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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Hersey. Michigan, USA
    Posts
    12

    Default Newbie here and wondering where to begin

    Hi everyone. We've just decided that we want to start keeping bees next spring. I'm really not sure where to begin. I have my FIL, who is a master bargin hunter, looking for hives and equipment for me. Does anyone here build their own hives? How hard/easy is it?

    I'm sure I'll have lots of questions as time goes on, I just wanted to take a moment and say hello. Also, is there anyone else here in the Big Rapids/Cadillac Michigan areas? I'm kind of looking for a local group to learn from.

    Thanks and I look forward to getting to know you all.

    Heidi

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Kokomo, In
    Posts
    359

    Default

    Howdy and welcome, Heidi! I'm a first year beekeeper, and I can offer this advice; read, read ,read!

    I wouldn't buy used equipment unless it's been tested.

    There's a post on one of the threads that gives measured drawings for building hives.

    Here are some associations in your state:

    OAKLAND BEE CLUB
    Sue Yates
    705 Coolidge
    Birmingham, MI 48009
    Phone: 248-649-5078
    Email: ilonayates@yahoo.com

    SCHOOLCRAFT BKPRS ASSOC
    Roger southerland
    5488 Warren Rd
    Ann Arbor, MI 48105
    Phone: 734-668-8568
    Email: rsuther@hotmail.com

    SOUTHEASTERN MICHIGAN BEE ASSOC
    Roger southerland
    5488 Warren Rd
    Ann Arbor, MI 48105
    Phone: 734-668-8568
    Email: rsuther@hotmail.com


    Sit back and enjoy!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Hersey. Michigan, USA
    Posts
    12

    Default

    Thanks Monie.

    What do I need to look for/know about used hives?

    Thanks for in club info too. Unfortunatly they are much too far away from me. (

    Heidi

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Stanley, North Carolina
    Posts
    11

    Default

    Welcome to the addictive world of beekeeping. I followed my grandfather to his hives when I was young and always had an interest in bees and now I am having fun learning the way of beekeeping also. Not much success the past couple of years but everything is much better this year with some good local help I have found and the help of this forum.
    "Horsepower is how fast you hit the wall,
    torque is how far you take the wall with you."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Hersey. Michigan, USA
    Posts
    12

    Default

    Thanks for the welcome. I've been researching and reading a lot and I"m getting pretty excited. I have chickens and they are addicting too. But I like to be more varried.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Rocky Face, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    136

    Default

    You have been given some of the best advice already, read, read read. Michael Bush's site has been a very important site for me. Walt Wright is also intriguing, as well as the rest of the crew here and the beemaster site.

    As far as building hives, it depends on you. If shipping was taken out of the equation you cannot build cheaper than buying, but shipping for most of us is a fact of life.

    For me, boxes, screened bottom boards, and migratory tops are easy (and enjoyable). That's with a cheap chop saw and table saw. Inner covers and telescoping covers have not been attempted by me. Frames, tried, miserable failure. If you like cutting wood, and you don't have a distributer within an hours drive, I'd recommend buying what need to start and building what you're comfortable with from there. Just keep in mind, other than the shipping (and enjoyment factor) you won't save money.

    As far as other equipment you'll need to get started, don't buy a starter kit. They're not necessarily bad, but things like veils, gloves, smokers, etc need to be something that are top quality and fit your needs.

    Finding a local (even if it is a 2 hour drive) beek would be my advice.

    Good luck

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Ennis, TX USA
    Posts
    5,125

    Default

    This is my first year. I read, read, and then do more reading. But not the books. I have 2. But I can't sit there and read them. I have a filling system and note book with tabs. If I have a question, I either go here or MB's website and take notes and file them. Then pull notes out and add to them. I build my own boxes. Boxes no prob. Frames. Buy them! There are a couple of assoc. around me too. But they are a little to far for me 2 drive to. And the time. Trust me you will find someone close to you in here that will help you out. I just found one today! Just make sure you follow the old rule. "The only dumb question, is the one that was never asked"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Brown County, IN
    Posts
    2,034

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Heidi533 View Post
    Thanks for in club info too. Unfortunately they are much too far away from me.
    You might try contacting someone in the State association:
    http://www.michiganbees.org/officers.html
    Perhaps they can connect you with a few nearby beeks to help mentor you. The State group also has fall & spring meetings in Midland, which is somewhat closer to you. Ask if the fall meeting will have beginning beekeeping classes. Maybe you could attend.

    Quote Originally Posted by kmartin
    Michael Bush's site has been a very important site for me
    Yes, spend time reading here:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Hersey. Michigan, USA
    Posts
    12

    Default

    Wow, thank you all for the responses. I can see that there is a wealth of information here. It's still a bit overwhelming, but I'm sure with time I will start to sort it all out. I really appreciate all the advice and information. I will be read, read, reading.

    Heidi from Michigan

  10. #10

    Default

    Hedi,

    Your county agricultural agent may offer beekeeping classes late winter. Sometimes they even give hives away to beginning beekeepers if they finish the course. Worth checking into!

    Great name, by the way. Always loved that movie, one of my favorites- as child and adult.

