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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Rutland, MA
    Posts
    3

    Default Padawan seeking Jedi

    Here's my first year setup:

    I decided to start with a single 10-frame Langstroth. I have a screened bottom board with two deeps full of single-piece black plastic Pierco frames. (One school of thought says that the queen likes laying brood in darker comb - the black plastic seems to fit the bill, and I've heard it's very durable, plus I won't be harvesting off it.) I water-sealed the weather-exposed surfaces of the woodenware with Thompsons. I've heard that white paint has benefits in keeping the hive cooler during the summer, but we've got a craftsman style thing going on here, so I made a concession to back yard aesthetics - shoot me.

    I plan to hive the package in the first deep, top it with the feeder, add the next deep when the first is three-quarters full, and bring the yet-to-be-purchased supers into play if things go well this first season. (May could be a late start, so skipping the supers is an option this year.) The hive will be located about 30 feet from my new vegetable garden, and about 60 feet from a lot of flowering bushes. There's a swamp about a quarter mile away, but I'll probably put a water source in the yard - if I can do so without creating a mosquito haven.

    For equipment, I have a jacket/veil, smoker, hive stand, gloves, hive tool, honeyBhealthy, and Fumagilin-B, as well as inner and outer covers from a local supply store. I also have an entrance reducer, queen excluder, Imirie shim (my inner cover isn't notched), frame stand, and a hive top feeder on the way.

    My biggest question at this point is about the honey supers. When/If I can introduce them this season, I'm unsure how I should frame them. Most of what I see and read assumes I'm going to be using an extractor and preserving the comb on the frames. However, I'm almost as interested in the beeswax as I am in the honey itself, so it might make sense to do crush-and-strain. I have seen crush-and-strain videos where the beek apparently uses no foundation, and cuts the comb from an empty wooden frame. This seems like it would get you a lot of honey and a lot of wax at the same time, but will the bees really build on an empty frame without foundation? I haven't found any good write-ups on the pros, cons, and how-tos for doing that.

    My next biggest question is about hiving the bees. Most of what I've seen advocates installing the queen package and then pouring/banging out the rest of the package in one form or another. But Draper's video shows them installing the queen and then actually inserting the whole package in the hive in place of frames, letting the bees migrate out of the package on their own, and removing the empty package after two days. This seems less traumatic, but again, I haven't read anything about pros/cons. Elsewhere, I've read that disturbing the colony less than a week after installation could result in the death of the queen. What to do?

    So, long story short: I'm new, I'm doing extensive research, and I want to do this right from the start. If I'm already doing something wrong, it's no surprise here. If I'm headed for trouble - doubly so. I'm hoping to learn a lot here and then pass on my own experiences.
    Last edited by Barry; 04-25-2012 at 05:28 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
    Posts
    2,668

    Default Re: Padawan seeking Jedi

    This should get a lot of advice. Good luck figuring out who's the Jedi.
    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,869

    Default Re: Padawan seeking Jedi

    Question 1: Yes, with the correct set up bees will absolutely draw comb in empty frames...it is called foundationless (might do a search on here, you should find much about it) The two main keys 1. hive must be level especially side to side. 2. give them a good guide to start from. I use wedge type frames and simply turn the wedge 90 degrees and nail it on.

    I will defer question 2 as I have never installed package bees.

    See also http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,980

    Default Re: Padawan seeking Jedi

    You get a lot of conflicting opinions, but it will be difficult to see right off who is correct. My opinion is that you would be well served to read this site closely,
    http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm
    before making up your mind.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Papaikou, Hawaii, USA
    Posts
    90

    Default Re: Padawan seeking Jedi

    Great thread title, chosen you have!

    Barry, is there a beekeepers group in your area? That would also be a great place to start. So many things are regional, and it would also help you get some hands on experience which is invaluable.

    good luck. I have been where you are....overwhelmed and looking at the pool wondering when to jump in.

    I second the suggestion to read Michael Bush's pages, so much information there.
    While you are waiting for your bees, practice keeping your smoker going and mastering the art of cool smoke. I dont always use one, but when i need it, I like it to be actually working...

    Good luck!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Chickamauga, Walker County, Georgia
    Posts
    388

    Default Re: Padawan seeking Jedi

    I agree that you need to find a group of local beekeepers ... right now, you're in the throes of "analysis paralysis," and BTW I am not making fun of you by respectfully saying that.

    My suggestions would be these:
    • Don't buy anything else, for any reason. You've done enough commerce... now, it's time for bees.
    • There are no "absolutes." Decorate the hives (or not...) in whatever way you think will look good in your bee-yard. The bees won't care. Really. Bees live fifteen feet up in trees; in the eaves of roofs; in abandoned houses and warehouses; in the interior of a sign next to a fast-food restaurant. They are wild creatures.
    • When the bees get here, dump them in. Watch videos to show you how to do it; then, just do it. You'll find them to be amazingly docile. I installed two packages while wearing a long sleeve shirt, a veil, and shorts. No stings. Your Mileage May Vary.
    • Do what you think best with the queen-cage. A push-pin is good for removing the cork. Have several pins, pushed into place,'cuz you might drop one.
    • "When the time comes," the trick is to try to use relaxed, focused concentration. Move slowly and methodically; shove your fears onto the ground and step on them. You'll be done in five minutes flat. Yes, there are hundreds of bees flying all around you; Yes, they are "stinging insects;" No, you are not "under attack."
    • I really like to use a bee-brush. It's feather-soft, able to move a bee gently out of the way with a gentle, sweeping motion of your hand. I've also got a spray-bottle of water with peppermint oil in it, which I use instead of smoke under most conditions.
    • "Then, leave them alone." Don't peek.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Default Re: Padawan seeking Jedi

    >I decided to start with a single 10-frame Langstroth. I have a screened bottom board with two deeps full of single-piece black plastic Pierco frames. (One school of thought says that the queen likes laying brood in darker comb - the black plastic seems to fit the bill, and I've heard it's very durable, plus I won't be harvesting off it.)

