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Author Topic: What to DIY or buy and where to buy it.  (Read 751 times)
PRYORDARNELL
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« on: December 23, 2013, 06:13:30 AM »

I am keen to get into bee keeping and have done a little research and have quickly become overwhelmed by the amount of info out there. I live at Hampton near Toowoomba QLD so our climate is fairly reasonable for bees i think.
What would a basic "starter setup" consist of and am I better off buying hives etc or should I DIY what I can? I am fairly capable on the tools and wont go back to teaching for a few weeks yet so I have some time.
ALso what type of Hive is recommended in my region?
Thanks in advance
Feeling like a total novice because I am
Damian
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Oak
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« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2013, 07:41:26 AM »

Hi Damian,

I am a novice and the things I think you really need to buy are:

1. A smoker

2. Frames

3. Head protection

4. A bee brush

5. A hive tool.


You can DIY almost everything else. I built my 10 frame hives simply because the wood and metal was free.

You will want to buy frames to go in the hives. Use one size frame for everything. I went foundationless because it is cheaper to set up.

To me it makes sense to have as many hives as you eventually want, built at the beginning. Then set them up as bait hives. You are then ready if a swarm, swarm collection or cut out comes your way. At least one nuc hive is handy too. Even if you buy your first two colonies it seems like a good idea to have spare hives ready for splits, artificial swarms etc.

On protection, I just got the head gear and wear a $5 paint suit over thick clothing to protect my body.

Regards
« Last Edit: December 23, 2013, 10:51:51 AM by Oak » Logged
Lone
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« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2013, 09:27:45 AM »

Welcome Damian,

I'd add small hive beetle traps to that list.  I've just started using the hanging traps you can get at Kingaroy, but especially where you are, an excess of traps won't hurt.  Building a bottom screen trap might be easier before the bees are there, if you want to go down that path.  From what I read, they catch the most beetles and don't get propolized up like other traps.

The Australian hive tools are easy to make if you can borrow one as a template.  If you can, make a few spares.

Wood is tricky to find where I am, so after struggling to make hives fit together using 19mm pine (a couple of mm too narrow) we decided to buy the boxes but make the bottom boards. (Some commercial ones turn to dust in a year). Our mate has a tool to bend the metal part of the lid so when we have metal we make lids also.  Work out what size supers you want, but include a couple of nuc boxes as they are handy.  You are close enough to bee keeper suppliers to drive there and have a look.  Take a big ute if you do!  Postage is a killer out here. 
Whether you buy or construct, you'll have plenty to do with painting and building the honey extraction shed.

I'd advise making a hive stand if you are able to weld, that supports oil cans on its feet and is some height from the ground.

In QLD, make the higher migratory lids with vent holes front and back rather than the telescoping lids that fit over the super.  We use plastic foundation, which saves on the problems of wax foundation and needing embedding tools and a battery charger and board and crimper and eyelets and threading wire and some peace and quiet...  that's how we started off  Smiley

Most things are your preference so keep reading and don't worry if you change how you do things. Bee clubs are helpful so you can see lots of ways others do things. Work out what size supers you want, 8 or 10 frame, and what depth.  If I had known about 8 framers when I started, I would have gone for that lighter size. Most importantly, don't buy second hand equipment.  When you start to sell honey, you might not ever make a profit, but you will feel better about buying more gear and a fancy extractor.

Lone

 
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Moots
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« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2013, 09:31:14 AM »

Damian,
Started all my research a little over a year ago and got my first bees in January, so I'm almost a full year in.  I can appreciate and remember being overwhelmed by all the same decisions.

I decided to go with all 8 frame medium equipment.  All mediums keeps it simple, one frame size allows moving around frames between boxes without any issues, as well as keeping the weight manageable.  The 8 frames instead of 10 also helps with the weight and is believed by many to be a little more natural width for the bees and don't require quite as much encouragement to fill out the end frames.

I decided to build my boxes, bottom boards, inner covers and top covers.  I built a few telescoping covers and quickly figured out it was a lot more practical to just build migratory covers.

Purchased my frames unassembled and decided to go with wax foundation.  I wouldn't recommend attempting going foundationless as a newbie, you'll have your hands full and plenty to learn and keep up with you first year without having to worry about having to try and straighten up wacky comb.

Whichever route you go, realize Beekeeping is addictive and you'll probably actually need much more woodenware than you probably currently think you will.....I know I did.

I purchased a couple of Nucs from someone in my region to get started, finding medium Nucs were a little of a challenge in my area, not sure what the options are in your area.

