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Author Topic: beginner questions  (Read 3273 times)
randydrivesabus
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« on: February 07, 2006, 06:13:04 AM »

just looking for some opinions. theres never a shortage of those on a message board.
this is going to be my first foray into beekeeping.
would you start with 2 hives instead of one?
i live in southwest virginia...it is zone 5 almost zone 4 for a growing season. its in the mountains so sometimes we get frost at the end of may but this isnt the norm. when should i get my bees delivered? trees start blooming at the end of april or so. i usually dont have to mow my grass until the 3rd week of april.
how important is it to have one of those white coverall bee suits? i am not fearful of getting stung and have been stung by yellow jackets/wasps/hornets before.

ok...this should do it for round one.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2006, 06:31:09 AM »

>would you start with 2 hives instead of one?

I think you'll get agreement on this one.  Two gives you resources to help out a hive in trouble and a reference point to compare to as to what is normal.  Two is a good plan.

>when should i get my bees delivered? trees start blooming at the end of april or so.

My guess is that you're mistaken.  HERE the Elms and Maples start blooming in late February or early March and the fruit trees bloom between the first of April and the second week of April.  My guess is you're earlier than that.  I'd try to get them right about when the early fruit trees bloom.  My buess is that's about the first of April for you.

>how important is it to have one of those white coverall bee suits?

Get the jacket with a zip on viel.  Wear long pants.  Rubber band the pant legs if you're nervous.  Later when you feel braver, buy just a veil if you want.

> i am not fearful of getting stung and have been stung by yellow jackets/wasps/hornets before.

You will get stung.  Smiley  Sooner or later.
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Michael Bush
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gsferg
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« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2006, 06:47:53 AM »

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would you start with 2 hives instead of one?


I'd start with 2, or even 3. With one hive you have nothing to compare it to. With 2 or more you can swap frames around if you have to.

Quote
when should i get my bees delivered?


I'd shoot for mid to late April and plan on feeding them. Find some other beekeepers in your area and find out what they're doing. Contact your state apiariest, they should be able to put you in contact with local beekeepers.

Quote
how important is it to have one of those white coverall bee suits?


They keep you clean.  Beekeeping can be quite messy. White also seems to bother the bees less. Bees can sting rhrough them if they're persistant.

I'd certainly get at least a veil, you can take it off if you want to, but you can't put it on if you don't have one. I'm not afraid of getting stung either, but that doesn't mean I like it. I particularly DON'T like getting stung on my face.. having your eyes swell shut sorta takes a lot of the fun out of keeping bees.  Bees can often be quite gentle, but just as often they can get quite nasty. Owning a veil is mandatory IMHO whether you choose to wear it or not. A suit and gloves are optional.

Good luck!

George-
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TREBOR
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« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2006, 12:09:05 PM »

Welcome Randy,
 
Quote
would you start with 2 hives instead of one?

   
  This is only my second year but I can all ready see that two
or more is best.  
 I started with 12 but I do things big, (18 b4 winter hit).
I read alot on this forum and in books, lots of people talking about winter
 losses,(well I live in the mnts. and it gets down to -40 deg. here.)  So I figured if I had 75% loss I would start next year with 3 left.
So far all are well ! Cheesy  (I guess it pays to do your homework)
 Now I'm starting to calculate the cost for this year if all survive wow$$$$$:shock:
    But I plan on it being a full time thing! we are already selling veggies at the farmers market and will be expanding to maple syrup next year.
 Anyways, ya two or more!
 

Quote
when should i get my bees delivered?

  as soon as you can!!!!!! you should have already ordered them last month!   you may still find some.... I would get them as early as you can down there and feed them till the flow starts,
that way you have more bees to go get nectar..... Cheesy alittle frost won't hurt them....

Quote
how important is it to have one of those white coverall bee suits?

 I started with a full suit just because and have been stung, Michael
is right, it will happen...!
   I made the mistake of working them in the evening, I got stung alot even with my full suit, but I'm glad I had it......!
 I suppose in time I my be get a jacket but for now its full armor.... Smiley

Read alot (there is alot to know)
 ask alot of questions
and most important HAVE FUN..!!!
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randydrivesabus
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« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2006, 02:03:15 PM »

i'm trying to find bees to get delivered the 3rd week in april.
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taw
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« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2006, 04:57:16 PM »

Quote from: randydrivesabus
i'm trying to find bees to get delivered the 3rd week in april.


My story: I started with 2 hives. One ended up failing and I had to combine them in the fall. If I only had 1 hive and it failed, I would have nothing at all and would have to start over (well, you have all that drawn comb, so it is not *completely* starting over).

So, 2 to 4 hives is what I would recommend. Not only general failure, but with more hives you are also more likely to have some honey your first year.

My 2-cents. Good luck. It's a blast!
-todd
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2006, 07:46:19 PM »

I would always wear at least a veil.  Getting stung in the eye or anywhere on the face is much worse than the hand or the leg.  Getting stung a lot on the face is really bad.  And the face is always their prime target.  Very nice bees can surprise you on a cloudy, or windy day or late in the day or in a dearth or when you get lazy and don't light the smoker.  Most of the time you'd probably get by without a veil but that once will make you wish you had worn one.
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Michael Bush
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Jack Parr
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« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2006, 08:15:52 AM »

in the face is not pleasent, at all. Can be very painful for some and IT IS for me. The places on the body where there is meat/muscle don't seem to be as bad.  Depends also on how long and deep the bee stinger stays engaged I have found.

