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Author Topic: What is the basic equipment to make it through a season?  (Read 3128 times)

Offline tillie

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What is the basic equipment to make it through a season?
« on: June 03, 2006, 12:32:00 AM »
I have two hives and I keep ordering more and more stuff.  I wish I had had a list of what I will need to get through a season.  

My two hives each have a deep brood box and a medium brood box above that.  Then they each have two honey supers.  I have in reserve now 2 more supers built and one yet unbuilt.  If I need more than that for the season, I'll need to order yet again.

I have super thin wax foundation for the frames for these supers with the plan to crush and strain.  I also today bought at Home Depot two large plastic paint buckets to get ready to use Michael Bush's crush and strain approach.  

What I think will happen is that I will take the frames out of a filled and capped honey super and replace those frames with new ones.  Is that realistic?

Should I have even more supers in reserve?  I know the production and season is different in different parts of the country but I would like to know what people think is the back-up one generally needs to make it through a season.  

I saw a post where I think Brian said that you need to have at least two reserved supers for each hive - is that what everyone does?  

Thanks to this wonderful forum for your continued help with my many concerns,

Linda T in Atlanta - wishing I had taken shop in high school instead of home-ec
http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com
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Offline Summerbee

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What is the basic equipment to make it through a season?
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2006, 12:38:57 AM »
I know what you mean!  I have scads of supers and only 20 frames.  The recceommendation around here seems to be the more the better!  Get anything you can free, cheap or used.  Better to have too much than too little.  As a hobbyist, two supers w/ frames extra per hive should work out, it is for me. :)
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Offline tillie

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What is the basic equipment to make it through a season?
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2006, 12:42:27 AM »
In a typical season, how many supers does one hive need?

I guess that's the bottom line - although I know I need extra foundation since I am crushing.

Linda T (still wishing I had taken shop instead of home ec - although I am a great bread baker :wink: )
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Offline Summerbee

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What is the basic equipment to make it through a season?
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2006, 12:54:00 AM »
Depends; some bkprs that posess an uncanny combination of luck, brains and location walk away in Sept. with 5 supers (medium).  Others (like me) get hardly enough to feed their bees through the winter.  I would get two medium supers w/ frames per hive to begin with.  Once one gets filled up, you can harvest that super and put the other one on for the bees to fill up.  Ths way, you can rotate throughout the season.  This works for the hobbyist.  Commercials might want to just keep filling up supers until they can harvest them all at once.  But this way saves $ and space.
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Offline Brian D. Bray

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What is the basic equipment to make it through a season?
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2006, 01:35:48 AM »
Summerbee's suggestion, though valid, wastes a lot of honey in getting the extracting equipment wet and then cleaning up afterward.  Not to mention labor intensive.  I'm retired and don't like to work anymore (double entrandre) than I have too.
The amount of equipment necessary is determined by several factors:
1. How many hives your starting with.
2. The size of the brood chambers.
3. How much increase hive wise you anticipate over the course of the summer.
4. Always have enough extra equipment on hand to put together 2 hives 2 boxes high (unanticipated increase).
5. Standard management practices are for 2 deeps in the brood box and 4-5 medium supers per hive.

Now do your multiplication and buy equipment if necessary and don't forget your other basic's like tools and clothing--do your calculations every fall for the next year and purchase accordingly.  Building and repairing bee equipment is why we have winter.  It gives us time to do it.

Another consideration is that the more boxes you have the more bees you have and the more bees you have the more honey you'll get.  Bees don't like to stand on foundation or thin air, they'll build comb.  For example: If you open a hive with 2 brood boxes and 4 supers you'll find that there are bees fairly evenly spread thoughout the hive on all the frames and as boxes are added more bees fill the space as they build the comb.  A reason why 1 or even 2 brood boxes often aren't enough.
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Offline amymcg

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What is the basic equipment to make it through a season?
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2006, 08:08:45 AM »
It's pretty common to not have what everyone else considers enough equipment your first year.

Last year I had one hive with two deeps and two supers. If they fill up, extract and put them back.  After this year you will have a better idea of what you will need for next year.  I would have liked to have had more supers last year, but it was fine.

This year, I'm building a boat load of supers and Just ordered 100 frames, which of course are backordered. . .

Offline tillie

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What is the basic equipment to make it through a season?
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2006, 08:54:43 AM »
I'm going in to inspect the hives today and I expect to find the super I put on last week almost full - making two full honey supers on each of my two hives.  I have two more ready to go, so I'll probably be in OK shape.

Because I read about how heavy the deeps get, I put a medium on second and then shallow honey supers.  Since I had planned for and purchased two deeps for each hive, I do have (by accident) what Brian recommended - two extra deeps in case I have a need to create a new hive quickly.

