Hello. We have received our beeginners kit from R weaver, and a 3lbs of all american bees with queen on the 9th of april.We have it assembled and painted . When i receive the bees do i use both boxes 1 small 6 5/8 and a hive body with 9 1/8 frames. Do i use the queen excluder? i have a water source close the the hive approx 20 feet. also what should i put in the feeder? do the bees need any honey for food to start? the local bees are collecting pollen we are in deep south texas.I just want to give them a good start and im pretty clueless , thanks Malcolm
Put the bees in the hive (bottom board 9 5/8 hive body & inner cover and telescopic cover or migratory cover) without the super or excluder. When they have filled out at least half of the hive with drawn comb, honey, brood etc. You can plan what to do next. I would buy another deep box (9 5/8") and put it on next, still without the excluder. When both of those boxes are mostly full I'd add the queen excluder and the super (6 5/8" box) and buy another super.
If you want to picture the reasons. The deep boxes are for brood. The shallow ones for honey. The reason the shallower boxes are for honey is the weight of a full super of honey. You want the hive to get established in the two deep boxes first. If that's all they get done for winter, they will do ok. If they do more, and fill some supers, that's, well, super. The excluder is to keep the queen from laying eggs in the supers.
Good luck. I think you'll have a lot of fun.
I'd also suggest that you read "Beekeeping for Dummies", asa well as some of the many other useful books on beekeeping. Good luck!
"do the bees need any honey for food to start"
No. but you should be thinking of a way to feed them sugar water (1:1) for a couple of weeks.
Books? Read? What that all about?
Anytime bees are drawing comb it will help them a lot to feed them. Especially when they are just getting started.
What ratio should I use for feeding sugar water to bees. I used 15lbs of sugar to one gallon of water but it seems too thick. Thanks.
What ever you measue with, go with a 1 to 1 ratio.
Sugar may cost you this year, but feed till they do not take it. Which if they are drawing comb, they may take it all summer. The more stores they have and the more comb, the better you will be next year. Sugar now means not buying bees next spring.
Look for alternative CHEAP sugar sources. You can feed almost any sugar source for most of the summer and they will process it. Use good store sugar in the late summer and fall since they will have problems processing it over winter (if you have dark or "raw" sugar)
For the purpose of giving them something to draw comb with, it isn't that critical, but thicker is probably better. If you were trying to stimulate brood rearing it would be more important to do it thinner. I go for thicker. I just take hot tap water (I wait for it to get as hot as it will) and put in as much sugar as I can get it to dissolve. It's easy for me because I don't have to boil any water or anything. I rather like the round top feeders I get from www.beeworks.com but I've also used every other kind of feeder. I like the boardman on the front of the hive the LEAST because it can get robbing started. I prefer something inside the hive. A division board feeder is ok if you have some hardware cloth for a ladder, and or a float. Just a plain one drowns too many bees. The hive top feeders from www.bee-commerce.com work really well. I've also used the ones from Brushy Mt. but I put in a piece of hardware cloth over the part where the bees come in and down to the bottom of the syrup so I can fill it without the bees flying and the bees have a narrow space that they can climb the hardware cloth and not fall in and drown. In other words, I modify it to be like the bee-commerce ones which are like the ones in the plan section exept for the one entrance on one end instead of the middle: http://www.beesource.com/plans/mfeeder.htm
You can take a mason jar and poke small holes with a small nail or an icepick in the shape of the opening in the top of the inner cover and put it over that opening.