Hello Veterans! Well, it's done...I've ordered and my bees will be here March 31st. The more I think about it the more excited I get and the more excited I get the more nervous I get!
SO! If you could give me one piece of advice that you think is THE MOST IMPORTANT what would it be? Thanks, you guys are a fount of great info! Cheryl
Package bees ? Feed them sugar syrup as soon as they are hived!If the weather is bad(it will be)give them a protein patty.How well they get started will determine if they will be productive or not during the season.
Make sure you are over protected from stings while hiving the package. This is a time when you need to be calm and your head in order. After the queen is laying and before the hive gets to big they are usually quite mild manored and this is the time for you to get to know the bees with less protection(I even was able to work the hives without gloves). The hot summer can be hard on you if you are all bundled up with sting protection.
The next thing is use a queen excluder as a queen includer by placing it under the hive body while getting the bee established. This keeps her from leaving so the worker will not leave. Once the bees have brood they very rarely leave. So once the brood rearing starts take the includer off.
Ditto what loggermike said, PLUS, don't bug them too much (sometimes hard to do when you first get them). After the package is installed, leave them "bee" for about a week (the bees in a package should be somewhat used to the queen, but if you look at them too soon they may ball her). If everything is OK after a week (queen out & laying), continue feeding and leave them alone for a couple of weeks.
Treat your girls gently! Gentle is as gentle does. When I got my first bees, the person who sold them to me warned me they were "very hot," and that he liked them that way because they produced more honey. I had seen him manipulate the hives and he was fast and rough in his manipulations. I work quietly and slowly (well, not too slowly), and I swear, my girls are just the calmest ladies you could ever meet--and they still managed to produce a fantastic honey crop for me--even though they had to draw out all the comb because I was starting with new foundation! Be good to your bees and they will be good to you!
One thing? OK
"No one teaches beekeeping quite as well as bees" Michael Bush (with apologies to C.S. Lewis)
#1 - Learn to monitor mites
Thats been the single most helpful bit of info that I have learned about beekeeping.
Thanks to MrBEE.
Dave W . . .
A NewBEE with 1 hive.
First package installed
I find hiving the bees at dusk works best for me. The bees tend not to fly as much and settle in better for orientaion the following morning. Alot of beekeepers mist the bees with sugar surip quickly before hiving and after to calm them down. Dont use smoke during the process.
And a good tip from experience, place the queen in to the hive in the cage after removing the cork. I use to open the cage screen up and release her, but the queen tends to fly away is she can and is hard to find. And if she does get away, the bees will not stay in their hive. They will drift to other hives near by.
A comb or two of drawn comb will satisfy their interests and probably will have eggs layed in a day or two.
Check the hive very quickly in a week for queen acceptance, eggs. Give them lots to feed on and leave them for a month. The more you further disturb them, the more supercedure you are going to get, on top of the supercedure you will get anyway.
All the above tips should get you well on the way. For the large part the bees should take care of themselves.
So my best tip would by.. "when in doubt, don't"
Read at least TWO good well-known books on beekeeping, from start to finish.
Reading the books is good advice.Beekeeping has become much more complicated since the arrival of the mites(and all the old problems are still around).Only someone armed with all the basics that a good book will teach will likely succeed with beekeeping."You cant do it like Grampa did,Grampas bees all died"
Location location location....
They need sunshine in the morning and shade in the afternoon.
Have your equipment in the best possible location before they arrive. If you're going to use a 10 frame deep, or whatever you're using.... and after they're all inside, leave them be to set up house.
I didn't put in a queen excluder on any of mine.
Feed them sugar for four months. I would leave all their honey the first year for themselves...
Monitor for mites. Feed Honey B Healthy in spring and fall. Don't smoke.
Oh and they need a place to gather water. I use a dog water feeder/// it's a jug you fill up and turn upside down onto it's platform .
Fill the dish with rocks so they have a place to land.
Mix a teaspoon of sea salt in the jug...
