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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Santa Fe, TX, USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Hello from Texas Gulf Coast!

    I'm a first-time beekeeper. Wanted to say hello, and so glad I found this forum. I have a gazillion questions.
    I am starting out with a nuc of bees (4 frames of 10,000 bees and a beautiful Italian queen that I've yet to spot). I got my bees in April. Right now, they are in a deep hive super, with 9 frames. Tonight, I am going to add another deep hive body to the existing box, to give them room to expand. I haven't checked them in a couple weeks, but they were pretty full last time I looked. When I walked by the box last weekend, there were hundreds of them just hanging out on the little porch/landing strip to their house.

    My introductory question is this: Will putting the empty hive body on top of the existing one, with 9 or 10 empty wax foundation frames be sufficient? Or, should I pull a full (of bees) frame out of the bottom box and put it in the new box, to encourage them to take up residence in the new flat? If the answer is yes, then which frame should I pull out, and where in the new box should I put it?

    Thank you so much for everyone's advice and comments!

    Susan

    P.S. I am scared to death of bees. LOL! I have never been stung by a bee. Before purchasing my nuc, I bought 3 full bee suits and more PPE equipment than workers in chemicals plants use. I also have 2 epi pens (don't know if I'm allergic - seriously doubt it - but decided to err on the side of caution!) and benedryl. I know it's just a matter of time! LOL!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Novato, CA
    Posts
    554

    Default Re: Hello from Texas Gulf Coast!

    I'd like to hear how others answer your put the frames up top question but I wanted to address your fears. It is like falling off a horse; once you do it you realize you can indeed get back up and get and continue your day! I encourage you to find a local bee keeper club and get involved; especially if they have 'hands on ' classes you can participate in. You will gain confidence and before you know it you will be out there handling bees with just your veil and gloves wondering what you were afraid of!

    The following is my newbee opinion so wait for others to verify it. It does sound like you need to get your super on now. Do not remove any frames from the middle as that is the brood nest, if you remove any do so from the ends and place up top. More then likely you can just add the super and frames on top and they will fill it up. Some people put follower boards on both ends and do not fill up the entire box yet, they wait until the bees fill up the initial 4 or 5 frames (you put in the middle) first, then expand it. I do use guides on my foundationless frames; popsicle sticks and am finding the bees don't fill them with straigt honey comb so far; but it is my first year.

    Good luck to you and welcome; bees are fun and the honey is yum! For me it is especially so as I know I have no treatments of my hives and no pesticides in my gardens.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Santa Fe, TX, USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Hello from Texas Gulf Coast!

    Thank you for the reply, CA! I sued to live in your area (San Rafel & Petaluma!), so that put a smile on my face, seeing where you hail from!

    I forgot to mention that I did join a local bee club. I don't want to disparage the club or anyone in it, but it is a brand new club. We've had 3 meetings so far (once a month). Everyone in the club are older, more experienced beekeepers. Seems like they are more interested in laws and permits regarding swarm removals, and also disease and pestilence. As I am the only "newbie", I feel like my questions are frowned upon, or that I am interrupting their important meeting with my silly questions. They are really very arrogant in their "bee knowledge". LOL! Anyway, They are the only club within a 2 hour drive from me, so I am going to stick it out a while longer. I don't even think anyone in the club harvests honey - and if they do, they aren't talking about it. I broached the subject of a honey extractor - I asked if anyone in the club had one that they might loan or rent out - and they all looked at me like I had 2 heads. They bring in guest speakers from Texas A&M to give speeches on the theories of CCD and show 90 minute powerpoint presentations on the diseases that affect HBs throughout the world. I guess I was hoping to learn how to walk before I run, but here it is anyway. :-) So glad I found this forum, in any event! LOL!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Novato, CA
    Posts
    554

    Default Re: Hello from Texas Gulf Coast!

    What a drag! (both moving from here to there and arrogant beekeeper club!) Did you tell them you are from California? uh oh!

    Definately check out Michael Bush's site and books if you have not already...what a tremendous help! Don't forget youtube, lots of videos on there handling bees. Foremost get as much hands on experience as you can....if you can get yourself 2 or 3 hives that would be good. Don't be shy about going into them and examining them, just put on your protective clothing and do it! Use your smoke but try and use just a little and make sure it is not too hot. Breath, walk away. Who knows, maybe one day it will be you encouraging new members to your club and open it up to being friendly?

