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Author Topic: Three biggest Do's and Don'ts  (Read 2760 times)
PLAN-B
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« on: January 24, 2013, 08:38:13 PM »

 Hi everyone, This will be my first year attempting to keep bees. So i am trying to learn as much as possible and was hoping some of y'all would share some beginners mistakes made and lessons learned. So by all means i will listen to any and all willing to share a little knowledge... Let me say thanks in advance for any and all advice given...
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Marshall
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« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2013, 10:55:06 PM »

You have probably heard this before, but start with at least 2 hives.  I'm sure glad I did.  Use all the same size boxes, it makes life easier when you have to switch frames around.  Pray for a good weather year, it makes a huge difference!  good luck and you are in for a lot of fun!
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Joe D
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« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2013, 02:06:46 AM »

When you hear people talk about putting entrance reducers in, like in the fall, I figured it was because of winter.  It also helps on robbing.  In late summer and fall they will rob each other.  I when out to check yard one afternoon, six hives, five were robbing one.  Dead bees everywhere, all bees in the one hive dead and all their honey was gone.  Have had reducers in rest ever since.  Been lucky I guess that is the only hive I have lost though 2 winters.  Good luck




Joe



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edward
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« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2013, 04:21:19 AM »

Dont open or work beehives in bad weather  embarassed It can bee painful  grin


mvh edward  tongue
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Nature Coast Beek
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« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2013, 06:37:02 AM »

Learn how to properly manipulate frames. Pull from the outside, check, set aside. Now you have room to work the inside frames inside or OVER THE TOP OF THE OPEN HIVE BOX. Rolling the queen is very possible. Identifying the queen on EVERY visit isn't necessary, but until you know how to easily identify a queen bee...assume that she is/could be on every frame INCLUDING the cover.

It's a hive and not an aquarium, but don't be fearful of inspecting. For me, I don't crack a hive unless I have a clear objective in mind first. Don't know if this is true or not, but I use it as a rule of thumb...vigorous inspections set the hive back at least 3 days. I also got it into my mind early that, with all else seemingly normal, finding eggs and brood was good enough. Lots can be learned from observing the entrances alone and having multiple hives to compare/contrast is best.

BIGGEST DO....ENJOY YOUR B'S  Wink

my .02

 
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T Beek
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« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2013, 08:31:29 AM »

Sometimes doing 'nothing' when confronted w/ a problem in the hive is the best path to take. 

Sometimes (most times IMO) we have to trust our bees to show us the way.

Read EVERYTHING.  Spend as much time as possible just observing.
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"Trust those who seek the truth, doubt those who say they've found it."
10framer
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« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2013, 08:37:44 AM »

Learn how to properly manipulate frames. Pull from the outside, check, set aside. Now you have room to work the inside frames inside or OVER THE TOP OF THE OPEN HIVE BOX. Rolling the queen is very possible. Identifying the queen on EVERY visit isn't necessary, but until you know how to easily identify a queen bee...assume that she is/could be on every frame INCLUDING the cover.

It's a hive and not an aquarium, but don't be fearful of inspecting. For me, I don't crack a hive unless I have a clear objective in mind first. Don't know if this is true or not, but I use it as a rule of thumb...vigorous inspections set the hive back at least 3 days. I also got it into my mind early that, with all else seemingly normal, finding eggs and brood was good enough. Lots can be learned from observing the entrances alone and having multiple hives to compare/contrast is best.

BIGGEST DO....ENJOY YOUR B'S  Wink

my .02

i'm not sure about setting the hive back by going through it.  i would think that may be true depending on the nature of the bees.  bees that run on the frame a lot might very well be stressed by a thorough inspection where as bees that require little or no smoke and continue about their business as you go through the hive may not be set back at all.
I don't like bees that run but my strongest hive is my hottest hive and the bees are very jittery.  they use a lot of propolis and i never see more than one or two beetles in the hive when i go through it so i may learn to live with it they may become the breeding stock for the queens in all my splits this spring.
i definitely think you should get two hives or more.  i think you should either start out with double deeps or all mediums if you are starting with packages and foundation.
start talking to some local beekeepers now.  see if a couple of them will let you watch as they inspect a few of their hives.  see if the successful guys have a common source for queens.
don't over treat (or don't treat at all if you can accept now that you will lose some colonies each fall and winter).  don't over harvest.
read, ask questions and have fun.  
you are going to find it hard not to go through the hives every other day at first since you've never done it before.  consider getting an observation hive at the same time so you can watch it and then during periodic checks see that the same things are happening in your hives.
again, have fun and don't get too frustrated if you lose hives or have a couple of swarms the first couple of years.  if it was simple everybody would be a beekeeper.
 
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bailey
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« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2013, 08:49:23 AM »

First ,   Enjoy the bees. 

