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Author Topic: Questions about adding a new hive?  (Read 2285 times)
Hi-Tech
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« on: April 20, 2006, 09:47:34 PM »

I hived my first package of Italian ladies a week ago. I am considering adding another hive and package but I have a few questions.

Does it matter how close the hives are together? Is there a best way to handle 2 hives in a close area?

Since I would have to order everything, will it be too late if I start the new hive in about two weeks?

Should I do the new hive in all small cell? What and where is the best source for small cell?

Sorry to be so newbie. I am reading everything I can get my hands on but have not seen much info on this. Also, any general tips for beekeeping in South Alabama would be appreciated. What to look out for and so forth…I have no mentor or anyone to show me anything. I installed my first package strictly by a book without having ever seen a bee hive....
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2006, 09:53:01 PM »

You can put the hives right up against each other if you want. If you are planing on going small cell then yes go small cell.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2006, 07:09:08 AM »

>Does it matter how close the hives are together?

No.

> Is there a best way to handle 2 hives in a close area?

Do what's convenient for you.

>Since I would have to order everything, will it be too late if I start the new hive in about two weeks?

Can you get a package in about two weeks?  No it's not too late.

>Should I do the new hive in all small cell?

I would.

> What and where is the best source for small cell?

There's only one real source from the big guys and that's Dadant.  They sell to Brushy Mt. who resells it.  Either one is a good source.  A few others are starting to stock it now too.

>I installed my first package strictly by a book without having ever seen a bee hive....

Been there.
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Michael Bush
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Hi-Tech
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« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2006, 11:59:39 PM »

Thanks for the tips guys...

I Make my first inspection tomorrow and I cant sleep thinking about it. I feel like a kid on Christmas eve!
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Jack Parr
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« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2006, 06:40:56 AM »

Quote from: Hi-Tech
Thanks for the tips guys...

I Make my first inspection tomorrow and I cant sleep thinking about it. I feel like a kid on Christmas eve!


You don't say how far South you are in South Alabama. But bear in mind that most of the posters on these boards are from cooler northern climes and their hive activity differs from US southerners. The actual preformance of honey bees is probably the same but climatic conditions, for us, dictate that we be alert to OUR hives and NOT depend on what someone from New York advises. The Northerners are probably correct in their advice, usually based on their experience in their area but not too good for us.  Unfortunately I seldom find any posters from the southern part of the US that come on these boards who are very knowledgable or so it seems.  Most are neewbs also. However I'm sure that there are some Southern folks with bee know how in Southern Beekeeping practices but I seldom run across them. There is a general agreement in beekeeping circles down here that almost ALL of the books on beekeeping tend to be directed towards nothern beekeeping practices so...

For instance I have extractable honey RIGHT NOW, and it's been ready for some three weeks. Four of my  hives have four and  five boxes stacked, two/three mediums and two deeps. Florida people are, in some cases, further along than me/us.  The winter??? season, for us, has been pretty much non existent you may have noticed. Bees are sensetive to climatic conditions and want to get to work ASAP. At least that is what I have observed.

I've had one of my hives swarm on me, probably, at least one month back.  I am aware of the awarming possibility and did take some steps to hopefully curtail the hive instinct  by shifting some frames around the hive more than 1 & 1/2 month back. My plan was to remove some frames of brood from the very active hives to boost some nucs I ordered but the nuc beeman operated on his regular schedule and I couldn't get the nucs until Sat 22 April. Too late to do any good for my planned swarm prevention. I could have made some splits but wanted to use nucs for expansion and ended up with a swarmed hive.  However there are still plenty bees left and I re-queened that hive and she should be laying now.  

So it goes. I also re-queened four hives, almost three weeks back  but there again I could have done that at least six weeks back and probably have even more extractable honey.  The queen guy, also operated on his usual calender schedule and had queen and packages available on that schedule.

Good luck.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2006, 11:39:27 AM »

>I have extractable honey RIGHT NOW

And a week and a half ago was the first nectar of the spring here.
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Hi-Tech
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« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2006, 02:20:04 PM »

Jack,

That was good info!  I have noticed that most of the postings are a lot further north of me. I am in Greenville, AL which is about 100 miles from the coast. We have already had many days of 90 degree plus weather so I figgured things would happen a lot sooner around here.

Do you have fire ant problems? I have not seen any in my hive or even climbing on it but if a bee even hesitates on the ground for a few seconds, she is ant food. I have my hive up on blocks but I still worry about the ants and the intense heat. I see a lot of bearding during the day so I put in a slatted rack today. I hope that helps.

Thanks for all of the tips. Today was my first inspection after installing the package last Sat and I am definately hooked!

Thanks
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Jack Parr
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« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2006, 07:40:31 AM »

Oh yeah, we got dem dare FIRE ANTS, and how. Of course right now they are hardly visable because the ground is bone dry around here. We be needin' da rain.

