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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    174

    Default Timeline for starting in beekeeping...

    Can anyone provide me with a rough timeline for when a person should order their first package of bee's and queen? Do you need to order the previous year in order to get what you need the following year? I'll be ready to start beekeeping by next spring (hopefully, must sell my house) and I'll be living in the Atlanta area then. What month should you put your bee's and queen in the hive in N. Georgia? I'm thinking I'll get Russian bee's to avoid varroa, but being so new I'm not 100% on anything.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,408

    Default

    Right now I would try to find a local beekeeping club. They probably know of a truck of package bees coming in by some means either to the club, or some bee supplier somewhere around there. Then ask them when you need to get your orders in. Usually I have mine ordered by November or December for the following spring. Usually by February it's too late to order as they are usually sold out. Still I'd keep in contact with the supplier as some people always seem to fail to pick theirs up and you still might get some. The other thing you may find when you find a local club is someone who may sell you a nuc in the spring. The other thing you'll find is people who will help you learn.

    Now is also the time to learn about bee anatomy and physiology. Learn their life cycle and learn the yearly cycle of a colony. http://www.bushfarms.com/beesbasics.htm Learn about what your options are as far as equipment and buy it and assemble it before next spring. http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm Learn what your options are for Varroa control. http://www.bushfarms.com/beespests.htm Solidify your beekeeping philosophy so you can focus on how to avoid chemicals or what chemicals to use, depending on your philosophy. http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm Some of these decisions involve equipment so you should make a decision before you buy the equipment. For instance, if you just buy a beginners kit, you may wish you'd gotten screened bottom boards or small cell foundation or lighter boxes. http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnewbees.htm

    Now is a great time to start as you'll have a reasonable amount of time to get all of this done.

    Also, for here, put your location down. It just needs to be a general idea of your climate so people can give advice that is more apropos to your situation. All beekeeping is local. What works in Georgia may not work in Nebraska.

    Search the archives here for discussions on the many choices you have to make. That way you can see both sides of the issues.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Smile start-up

    if i had to wait to sell a house before i moved , i would wait till it's sold before i ordered a package(s). i'm sure you know that real estate markets are not certain in the best of times. once a package is ordered you have to take it so you could easy get stuck in a bad place. why mot wait till you move and get your bees from a local supplier? there are lots of beeks around atlanta . great place to visit, never lived there though. best of luck to ya! M.B.'s advice is spot on but he types faster
    Last edited by mike haney; 08-12-2007 at 09:58 AM. Reason: newer, better post
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Tulsa, OK
    Posts
    3,407

    Default Folks to Contact & my 2 cents

    If you are going to N. Ga, I suggest that you contact Don (Fat/Beeman) at Dixie Bee Supply. He is a bee breeder in N. GA and very helpful. Also contact "Tillie" aka "Linda T." on this message board, who also has a good blog on beekeeping and lives in the Atlanta area. I'm sure she can give you the scoop on bee classes in the Atlanta area. (I hope its okay to volunteer these folks, but I don't think they would mind me saying so.)

    I started in classes last October. Put my hives and frames together over the winter. I started with wood frames and wax foundation. You may want to use plastic foundation, but I would recommend starting out the old fashioned way by using wood and wax and putting it together. Its fun and teaches you as you do it. However, it does take time, especially if you do it with a hammer and a three-year old assistant.

    I ordered bees in January and got them in early may. I think part of that delay was due to the Easter freeze that wreaked havoc on the bees. You need to think about ordering bees by the end of January. However, in N. Ga. you probably have options for buying bees within easy driving distance.

    I highly recommend finding a mentor with hives and getting some hands on experience that way. You will find that beekeepers, for the most part, are interested in teaching others how its done.

    Good luck and have fun.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    75

    Default

    We did something similar to what Micheal Bush suggested. We had 3 sources for bees lined up in the spring through our bee association. 2 people hauling packages, and 1 guy who offered early spring splits. We just wanted 2 packages, if we ended up with too many it wasn't the end of the world.

    Winter was rough, people picking up packages were shorted, etc. That means everyone canceled on us, we only wanted 2 so we weren't very high on their priority list. Make sure you have someone you can really trust, or have a backup plan. A friend did some calls and found us some nucs in Wisconsin or else we would be bee less this year.
    www.geekfarmlife.com -- Geek.Farm.Life Podcast, The story of two geeks who move to the country, what could go wrong?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    174

    Default Good advice all...

    and I'll let this string age a bit to make sure I get all replies- then copy and save it. I've already looked up the Atlanta area bee club (Metro Atlanta Bee Association). As for equipement, I plan to building a top bar hives (2 to 3) that will be a variation on Kawayanan's as seen at this link http://topbarbees.wordpress.com/ - . I'm going to change the angle of the sides a bit, shorten the lenght of the top bars (long bars get curing comb) - but that's about it.

    I'm not going to start a hive in FL and then try to move it to GA - and my job is NOW in GA (commute weekly believe it or not). So I have started to educate myself by reading books and websites. You guys on this forum have been the most valuable resource of them all - since the common sense advice from folks with all levels of experience is irreplaceable. I can't tell you how many times someone has asked a supposedly "dumb" question that was already burning a hole in my mind.

    Thanks again - and I'll let you guys know when I'm ready to set up shop.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    1,313

    Default

    you said "I'm not going to start a hive in FL and then try to move it to GA - and my job is NOW in GA (commute weekly believe it or not)."

    Why not start it in FL and move it? If done right, the move is no big deal and you could enjoy your bees sooner than next spring.
    Troy

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    North Alabama, SW Kentucky
    Posts
    1,914

    Default

    Scut,
    Definately get with Don the Fat BeeMan. He'll take care of you. He has the race of bee you want and he's not used chemical treatments in a very long time, so he may could help you in that regard.

    And definately read Michael Bush's links he gave above. It would be good material to help you get a plan together. many beginners simply buy the "beginner's kit" from a major cataloge without any insight on where they will go afterwards. My own two cents- get a smoker with a heat sheild. My wife's smoker doesn't have one and I'm forever burning things with it.

    WayaCoyote
    WayaCoyote

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