I just read on the UGA website http://www.ent.uga.edu/bees/Synopsis/Bee_Management.htm that by now in Atlanta the major honey flow is over, so maybe I won't get much more honey.

If the bees have no more honey flow this year, what are the little foragers doing now?  Looking for pollen for the brood?  Getting nectar here and there from the garden flowers?

I appreciate the guidelines - I have learned so much from this group.

Linda T in Atlanta
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Offline Apis629

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What is the basic equipment to make it through a season?
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2006, 11:40:58 AM »
The main flow (for you) may be over but, there seems to be always something blooming to create a flow, for the maintenance of the colony.

Offline Michael Bush

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What is the basic equipment to make it through a season?
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2006, 01:11:52 PM »
>I have two hives and I keep ordering more and more stuff. I wish I had had a list of what I will need to get through a season.

Better to get it as you need it (with a resonable amount of anticipation). Other wise you'll probably end up with a lot of things you don't use and not have things you need.

>My two hives each have a deep brood box and a medium brood box above that. Then they each have two honey supers. I have in reserve now 2 more supers built and one yet unbuilt. If I need more than that for the season, I'll need to order yet again.

Sounds like a good plan.  If you put those on, buy some more.  If you don't need them, then you don't need to buy more.

>What I think will happen is that I will take the frames out of a filled and capped honey super and replace those frames with new ones. Is that realistic?

And put the full ones where?  You need a few more boxes than you have frames to fill to have boxes to juggle frames around.  But that can work.

>Should I have even more supers in reserve? I know the production and season is different in different parts of the country but I would like to know what people think is the back-up one generally needs to make it through a season.

You always need one or two extra supers per hive available.  That way you can put them on and order more.

>I saw a post where I think Brian said that you need to have at least two reserved supers for each hive - is that what everyone does?

Exactly.
Michael Bush
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Offline tillie

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What is the basic equipment to make it through a season?
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2006, 04:56:48 PM »
Thank all of you for the recommendations.  I feel pretty prepared since I just inspected the hives and the third box (the first honey super) on each hive is filled with honey but it isn't all capped - about 45% capped.  They had barely started on the second honey super.

So I have two finished shallow honey supers ready to go.  I also have two deeps left over from my not recognizing how heavy boxes of bees actually were going to be!  When the honey is capped, I can take out an empty super and move the capped frames into it and replace them with new frames - or I can add another super, since I have one ready.

My beekeeping teacher at the Folk School, Virginia Webb, took filled and capped frames from hives and replaced them with empty comb or foundation.  When she removed a frame from a hive, she brushed or shook the bees back into the hive.  She then put the capped frames, now beeless, into an empty super and kept it covered with a cloth while we worked  so that the bees wouldn't go back to it.

I'm eager to taste the honey and that seems like something I could do with one capped frame in one of the filled supers just to find out what the future pleasure will be  :wink:

Thank you, as always, Michael, Brian, Amy and everyone who posted and thanks to earlier postings about using mediums because the deeps are so heavy.  I found even the filled shallows today to feel heavy.  I actually thought I needed to loosen the corners with my hive tool, but it was in fact because the super was so full and I didn't expect it to be that heavy!

Linda T in Atlanta
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Offline thegolfpsycho

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What is the basic equipment to make it through a season?
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2006, 05:14:23 PM »
The problem with putting foundation back between uncapped honey frames, is the honey frames grow and grow, and the foundation gets neglected.  When they finally are forced to start working the foundation, you get some very poorly drawn foundations.  My own method has to been to stay will full supers of foundation.   After extracting, those frames become the brood boxes for my splits.  I also use division boards to keep them manageable for the size of the splits.  Division boards seem to be something that have dissappeared and I often wonder if I missed something while I was beeless.

Offline tillie

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What is the basic equipment to make it through a season?
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2006, 05:17:47 PM »
So, like my mother always said, you just have to be patient.......

Thanks for helping me put on the brakes, golf, I was sure there would be a reason that wouldn't work.....

Linda T
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Offline thegolfpsycho

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What is the basic equipment to make it through a season?
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2006, 05:31:08 PM »
Having the frames overdrawn in the super is not a bad thing.  Much easier to uncap and there are many discussions suggesting you get just as much honey from 8 or 9 overdrawn frames as you do from 10 crowded together.  The caveat is that crowding that tenth frame of foundation in effectively wastes it.  I could be wrong, but for expansion, for maxing out production, drawn comb.. properly drawn comb, is very very valuable.  My belief is, that it is the difference between getting surplus from packages the first year, or feeding them to get them thru the winter.  Again... if you manipulate the frames, and put the foundation between capped frames, or mostly capped frames, problem solved.

And if you want a taste, scrape some off.  I'm diabetic, and when out working the bees, sometimes my sugar gets too low.  The shakes ya know?  I just gouge out some wax and honey and chew it up.... props me right back up.