I placed some sheets of tank steel that I have, 4.5 X 8 ' on the ground and set the hives on a stand made from 1/2 plastic drums/barrels on the steel. Drums cut in half. They are sturdy, rot proof, and mice can't dig into them. Others hives I have on gravel. The steel sheets do provide a clean area under the hives and then I can run the lawn mower around that to keep a larger area free of ant attractants like clumps of weeds that are useful to ants when they build themselves up out of the wet ground. Fire ants are great engineers. They move up and down in the soil according to temp and moisture. The drier the conditions are the deeper they go, seeming  to disappear, BUT dey still be dah, oh yeah they be dah wink

You have to be mindful that cinder blocks are useful to fire ants as a means of elevating their colonies. Simply put the ants use them for climbing up as they build their colonies. The ants move the extracted dirt upwards  especially after heavy rains. House built on slabs are sometimes invaded by those ants.

Personally, although we do have an ample supply of ants here, and how, I quit frettin' bout dem.  A person can go broke just buying all that ant killin' stuff and never get rid of the ants.  Like dem Armidillos, dey be heah, get use to dem.  Tongue
The sheets of steel work for me. Actually sheets of anything that will last will do. Old signs made of aluminum or plastic will work.  Plus having large sheets of anything under the hives lets you see how many bees die and are dropped outta da hive.  You sometimes will find the wingless bees, the k-wing bees, mal formed larva, dead drones, all on the ground sheets, that you normally don't see because of the grass around the hives. The cleaning out bees grab dead or deformed bees and try to launch themselves off and usually fall in the grass 3-4 feet from the hives. With the sheets you can see all manner of bee activity, or in activity, depending if they are dead or alive.

I use screen bottoms, home made. Very simple to make. I leave the bottoms open but I do have white boards that I can slide under to block the cold or do a mite drop check.  

I haven't used inner covers last year. For one, the bees glue the cover to the top box and if you use inner cover they glue that but not the cover. The cover can fly off sometimes in gusty wind but not if it's glued. Seems to have worked out, although I am pretty much solo in this bee venture around here save for a couple of beehaving friends and THEY depend on me for advice smiley  smiley  smiley  I got plenty of dem books though and I be readin'. wink
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Jack Parr
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« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2006, 07:44:25 AM »

Oh yeah, we got dem dare FIRE ANTS, and how. Of course right now they are hardly visable because the ground is bone dry around here. We be needin' da rain.

I placed some sheets of tank steel that I have, 4.5 X 8 ' on the ground and set the hives on a stand made from 1/2 plastic drums/barrels on the steel. Drums cut in half. They are sturdy, rot proof, and mice can't dig into them. Others hives I have on gravel. The steel sheets do provide a clean area under the hives and then I can run the lawn mower around that to keep a larger area free of ant attractants like clumps of weeds that are useful to ants when they build themselves up out of the wet ground. Fire ants are great engineers. They move up and down in the soil according to temp and moisture. The drier the conditions are the deeper they go, seeming  to disappear, BUT dey still be dah, oh yeah they be dah wink

You have to be mindful that cinder blocks are useful to fire ants as a means of elevating their colonies. Simply put the ants use them for climbing up as they build their colonies. The ants move the extracted dirt upwards  especially after heavy rains. House built on slabs are sometimes invaded by those ants.

Personally, although we do have an ample supply of ants here, and how, I quit frettin' bout dem.  A person can go broke just buying all that ant killin' stuff and never get rid of the ants.  Like dem Armidillos, dey be heah, get use to dem.  Tongue
The sheets of steel work for me. Actually sheets of anything that will last will do. Old signs made of aluminum or plastic will work.  Plus having large sheets of anything under the hives lets you see how many bees die and are dropped outta da hive.  You sometimes will find the wingless bees, the k-wing bees, mal formed larva, dead drones, etc etc  all on the ground sheets, that you normally don't see because of the grass around the hives. The cleaning out bees grab dead or deformed bees and try to launch themselves off and usually fall in the grass 3-4 feet from the hives. With the sheets you can see all manner of bee activity, or in activity, depending if they be dead or alive.

I use screen bottoms, home made. Very simple to make. I leave the bottoms open but I do have white boards that I can slide under to block the cold or do a mite drop check.  

I haven't used inner covers last year. For one, the bees glue the cover to the top box and if you use inner cover they glue that but not the cover. The cover can fly off sometimes in gusty wind but not if it's glued. Seems to have worked out.                                                                                    I am pretty much solo in this bee venture around here save for a couple of beehaving friends and THEY depend on me for advice smiley  smiley  smiley  I got plenty of dem books though and I be readin'. wink  an writin'.

Let us kno how ya make out. Good luck Cheesy
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Hi-Tech
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« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2006, 07:04:33 PM »

Thanks for the good advice on the ants. We got them 'dillos too and they are digging the crap out of my yard!!!!

Also, and this may be a dumb question, but how do the bees react to the lawn mower? Does it usually piss them off? Should I wear a veil?

I guess I will find out soon enough... If it will ever rain here, we might start getting some grass to grow...
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2006, 07:26:43 PM »

>Also, and this may be a dumb question, but how do the bees react to the lawn mower?

Assuming you aim the discharge away from the hive entrances, somewhere between ignoring it and attacking.  It just depends.

> Does it usually piss them off?

Sometimes.

> Should I wear a veil?

Always.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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