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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Paso Robles, California, USA
    Posts
    2

    Default Interested In Keeping Bees

    Hello Everyone,
    Recently Ive started reading about bee keeping and have become very interested in it all. Im thinking about just starting with two brood boxes and establishing two hives and maybe purchase a couple supers at the same time? I am 17 and have never been to a bee keeper in my area before but there most be bee keepers around here. We have some of the mildest winters anywhere around here in Central California (we only froze here i think 8 times this winter and those times were only down to 28 degrees or so) and we have more flowering plants, trees, and victory gardens than you could count in a year. I was thinking about getting italian bees because that seems to be what most people recommend for a starter strain of bees. Would Italians be okay? What about the size of the comb. I understand that there are different sizes and it seems like a lot of people like the small cell but what would be best for me? Ive been reading a lot on this site and I will continue too and any information anyone would like to give me would be greatly appreciated.

    I am also a pigeon racer, so I understand about keeping neighbors informed and happy with my hobbies. If they let me keep 50 pigeons in my back yard hopefully they wont mind a hive or two of bees buzzing around. especially if I kick down some honey.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    546

    Default Re: Interested In Keeping Bees

    Welcome to the forum and good luck with the bees! I really can't recommend a strain, as I keep mutts. I mostly keep swarms I captured.

    The pigeons sound interesting. I used to know a guy years ago that had homing pigeons. He'd cage them up, drive off in the car to a distant location and release them and go back home and wait on them to show up. I thought it was neat!
    Find A Beekeeper - Swarm List
    "There's nothing wrong with me, it's the rest of the world that has a problem"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    7,107

    Default Re: Interested In Keeping Bees

    Welcome, Italians are great, Cordovan are better if you can find them. It is a recessive trait so you will know within weeks if your queen is superceded. Their color changes. Foundation and cell size is like politics or religion among beekeepers. If small cell is for Varroa control, put in a single frame of drone comb and remove in in 22 days before the drones emerge. Varroa are smell oriented like bees and they prefer drone cells, which smell different to bees and Varroa. I use Cordovans at my teaching hives because they are the gentlest, most forgiving. Now my biggest concern is getting students to wear veils. See pictures at
    http://americasbeekeeper.com/Gallery.htm

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Cochise County, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Interested In Keeping Bees

    A pigeon racer! I have to tell you my racing pigeon story. A couple of weeks ago a pigeon was in my yard. I live in the country where there are no pigeons so it immediately caught my eye. I noticed it had two bands, so I assumed it was a racer (or something) and spent some time luring 'George' into a cat carrier. It just so happened my sister was in a class that had to do with 'instructing' others and one of the participants chose to do his demonstration on racing pigeons, so she knew a little about how to find the owner and what to do. We used the numbers on the band to contact the owner to see if he wanted to pick him up or have us release him after a few days.

    Jeff (George's dad) wanted to pick him up. It turns out they were on a cross state race when a storm came in. Poor ol' George must have pretty much bypassed his home and made it about 75 miles past. One of the bands was the microchip.

    I learned so much about pigeon's (except how to tell if it's a boy or girl!) while trying to figure out how to care for him. That's really a fascinating endeavor. I was so surprised to see some of the prices those pigeons go for!

    I'm new to learning about beekeeping, too (no hives or anything yet).

    Enjoy your new interest!

    Debra

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Paso Robles, California, USA
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Interested In Keeping Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by AmericasBeekeeper View Post
    Welcome, Italians are great, Cordovan are better if you can find them. It is a recessive trait so you will know within weeks if your queen is superceded. Their color changes. Foundation and cell size is like politics or religion among beekeepers. If small cell is for Varroa control, put in a single frame of drone comb and remove in in 22 days before the drones emerge. Varroa are smell oriented like bees and they prefer drone cells, which smell different to bees and Varroa. I use Cordovans at my teaching hives because they are the gentlest, most forgiving. Now my biggest concern is getting students to wear veils. See pictures at
    http://americasbeekeeper.com/Gallery.htm
    Thank you all for your comments and Im glad a few people here have heard about my other hobby.

    Okay so on the foundation and cell size I guess I am just looking for a straightforward honest opinion of the pro's and con's of each type. Small cell vs. Regular size cell... Does one produce more honey, is one better for the bees. etc.? And then Should I get plastic or wooden frames? Im just trying to see the pro's and con's of each different type of system so I can see which is best for my situation. And which type of foundation is best for the beginner?

    I was thinking about just having a deep brood box for both my hives on the bottom with a screen bottom and then a medium size super on top. I am going to use 10 frame just because strength is not an issue I could easily pick up the 100 pounds. Does this plan sound okay? and also where should I get my bees from if I cannot locate a local source?

    Really, I would love to hear every ones opinions on all my questions because every answer helps me a tremendous amount at this stage of the game. Thank you all again so much.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    7,107

    Default Re: Interested In Keeping Bees

    The latest scientific research shows no advantage to small cell for brood. Small cell is a disadvantage in the honey super. All plastic frames are a little flexier but do not rot or have hiding places for beetles and wax moths. Wooden frames with plastic foundation are not destroyed by SHB or wax moths and are more rigid. Ten nails per frame and good glue makes all the difference. All the plastic foundations are good except Duragilt is not rigid and will blow out on extraction. Natural beeswax is the bee's favorite. Your plan is sound.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Lincolnton, NC
    Posts
    1,118

    Default Re: Interested In Keeping Bees

    I use 2 deeps or one deep and 2 smalls for the year round hive. Then, smalls or mediums above for the honey I will take. If I could start over, I would use 3 mediums for the year round hive because it gives more flexibility with moving frames around to prevent swarming and for smaller colonies/swarms. Preventing swarms will be important for not scaring neighbors.

    Keep a nearby source of water available AT ALL TIMES. This will greatly help prevent the bees from visiting your neighbor's pools, dog water bowls, etc. Once they start getting water from a certain source, it is very difficult to get them to stop. If they have to fly over bushes or a fence above a neighbors property, they won't mistakenly fly into someone's hair, scare the person and then sting.

    Good luck. Beekeeping is definitely the most interesting thing I have ever done.

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