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Author Topic: beginner's setup  (Read 4868 times)
fr0sty
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« on: December 11, 2006, 03:35:41 PM »

Hi, I totally new to beekeeping and was really interested in starting a hive in the upcoming spring. I'm from NJ and from stuff that I saw, last year, they offered classes at Cook College about beekeeping and gave hives to people who signed up. I was wondering if anyone here went to that and if they are giving hive equipment again in the spring of 07. Now a few basic questions:

1. I am still in college, I read posts on starting out with 2 hives, but that ends up being really expensive, is it okay to just start with 1 hive?
2. Are those starter kits offered by some companies not worth it? It seems worth it, money-wise, but from some of the posts that I have read, it seems that buying only medium supers, etc separately would make this easier in the end. (I was looking at brushy mountain equipment and was really confused on what I would need, anyone wanna create a starter list for a hive?)
3. If I were to start a hive, how many brooders do you need? and then how many supers do you put on, on top for honey? I was reading that 3 mediums would be needed, but when I start out, do I only use 1 super, then put another and then another one on as they need it, or just start with 3 medium supers for brooders, and then supers for honey?

can't remember what other questions I had, but if I remember i'll post them again. Thanks!
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« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2006, 03:55:47 PM »

I applied to program but was denied b/c it was full.They are having another class this april, no info on whetehr the state will sponsor some new beekeepers. I started keeping bees anyway w/o the course. I read a lot and joined this site. Download this sites course, its helpful.

As for beginners kits, most recommend no. I bought one hive to start, and added one deep immediately. I didn't do nucs or packages, but a whole deep w/ bees.

My first year, I purchased veil, smoker, gloves, frame puller(dont like it), hive tool, three medium supers w/ foundation, top feeder, screened bottom board, and slatted rack. One month later, iadded another hive. In fall, another feeder, and medicine for mites. Everyone will advise to something slightly different, but thats the basics. In hind sight, I would buy a jacket-veil combo, skip frame puller and get the hive tool w/ hook instead and purchase two hives at the same time.
 
Last note, add your town and join New Jersey Beekeepers association now, you'll get some leads on hives and bees being sold locally like I did. Also they have an extractor to borrow which will save a lot of money until you need one of your own.  Harvey's bees is a drop for Mann Lake for example in South Jersey and you'll save the shipping. he sells bees in hives too along w/ most any kind of equipment.
hope this helps .
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« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2006, 03:58:48 PM »



1. I am still in college, I read posts on starting out with 2 hives, but that ends up being really expensive, is it okay to just start with 1 hive?

yes it is ok to start with one but during inspection and not having another hive to comp
are it to slows down the learning to so extent. 



2

. Are those starter kits offered by some companies not worth it? It seems worth it, money-wise, but from some of the posts that I have read, it seems that buying only medium supers, etc separately would make this easier in the end. (I was looking at brushy mountain equipment and was really confused on what I would need, anyone wanna create a starter list for a hive?)  


some people buy the starter kits and some listen to the old time beekeepers, its your choice!!!!

3.

  If I were to start a hive, how many brooders do you need? and then how many supers do you put on, on top for honey? I was reading that 3 mediums would be needed, but when I start out, do I only use 1 super, then put another and then another one on as they need it, or just start with 3 medium supers for brooders, and then supers for honey?

that would depend on your location and sources that your bee's would rely on! If you want to use mediums then use them but I use deeps for brood and mediums for honey sosomeone else could give you a better answercan't remember what other questions I had, but if I remember i'll post them again. Thanks!
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« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2006, 04:08:26 PM »

great thing for someone who doesn't have a lot of time!

here is what i started with:  2 deeps, 2 shallows, 1 hive tool, 1 hat and veil, 1 pair of gloves, 1 screened bottom board, 1 inner cover, 1 outer cover, 1 smoker, 1 package of bees.

i purchased my hives bodies and frames unassembled and put them together myself.  it saved some money.  i also bought my foundation in bulk. i purchased my paint from home depot at a discount because it was mixed wrong. 

later in the year, i needed another deep and medication for mites.

total start up cost was around 300 dollars.

i missed picking up a swarm because i didn't have an extra super on hand.  if you can afford to keep some extra supers ready, it's worth it!
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

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« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2006, 06:02:50 PM »


Last note, add your town and join New Jersey Beekeepers association now, you'll get some leads on hives and bees being sold locally like I did. Also they have an extractor to borrow which will save a lot of money until you need one of your own.  Harvey's bees is a drop for Mann Lake for example in South Jersey and you'll save the shipping. he sells bees in hives too along w/ most any kind of equipment.
hope this helps .