Try to use filtered water, i.e. , water without clorine and floride...
The main thing that comes to mind is get your wooden ware ready NOW. Paint, put together, clean out and throw away what needs to be done!! It really helped me when the bees arrived I had the hives in place, leveled and enough frames to do 25 supers (just in case I had a great year) Good luck and enjoy!!! You'll send lots of time just watching them come in and go out (or I did)....
#1 Have Fun!
It's supposed to be fun don't stress out the girls will teach you what you don't know and a fee things more.
The best single bit of advise that I ever received came from my mothers three P's.
Proper pryor planning.
Even though I can not claim to achieve complete utilization of this bit of information, it will save you more time, effort, and money than you could ever know.
Think about what you are going to do Before you set out to do it.
Plan on what you will need, Before you set out, to accomplish the task at hand.
Realize the outcome of your actions Before you act.
Sounds like you are getting a lot of good quality and varied information. The one thing that I learned most from my first year was that I didn't feed mine enough. I stopped too soon. We had a bad flow that year and I went into winter with light hives stores.
I think coyote's has given you the best advice ... then again, you get a lot of people to ask you 'so how are your bees' then next time they see you and you have babbled for half an hour about your new hobby.
I recommend a book to get you going: 'The queen and I' by Ed Weiss. He walks you through setting them up and the full first year very nicely. Lots of hints that will help you. I read it a couple of times and still made some mistakes the first time, yet the bees managed and gave me almost 100lbs per hive the first fall.
This book will NOT be enough to get going on your second year, though (I think this very forum may be the best source of info and advice there is!). Also, he does not even mention mites (because the book was written in pre-varroa times). Do take care of that (FGMO, oxalic acid, etc) from the start.
Good luck and enjoy it!
>#1 - Learn to monitor mites
In this day, this probably is the most important. Plus have a plan what you will do when you have too many Varroa mites.
>Read at least TWO good well-known books on beekeeping, from start to finish.
Three or four times. They make a LOT more sense the fourth time than the first time.
>"You cant do it like Grampa did,Grampas bees all died"
Yes, they did.
>Try to use filtered water, i.e. , water without clorine and floride...
Daisy, I'm sure your serious. I'm also sure they will find a swimming pool somwhere and get their daily allowance of clorine anyway so why not save your money for the HBH? Floride is naturally occuring in water anyway. It's just higher some places than others which is how they discovered it was good for you teeth. People from places with higher floride weren't having as many cavities. When I had bees in town I gave them city water and NONE of them had cavities. I wonder if chlorine helps with Nosema?
Seriously it is nice, especially if you are in town, to provide some water source. If you don't they will find it in the neighbor's swimming pool and the neigbor may not appreciate it.
My first year with bees was started with only one hive (five frame Nuc) the Beekeeper I bought them from told my the nuc was very strong and that I should watch for Queen cells as I had already read two books on beekeeping bought two deeps and four supers and all the extras I thought I would need I was quite happy with a strong nuc. Three weeks in they indeed had Queen cells. I waited untill the Queens were sealed and I divided the Hive into two equal hives one with Queen mother and one with sealed queen cells, I cut out all Queen cells in first hive and closed things up. ten days later I checked on progress and found both well on their way> I even found eggs in the new hive.
Things went well for about a month and a half at which point both hives wanted to swarm again. Before I coulg get more equipment a swarm issued from the first hive and I managed to capture it as it hung up in a shrub some 50 ft. awayI hived them in two shallow supers I had bought from an estate sale fully drawn for about $10.00 each.I then bought ten more of these supers to have on hand just incase.As you might guess I used all of this equipment by september and had four strong hives going into winter.Due to the large bee populations in all four hives and this being my first year I missed the first hive becoming Queenless and lost that hive by spring.
The point of all this is find an experienced beekeeper to mentor you if you can and be prepared for rapid expansion if you happen to get a prolific Queen with a tendancy to swarm.
God luck and good beekeeping