I started the year with five new colonies. One died out after two days due to cold. One other has only filled half a hive body Two are doing ok. They filled two hive bodies each and a frame or two of a super. And my best hive has filled two hive bodies and almost three supers. I can't wait until next year to see what the "super colony" will do.
How did any of you other new beekeepers do?
Is it a good idea to combine the colony that isn't doing well with another colony? I was told to place the weak colony ontop one of the other colonies(the weakest of the other three) with newspaper between the colonies. After two days or so the bees have eaten through the newspaper and two colonies have become one.
Well I had five and had to combine one with another. I've been feeding my first year hives pretty constantly with sugar syrup. I was told to feed four months, I've done that. Now it's wait see.
If you were to combine, rather then piggyback, you'll have two queens in the same hive?
You might better snuff the queen of the hive that is less strong before you combind.
I combine with newspaper too. And in a couple of weeks, open it up to check things out.
But this is what I'd do. Maybe others will give your their take on it..... More tips.
I believe that I have had a fairly good rookie year.
I started in early June with 6 packages of bees and all new equipment. All six hives have survived - though at least two of the original queens (and I suspect more) have been superceded.
Five of the hives are strong or very strong - meaning that they built out two deep hive bodies and at least one honey super (ross round, cut comb, or medium super). The remaining hive is on feed now and appears to be preparing for winter very well.
When I removed the honey supers in early September, two of the hives were very crowded and swarmed ten days later. I took both swarms (about 35000 bees) and put them into a single new hive with a medium super of honey and they have really taken off - I hope that they will pack in enough stores for winter.
I did get a pretty nice honey harvest as well. I did not keep accurate records as I was not expecting a harvest this year. But the following is a conservative estimate:
Extracted Honey: 6 gallons
Cut Comb: Six Frames
Ross Rounds: 50 - 70
I also had one medium super of honey (probably 1/2 capped - the other cells mostly full of honey) that I did not extract. My original plan was to keep this and give it to any hives that needed extra this fall / winter.
Some observations. I had real trouble selling anyone on the Ross Rounds. No one around here knew what they were - and I had no customers come back for more. My stepmom did say that the ross rounds were great - but she opted for extracted honey on her next visit. I also placed a thick slice of the cut comb honey in pint Mason Jars and covered with extracted honey - very, very popular. Extracted honey in pint and quart mason jars also proved very popular.
To say the least - I learned a lot this summer. Some of it from this very discussion board.
another case of where knowing where you are from would help,if you are in a warmer climate you may not have to combine for them to survive.
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>another case of where knowing where you are from would help,if you are in a warmer climate you may not have to combine for them to survive.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Sorry, I'm in Montana the altitude is about 5500 feet. Winters are long and cold here. I'll combine the two hives this week.
I collected on my first hive set up last year and got half a body (6 litters) of honey, bad nectar flow i was told. My second hive set up this year is doing well.
I started the year in April with 3 nucs, one with a laying queen, one with a virgin queen, and one with queen cells. Each had five medium frames, a couple of brood and 3 of honey. They were all populated with nurse bees shaken from big, active hives, so they probably started with several pounds of bees. The hive that raised their own queen from cells has surpassed the other two hives. It has also turned out to be the most aggressive (go figure). The hive with an older laying queen appeared to surpercede about mid-year. The other hive was a slower starter, but has come on well in the fall. All three are now drawing and filling the third box (all mediums). I used Pierco type coated plastic foundation from Brushy Creek. I fed periodically through the summer. I started with ziplock bags and moved to buckets. The buckets are reusable and a little neater. I got mine and Home Depot (new gallon paint cans). About mid-summer I built some screened inner tops with top entrances and a place for bucket feeders. I covered those with extra deep vented and screened boxes. This had a dramatic effect on the hives in the summer heat. Most of the bees moved back inside the boxes in the afternoons when most had been outside previously. I removed those this week and installed solid inner covers with a small top entrance and feed hole. I'll get screened bottom boards built soon. The bees are working hard right now on golden rod and fall aster after being mostly dormant in the heat of summer. They should be in good shape to start next year. I'll spend the winter building supers and frames.
I started my hive late (first week in June). I put them on a hive stand. I feed syrup regularly. I installed a SBB in the middle of July and that has worked very well with ventillation and Mite counts. I currently have a strong healthy hive. Thanks in a large part from most of you. Queen Beedryl is still laying. I have 6-7 frames of brood. The rest is filled with capped honey (2 super hive). I did not harvest any honey this year since I started late and want to make sure they are strong for the winter.
Took a little taste of the honey though and needless to say, its the best in the world!
Now I just treated with apistan. I got 200 mites in the first 24 hours. 150 the day after, and around 100 or so the next two days. I will be using FGMO next year and I will add another hive in my yard. I would like to buy some property and expand my little operation.
I reconnected with an old friend who got me into beekeeping and he is giving me all of his equipment including 10-12 supers, extractor, knife, etc. Really cool of him.
Thanks for asking and thanks to everyone for the help.
This was my first year also. I only have the one hive as the cost of starting from stratch was expensive. Everything was new so they had alot of work ahead of them. I put them in on May 17th and let them be for awhile. Well they drew out 2 brood boxes and made I guess what was the right amount of brood. They look great even today. I see no mites on any of them, and the cells are clean and full. My queen is a very busy bee from what I can see. During the honey flow I wasn't getting anything done by the bees. I mean they didn't want to draw out the super after the brood boxes where done. I talked to a friend who said he didn't think they would draw it out at this later stage. So he had an extra super with drawn out comb. Bang, after 2 weeks it was full of honey just not capped. I told my friend who gave me another super. Well to make it short I just took both supers off with about 70 lbs of honey. Not too bad for the first year if I do say so.
The one with the half a hive body I would combine with the one that filled two deeps. I don't think the half a hive body one will survive a Montana winter.
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>The one with the half a hive body I would combine with the one that filled two deeps. I don't think the half a hive body one will survive a Montana winter.
Among other things I did that this afternoon.
I noticed some bees bringing in pollen today. I'd like to know where they're getting that this late in the season. All of the alfalfa and clover have been harvested. And I haven't noticed any flowers on any weeds. Maybe I'll pay a visit to the local Dept. of Ag office.