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  1. #1

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    Here is the story. Iam starting beekeeping with a new topbar hive that I have built. It is somewhat of a hybrid design I come up with from reading other posts. It not to deep, about 9.5 inches and the topbars are 15 inches inside. I have never been around bees before and all my "SMARTS" have came from this board. My main goal with this is pollenation of my fruit and garden. I am starting with nothing and need everything. Money is not a real issue, so I need help with what medicines,bee suit, wax for top bars and anything else I might need to get started. My bees are due to arrive May 5 so I need to start getting things together. Thanks and please bee patient until I am moore with it.

  2. #2
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    Aug 2002
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    >It not to deep, about 9.5 inches and the topbars are 15 inches inside.

    Sloped sides? Straight sides? Sounds like reasonable dimensions.

    >Money is not a real issue, so I need help with what medicines

    You need to have a plan to do something for mites. If you don't put large cell foundation in for starter strips you should get natural sized cells which will help with the mites. You need to monitor them somehow. A sticky board could be cut to fit inside a Top Bar Hive and you could do a drop count. You could do a periodic sugar roll. http://entomology.unl.edu/beekpg/tid...0.htm#Article2 If you get a lot of mites you need to treat somehow. Personally I'd plan on Oxalic acid if the mites get bad and nothing if they don't. The natural sized cells will also help with tracheal mites, but you can treat with FGMO fog or the Oxalic will also kill them.

    >bee suit
    The best seems to be the Golden Bee one that is over $200 and is the coolest (as in not hot). What I use the most is a jacket from www.beeworks.com. It's cool enough and easy to get on and off. You'll need bee gloves. I like the leather ones, but they do get stiff from honey and propolis etc. The plastic ones are cheaper.

    >wax for top bars and anything else I might need to get started.

    What are you're plans for a centering device? A wax sarter strip? A sloped bar? A wood insert? All of them will work but you'll need to pick one. If you are using starter strips, I'd buy small cell foundation to make them. If you cut slopes on the bars you won't need any wax. If you use the wood insert method you won't need any wax.

    >My bees are due to arrive May 5 so I need to start getting things together. Thanks and please bee patient until I am moore with it.

    I assume the hive is done? The bars are done?

    You need a smoker. You need a hive tool (I like the Italian one from Brushy Mt.)

    I recommend having a hair clip queen catcher and a queen marking tube and a paint pen (green is the color this year). You need some kind of bee brush. A large goose feather will do, bu they sell soft brushes at all the bee suply places. A spray bottle to put light syrup in is nice.


  3. #3
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    Jan 2004
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    Berkey, OH, USA
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    If you want to wax your top bars, buy a pound of wax from one of the supply houses and a cheap double boiler. I put mine on a hot plate in the shop and brushed the melted wax on with a glue brush. Maybe not the right way, i'm a rookie too! bees really don't seem to care too much... have fun!

  4. #4

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    Michael,thanks for the reply.The hive will have sloped sides about 22 degrees or whatever it takes to make the dimensions come out right.I have made a screened bottom in the hive, with a removable board under the screen. The board can be removed without lifting the hive off the base. As far as the bee suit I guess I would rather spend more money and not get stung as much.The hive is not put together yet. As far as the topbars they are still 1 3/8" square. I plan on tapering the bars away from the center with the center spline being part of the topbar. If I cut the topbar this way I do not have to wax the center ridge? Please bare with me until we get this figured out. I still have some very basic questions that I will string along slowly as not to test your patence.

  5. #5
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    >Michael,thanks for the reply.The hive will have sloped sides about 22 degrees or whatever it takes to make the dimensions come out right.

    I like 22 degrees or so. I've used it sucessfully before.

    >I have made a screened bottom in the hive, with a removable board under the screen. The board can be removed without lifting the hive off the base.

    That will make monitoring mites easy.

    >As far as the bee suit I guess I would rather spend more money and not get stung as much.

