My new hives and lessons learned
I started two 39 inch TBHs(28- 1 3/8 bars) this past Saturday. The installs went very well. A friend that is used to Bees helped. He talked me into no protection and it went very well. Too well it made me a littel brave so today I went out to check the queen cage and release her if she wasn't out yet and I found out a couple of things...
Once bees take ownership of the hive they are a lot more sensitive to you disturbing them, lesson 1. During the install they didn't even sem upset by all the shaking and knocking around, but todya the simple lifting of a bar had them all mad at me. So after a sting to remind me they are in charge, I go and dress out and come back and release both queens and see that in 3 1/2 days they have drawn one bar about 6-8 inches wide about 8 inches long. Very pretty. I called my friend to tell him and he immediatly said that I should not have opened the hives on a cool breezy damp day, lesson 2.
I have been feeding with boardman in the back of the hive thru a follower board, so they have not been out alot foraging. They went thru about 3/4 quart in almost 4 days. I think I will keep a follower feeder in permanantly giving up the last 4-5 bars.
I hope I don't have to move my hives they are quite heavy and they are not even loaded down yet. I built mine on 4 foot legs so they would be waist high for me to work on. It is very comfortable, no bending or stooping and my dogs stay out of them.
When I built my hives I had about 3/16th of an inch space at the back of my bars due to not being a very good woodworker. It has worked out well becasue the hive swelled or something in the damp weather we are having and now the bars are almost too tight to get in.
All in all it has been a fun experience, hoping choosing TBHs wasn't a bad move for a beginner. They seem difficult to work with as far as getting the bars in and out easily. I chose TBHs because I really just wanted Bees, I don't care how much honey they make, I'll take only what I have too. I guess I could do the same thing in a conventional with ony one super, maybe a 8 frame garden hive from brushy mountain. But I digress. It is a learning adventure so far and I will make sure to dress out form now on.
Learning in NC
I'll add some pics soon.
I am on the other side of this great country and know exactly what you mean. But let me share my concerns: most beeks are used to doing their "management" from the Langstroth method. There is a whole new way of looking at bee keeping using TBH. I've read and read and after visiting THIS site realize that a person really needs to know or understand bee keeping from the point of view of the bee, not from the POV of "getting honey" for production.
Keep posting and we'll keep reading. I hope to put up pictures soon as well.
Best of luck.