Once you get setup there will probably be a desire on your part to visit the hives. Do so, but don't stand in the flight path of the bees, which is the area around the entrance of the box because they will hit you in flight and they can, and, will sting, usually in the head area. I got more stings that way, usually from my mean hive.

There is much discussion on clothing colors but I have been into the hives with dark clothing and no adverse reactions that I could note except in my one box that contains the very defensive/agressive bees. The other hives seem to be laid back, not agressive and don't seem to care about color, BO, the stock market, whatever. I like 100% cotton coveralls, any color, loosly fitted, because they are cooler than the poyester/cotton mix. In either selection the bees will sting through clothing and if tightly fitted will penetrate into your skin.

One thing you will, or, should note is that much of the knowledge about bees is gleaned from obsevations over the past years/centuries. There is some hard and true scientific evidence and facts but you have to do much of your own observations about how YOUR BEES are doing in your area. After a while all that accumulated knowledge becomes a bit TOO MUCH!!! IMO but it's all good to read and speculate on. Try queen rearing if you want confusion.

Good luck
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randydrivesabus
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« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2006, 12:11:31 PM »

do you guys think i should try one hive with an italian queen and one with a russian queen?
i am really excited about this. maybe someday i'll grow up but i feel like a kid trying out something new. (55)
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leominsterbeeman
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« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2006, 04:34:16 PM »

Quote
would you start with 2 hives instead of one?


Start with atleast 2 hives.  there are many reasons to do this:  It gives you something to compare too.   One hive will most likly be stronger than the other and you will be able to see the difference.



Quote
live in southwest virginia...it is zone 5 almost zone 4 for a growing season. its in the mountains so sometimes we get frost at the end of may but this isnt the norm. when should i get my bees delivered?


Most apiaries in the south will have packages ready to go by the first weekend in April.    Nucs are a little later, first weekend in May.   In any case, you will need to suplement with sugar water to feed them.

You should have your bees ordered by now.

Quote
how important is it to have one of those white coverall bee suits?

Very important.  Yo ucan get by with a top-half suit.  As long as you are covered and the bees can't sting through your clothes and the clothes are not black or brightly colored you are good even with a veil and gloves.  Many peolpe will tell you you don't need a beesuit,  but I consider it essential.   If you are woorking the bees alone in a remote area and you are the only one around,  you want to be covered.  If something happens and you take 100+ stings,  you could be dead.  Seriously,  I don't want you to be dead.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2006, 07:14:19 PM »

>do you guys think i should try one hive with an italian queen and one with a russian queen?

Whatever you like.  They are all bees.  They all pretty much act the same.  In my experience, there are as much differences from one hive to another as one race to another.  You can make some generalizations by race but all in all they are similar.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Ruben
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« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2006, 07:54:14 PM »

I'm like you Randy, I live in Rockbridge County 1hr north of Roanoke and I called today to see when my bees were going to be shipped and they told me they had me down to ship out on 4/28. I was wonder if that was too late, I know when I plant my garden and put tomatoes in the ground the last week of April the trees are blooming and grass is green. Forsthia blooms here in late March I believe. I will have a frost sometimes in late April but not often. I don't care if I get any honey this year I just want to have the bees when the time is best for them.
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randydrivesabus
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« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2006, 08:14:25 PM »

Quote from: leominsterbeeman
 Seriously,  I don't want you to be dead.


thank-you. i appreciate your concern. i will order my bees tomorrow. i'm a full time CPA during income tax season so i have no time to deal with it until after 4/15. this also keeps me from growing early crops that i could sell at the farmers market. its terrible what we have to give up just to make money.
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mick
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« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2006, 01:52:52 AM »

I wear long pants over gum boots, woolen long sleeve shirt, gloves, and a veil over a broad brimmed hat. Was the cheapest option for me at te time. When I get some cash Id like to get one of those jackets with the big space man helmet look. rolleyes
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Ymbe
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« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2006, 07:14:17 AM »

This is also my first year and I've opted for a full suit. My main reason is to give me confidence when starting off - the last thing I want to be worrying about is getting stung or what that bee's doing on my leg when I'm engaged in my first inspections and manipulations. Having said that, once I get a better understanding of the temperament of my bees I'll see how comfortable I feel without gloves/full suit  as this will make life easier, especially at the height of summer!
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TwT
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Ted


« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2006, 01:30:19 AM »

randydrivesabus, the best thing I can tell you is start with atlest 2 hives, my first year I started with 3 and a month later I got 3 more, when you go to work your bee's and have some free time, 2 hives isn't enough, it is so much better to see if a hive is doing good or just comparing the hives to see witch hive is really doing the best. with more hives you can take frames from other hives to help a slow hive. when you start looking through the frames of 1 hive and run out, you have more hives with frames to enjoy then, learn more with a few hive in my opinion.
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THAT's ME TO THE LEFT JUST 5 YEARS FROM NOW!!!!!!!!

Never be afraid to try something new.
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