Yeah, I was actually looking at NJBA and wasn't sure which one to email for more information. I'm from Berkeley Heights NJ, so I'm somewhat in between the Northeast and Central local branches. The thing is the meetings for the Central group are a little more than an hour away from me.

So, what I'm somewhat hearing is that I should get probably 2 deeps for brooders, and then 3 mediums for honey? Would I put them on all at the same time or just let the bees settle in the brooders first, then add a queen excluder and the 3 mediums in once they're settled?

For hives, do you guys recommend the wooden or polystyrene ones? and for frames, do you recommend the molded plastic ones or the wooden ones? I was looking at wooden frames, and some of them have a grooved bottom bar, while others the others are divided bottom bar, which one is better? and only for wooden ones you need a foundation, of was or plastic right?
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« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2006, 07:23:10 PM »

>1. I am still in college, I read posts on starting out with 2 hives, but that ends up being really expensive, is it okay to just start with 1 hive?

The only problem is if there is a problem you have no resources with which to resolve it. It's well worth getting two.

>2. Are those starter kits offered by some companies not worth it?

NO!

> It seems worth it, money-wise, but from some of the posts that I have read, it seems that buying only medium supers, etc separately would make this easier in the end. (I was looking at brushy mountain equipment and was really confused on what I would need, anyone wanna create a starter list for a hive?)

Sure:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnewbees.htm

>3. If I were to start a hive, how many brooders do you need?

One to start and one to add later.  When you add a box, it's good to have another on hand shortly for when they outgrow that one.

>and then how many supers do you put on, on top for honey?

If you get all the same size boxes you won't have to keep track of this.  If you don't use an excluder (I wouldn't) you won't have to distinguish at all between a brood box and a super.

> I was reading that 3 mediums would be needed, but when I start out, do I only use 1 super, then put another and then another one on as they need it

Yes.

> or just start with 3 medium supers for brooders, and then supers for honey?

No.
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« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2006, 07:52:39 PM »

i like wood. 

you might also consider taking one of the bee magazines.  bee culture is nice.  good info and easy to understand.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2006, 08:53:13 PM »

listen carefully to mr bush.
he'll keep you on the riht path.
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« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2006, 09:26:50 PM »

Mr. Bush, your site is very informative, that's where I read that starting out with all mediums would be better. In the beginner's guide, you state that permacomb could be used as well. Would you recommend a person new to beekeeping to use permacomb? and also where can you find permacomb? I tried searching for it and only found forum posts about it. Is this it? www-beecare.com/Hardware/Frame.htm (remove the hyphen, can't post links)
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« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2006, 10:16:20 PM »

>you state that permacomb could be used as well. Would you recommend a person new to beekeeping to use permacomb?

That depends on what you want for an outcome, what you want to spend and what you want to do.

Wax coated PermaComb has the advantage that you get instant small cell.  Not wax coated it's small enough to provide SOME help with Varroa, but not quite as small as it should be.  If you don't want to wax coat it (a messy proposition) you can buy Honey Super Cell, but it only comes in deeps.  To use it in mediums you'd have to cut it down.  (not hard to do)

>and also where can you find permacomb?

http://www.beesource.com/bee-l/bulletinboard/seets/permacomb.htm

Email: john.seets@ngc.com

John Seets, National/International Distributor
PermaComb Systems
2203 Belleview Rd.
Catonsville, MD. 21228
410-471-4335
410-765-6361
800-915-4469

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« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2006, 10:18:17 PM »

honestly, i think i'd go with bees wax foundation.  you can do a poll and see what others think and search back to see what has been written here.  seems like i have heard of more problems with plastic.  you might also want to consider whether you will use beeswax for anything and how you will process your honey.  if you do MBs crush and strain, you'll want natural foundation.  if you are going to save wax for use or sale, you'll want natural foundation........just a few thoughts......i'm going to try starter strips this year.  that sounds like a great idea.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2006, 11:07:02 AM »

If you join central jersey branch, Bob Hughes is the president. He also teaches the short course at Cook college. He also has access to lots of mentors if wanted. I know nothing about the northern branch.
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« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2006, 05:38:26 PM »

The thing about the central jersey group is that the meetings are about a hour away. I emailed the northeast branch's head to get more information regarding meetings, etc.

