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Author Topic: How many hives for a beginner?  (Read 15591 times)

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: How many hives for a beginner?
« Reply #40 on: September 30, 2007, 01:27:00 PM »
>If it's all you can afford,I would do just one hive. No rule against that .Many people do fine with one!

And many people find themselves in a bind with no resources to work with for the one.  Like a suspected queenless hive and no brood to give them, or a struggling hive that won't make it through the winter and no other hive to combine them with so they won't die.
Michael Bush
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Offline buzzbee

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Re: How many hives for a beginner?
« Reply #41 on: September 30, 2007, 08:02:50 PM »
And some people lose two for two.

Offline Old Timer

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Re: How many hives for a beginner?
« Reply #42 on: September 30, 2007, 08:42:13 PM »
>If it's all you can afford,I would do just one hive. No rule against that .Many people do fine with one!

And many people find themselves in a bind with no resources to work with for the one.  Like a suspected queenless hive and no brood to give them, or a struggling hive that won't make it through the winter and no other hive to combine them with so they won't die.


i feel that if you have to combine a hive that it did die and you have to count it as a loss. eventually the bees will die and the brood will even out to what it was before you combined them and you have one less hive. i would definitely keep more than one hive due to the many benefits.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: How many hives for a beginner?
« Reply #43 on: September 30, 2007, 10:50:52 PM »
If I combine a hive, the bees in the hive have a shot at making it to spring.  True I'd have one less hive, but the bees are doomed.
Michael Bush
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Offline Old Timer

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Re: How many hives for a beginner?
« Reply #44 on: October 01, 2007, 08:37:22 AM »
if i combine a hive, it's usually 2 weak hives that would have difficulty making it through winter. i'll pinch out the sorriest of the two queens and let the other one have it. imo, the advantages of combining are more bees now will definitely help collect stores for the winter, you don't have to worry about wax moths getting into a dead out, and you get to save that comb and the bees don't have to make it next spring. it wouldn't make much sense to combine two weak hives with two strong hives, because you lose two hives this way, but combining two weak ones, you only lose one. then in the spring you can split and have two colonies again. just a thought.

Offline Stingray

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Re: How many hives for a beginner?
« Reply #45 on: October 21, 2007, 08:01:49 PM »
I'm looking to get started in the spring with two hives. It seems that pretty much everyone agrees that two is the bare minimum. Would there be any specific advantages to having three over two? My intention is to expand to four or five hives the second year. Would it be wiser to start with three, given my intention to expand anyway?

-S

Offline pdmattox

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Re: How many hives for a beginner?
« Reply #46 on: October 21, 2007, 08:04:37 PM »
I say go for it. To me there is no difference except for time spent in the yard weather you have 2 or 3.  Maybe another 10 mins. I can go through a yard of 40 in about 1.5 hours or less depending on what i'm doing.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: How many hives for a beginner?
« Reply #47 on: October 21, 2007, 09:20:06 PM »
>would there be any specific advantages to having three over two? My intention is to expand to four or five hives the second year. Would it be wiser to start with three, given my intention to expand anyway?

The advantages are you get to see more of what is normal with several hives then with two and you have more resources to draw on.
Michael Bush
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Offline Carriage House Farm

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Re: How many hives for a beginner?
« Reply #48 on: December 20, 2007, 08:52:05 PM »
Well, this is what I am going into 2008 with...my first year.

 



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Offline pdmattox

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Re: How many hives for a beginner?
« Reply #49 on: December 20, 2007, 08:57:26 PM »
nice looking set up.

Offline steveouk

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Re: How many hives for a beginner?
« Reply #50 on: December 30, 2007, 04:50:05 PM »
I am looking to start with 2 hives but I've also been thinking about having 2 NUC boxes. My aim is to have at least 10 hives by the end of 2009 

Offline marinsbee

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Re: How many hives for a beginner?
« Reply #51 on: October 31, 2010, 05:36:45 AM »
5 is to start just fine, maximum of 10.

Offline tefer2

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Re: How many hives for a beginner?
« Reply #52 on: October 31, 2010, 12:37:22 PM »
I started with four hives my first year. It was a little busy at first for me. I learned fairly quick what not to do.
It was great to have one or two frames from each for my late swarms. I made 17 gallons of honey my first year too.

Offline David McLeod

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Re: How many hives for a beginner?
« Reply #53 on: December 24, 2010, 08:49:40 PM »
Well, I was 8 or 9 when Raymond Estis bought the Glover place two doors up the road from us. He was an older gentleman that kept bees. I was already aquainted with beekeeping as another across the creek neighbor had six hives on the back side of his pasture where I squirrel hunted and I had an aunt that kept bees. Dad and I started talking to Mr Estis about bee trees that we knew of in the woods and before I knew it I was beelining for Mr Estis and worked out a trade. He would let me watch cutouts and then as he was having some issues with lifting he let me help him in the yard. He averaged around six gums (his word for the boxes) but at one time had been a 50+ sideliner. Age had slowed him down and I was glad to be there to help. From the mundane of assembling frames and inserting foundation to lifting boxes in the yard I learned alot from Mr Estis. In the fall of my 14th year Mr Estis passed. Mrs Estis and I told the bees and one of the gums went to my place that winter. I kept hers for another couple years until Mr Estis' son took them away. Mine I split that first spring and caught a swarm so by late summer I had three but one went queenless and was combined with the swarm for two going into winter. Both were split the next spring for four with two swarms added that year for six. The next I slacked off, lost some swarms and only added two (one my only ever trap out) for eight and walked away in Dec to go in the army. They lingered for a few years after that (Dad never was interested in keeping them). I think Dad gave away a couple but they were all gone five years later when I returned.
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Offline Acebird

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Re: How many hives for a beginner?
« Reply #54 on: January 16, 2011, 09:15:53 PM »
Quote
As long as I don't end up killing off thousands of bees. 


The bottom line is they are all going to die anyway just like you.
However, I felt the same as you and started with one hive, it died and we are trying again.  This spring we will see if they make it through the winter.  I am not sure having two hives would have made any difference to us because if you don't know what is "normal" having one hive stronger than the other doesn't mean the stronger one is normal.  I also feel (my feelings) it takes time for the new bee keeper to feel comfortable being a beek.  So if all you have or want to invest in is one hive just do it rather than wait to get another hive.  By the second or third year you will know if you want to stick with it.  Then you can go hog wild.
Never thought I would do it!

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: How many hives for a beginner?
« Reply #55 on: January 16, 2011, 11:19:01 PM »
>The bottom line is they are all going to die anyway just like you.

Not necessarily.  In theory a colony could live forever as new bees and new queens are raised all the time.  Of course there is always the philosophical question, "which is the original colony"?  is it the swarm?  Is it the original location?  The original queen left with the swarm...
Michael Bush
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My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Offline T Beek

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Re: How many hives for a beginner?
« Reply #56 on: February 24, 2011, 09:49:46 AM »
Just discovered this thread;  You're so right Michael.  I have one colony that's been active for five winters now.  I did give them another queen three Septembers ago (before knowing they were strong enough to make their own), but can assume that they've more than likely re-queened themselves as well. 

Besides, isn't it as likely that honeybees came from 'the mother of all honeybees' (Like an Eve of the bees?) some 200 million or so years ago, and all born since having a related ancestor?  Just a thought.

Despite not having a window, this one 'strong' colony has been my "observation" hive while i learned from them (and those that didn't survive).

I started with two packages, have successfully caught several swarms, but have had issues keeping them alive for more than 1 or 2 seasons (except super hive mentioned above, that is).  Splits and NUCs for next Winter are the goal for me this season.

thomas
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