You'll also need a hive tool and smoker, as well as protective gear....I'd say a veil at a minimum.  I usually go without gloves, but most newbies don't...If you do, you just have to accept that 2 or 3 stings is SOP.

When it's time to pull honey, you'll need a way to move the bees...fume board, bee brush, blower, etc.
I use a fume board with bee quick and use a brush to remove the stragglers.  As well as a way to harvest the honey......But you still have plenty time to worry about and research all those options.   grin

My best advice would be do your research and pick an answer and direction that you think will work best for you and your situation.  Understand there's no one "right" choice for any of these decision, and no matter which direction you go, there will be those that think you're making a mistake...as well as those that think you're doing it "right".

Good luck!
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Joe D
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« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2013, 12:05:15 PM »

On your hives and parts, make what you can comfortably building and buy the rest.  I don't know what the availability of lumber or other material is in you area. 
  Lone on the size, for lighter weight you can use shallow supers.  I have ten frame shallow and medium supers, and still use deep for brood chambers.  I could be wrong but I think the shallow ten frame has about the same honey as the eight frame mediums.   When I started I bought established hives and the older gentleman used one deep brood with shallow honey supers.  Good luck to you all.




Joe
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Lone
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« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2013, 06:47:33 PM »

Joe, we decided to go with one size to keep it standardized.  We've spent years just building up without being able to experiment too much.  Damian, note the super sizes are different in aus.  http://www.qualitybeekeepingsupplies.com.au/index.php/faqs/26-sizes-of-supers

I thought of a couple of other things that might be useful. When you register with the DPI they give you a brand. The fellas made me a branding iron.  We already had the numbers for the cattle, so just needed one letter.  This is a good idea if you are handy with metal.  Making a furnace is a little more involved.  In QLD, only one in 50 hives needs to be branded, but that means you could have 49 cleanskins stolen and you won't be able to identify them. 

The other item to think about is a queen excluder.  Some use them and some don't, but I have not come across anyone around here who doesn't use them.  It's probably more a preference than a climate thing though.  I wouldn't try making them, and I'd stick with metal for longer life.

Lone
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PRYORDARNELL
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Location: Hampton (near Toowoomba) Qld


« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2013, 08:45:27 PM »

I really appreciate the replies and advice.
With my limited understanding it seems like medium 8 frame all around might be the way i go. Am I correct in my understanding that this means that the all the boxes i build will be the same size, be of medium depth and have 8 frames hanging in them? I am a competant welder so i will make some stands for my hives and i assume the oil can component means the 4 legs stand in a tin of oil each. Huh To stop ants/beetles???

So my list of things to build for now is about half a dozen medium 8 frame boxes, 3 bottom boards (do the beetle traps go in these?), 3 inner covers and 3 migratory covers as well as some . Does that give me what i need to set up 3 hives? Also can i use the hives as "traps"for now or do i need to build something like the     
Coates 5-Frame Nuc elsewhere on this board.



I was thinking if i knocked up extra bottom boards and covers would they work as traps? I have driven through a couple of swarms in the past couple of months and thought the traps might be worthwhile.

Is there anywhere that had a decent set of plans for all the above in AU standard sizes?
Thanks again for all the help and advice
Regards
Damian
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Moots
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« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2013, 09:34:58 PM »


With my limited understanding it seems like medium 8 frame all around might be the way i go. Am I correct in my understanding that this means that the all the boxes i build will be the same size, be of medium depth and have 8 frames hanging in them? I am a competant welder so i will make some stands for my hives and i assume the oil can component means the 4 legs stand in a tin of oil each. Huh To stop ants/beetles???


Yes, your understanding above is correct.  Except that the oil can component is really about the ants...SHB's fly, it won't do anything to slow them down.


So my list of things to build for now is about half a dozen medium 8 frame boxes, 3 bottom boards (do the beetle traps go in these?), 3 inner covers and 3 migratory covers as well as some . Does that give me what i need to set up 3 hives?


Technically yes....but in reality NO!   Smiley

Remember my warning that you can never have too much woodenware.  Running 8 frame mediums your brood chamber will take up anywhere from 2 to 4 boxes...then you still need boxes for your honey supers. You hit a good year and a hive starts booming, you could easily have 7 or 8 boxes per hive, or more.  Not to mention, what if you have the opportunity to catch a swarm, be it one of your hives or from somewhere else.

I know that sounds like a lot, and you might not need them, but if you do need them, by the time you realize it, it's too late to start building equipment.

Your other option to get by with fewer boxes is to do multiple honey harvest, whenever they fill a super, pull it, extract it, and get it back on the hive.

