Focus: package/nuc/swarm, breed, etc.
Focus: package/nuc/swarm, breed, etc.
I am 100% in favor of buying nucs/starter hives from a local source if at all possible.
When you first get your hive you need to know that an empty hive will get no bees. It must have been previously used, or have at least some honey in it to get wild bees to move in. Place a jar of open honey in front of the empty hive, and leave the opening to the large size. If you have a telescoping cover, put the lid on the telescope lip to allow the bees a better entrance to the stores. If you have a plywood lid, put a stick under it to prop it up. The hive should be humid inside but not moist, and warm. All my bees are wild bees. They are a bit agressive but they really produce.
I tryed the honey in a jar once... Robbers took it including ants, other bees beside honey bees, and honey bees. Again, one never knows what they will do. If it worked for you... great! Never did for me back in the 60's and 70's.
To get bees to move in, one the best things that works for me is a frame of drawn empty brood comb. For best success, I have left a dead out hive that staved over winter in its location, and come swarm season, the bees move right in.
Oh ya, don't leave them out if the temps are above 80, like in the summer. Wax moths will get in them and you will lose every single frame.
I put my name on a swarm retrieval list at the local bee supply store, which gets calls from the local 911 system. I got started with bees this way, getting swarms from trees and such. Was easy and rewarding. I found swarms are a good way to start as we don't have africanized bees here yet, the swarms come from hives that have over wintered already so are in good shape. Some of my best bees came from swarms.
Here is a link of Bee Suppliers.
ORDER EARLY like December
Yeah...what honeyman said. Especially with so many new beekeepers, it's best to order early and get your bees reserved. I'd rather end up with an extra package and have to nuc for a while or scramble to buy a hive body then to get all set up with equipment and have no bees to hive.
nuc are an excellent way to start.... definitely superior to a package and much easier to transport than a full size hive.
prior to acquiring check about with any local bee keepers to see if there is a particular strain of bees that works best for your area. if you plan to keep the bees close to populate areas make certain that gentleness takes on a significant place in the selection criterion.
I like the nuc idea and started w/ that. Costwise and timewise it seemed to be best(ie 5 frames w/ drawn foundation already). I didnt get any honey out of it yet this year and my swarms have just about caught up with it too. The nuc was Minn Hygenics, they headbut alot but are fairly nice. I'll do it again but want to try another strain like Italians or ? I waited too long for my local guy that had nucs but where very very late so I went w/ another guy off Craiglist and got the Minn Hyg in June
On another note I might buy pkg bee's if I have a weak hive after this winter to strengthen it up.
Then there is the "split" thats yet another ewway to get bee's right?
...and I have to agree, but there is absolutely no bigger thrill that hiving your first package. Do it just one time, and be done with it, and from then on, get nucs, but you ain't lived if you've never hived a package of 13,000 confused defenseless female worker bees.
Also do this: Don't wear gloves or a suit when you hive them. But DO wear a veil. When you hive packages, the bees are not in a defensive posture. Bees will fly all around you, land on you crawl all over you, but will rarely sting you. If you do get stung (make sure you're not allergic to bee venom!!!!), it will only be 5 or less stings.
The rush of having 300-600 honeybees crawling all over your hands and bare arms is like no other. People look at you like you're crazy, but you know what's in the mind of a honeybee.
The thrill of hiving a package matches the time you woke up Christmas morning as a kid and got that special Christmas gift.
Last year, first year, we go a package of Italians from Georgia (I think). They were great! My wife always used a vail but I rarely wore much more than a baseball cap to keep them out of my hair. I only got stung once when I accidentally squished one with my finger.
My main question is, I've heard Russians are a little hotter but, how much hotter? I would like to get some nuks from a local guy, but he only has Russians. He says they're pretty mild but I've never handled Ruskies before.
For a beginer any bee thats gentle would be fine, Italians would be what I would suggest, they are a high maintainence bee but a few hives are easily managable.
Putting your name into the fire dept. and pest control companies in your are for swarm removale is another way to start. it's not a garentee that you'd get a swarm call and if you did you might pick up more than you bargained for ( disease, ill tempered bees, ect) though most of this stuff is treatable.
Along with getting bees, figure out where you will get replacement queens, because you WILL eventually need to get a queen. Maybe next week, maybe next year, but don't wait until you're queenless and then start a panicked search.
Find a local queen producer, or ask nearby beeks for recommendations, but determine in advance who you're gonna call.
If you're buying, get nucs. They're already ahead of the game with comb built, brood, and stores. They're more stable. Local is always a good thing as long as it's quality. Swarms are always good, because they are free. To me that makes them even more beautiful, cuz I'm tight. :)
I've read all of your tips on how to start. I'll take notes of these all since I'm still on my experimental stage. Thank you very much.
I sent emails to local universities that provide beekeeping studies, asking if anyone had hive to donate...and was rewarded with a nice double deep hive with an Italian queen that was registered and had been inspected within the last month!
Ask, and ye shall receive.
Hey guys, 2013 will be my first year keeping bees and I'm wondering if anyone out there knows of a good source for package bees in my area. I'm located in the south central Missouri Ozarks. If not in the immediate vicinity are there any sources in the region that are better than others. I've looked over the list of bee suppliers but I really don't know where to start. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. Joe
Is there anything more exciting than ordering that 1st package of bees, waiting for months in anticipation building equipment and reading and watching video's, getting that early morning panic call from post office on a cold April morning, rushing to the post office and being a little kid for few hours before you shake your 1st 13,000 bees into your new hive??
I'm all about nucs but everyone should start with a package!