Hello from Raleigh
My name is Michael and I am trying to get up and running to prepare for my inaugural beekeeping season this upcoming year. I have gotten in touch with the Wake County Beekeepers Association (great group of people, filled with some great information), but wanted to sign up here to ensure that I am getting as much information as possible.
I am hoping to put in an order for woodenware sometime today from Brushy Mountain (I believe today is the last day to use the free shipping code). My thought is to go with a standard 10-frame using 1 deep with 1 medium for my brood box, and getting an extra medium for honey supers for each of my two proposed hives. Any comments on commercial vs. select wood quality from Brushy Mountain? Being an engineer, I put together a spreadsheet outlining my costs for my hives and equipment and it looks like I can get away cheaper getting two of their "Complete Hives" and then purchasing my tools and additional woodenware individually. For tools I am thinking that I will get a veil, bee brush, hive tool, smoker, gloves, and feeder - I have decided to forgo any full suit for the time being and just use my work coveralls. Buying this way looks to save me a good bit over getting the beginner's kits they sell.
I couldn't be more excited about getting started this spring and having my ladies help me out in the garden and hopefully give me some of the sweet stuff in the long run. I have been absorbing as much information as I can (read a couple of homesteading books with bee sections, and the "Beekeeping for Dummies" which has covered a lot of the functional basics of beekeeping ... any additional references or ideas are always appreciated).
Hopefully seeing you around the hive,
Re: Hello from Raleigh
Welcome to the forum! I'm over in Charlotte. Sounds like you're well on your way! Your list of equipment is the same that I've used in my first two years. (I made a spreadsheet too!) I just use a veil and am very happy with that choice. I used hivetop feeders but am going to see what happens when I don't feed at all. And I bought a bee brush but I've never used it.
Everything looks great in your post except I will say that I wish I had gone with all mediums instead of a deep-shallow combo. There is a lot of discussion back and forth on this forum about why meds are better or how deeps are more efficient, etc. In my two years of experience, my conclusion is that I wish my frames were interchangeable between the bodies and the supers. Since I'm new, I don't have any extra frames with built comb and it's hard to get the girls to move up into the supers unless there's drawn comb and something stored in it. That's my new-keeper experience anyway, for what it's worth.
One more thing, only because it was a hard lesson... My first year's goal was to get them to live through the winter. I was so thrilled that they made it that I completely missed the window for swarm prevention and my second year was (politely) a learning year, not a honey year. I'm eyeballing the first of Feb to take action so be ready in Feb 2011. Seems like a long way off but you'll be surprised My girls were out and bringing in pollen on Feb 1 last year.
Good luck! It's a lot of fun.