    What I do as well, although it is hard to do by yourself, is take pictures of the frames and examine them later. But you really get to this point after you find out you can take your gloves off and not worry about getting stung. (unless you put your finger on a bee then ouch!). How did you get interested in bees?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Santa Fe, TX, USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Hello from Texas Gulf Coast!

    I have a bunch of fruit trees. Actually, I became obssessed with fruit trees, and plant 6 - 10 new ones each spring. I have about a 75% survival rate. Some trees do very well here (all citrus, apples & peaches), and some trees just die on me year after year after year (avocados, almond and pistachios)! LOL! I was talking to some old farmer man down the road, and he casually just mentioned "you need to get you some bees, having all them there fruit trees and your vegetable garden"! Hence, the seed was planted. I started thinking, man oh man, I am going to single-handedly cure the CCD problem. I am going to have bees from one end of my property (7 acres) to the other! So, I started researching on the internet, bought a bunch of books, and then started buying my supplies and equipment - hive boxes, several different kinds of frame foundations. Even the plastic honey jars and customized labels for my future honey harvest! I also took a beginner's beekeeping class, which I found to be very helpful. Actually, it was after that class that I agressively started pursuing this hobby. Once you learn about bees and take the class, you can't help but to fall hopeless in love with the little buggers. Now, I just have to get over my fear of them. :-) Actually, my bees are very sweet ladies. I have had a couple people come to my house, that have been around bees before, and they spoke very highly of my girls, using terms like docile, sweet, gentle, calm, etc. I think I got a really good group!

    I miss CA. Still have a lot of family out there (Santa Rosa). Northern California is one of the most beautiful places on earth, IMHO.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Novato, CA
    Posts
    554

    Default Re: Hello from Texas Gulf Coast!

    split_class.jpgVery cool. Are you going to spray your trees in the winter? (dormant)? I have fruit trees too and that is one of the issues I have to deal with, do I still do the dormant spray when the bees are clustered down? For my roses I had to stop spraying and just cut off moldie leaves and try to water at root and let it dray before nighttime. But I always did minimum pest control before bees, now trying to do no pesticide control 'natural' or not.

    I broke my bee fear barrier by taking a 'split' class. We visited a bunch of hives that had been ignored for 2 - 3 years (There is this local guy that sets people up for lots of money and then abandons them) and we took the hives apart and split them, some 2 - 3 splits. The guy teaching it didn't even have on a veil (I won't go that far) and soon we were all handling the frames, passing them around, taking gloves off. It was so useful in being able to verify what I 'thought' I was seeing and just handling it.

    Hang in there and keep on looking for other beeks.....maybe even other farmers! I bet you will find someone somewhere willing to help and /or let you help them!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    6,928

    Default Re: Hello from Texas Gulf Coast!

    Welcome Susan! If the lower frames were full of brood and food, they will use the upper super. Some new beekeepers use "checkerboarding" changing the natural hive to alter the bee's behavior to our desires. If you have an excluder on, removing it until they start drawing comb will help. If they never draw it, they never needed it.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Santa Fe, TX, USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Hello from Texas Gulf Coast!

    Beginner's question.....what exactly does "drawing comb" mean? I see that term all the time....

    Added my 2nd deep super, last night. I pulled a couple of the original frames up, and they are completely full, both sides, all of them! And I had a gazillion bees. I am quite positive that my original 10,000 bees have doubled in population. That was a beautiful sight, I have to admit!

    I also put a new, deep hive body next to my original one. I put 10 frames in it, an inner cover, and the lid. Someone told me that when other bees are swarming, they will take up residence in that hive body. Do you think that's true? Should I have it sitting so close to my original hive? I was wondering if maybe some of my original worker bees might move in there and lay their own queen, thus starting a new colony that way. Is that possible?

    When I pulled the inner cover off my original hive, it had a lot of propolis (I assume) on it. That was very hard to scape off, so I replaced it with a propolis trap. Have any of you done this? I put the old cover (that still had most of the propolis on it) onto my new hive body that I just set up. I will go back out there tonight and replace it with another propolis trap (I forgot to take the 2nd prop trap out there with me).

