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Thread: New to the Game

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Anderson, SC
    Posts
    25

    Default New to the Game

    Installed my two garden hives a month ago. One is going very well, one whole box drawn and many brood/honey cells under way. Everything looks good with that one. Other hive, about half a box..not taking much from the feeders I've supplied. There are a number of queen cells (not sure if they're capped or cups) and some larva already with some new bees as well..so the queen is active and laying, but why might there be new queen cells already and not nearly as much work being done as the other hive? Also, I've got all 8 frame medium supers. Right now I have two on each hive, and one extra for each totalling three a piece. Is two enough for the bees food/brood to last them through the winter, or should all three be designated as theirs? I thought the first two boxes of each was enough for them, and the third would be excess honey I could extract. Should I get a fourth box for these things? Also, with two hives is it worth it for me to invest in an extractor or should I just do the crush and strain when ready? Thanks for the tips! Oh yeah, and is it normal to have lots of debris on the bottom board? I didn't look too closely when I was out there last week and I should have researched a little more as far as the mites situation and how to recognize it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Lafollette,Tennessee,USA
    Posts
    177

    Default Re: New to the Game

    Hi Adam, I'll try to answer a few questions, but keep in mind there will be more opinions.

    > why might there be new queen cells already

    Bees build cups all the time then take them back down. If the queen is lacking they may be trying to supersede.

    > not nearly as much work being done as the other hive

    The queen may be slow to get started, or may be a dud. See above. Seems to be a common problem with package bees.

    > Is two enough for the bees food/brood to last them through the winter

    Probably not. I think most folks use one deep and one medium or three mediums for brood (as a minimum, some use more) and then more boxes for honey. This is very subjective and depends a lot on the bees themselves. I would probably have at least two extra boxes for each hive on hand and wouldn't rule out needing more. If all three boxes are full of bees they will need someplace to store honey.

    > Also, with two hives is it worth it for me to invest in an extractor

    In my opinion, no. Unless you have lots of money just laying around I would just crush and strain.

    > is it normal to have lots of debris on the bottom board?

    If you have solid bottoms then yes. There will be wax, pollen, mites, bee parts, etc. on the bottom board. If you have screened bottoms with ipm boards, take the ipm boards out unless you are checking for mites. I would definitely research mites and how to recognize them. Then, keep a good check on them. They can get out of hand before you know it.

    Just my .02. Your mileage may vary.
    Good luck with the hives.
    Integrity - Doing the right thing when no one is watching.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,903

    Default Re: New to the Game

    Package bees and splits often wind up with both supercedure cells and queen cells. Most packages have mixed bees, and the queen is caged. If the bees think she cannot get out and start laying, they will do what they can to supercede her. In packages that is not possible since there are no open eggs. In splits it is possible, and they very often will start to superced her while she is still in the cage. If she gets out, those cells will be destroyed.

    By Garden Hive, I assume you are talking about a five framer, also known as a nuc. Two five framers is 10 frames, and is equal to one 10 framer. I typically take 65 to 100 through the winter in one ten framer, (Central Kentucky) but, you have to check and see what each of these have stored for the winter. It is doable (I lost 3 last year), but they will need at least 4 full deep frames of solid honey at the beginning of winter. May have to do some equalizing of the honey between hives.

    Debris is normal, If you have any used equipment, (frames, inner cover, top, bottom board,) lots of debris is common. They will totally clean the hive and the debris will fall to the bottom board. Over time they will carry it outside.

    An extractor is a major expenditure. If you plan to stay at two garden hives, it would be difficult to justify an extractor. Check for a good used two or three frame extractor, or some of the more modern one frame extractors are not all that expensive..

    cchoganjr

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Brown County, IN
    Posts
    2,033

    Default Re: New to the Game

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Westbury View Post
    ...so the queen is active and laying, but why might there be new queen cells already and not nearly as much work being done as the other hive?
    This is exactly why it's nearly always recommended that new beekeepers start with two colonies, so they can see differences. This queen may be slow getting started, or she just might be a dud. I'd give her a few more weeks, and if she doesn't pick up the pace, you should consider re-queening.

    Also, I've got all 8 frame medium supers. Right now I have two on each hive, and one extra for each totalling three a piece. Is two enough for the bees food/brood to last them through the winter
    I'd think you'd want to overwinter in three, but question is better answered by beekeepers in your local area.

    Should I get a fourth box for these things?
    Yes. You should always have extra equipment. You'll end up using it all.

    Also, with two hives is it worth it for me to invest in an extractor or should I just do the crush and strain when ready?
    I borrowed an extractor for several years before finally purchasing one. Are you connected to a local bee club? Clubs often have extractors they'll loan to members, or just being in a club will connect you to beeks with extractors:
    http://www.scstatebeekeepers.org/ind...es/Page549.htm

    http://www.gabeekeeping.com/local_clubs.html

    Oh yeah, and is it normal to have lots of debris on the bottom board?
    Yes. Do you have screened bottom boards? If so, the slide-in board is usually left out and only used when you're doing mite counts (or have some other reason to close off the bottom).

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