joe
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Moots
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« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2013, 08:51:59 AM »

Ray. I'm going to have to disagree with you.  I make nucs. And even if I wanted to cycle out old frames that isn't how I would do
it.  I use 2 frames from a hive to start a nuc. The other 3 are brand new, empty frames with starter strips.  When the bees finish drawing the other 3 empties then they are close to ready.  

If I wanted to get old comb out of a hive I wouldn't waste it on a nuc.  It would be far more valueable
In a swarm trap somewhere.  
Don't know why you seem so anti nuc but some of us do it the right way.
Just my opinion.   If I didn't know any better I would swear the ( getting rid of old combs ) thing was coming from a guy who sells packages.
Bailey



Sorry Bailey, I didn't say that you did that sort of thing. I was only speaking of my own experience. As for selling packages, I wish I had the resources to do that. Maybe some day. I'm in my first year and have six colonies. You sound like someone I would buy a nuc from if your methods are as you describe. The two nucs I bought last year one was full of SHB and the other was full of black comb. I wish that it had been different. Just trying to keep that from happening to someone else.

Ray,
Sorry you had a bad experience.  I wish you could have had the same experience I had with the purchase of my first 2 nucs.  I actually bought my 2 nucs from Bailey and picked them up last weekend.  I cannot imagine a better experience for a new beekeeper than the one I experienced. Bailey was very clear from the start as to exactly what I would be getting as far as both bees and frames.  When we transferred the bees to my nucs, we did it together, he took time to point out certain things and educate me, such as being able to spot eggs.  He also made sure to not only spot the queen and make sure she made it into my box safely...but also allowed me the opportunity to find her myself.  Since that time he has made himself completely available for questions, something I've taken advantage of a number of times.

Now, to the broader question of Nuc vs. Package....
No doubt, as with any other product or service, there are those doing it right and those taking shortcuts when it comes to producing Nucs and Packages.  Given the choice between an inferior nuc and a quality package, I can see the argument for going the package route.  However, while still a newbie, I would think that near everyone would agree that a quality nuc has a much better chance of success than a quality package.   
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