KathyP, I saw your post on how you got some bees, If I were starting a hive, how many bees would I need? (weight or packages)
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« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2006, 06:23:15 PM »

i started with 1 3lb package last year.  i'll buy one this year and also try a split.  if my berry farm friend has swarms, i hope to pick up one or two.  with any luck, this year will see a bit of an expansion.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2006, 08:06:00 AM »

Always buy more equipment than you think you'll need because you'll need it.  For catching swarms, heavy honey flows, etc.
Use Mediums exclusively, they are easier to handle and you can swap frames from one box to another wilthout problems.  Uniformity is worth it in every way.
2 Hives means resources to keep a faultering hive alive.  One hive-one shot, a serious mistake means no bees.  The second hive avoids this as brood frames can be exchanged allowing a queenless hive to raise a new one.
Both Michael Bush and I use medium 8 frame hives only.  The ease of operation cannot be over stated.  Use screened bottom boards for varroa control and think hard about doing small cell.  The full sheets of foundation cut down to strips goes a long way.  1 inch strips (you get 8 from 1 deep sheet) means on sheet of foundation makes 8 frames (1 full box for me) of frames with starter strips.  the bees will regress the comb size down from the industry standard which is also helpful in Varroa control.
If you start with mediums (a begin lifting full ones) you'll always be glad you did.  If you start with deeps (and begin lifting them) you'll always wonder why you didn't start with mediums.
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« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2006, 08:38:43 AM »

.
Swarms are spended and eaqsy to nurse because they draw combs needed during one week. I give to swarm 20% sugar syrup. They carry it to hive and low concentration streches cell walls. When combs are ready, they have stored sugar. They need 10 lbs dry sugar to draw one box of foundations. As I ave said, it is better to put 2 swarms together and you have a good foraging hive and it makes much more brood than small swarm.  Good swarm gang occupyes whole 2 deeps.



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« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2006, 11:49:38 AM »

"The full sheets of foundation cut down to strips goes a long way.  1 inch strips (you get 8 from 1 deep sheet) means on sheet of foundation makes 8 frames (1 full box for me) of frames with starter strips.  the bees will regress the comb size down from the industry standard which is also helpful in Varroa control."

eden.rutgers.edu/~shangjen/bee%20frame.JPG

Is that what you're talking about? Using strips to start off the comb making? I thought they made foundations in small cell though.
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« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2006, 12:04:01 PM »

"The full sheets of foundation cut down to strips goes a long way.  1 inch strips (you get 8 from 1 deep sheet) means on sheet of foundation makes 8 frames (1 full box for me) of frames with starter strips.  the bees will regress the comb size down from the industry standard which is also helpful in Varroa control."


This is mere imagination. to draw one box foundations needs 16 lbs honey. With trips it nees 100% more honey. No use.

Natural combs do not protect against varroa, not a bit.  First varroa has killed feral colonies from local nature.

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« Reply #18 on: December 13, 2006, 12:06:38 PM »

Is that what you're talking about? Using strips to start off the comb making? I thought they made foundations in small cell though.

I am not small cell beekeeper, but i think that if the bees are regressed they will build small cells also out from stips. If not full regressed they will build mixed cells, or totaly go back to 5.1 cells. But it is only a guess, because I have no practical experiece with this.
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« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2006, 01:21:32 PM »

Hi Frosty
Very good questions, and you will get about 20 answers to each one grin  It is up to you to pick the right answer for you.

I'm very cheap, so have constructed most of my own stuff.  There is always a balance between cost and objectives, but if cost is  primary and you don't have the time to make your own boxes/frames, the basics I'd recommend to start....