    Also, there was quite a bit of comb that the bees were building on top of frames. I tried scraping it off, but only got a few pieces, before the bees started getting irritated with me, so I stopped. They would not get away from the excess comb for me to scrape it off, and I forgot to take my smoker out there with me. So, they won that battle. LOL! I heard or read that I'm supposed to keep all parts of the inside of the hive box scraped clean, except the frames, where they are supposed to build comb. This is true, right? What do y'all do with that comb that you scrape off? I hope the two pieces I brought back to the house didn't have any bee eggs in it, since my husband popped them in his mouth and sucked the honey out. He promptly declared it was the best honey he's ever eaten. I am officially a beekeeper, now! LOL!

    Thank you, again, everyone, for your comments and helpful suggestions!

    Susan

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Rogersville, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: Hello from Texas Gulf Coast!

    Hey Susan,

    Sorry to hear about your experience with your club, most beekeeping clubs and beekeepers in general are very friendly and always willing to give advice and even lend a helping hand. It is sad to think that one of these fine individuals could/should be out there mentoring you and helping you to learn the craft. It is even more sad to think that the average beekeeper has mostly gray hair and if we don't get new young beekeepers inspired and trained within a few short generations beekeeping may become a dying art. Hopefully these people will come around and get you the hands on help that is truely invaluable when it comes to learning bees.

    On to your questions. Drawing comb involves bees getting out some paper and crayons... ok just kidding It is actually talking about the bees building comb from scratch, either on foundation or literally with nothing to start with but maybe the top bar and a strip of wax.

    On your hive body with frames, it is not a myth that the bees will sometimes swarm right into an empty hive body. However, it would be much more attractive to them if the box had some drawn comb in it, especially if it is a bit older. Also there are swarm lures that you can purchase to help attract them too (some simply use lemongrass oil). Placing it close to your existing hive can't hurt, but it doesn't need to be touching it (maybe within to 15 feet). I can tell you that (at least for the moment) swarm season is pretty much over for the year. They may decide to swarm again nearer to the fall.

    I (and my kiddos) agree, nothing like honey from your own hives... Yum!!! (could be those bee eggs, never know...). LOL

    Best of luck with your new hobby,
    Jeff - like me on facebook
    See my bees @ www.ozarkshoney.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,724

    Default Re: Hello from Texas Gulf Coast!

    Welcome to the site!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,062

    Default Re: Hello from Texas Gulf Coast!

    Susan

    If you search for 'Houston', using the beesource search feature, you will see a good number of threads using Houston. There are a number of people living near you who are members here, contact one or two of them using the Private Message feature and maybe you can find a local mentor that way. There is also a ' Southeast Texas Beekeepers' group which could mentor you.

    Maybe you could start your own thread asking for a Houston mentor, that would probably work.

    Good luck
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Santa Fe, TX, USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Hello from Texas Gulf Coast!

    Thank you, everyone! I moved my newest box to a spot about 30 ft away from the established hive box.

    I pulled another frame up (to show off to my husband and our friend how my bees have completely filled all of the frames), when I saw the strangest thing - the frame I pulled up was completly full of capped honey on one side, but the other side had not been touched! Is that normal?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
    Posts
    651

    Default Re: Hello from Texas Gulf Coast!

    Vonknabe:
    I just today purchased a small "bear" of honey at the farmers market in/near Alvin. Producer? Coplin's Bee Farms, Santa Fe, Texas, 77511. Phone 409-925-5415. Maybe you can contact them for a visit.
    Myself, Baytown Tx. with two hives in Deek Park and one in Dayton.
    Oh, Welcome! The folk on this forum are as sweet as those girls in your hive and will sting, but, like your bees, just to drive home a point!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Rogersville, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: Hello from Texas Gulf Coast!

    the frame I pulled up was completly full of capped honey on one side, but the other side had not been touched! Is that normal?
    Very normal. Just because one side of the frame has one thing doesn't mean the other side will too... The only thing certian about the bees is that they will do things their own way.

    However, that is why we have hive "manipulations", the idea being you try to get them to do what you want them to... So, a suggestion on that frame... Spin it 180 degrees and drop it back into the hive. Maybe they will continue to do what they had already done on the 1st side on the other then. But don't count on it, especially now that (if your area is as dry as mine) the honey flow has slowed or stopped all together, they may be done drawing comb and bringing in honey.

    Good luck,
    Last edited by Ozarks Honey Company; 07-03-2012 at 02:44 PM. Reason: typo
    Jeff - like me on facebook
    See my bees @ www.ozarkshoney.com

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