    Well, I don't think the Golden bee will keep you from getting stung more, but it will keep you cooler. A good jacket with a zip on hood is convenient for most things, but a full coverall with a zip on veil is the best for feral cut outs etc.

    >The hive is not put together yet. As far as the topbars they are still 1 3/8" square. I plan on tapering the bars away from the center with the center spline being part of the topbar. If I cut the topbar this way I do not have to wax the center ridge?

    Not really, but you can rub with beeswax if you like. The bees will follow it anyway.

    >Please bare with me until we get this figured out. I still have some very basic questions that I will string along slowly as not to test your patence.

    No need. I can multitask.

  6. #6

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    Well some things I am unsure of; should I "paint" the inside of the hive with mineral oil or just leave it as is. About entrance holes I was planing on cutting a slit 3/8"x6" long in one side towards one end. Any entrance better than another? What about a landing board outside entrance? When my bee package comes do I take out two or three topbars and put the bees thru the top? I know a lot of simple questions.

  7. #7
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    Jan 2004
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    Berkey, OH, USA
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    Big Grin

    <should I "paint" the inside of the hive with mineral oil or just leave it as is.
    don't paint it, if you want to protect it use linseed oil. An oldtimer told me to thin it 50/50 with naptha, but I just used it straight.
    <About entrance holes I was planing on cutting a slit 3/8"x6" long in one side towards one end. Any entrance better than another?
    the one I did like that is doing real good so far (6 days!) I also drilled some holes in the bottom but they're not using them. other ones I put holes on side.

    <What about a landing board outside entrance?

    why? hollow trees don't have landing boards. You should have seen them coming in for landings this afternoon, it was blowing about 20 and most of them were able to shoot the landing right through. Some of them land on the side of the hive or the legs and crawl all the way to the hole, I think these are the newbees! the old timers just rev her up and shoot right through!
    <When my bee package comes do I take out two or three topbars and put the bees thru the top?
    thats what i did, somebody else said just leave the package in the hive - not a bad idea.

    <I know a lot of simple questions.
    well those are the main ones, main thing seems to be just do it! I was more relaxed tonight and moved slower and more deliberately and the bees were much calmer. Hardest thing for me to do was leave them alone... Better to just leave them bee for 5-6 days, make sure you take a nail and poke a hole in the candy. I didn't do that and one of my queens was still not out tonight, although she is probably out by now since i made a big hole in the candy.

    david - another beegrinner

  8. #8
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    >Well some things I am unsure of; should I "paint" the inside of the hive with mineral oil or just leave it as is.

    Either is fine. I left mine, but I've painted them with mineral oil before. Helps with the mites and keeps the attchments from sticking so well.

    >About entrance holes I was planing on cutting a slit 3/8"x6" long in one side towards one end. Any entrance better than another?

    A lot of us are experimenting on entrances. I'm doing the top on the end. Well actually I'm just leaving a 1/4" gap after the last bar, which I need anyway for beespace for that bar.

    >What about a landing board outside entrance?

    I'm just leaving that gap but they have the 3/4" wide edge of the top of the hive to land on.

    >When my bee package comes do I take out two or three topbars and put the bees thru the top? I know a lot of simple questions.

    Yes. Take several out, enough you can see what you're doing. It won't take long to put them back.


  9. #9

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    One last question. Is it wrong to try to use a mite control medication on a regular basis, sort of a preventive maintance type afair? I think I have read about a strip that can be hung in the hive to kill mites. I guess my point is why bother counting mites. why not medicate "just in case".

  10. #10
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    >One last question. Is it wrong to try to use a mite control medication on a regular basis, sort of a preventive maintance type afair? I think I have read about a strip that can be hung in the hive to kill mites. I guess my point is why bother counting mites. why not medicate "just in case".

    First you still have to monitor even if you medicate "just in case". Everyone medicating "just in case" has led to resistance to ALL the medications. The Apistan doesnt' work around here anymore and the Check mite is now failing many places. The Check mite is very poisonous to bees, people and mites. The Apistan isn't so bad on people and bees, but still adds to sterility and early failure of queens. The chemcicals build up in the wax until they reach toxic levels for the bees. So using them just in case makes things worse. And using them without monitoring is a HUGE risk because the chemicals may not even be working.