2 deeps for brood, 2 mediums, all one-peice plastic frames for them(cheaper than foundation and frames seperately, I think). Inner cover, outer cover, cheap bottom board.  Veil, smoker, hive tool.  you can use your own gloves or pay $7 for some canvas gloves.  Wear a light colored spring jacket and jeans (unless you don't want to use a jacket/gloves).   To me that would be the cheapest basics.  The plastic frames/foundation you can scrape and drain when harvesting honey and re-use.
And make sure that you know a fellow beekeeper who can provide some assistance/brood/split if you run into trouble.  Get frosting buckets from the bakery for harvest time and a couple cheap paint strainers to keep the wax out.

If you don't mind spending a little more, I like wood frames with plastic foundation, go with all mediums, a screened bottom board, a few more supers, at least 2 hives, an extractor, italian hive tool, specialized feeders, queen excluders, etc.  Then you can get into the small cell foundation, foundationless, etc.

I didn't buy a starter kit, but purchased a 2 deep hive from another beekeeper.  He also sold me a small old smoker and some misc. hive equipment that I don't use anymore.  You'd have to do the math to see if they are worth it since they ususally come with only one deep super.

-rick
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« Reply #20 on: December 13, 2006, 07:30:33 PM »

>Both Michael Bush and I use medium 8 frame hives only.  The ease of operation cannot be over stated.

No, it can't.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beeseightframemedium.htm
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm#lighterboxes
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm#uniformframesize

>Is that what you're talking about? Using strips to start off the comb making?

That would be right.

>I thought they made foundations in small cell though.

They do.

>This is mere imagination. to draw one box foundations needs 16 lbs honey. With trips it nees 100% more honey. No use.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesharvest.htm

>Natural combs do not protect against varroa, not a bit.  First varroa has killed feral colonies from local nature.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm#feralbees
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm
http://www.beesource.com/pov/lusby/index.htm
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Organicbeekeepers
http://www.bushfarms.com/beespests.htm#varroa

>I am not small cell beekeeper, but i think that if the bees are regressed they will build small cells also out from stips.

Yes.

>If not full regressed they will build mixed cells, or totaly go back to 5.1 cells.

Probably about 5.1mm cells.  The bees from those cells will usually build something close to 4.9mm.
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« Reply #21 on: December 13, 2006, 07:44:47 PM »

gota go with finsky on the small cell.  i can find no definitive research that proves small cell reduces varroa.  that said, i intend to try starter strips.  i want to see if i get more/better wax from it.  i have a plan...... evil
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #22 on: December 13, 2006, 08:53:57 PM »

  i can find no definitive research that proves small cell reduces varroa.


Try this one.

http://www.funpecrp.com.br/GMR/year2003/vol1-2/pdf/gmr0057.pdf

"......it appears that natural-sized cells are superior to over-sized comb cells for disease resistance."



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« Reply #23 on: December 13, 2006, 10:12:05 PM »

It's easy enough to just time the pre and post capping times on natural sized cells.  I've done it many times and no one who has tried it has reported any different results than I have see, or that Huber saw on natural comb back in 1791:
http://www.bushfarms.com/huber.htm#eggtoadult

Keep in mind that on the 1st day no time has elapsed and on the 20th 19 days have elapsed. If you have doubts about this add up the elapsed time he refers to. It adds up to 18 ½ days.

    "The worm of workers passes three days in the egg, five in the vermicular state, and then the bees close up its cell with a wax covering. The worm now begins spinning its cocoon, in which operation thirty-six hours are consumed. In three days, it changes to a nymph, and passes six days in this form. It is only on the twentieth day of its existence, counting from the moment the egg is laid, that it attains the fly state."

    François Huber 4 September 1791.

If you shorten the pre and post cappings you will get significantly less Varroa.  If you go to natural cell size you will significantly shorten the pre and post capping times.