    The queen can't see the color in the dark of the hive. It doesn't matter. But you can see eggs better on darker comb. My concern, when it comes to foundation, is cell size, not color.

    >I water-sealed the weather-exposed surfaces of the woodenware with Thompsons. I've heard that white paint has benefits in keeping the hive cooler during the summer, but we've got a craftsman style thing going on here, so I made a concession to back yard aesthetics - shoot me.

    The problem with Thompson's is the odor lingers a long time. Once it's aired out well, it should do fine.

    >I plan to hive the package in the first deep, top it with the feeder, add the next deep when the first is three-quarters full, and bring the yet-to-be-purchased supers into play if things go well this first season. (May could be a late start, so skipping the supers is an option this year.) The hive will be located about 30 feet from my new vegetable garden, and about 60 feet from a lot of flowering bushes. There's a swamp about a quarter mile away, but I'll probably put a water source in the yard - if I can do so without creating a mosquito haven.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfaqs.htm#locating

    >For equipment, I have a jacket/veil, smoker, hive stand, gloves, hive tool, honeyBhealthy, and Fumagilin-B, as well as inner and outer covers from a local supply store. I also have an entrance reducer, queen excluder, Imirie shim (my inner cover isn't notched), frame stand, and a hive top feeder on the way.

    Sounds like you have chosen your philosophy.
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesphilosophy.htm

    >My biggest question at this point is about the honey supers. When/If I can introduce them this season

    The 80% rule works pretty much until the bees wind back down at the end of the season. In other words when they have filled 80% of what they have with bees and brood and comb and honey, then give them more space.

    > I'm unsure how I should frame them. Most of what I see and read assumes I'm going to be using an extractor and preserving the comb on the frames.

    I wouldn't spend the money...
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesharvest.htm

    >However, I'm almost as interested in the beeswax as I am in the honey itself, so it might make sense to do crush-and-strain. I have seen crush-and-strain videos where the beek apparently uses no foundation, and cuts the comb from an empty wooden frame. This seems like it would get you a lot of honey and a lot of wax at the same time, but will the bees really build on an empty frame without foundation?
    > I haven't found any good write-ups on the pros, cons, and how-tos for doing that.

    You will need a comb guide.
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm

    >My next biggest question is about hiving the bees. Most of what I've seen advocates installing the queen package and then pouring/banging out the rest of the package in one form or another. But Draper's video shows them installing the queen and then actually inserting the whole package in the hive in place of frames, letting the bees migrate out of the package on their own, and removing the empty package after two days. This seems less traumatic, but again, I haven't read anything about pros/cons.

    The important thing IF you put the package in the hive is to take it out THE NEXT DAY. Otherwise they will build comb, who knows where... never leave excess space in a hive. Because life and weather are unpredictable I never leave excess space even for the few minutes it takes me to go to the house and graft queens or any other pursuit. So I would shake the bees in and have it done with. No need to create a situation requiring your intervention to prevent a disaster.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beespackages.htm

    > Elsewhere, I've read that disturbing the colony less than a week after installation could result in the death of the queen. What to do?

    Exactly... you'll get so much contradictory advice on the matter that no one can really help you with that...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,788

    Default Re: Padawan seeking Jedi

    I thought a Padawan was a Jedi. You want a Jedi Master, right?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Padawan seeking Jedi

    You seem to be on the right path and might find that you bought things you don't need in the end but at least you are ready.

    The only thing I would suggest is to start with more than one hive. Having two or more makes life so much easier. If one is weak you can add from your stronger one. If you stay with one hive find a local beekeeper that you can have help you in times when you need a frame of brood etc.

    Best of luck!
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Windsor, Maine, USA
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Padawan seeking Jedi

    Three years ago I was given a couple of shallow supers and some empty frames with them. At the time, I didn't know that the bees would build comb in frames without foundation so I bought some Thin Surplus Foundation from Mann Lake. I put the foundation in and put a box on top of the hive. Now this was a new hive from a package that hadn't even drawn out two deeps. Anyway, the bees loved that foundation. They built it out immediately and started storing honey. I was amazed at how fast they drew it out and filled it up. (Maybe because it wasn't plastic. I don't know.) I got some really nice "Comb" Honey, and I mean right away! The only problem was that the Queen liked it, too! She went up there and started laying eggs. She more or less just bypassed most of the second brood box. Maybe because it wasn't completely drawn out. Although there was enough comb in there. I don't know. It was my first year beekeeping. The shallow box was pretty well filled out with honey so I only had larva on a couple or three frames, just at the bottom. The Queen then returned to the lower boxes.
    I'm planning to use some again this year, but only with a Queen Excluder. If you want to crush and strain, or want comb honey and you want it fast, you might want to try the Thin Surplus. (Mann Lake catalog. Page 22.)

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