    Best to you-
    Try to learn something new every day and give thanks for all your blessings.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,667

    Default

    Used equipment can be a real mixed bag. Sometimes you're just inheriting someone else's problems. I almost always urge newbees to buy or build (boxes, tops and bottoms) equipment for their first bees. There's enough to learn your first few years without having to deal with what may come with infected equipment. Start new, you won't regret it! Besides, you've got all winter to build and assemble. Great plans on this site too.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Kokomo, In
    Posts
    359

    Default

    Here's the link I was telling you about.


    http://www.beesource.com/plans/index.htm

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Milwaukee WI
    Posts
    264

    Default

    What ever you buy or build make sure you have a screened bottom one that has a screen and a mite board that you can pull out the one I like is from Kelly it is built well and works very well Moat kits do not have one. Then after you buy your kit then you have to buy the screen bottom. They will tell you here you must have one for ventilation. I started without one then had to spend more money.
    I feel that all kits or hive should offer a screen and mite board Just my thought.
    Wishing you all the best of tomorrows and good honey

  14. #14

    Default

    Used equipment can be a great buy, or a loss depending on who you are buying from, ie: how they cared for their hives. I can be very naive, many times a trusting soul. You need to know what you're buying. I didn't. I saw hive boxes and supers, misc. stuff at what I thought were great prices.

    As Astro said, I wound up inheriting other peoples problems- my first hive was purchased from a beekeeper who'd been a commercial keeper for awhile, a really nice fellow, Mr Mullinax. I was just beginning to collect equipment and he was trying to help. The hive was old though, several years later there are problems with rotting at the edges of the boxes where they are seperated/pryed with my hive tool when I have to open the hives. Some supers I got from him are the same way. I'm not blaming him, I should have considered this. I just didn't put a lot of thought into it when I bought the hive.

    Other used equipment was bought from people who'd stopped beekeeping. Some equipment I bought looked as if it had a heavy wax moth infestation, as if the hives had been abandoned. Other equipment was from a woman who owns a pest control company called the Dead Pest Society. When I got it home and looked at it I was shocked and afraid to use it. Her hives had tracheal mites or the bees starved over the winter, according to our state bee inspector.

    I cleaned the woodenware using oxiclean and bleach and hope it's fine. But what I've wound up with is equipment that's miss-matched, etc. And none of it turned out to be worth what I paid for it if I include the cost of my labor- the time it took for me to get it cleaned, sanitized, etc. before I felt I could safely use it in my apiary.

    So if you can afford it, buy new- or if you are lucky enough to have a carpenter who can make it, or can make it yourself, that's great! But know what you want, screened bottom boards, etc. And consider your foundation and frame choices carefully. Bees don't really care for plastic, at least that's been my experience. I also think you'll want frames that can be easily disassembled for replacing foundation, some aren't made that way.
    Last edited by gingerbee; 07-23-2008 at 01:42 PM.
    Try to learn something new every day and give thanks for all your blessings.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Hersey. Michigan, USA
    Posts
    12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gingerbee View Post
    Hedi,

    Your county agricultural agent may offer beekeeping classes late winter. Sometimes they even give hives away to beginning beekeepers if they finish the course. Worth checking into!

    Great name, by the way. Always loved that movie, one of my favorites- as child and adult.

    Best to you-
    Thank you. I don't know why I didn't think of that. We are involved in 4-H already.

    Thanks about my name too. As a kid, I hated it because everone teased be about the book/movie. Now I like it and since I want to have a goat farm, I think it fits.

    Heidi

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    berkley county, WV
    Posts
    429

    Big Grin building equiptment

    heidi, I wanted to add my 2 cents worth here too... WELCOME..... I started with 2 packages this spring, and thought " I will have 2 this year, and maybe if I catch a ferel swarm I'll get a 3rd" I planned to make 6 deeps and the accessories for them and be set for the year. As I write this, I am setting with 3 established (double deep) hives and 2 splits (single deep) and I think they will be into Double deep before the winter sets in. If you are going to use the winter to build equiptment, over figure what you need. I didn't build enough, and then had to scramble to get equiptment to put them into...
    again I say welcome to you, but I also want to share this line given to me from another beek here. "Welcome to your new addiction...."

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Kokomo, In
    Posts
    359

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bigbore View Post
    "Welcome to your new addiction...."

    AMEN!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    1,313

    Default

    I would like to second bigbore's opinion. Build twice as much equipment as you think you'll need.

    I never seem to catch up and am always scrambling for another top or some such thing. It sure would be nice to go to the back fence and pick up a super or two or drawn frames that were ready to go.
    Troy

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,870

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by indypartridge View Post
    You might try contacting someone in the State association:
    http://www.michiganbees.org/officers.html
    Perhaps they can connect you with a few nearby beeks to help mentor you. The State group also has fall & spring meetings in Midland, which is somewhat closer to you. Ask if the fall meeting will have beginning beekeeping classes. Maybe you could attend.


    Yes, spend time reading here:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

    I totally agree...find a local beek and have them take you out to work some hives....I did this and fell in love right away however you may find you hate it or can't stand the pointy end of the bees, things good to know before investing the cash. Read, read, read.....personally one book I would suggest owning is the ABC's & XYZ's of bee culture 41st ed. It is a strange addiction

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Cameron, MO
    Posts
    586

    Default

    Heidi,
    Welcome to the bee addiction club
    I agree about having extra stuff also!!! I caught 5 swarms this year with out really trying!!! If you buy in quantities you can save some money and if you dont have to ship? that can cut your costs almost in half!!!
    There are also what I think slight differences in products out there with the different companies. For example I like Walter Kelly frames hands down, they fit tight and come with all the hardware you need included in the cost. Mann Lake is also a great place to get things w/ awesome service. Ask anything and they will try to get the correct answer to you even if they have to research and call you back! I hear alot of good things about others also just haven't the need to try them yet!!! I have also make boxes and screened bottoms. Easy if you have time. Sounds like you have a small farm going so if your like me, you are time deprived! There is always something to do around my place. I usually chat here from work where I can get free time!!!
    Dont forget to get a suit or jacket for protection. It will save you some stings eventually. Magnet man has a very great product if you can spend the extra money its a worthwhile investment!!! you have time to save up now for next season!

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