A true scientist would try it and find out for themselves.  It's not difficult.  You'll need an observation hive (which any beekeeper should have anyway if you want to learn about bees), some small cell comb, a notepad to write down when the queen layed the eggs, and a marker to mark a number or letter over the cell she layed it in so you can time it.  Then note when it was capped and when they emerged.
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« Reply #24 on: December 13, 2006, 10:32:56 PM »

Quote
A true scientist would try it and find out for themselves.  It's not difficult. 


that sounds very much like work....something i gave up long ago!!!  i hope to have enough hives after this year to do several different things.  among them, allowing the bees to draw comb as they see fit.  i have no problem with trying new things and have no problem changing my mind if i find a new things works better than what i have been doing.

i read jerrymacs article (thanks) and i have read others.  what i would like to see is a long term study with several years of follow up on established colonies.  so far, i have not found a study  like this.  a one year study is a good start, but there are so many variables no absolute conclusion can be drawn.

those i have known who have tried small cell found no advantage and discontinued because they were after volume honey and found that honey productions was reduced by allowing bees to draw foundation, etc.  (also not scientific findings)

i plan to use at least one hive for wax production primarily.  i am thinking that having the bees draw out the comb from scratch will give me a better quality of wax.  i don't know if that's true, but i'd like to give it a try.

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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #25 on: December 14, 2006, 01:31:29 AM »

gota go with finsky on the small cell.  i can find no definitive research that proves small cell reduces varroa.  that said, i intend to try starter strips.  i want to see if i get more/better wax from it.  i have a plan...... evil

I have no trouble with varroa. I do not use starter strip because it is really expencive compared to my own wax recycling. I get so much wax from uncapping that I get all wax what I need to new foundations.

My aim is to get huge honey yields. I am not goin to play any natural. My bees are so natural as they need to bee.

To teach to beginners 100 years old beekeeping - not me  tongue .

50 years ago principles were awfull. Now I get 4 times more honey from hive. Do I need to regress myself?

.
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« Reply #26 on: December 14, 2006, 02:28:57 AM »

We are just so lucky here to not have the problems with disease and mites, fingers crossed, that many of you have to face on a daily basis. Not to mention snow. I obviously cant appreciate all of the extra work and heartache you face. I should have the reslts of my annual AFB test back before Christmas.
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« Reply #27 on: December 14, 2006, 02:37:20 AM »

I obviously cant appreciate all of the extra work and heartache you face.

You get there all the time honey and you must exctract honey in horrible hot weather and hobbible amounts.  How do you manage?

We had last summer 86 F (30 C)  for long period and it was hard to nurse bees in sunshine.
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« Reply #28 on: December 14, 2006, 02:45:32 AM »

LOL finsky, I am cutting sections from the frames, putting in a sieve on top of a big bowl, covering with a towel, and leaving in the sun. The honet drips through and the wax stays behind, but it is a long process. The other day when it was 44, the wax melted and dripped through as well Sad.

I have 10 frames in the cupboard that I have to process and on the weekend I will find out how many more I have to remove from the supers.
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« Reply #29 on: December 14, 2006, 08:40:14 AM »

The full sheets of foundation cut down to strips goes a long way.  1 inch strips (you get 8 from 1 deep sheet) means on sheet of foundation makes 8 frames (1 full box for me) of frames with starter strips.  the bees will regress the comb size down from the industry standard which is also helpful in Varroa control.

Brian, I keep forgetting to ask the point about strips.  I think that I am going to give that a whirl this year.  I have in the past used wooden frames with full foundation.  I bought a couple of boxes of Pierco plastic frame & foundation and used both.  I must say, that I won't be using the plastic again.  Besides every effort to make the bees "like" it, I found that they plain and simply were reluctant to work on these piercos.  So, back to wooden I will go, I know that they loved the wood frames.  I assemble them myself.  I am going to try strips this year, yes. 

Question, how is the strip of foundation kept in place in the frame?  The frames I get have the groove in the top and bottom bar.

Is slipping the foundation strip into the top groove enough to hold it in place?

Do you have a picture of what the frame's foundation looks like once the bees have regressed the size of the comb from the standard size on the strip.  Great day. Cindi
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« Reply #30 on: December 14, 2006, 10:31:52 AM »

excellent question Cindi.  thanks.  i'll  be interested in the answer!
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« Reply #31 on: December 14, 2006, 10:34:08 AM »

Cindi, I was just about to ask that!

But also finsky, how do you "recycle" the wax left over? do you just melt it down and make a wax sheet for the bees to use?
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« Reply #32 on: December 14, 2006, 10:56:08 AM »

If you use starter strips, what supports the comb as only one side would be attached? Particularly if you use an extractor.
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« Reply #33 on: December 14, 2006, 11:04:39 AM »

Question, how is the strip of foundation kept in place in the frame?  The frames I get have the groove in the top and bottom bar.

