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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
    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

  8. #8
    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

  9. #9

    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.

  10. #10
    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

  11. #11
    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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