Focus: package/nuc/swarm, breed, etc.
Focus: package/nuc/swarm, breed, etc.
I am 100% in favor of buying nucs/starter hives from a local source if at all possible.
Red Dirt Apiaries
When you first get your hive you need to know that an empty hive will get no bees. It must have been previously used, or have at least some honey in it to get wild bees to move in. Place a jar of open honey in front of the empty hive, and leave the opening to the large size. If you have a telescoping cover, put the lid on the telescope lip to allow the bees a better entrance to the stores. If you have a plywood lid, put a stick under it to prop it up. The hive should be humid inside but not moist, and warm. All my bees are wild bees. They are a bit agressive but they really produce.
I tryed the honey in a jar once... Robbers took it including ants, other bees beside honey bees, and honey bees. Again, one never knows what they will do. If it worked for you... great! Never did for me back in the 60's and 70's.
To get bees to move in, one the best things that works for me is a frame of drawn empty brood comb. For best success, I have left a dead out hive that staved over winter in its location, and come swarm season, the bees move right in.
Oh ya, don't leave them out if the temps are above 80, like in the summer. Wax moths will get in them and you will lose every single frame.
I put my name on a swarm retrieval list at the local bee supply store, which gets calls from the local 911 system. I got started with bees this way, getting swarms from trees and such. Was easy and rewarding. I found swarms are a good way to start as we don't have africanized bees here yet, the swarms come from hives that have over wintered already so are in good shape. Some of my best bees came from swarms.
I've been keeping a few hives for the past 20-25 years, and no longer treatment free as I got tired of the losses.
For a beginer any bee thats gentle would be fine, Italians would be what I would suggest, they are a high maintainence bee but a few hives are easily managable.
Putting your name into the fire dept. and pest control companies in your are for swarm removale is another way to start. it's not a garentee that you'd get a swarm call and if you did you might pick up more than you bargained for ( disease, ill tempered bees, ect) though most of this stuff is treatable.
Will Gruenwald Chilliwack BC
Along with getting bees, figure out where you will get replacement queens, because you WILL eventually need to get a queen. Maybe next week, maybe next year, but don't wait until you're queenless and then start a panicked search.
Find a local queen producer, or ask nearby beeks for recommendations, but determine in advance who you're gonna call.
If you're buying, get nucs. They're already ahead of the game with comb built, brood, and stores. They're more stable. Local is always a good thing as long as it's quality. Swarms are always good, because they are free. To me that makes them even more beautiful, cuz I'm tight.
I've read all of your tips on how to start. I'll take notes of these all since I'm still on my experimental stage. Thank you very much.
I sent emails to local universities that provide beekeeping studies, asking if anyone had hive to donate...and was rewarded with a nice double deep hive with an Italian queen that was registered and had been inspected within the last month!
Ask, and ye shall receive.
Hey guys, 2013 will be my first year keeping bees and I'm wondering if anyone out there knows of a good source for package bees in my area. I'm located in the south central Missouri Ozarks. If not in the immediate vicinity are there any sources in the region that are better than others. I've looked over the list of bee suppliers but I really don't know where to start. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. Joe