Do.   Learn everything you can.
Don't.    Be afraid of failure.  You won't get it all right the first
Time. But you can keep working till you have what you need and want.

Don't    Expect to build up large and fast.  It takes a bit of time
 
Do.  Buy woodenware in bulk when ever you can.

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

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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2013, 09:14:45 AM »

"There are a few rules of thumb that are useful guides. One is that when you are confronted with some problem in the apiary and you do not know what to do, then do nothing. Matters are seldom made worse by doing nothing and are often made much worse by inept intervention." --The How-To-Do-It book of Beekeeping, Richard Taylor
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Michael Bush
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PLAN-B
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« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2013, 09:40:54 AM »

I really appreciate all the post and i understand that every ones opinion will vary. I have decided on a 8 frame hive with all mediums. Is there a general rule of thumb as far as how often one should inspect the hive? Say if i inspected it once a week --- would that be considered excessive or not enough? 
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Marshall
10framer
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« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2013, 10:34:05 AM »

"There are a few rules of thumb that are useful guides. One is that when you are confronted with some problem in the apiary and you do not know what to do, then do nothing. Matters are seldom made worse by doing nothing and are often made much worse by inept intervention." --The How-To-Do-It book of Beekeeping, Richard Taylor

2nd^^^

the frequency depends on the time of year.  once a week right after you install packages is probably a bit much.  during a strong honey flow you might get away with it but there is really no point in fully inspecting a hive that often.  popping the top and pulling a couple of outside frames to see if you need to super or 4 or 5 frames to inspect brood pattern is ok but to go through a hive frame by frame that often would be a bit disruptive.
i seriously think you should consider an observation hive, the temptation is too strong when this is all new.  the observation hive might curb that a little.  
i think all mediums in 8 frames is a good plan.  i run 10 frame stuff and i like double deep brood chambers but i'm a throwback.  i am considering moving forward with 8 frame equipment, though (i'm getting old and worn out and i do think that the design is more natural for the bees).  
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kathyp
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« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2013, 10:59:34 AM »

don't trust that your gentle spring bees will continue to be gentle in the fall!!  yes, enjoy. 

when you start, you will probably check more often.  that's not a bad thing.  it's how you learn.  two hives for sure!
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Moots
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« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2013, 11:20:34 AM »

Plan-B,
I'm early on in the world of beekeeping myself so really can't offer much advice.  For whatever it's worth, I made the same decision as you as far as equipment and went with all 8-frame mediums.  As you have probably realized already, there are a plethora of opinions involving every aspect of beekeeping.  Smiley  However, I'd say that probably a solid 80% or more of beekeepers that I mention going all 8-frame mediums to think it's a good choice.

How close are you to Baton Rouge or Ascension Parish.  Both have bee clubs that meet monthly.  The BR club meets the first Tuesday of the month and the Ascension clubs the second Tuesday.  I've joined both and think they will both be beneficial.  If you are already aware of the clubs and make any of the meetings, will have to make an effort to meet.  If not and you are interested, PM me and I'll send you some more details.

Have you made a decision regarding going with a Package or Nuc yet?
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mikecva
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« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2013, 11:30:48 AM »

First, Welcome to the forum.   cheer

My first suggestion is to join a local beekeeper's club. They can give you a lot of local advice and they may have a mentoring program where one experienced beek will be your adviser and sometimes talk you through your inspections (in our club the mentors will not do the the work but will stand with you to advise.)

Second, try to visit a fellow beeks hive with them and see how conformable you are around the bees, then buy your outfit accordingly (for me I was able to get away with just a jacket and vale, no gloves) The more comfortable you are the better it is for the bees, even if that is a full bee suit.

Third, as others have said read, ask questions and enjoy your bees.  -Mike

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Listen to others but make your own decisions. That way you own the results.
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PLAN-B
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« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2013, 11:32:25 AM »

Funny, I was just looking at local beekeeping clubs around my area within the last 20 minutes. I just saw one called the Southeast Louisiana Beekeepers. I believe that was the name. I am just east of Baton Rouge in Holden, Louisiana. I am from the Metairie originally though. I am interested in joining as i believe it would be to much info and fun to pass up. So if you don't mind, i would love any info.... Thanks
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Marshall
PLAN-B
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« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2013, 11:34:45 AM »

Thanks Moots and Mike
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Marshall
BjornBee
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« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2013, 04:43:25 PM »

1) Understand that no matter who says it, that buying one particular hive, placing your bees on one type of comb, or buying a particular queen, will not keep you from having problems.

2) Everyone is an expert. Everyone has a blog. Everyone promotes their own ideology. You WILL probably be more confused after one year of beekeeping, and reading every blog, watching every bee video, and reading every forum.