    Here is a report that says that varroacides reduce the bees immunity: http://www.beedata.com/data2/pam_foul_brood.html (look for varroacides)

    This one talks about the toxicity to bees: http://ressources.ciheam.org/om/pdf/c21/97605909.pdf

    This one is about residue in the wax and honey: http://www.apis.admin.ch/english/pdf...aricides_e.pdf

    I've seen many others on the loss of fertility in drones and the shortened life of the queens.

    So, no matter what you decide to do to CONTROL the mites, if you want your bees you live you have to MONITOR the mites.

  11. #11
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    Jan 2004
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    Minnesota, USA
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    >> Is it wrong to try to use a mite control medication on a regular basis, sort of a preventive maintance type afair?

    Michael's answer was great, but in case you missed it, the answer to your question is, YES. It is wrong to use mite control chemicals unless you have determined that you need to treat.

  12. #12
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    Oct 2001
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    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
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    Rookie,
    As far as installing the package, this is what I did.

    I removed the queen cage, and the Feed Can from the package, carefully keep the package covered the whole time (carefully sliding the cover over underneatht he feed can as it clears the top of the package). I suspended the queen between the 3rd and 4th top bars, just under the bar and to one side of the hive. I placed the package on its side, inside the hive at the back of the hive, while still covered. I placed ziplock bags of sugar syrup for feed at teh back of the hive as well in front of the package. I replaced as many topbars as I could while still being able to reach in and remove the cover of the package. I removed the cover, than swiftly but carefully replaced all teh top bars of the hive and covered it back up. The next day I removed the cages which had a maximum of maybe 20 bees left in all of them.

    What I would do next time is suspend the queen from teh center of the top bars between the 3rd and 4th bar, but suspend her several inches down into the hive instead of against the top bar, this gives you the chance to remove the cage before they have built comb around the cage, making it unremoveable without comb damage.

    The reason I would place the cage in the center is because the comb will be built where the cluster is hanging, if its at the side of the hive, that's where the comb will appear, if its at the center it will start being built at the center. I think because I started them off to teh side, that I increased my chance of comb being built accross 2 or more bars because they are building a span of 14-15 inches of comb starting from one side and giving them more opportunity to comb at an angle. If they started at teh center of the bar they would only have 6 or 7 inches to build in either direction and so I think my combs would have been straighter as a result. I also used shallow centering devices on my bars, that also contributed to the cross combing, but if I had placed the queen at center asl already described I think everything would have turned out nicely. As it is now, I have a bit of work ahead of me to train this hive to stright combs.

    ------------------
    Scot Mc Pherson
    "Linux is a Journey, not a Guided Tour" ~ Me
    "Do or not do, there is no try" ~ Master Yoda
    BeeSourceFAQ: http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/beewiki/

  13. #13
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    >Michael's answer was great, but in case you missed it, the answer to your question is, YES. It is wrong to use mite control chemicals unless you have determined that you need to treat.

    True. But I guess I got the impression that the question really was "can't you just treat and not monitor" and the answer to that is no. I just heard of a guy here who did that with Apistan with 200 hives and lost 100 of them to the mites this last winter. This is typical. I had the same experience before I quit using it. The point is EVEN if you use Apistan or Check mite (which I wouldn't) or whatever else, you STILL need to monitor the Varroa mites or you will eventually lose your bees to the Varroa.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    London, UK
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    Heyas Rookie,

    I don't know where you live but I'm pretty sure that near you somewhere, there will be another beekeeper who will be delighted to help you on your way.

    Online stuff is fine, but nothing beats face to face, and its like math -- a book is kinda cool, but only when you see someone do the stuff before your very eyes, it becomes something real, tangible and human.

    Cinnamon, who met the bees twice now in the club apiary and still hasn't been stung.

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