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Author Topic: beginner's setup  (Read 5031 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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KONASDAD
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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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kathyp
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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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fr0sty
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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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Michael Bush
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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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Michael Bush
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kathyp
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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
livetrappingbymatt
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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.
bob
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fr0sty
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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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Michael Bush
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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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Michael Bush
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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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fr0sty
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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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Finsky
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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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fr0sty
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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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Jorn Johanesson
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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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