3) There are really good beekeepers on forums. And some not so good. It is your job to find out which is which, since nobody else can point the difference out to you. Everyone can agree, but saying someone is wrong, is usually frowned upon. So understand that even bad advice gets it's due. Since everyone is P.C. nowadays, the next four items will prove this point.  

4) All beekeeping is NOT local. Good advice is good advice. And bad advice is bad advice, no matter where you live or where the other beekeeper lives.

5) Understand and guard against those that say "What works for one person may not work for the next" in attempts to suggest that each and every beekeeper has valid points, or even knows what they are talking about. You do NOT need to try each and every thing out there in attempts to find what works and what does not work. These type comments usually come from those that know not what they say.

6) Do not think that "treatment free" or "hands off" is a good option for beekeeping. It usually just translates into dead hives. Strive to be "chemical free" and learn to be a better beekeeper by inspecting your hives in a less stressful manner. But never think that you as the beekeeper will be a detriment to your bees. You need to stay on top of things to learn, and help your bees when help is needed.

7) Guard against those that say "When confronted with a problem in the apiary and you do not know what to do, then do nothing". If you do not know what to do, then ask someone. If confronted with a problem, means you know something is wrong. Then do something. It usually should be a reason for action. Ask another beekeeper for assistance. Find out the answer to your questions, and find out how to deal with issues. Saying you lost a hive, while looking back and stating you knew there was a problem, but did nothing in hopes that they could deal with it, is not a good thing. Bees are very forgiving, even to poor beekeepers. There is not much you can do that the bees can not overcome, short of killing the queen, and even then they know what to do.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2013, 05:49:26 PM by BjornBee » Logged

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Frantz
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« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2013, 05:34:18 PM »

Definately find plans for an OB hive and get one built or buy one. I learned more about my bees in two weeks of watching them on a day to day basis in the OB hive than years of checking on them. Watching what happens inside the hive was amazing. My kids watch it more than TV.



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« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2013, 06:24:30 PM »

Do:
Open the hive and learn,once a week is not too much when trying to learn. It will set back the production somewhat.
Respect your neighbors with hive placement.
Read all you can
Feed a new package if there is not a nectar flow,but don't overfeed.

Don't
Be afraid to ask for help
  
Be a guinea pig for radical treatment ideas when you are learning.

Being from the south,don't leave much more space than the bees cover on the frames.It will only invite hive beetles.

Don't be afraid to make it over to Bud 5 if it is not too far,even if only for a few hours.





 
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10framer
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« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2013, 07:11:40 PM »

1) Understand that no matter who says it, that buying one particular hive, placing your bees on one type of comb, or buying a particular queen, will not keep you from having problems.

2) Everyone is an expert. Everyone has a blog. Everyone promotes their own ideology. You WILL probably be more confused after one year of beekeeping, and reading every blog, watching every bee video, and reading every forum.

3) There are really good beekeepers on forums. And some not so good. It is your job to find out which is which, since nobody else can point the difference out to you. Everyone can agree, but saying someone is wrong, is usually frowned upon. So understand that even bad advice gets it's due. Since everyone is P.C. nowadays, the next four items will prove this point.  

4) All beekeeping is NOT local. Good advice is good advice. And bad advice is bad advice, no matter where you live or where the other beekeeper lives.

5) Understand and guard against those that say "What works for one person may not work for the next" in attempts to suggest that each and every beekeeper has valid points, or even knows what they are talking about. You do NOT need to try each and every thing out there in attempts to find what works and what does not work. These type comments usually come from those that know not what they say.

6) Do not think that "treatment free" or "hands off" is a good option for beekeeping. It usually just translates into dead hives. Strive to be "chemical free" and learn to be a better beekeeper by inspecting your hives in a less stressful manner. But never think that you as the beekeeper will be a detriment to your bees. You need to stay on top of things to learn, and help your bees when help is needed.

7) Guard against those that say "When confronted with a problem in the apiary and you do not know what to do, then do nothing". If you do not know what to do, then ask someone. If confronted with a problem, means you know something is wrong. Then do something. It usually should be a reason for action. Ask another beekeeper for assistance. Find out the answer to your questions, and find out how to deal with issues. Saying you lost a hive, while looking back and stating you knew there was a problem, but did nothing in hopes that they could deal with it, is not a good thing. Bees are very forgiving, even to poor beekeepers. There is not much you can do that the bees can not overcome, short of killing the queen, and even then they know what to do.

that's actually a good point when i say "treatment free" i do actually mean "chemical free".  now, as far as doing nothing goes i think over-reaction is probably worse than waiting some things out.  if you start treating and don't get instant results you'll be tempted to try something else and next thing you know you've done 3 or 4 things and probably stressed the bees and made things worse. 
my thoughts are that bees that succumb to problems that bees in the hive next to them endure might need to be "cut from the herd" so to speak.  that's a personal choice though.
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