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Author Topic: How shall I start?  (Read 3171 times)

Offline eejit

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How shall I start?
« on: January 17, 2006, 11:49:43 AM »
Hi everyone! I have been reading about beekeeping all winter and am very intrested in getting started in my backyard. I am bewildered by all the choices  :oops: e.g. what Hive body, frame/foundation, bee to start with. Should I also go on a course? I was also thinking of maybie volunteering on a bee farm for a while.
What do you think? How did you guys get started?
Cheers!

Offline Rich V

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How shall I start?
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2006, 11:55:08 AM »
Have you decided on how many hives you will have?

Rich V

Offline eejit

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« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2006, 12:02:09 PM »
I was thinking a couple to begin with, see how I got on. Ive read that, like heads, two hives are better than one.

Offline ian michael davison

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« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2006, 12:19:01 PM »
Hi eejit
What area are you in, i can give you your local association details.
Firstly join your local association many run beginers courses and will have details of some of the more serious beekeepers. There are very few bee farmers in the UK. I am based in surrey and help a guy run courses near Woking. Is that any good for you??. Try www.bbka.org.uk for a bit more local advice :lol:

If you can get hold of these books and then do a reputable course you will be of to a good start. Ted hoopers guide to bees and honey(this is generaly regarded as the beekeepers bible in the UK) and also Clive de Bruyns Guide to practical beekeeping.

If you do a course and attend a few of your association meetings you are then in a postion to talk to a few local beekeepers and also ask around as to who may actualy be worth going and offering your help to!!!!!! Beekeepers are generaly a friendly bunch if not a bit on the old and crusty side :twisted:

Regards Ian

Offline Ross

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« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2006, 04:03:25 PM »
My recommendations (I started 4 years ago):

1) all mediums.  It makes life much easier, both in lifting and in moving frames around.  

2) 3 hives to start.  It gives you more options in comparing as well as moving assets around to help a hive.

3) no plastic.  I really slowed down my first hives by making them draw plastic.  You can do it, but the bees don't like it, and it takes a much stronger flow to get them going.  

4) find a mentor to help you get started if possible.  Most of us are nice guys and gals that enjoy helping.  

Other things I like:
5) Screened bottom boards
6) tall smoker
7) migratory covers
8) foundationless frames
9) Strongly consider an observation hive
www.myoldtools.com
Those who don't read good books have no advantage over those who can't---Mark Twain

Offline livetrappingbymatt

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how shall i start
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2006, 05:36:49 PM »
ross makes some good points.
personal preferance,is to also have extra yard atlest one mile from home yard. a place for splits,swarms,ect.
bob

Offline Michael Bush

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« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2006, 07:51:50 PM »
Hive body choice is this:

Deeps, what the psudo standard is.  90 pounds full of honey.

Mediums what a lot of us are going to.  60 pounds full of honey.

8 frame mediums what I'm now moving to from the regular mediums.  48 pounds full of honey.

How much do you want to lift?

You get to choose on foundation. Plastic is almost universially (except for Pierco) is 5.4mm cell size.  Standard wax is 5.4mm cell size.  Small cell foundation is 4.9mm cell size.  Natural worker brood cells run all the way down to 4.4mm with most around 4.85mm or so.  You can use large cell foundation (standard) or small cell foudation (not standard but more natural sized).  The small cell helps tremendously with the Varroa mites.

I would get a Screened Bottom Board instead of the standard solid ones.  Get one with a tray so you can close it up in the winter and open it in the fall.  Then you can use the tray to monitor Varroa mites.

I'd get an Italian Hive tool from Brushy Mt.  They are far better than the "standard" ones.

Buy a big smoker.  They are easier to light, esier to keep lit and worth the extra cost.

Buy a Jacket with a zip on veil.  That way you can get plenty of protection until you feel comfortable with the bees.  Then you can consider buying just a veil.

You'll learn a lot with an observation hive.  It's true you'll make a lot of mistakes, but you can usually figure them out because you get to watch.  :)

I've never moved a split away from the original site nor moved a hive somewhere else to move it back somewhere a few yard or hundred yards away.  I've always just moved them when I need to and put a branch in front to trigger reorientation.  I shake more young bees in a split to make up for the ones that will leave.  I make even splits by facing both to the old location.  It's a nice convenience to have another yard 2 miles away, but not necessary.  I'd love to have one just so I can have more hives without driving so far.  My outyard is 60 miles away.
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen

Offline Finsky

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« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2006, 01:31:17 AM »
Quote from: ian michael davison
Hi eejit
What area are you in, i can give you your local association details.


I have discussed with Ian. He  is very good. Use him.

Just open hives every week and learn to valuate how hives develope and how nature affects on hive. That is basic of beekeeping. 3 hives is a good start. Keep them at home so you have opportunity to learn.

Offline ian michael davison

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« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2006, 04:21:56 AM »
Hi all
eejit check this site http://www.blackhorseapiaries.org.uk/
This is my friends teaching set up.
RE: Some of the sugestions above. Plastic foundation is used very little in the Uk and whilst it has been around for many years has not really caught on, you would even have to search hard to find a supplier!!!!!!!!!!!!
 Also hive types vary greatly we have over 30!!!!!!!! with about 6 in common use. Some do use Langstroths but this is about 4/5 on the list. The most Commonly used hive is called the National and pictures/dimmensions can be found on the above site.

Regards Ian

Offline amymcg

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« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2006, 07:54:55 AM »
Here in the US we have a number of langstroth based options.  If the easiest thing to obtain where you are is the British National, then that's what you should use.  

Luckily, you can choose your foundation, or lack of foundation to help with varroa.

Offline eejit

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« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2006, 11:55:56 AM »
Thanks a lot guys for all your help. Its great to have so many helpfull folks out there!  :D

Offline ian michael davison

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« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2006, 01:01:10 PM »
Hi eejit
You still have not told us what area you are in.

Regards Ian

Offline eejit

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« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2006, 02:02:04 PM »
Hi Ian, sorry I forgot. Im from Stirling, Scotland. :D

Offline ian michael davison

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« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2006, 03:56:24 PM »
Hi eejit
Give this guy a call he is a bee farmer in Scotland and also runs a supply outlet. He is a decent bloke and very helpful. There's very few better you could ask for help or advice on getting started. He should also be able to tell you of local associations.(tell him i gave you his details)

Murray Mc Gregor: 01828 627721 (office)

Regards Ian

Offline mick

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« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2006, 03:30:58 AM »
BE good fun, I visited Stirling, Perth etc one summer and you wil get beautiful honey from that countryside.

One tip. Make sure your hive is either bought pre painted or that you allow plenty of time for the wood to season so it has shrunk, painting and all that.