Also can i use the hives as "traps"for now or do i need to build something like the Coates 5-Frame Nuc elsewhere on this board.

I was thinking if i knocked up extra bottom boards and covers would they work as traps? I have driven through a couple of swarms in the past couple of months and thought the traps might be worthwhile.


Having a couple 5 or 6 frame Nucs on hand is always nice, but I think you could get by with your plan of building extra hive components and using them if needed.  I would put a trap near your hives.  One should always have a trap in their own bee yard to help there chance of losing a swarm.  Personally, I wouldn't bother with the extra effort of setting traps out elsewhere.   I did and really got nothing to show for it.  It's a lot easier just putting the word out and waiting for someone to call you when they spot a swarm.

Good Luck!  Smiley
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Lone
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« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2013, 09:36:54 PM »

Hello Damian, sounds like you are getting the idea.  It looks like manley is about the equivalent size to an american medium.  I think most folks that use mediums for honey supers also use full depth brood boxes.  Is this correct?  Or do you usually use multiple medium boxes?  Having two sizes means they are not interchangeable and you cannot swap frames from the brood to honey supers.  It is a good idea weight-wise to use the manley I think, and also you might find they are capped quicker and ready for extraction.  I'm not sure where you get plans from.

Here is a picture of our type of stands.  Yes, oil cans are for ants (beetles can fly) and the height is for the cane toads.  Use 1" shs as the 3/4" they tried does not have enough strength.  The guards over the cans is to limit bee diving in the oil.  You might not always have a problem with ants, but it is a lot harder to adapt some stands to be ant-proof later on if needed.



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Nucs or any kind of box make a swarm trap.  When you get organised, you might want to carry one complete with frames in your car just in case so you don't miss a swarm.  You can add your name to swarm lists also.  All our calls are from people who know we keep bees.

I've never made a bottom beetle trap.  Here are some good pictures.  http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,38714.0.html   Getting the hardware cloth is tricky here, and some aussies on the forum have investigated options.  Maybe someone can let you know if they have a supplier.

Lone




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Moots
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« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2013, 10:01:51 PM »

Hello Damian, sounds like you are getting the idea.  It looks like manley is about the equivalent size to an american medium.  I think most folks that use mediums for honey supers also use full depth brood boxes.  Is this correct?  Or do you usually use multiple medium boxes?


Lone,
Not sure what the measurement of a "manley" are...But a US medium, also called an Illinois Super, is 6 5/8" tall (16.83 Centimeters) and accepts a frame with a height of 6 1/4".

Traditionally, a lot of folks did as you describe, full depth brood boxes with mediums for supers, and don't get me wrong, plenty still do.  However, what I do, and it's a trend that is gaining much popularity, is run ALL MEDIUMS FOR EVERYTHING...Brood and Honey, ONE SIZE BOX, ONE SIZE FRAME FOR EVERYTHING.
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"We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
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Oak
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« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2013, 10:04:15 PM »

Hi Damian

....... 3 bottom boards (do the beetle traps go in these?)

Mine do, it is basically a screen over a tray filled with oil.


Also can i use the hives as "traps" for now or do i need to build something like the     
Coates 5-Frame Nuc elsewhere on this board.

Nucs are easier to put in trees but a single 10 frame hive body raised three feet off the ground has been a successful bait hive for me. Just set them up in your backyard with lemongrass oil and hope for the best.


Is there anywhere that had a decent set of plans for all the above in AU standard sizes?

I wasn't able to find one. Super depths for Australian frames sizes are given in Lone's link. As long you understand what bee space is and build supers to fit your frames, you should be fine.

Good luck
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PRYORDARNELL
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« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2013, 10:16:56 PM »



 As long you understand what bee space is and build supers to fit your frames, you should be fine.

Good luck

OK so time to learn about bee space
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Moots
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« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2013, 10:31:55 PM »



 As long you understand what bee space is and build supers to fit your frames, you should be fine.

Good luck

OK so time to learn about bee space

Your other option is to buy one commercially made box when you buy your frames, measure carefully and build accordingly.  Smiley

Bee Space....Simply put, any gap smaller than 1/4 inch bees will propolis, any gap larger than 3/8 of an inch, they will build comb.  Keeping your gaps in a Langstroth style hive between those two, i.e. maintaining bee space, is what allows the whole system to work. Figuring this out is what made L.L. Langstroth a household name, well....at least among Beeks!  grin
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"We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
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PRYORDARNELL
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« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2013, 11:31:02 PM »

Love the term "BEEKS". Guess I am on my way to becoming one.
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