Is slipping the foundation strip into the top groove enough to hold it in place?

Does your frames have what appears to be a loose piece of wood on the top bars? If so, that is a wedge. You break it off, put in your wax starter strip, place the wedge against the wax and nail it on there. Great if you have air nailer/stapler.

OR... you can melt some wax and pour it into the top groove to hold it, but it will not stay there just by sliding it in. I have not done the melted wax method, but I believe it would be better. Even after nailing the stuff in it sometimes falls out if not done just right.
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« Reply #34 on: December 14, 2006, 11:06:28 AM »

If you use starter strips, what supports the comb as only one side would be attached? Particularly if you use an extractor.

You can place wires in the frame and the bees will build the comb around them. Or wait until they have attached the comb to all the sides and do it carefully
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« Reply #35 on: December 14, 2006, 11:37:01 AM »

Quote
You can place wires in the frame and the bees will build the comb around them. Or wait until they have attached the comb to all the sides and do it carefully

i had thought of the melted wax, but wondered if it would work.  i only plan to do this on shallow supers.  i'm thinking i can get by without extra support of wires?  also, if i were to do it on deeps do you think you'd have to use wires if the deeps were on used for brood.  i'm worried about sagging or melting in heat.

as i said, my goal is good wax.  i only intend to do this with one hive.  good wax is worth more than honey!! but you don't get so much sad
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« Reply #36 on: December 14, 2006, 02:56:38 PM »

if i were to do it on deeps do you think you'd have to use wires if the deeps were on used for brood.  i'm worried about sagging or melting in heat.

as i said, my goal is good wax.  i only intend to do this with one hive.  good wax is worth more than honey!! but you don't get so much sad

I only use deeps and I started with starter strips, (using the wedge to hold them) and have had no problem with the heat (as in 100+ F sometimes) (And full direct Texas sunshine) I have open bottoms covered with screen.
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« Reply #37 on: December 14, 2006, 05:46:16 PM »

When the bees start to build on the strips, they will secure those to the frame. So if it is not loose in the top grove, just put the strip in, place in the hive and let the bees do the job they know about. I have used strips myself ocasenly, when I ran out of normal wax. You will benefit from also having bees working instead of swarming. At least this is one of the things to take in use. If you hive a swarm then benefit from the building ability.
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« Reply #38 on: December 14, 2006, 06:34:15 PM »

Someone just pointed out this book;

"Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture" (Hardcover)
by Ross Conrad

http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Beekeeping-Organic-Approaches-Apiculture/dp/1933392088/sr=1-9/qid=1166136519/ref=sr_1_9/102-0903725-9381709?ie=UTF8&s=books
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« Reply #39 on: December 15, 2006, 12:15:56 AM »

Wax poured into the groove of the topp bar is the best method for securing foundation, the second best is the wedged top bar.  I use strips without wires--I've found the bees reluctant to work wax (comb) over the wire--you will end up with liniar strips of unconnected wax and comb.  I omit the wire entirely as it is not needed.  As the comb ages it becomes harder and harder.  Comb built early in the spring will be strong enough to weather the extractor.  New (white) wax is too soft so it is best to cut out the honey and comb as cut-comb.  The bees will rebuild the cut out combs very rapidly. 

As Jorn alluded to: giving the bees a lot of room to build comb is a good way to keep them from swarming.  I encourage that by using starter strips and moving the outer frames up into the super and replacing the outer frames with strips.  The bees then turn their energy to comb building rather than swarming.
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« Reply #40 on: December 15, 2006, 09:07:47 AM »

You will benefit from also having bees working instead of swarming. At least this is one of the things to take in use. If you hive a swarm then benefit from the building ability.

Very interesting stuff that all has written.  Now Jorn, you speak about having the bees working instead of swarming.  This is a controversial subject, this swarming thing.  It sounds like it may be good swarm prevention for sure, having the bees kept busy.  BUT... I get a very strong impression that one of the key triggers to the swarming instinct being initiated is when the queen pheromone begins to diminish in the hive.  Now, this could be because she is aging or simply because her footprint pheromone cannot be left behind on the combs because of too thick of bees on the frames, hence not enough pheromone on the comb for distribution.  I understand that there are many other triggers to swarming but I don't understand how keeping the bees busy building can be such a strong influence on swarm prevention.  I also get the impression that once the swarming instinct has been initiated (and many times by the time beekeepers realize the swarm is going to occur (i.e., queen cells)), it has already been set in the bees mind, is too late, and very hard to stop this swarm instinct once it has surfaced.

Some interesting food for thought.  Maybe I have gone off topic, sorry, should have started a new thread. Have a great day, Cindi
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« Reply #41 on: December 15, 2006, 09:14:26 AM »

I think what you are discribing with the older queen is when the bees would supercede her, but not swarm. A crowded nest indicates times are good and ripe for reproduction. So if you keep the brood area from getting filled with nectar/honey they don't tend to swarm. Unless, as you said, you wait too long to open it up and get them to work.
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« Reply #42 on: December 15, 2006, 02:58:55 PM »

>Brian, I keep forgetting to ask the point about strips.

The bees need something to start on.  If you want natural comb, you let them build what they want.

>how is the strip of foundation kept in place in the frame?

You can nail it with the wedge (as with full sheets of foundation) or wax it in with a wax tube fastener (my preference if I use strips)

>  The frames I get have the groove in the top and bottom bar.

The wax tube fastener will be the easiest.  It's the easiest for full sheets as well.

http://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=231

http://go.netgrab.com/secure/kelleystore/asp/product.asp?product=102

Look at item number 165

>Is slipping the foundation strip into the top groove enough to hold it in place?

No.

>Do you have a picture of what the frame's foundation looks like once the bees have regressed the size of the comb from the standard size on the strip.

Here's a start:

http://www.bushfarms.com/images/PrimaryCombOnBlankStarterStrip.JPG

It was a plain (unembossed) strip made by dipping a wet board in beeswax, but the strips of foundation work the same way.

>If you use starter strips, what supports the comb as only one side would be attached? Particularly if you use an extractor.

Actually I usually use a triangular top bar, but the end results is the same.  The bees will eventually attach it all the way around.  Here's a foundationless frame, drawn and ready to extract:

http://www.bushfarms.com/images/FoundationlessDrawn.JPG

>You can place wires in the frame and the bees will build the comb around them.

I've never bothered with the wires, but you could.

>had thought of the melted wax, but wondered if it would work.

Not only does it work but it works MUCH better and easier than nailing a wedge.

>i'm thinking i can get by without extra support of wires?

As long as you don't turn combs sidways and you're gentle with them until they are attached a little on all four sides and the wax has matured a bit so it's not soft like putty.

> also, if i were to do it on deeps do you think you'd have to use wires if the deeps were on used for brood.

Actually you don't have to.  Charles Martin Simon never does.

> i'm worried about sagging or melting in heat.

Even with foundation it will do that.

>as i said, my goal is good wax.  i only intend to do this with one hive.  good wax is worth more than honey!!

Actually you can't make very much money raising wax.  Better to raise honey, sell it, and BUY the wax.

> but you don't get so much

Exactly.

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« Reply #43 on: December 17, 2006, 03:30:57 PM »



But also finsky, how do you "recycle" the wax left over?

I melt the wax and sieve it. Then I take about 100 lbs wax and carry it to the beekeeping stuff retailer who press and cut it into foundaton sheets.

The cost is 3 $/kg  (1,5 $/lbs.)
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« Reply #44 on: December 22, 2006, 01:43:27 PM »

If wax must be your goal the best way to achieve the maximum amount of wax is to fill the notch in the top bar with wax and let the bees draw the comb.  Cut out the comb and honey and process both the honey and wax.  The frame is ready to go with its starter strip already in place.  Be aware that in fcusing on wax production you are creating a lot of work for the bees.  If it takes 8 pounds of nectar to make one pound of honey and 8 pounds of honey to make 1 pound of wax thats: 8 X 8= 64 lbs of nectar to make on pound of wax.  The value of wax is realized only if a person manufactures their own soaps, candles, and balms.  Wholesale a pound of wax cost slightly less that a pound of honey at 8 times the production cost.
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