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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Mt Juliet Tn USA
    Posts
    8

    Exclamation Almost ready to quit and I just started!

    I got two hives in April 2012. I had always been interested in bees and after reading about bees in our local newspaper I took a one day class, bought two hives and was off, It was a rocky start and hasn't gotten much better. I had chilled brood in one hive almost immediately after I got it. The other hive did well and is currently has more bees than the first. It also has varroa mites. I found this out about 3 weeks ago when a fellow beekeeper came up and inspected my hives and found them. He said to use confectioners sugar once weekly as treatment. I have one week to go in a three week treatment. I feel so responsible for the bees and so poorly equipped to take care of them. I have asked questions of all beekeepers I have managed to coral. There is only one beekeeping class in our county. It is one Monday per month. I have to work Mondays and have tried and tried to have my schedule changed and short of quitting my job, I cannot get off on that day. That leaves me with few resources. I have been trying to feed my bees to shore them up for the winter because I do not think they have enough stores to sustain them through the winter. I have a split top feeder and oh what a disaster it has been. I am drowning more than I am feeding. I just got two more feeders from Brushy Mountain and they look just like the ones I have except they have little plastic floats. They are going back next week. I am still unsure of the safest way to feed them. In fact I am unsure that I am knowledgeable enough to enjoy this hobby

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Winchester, Wyoming
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: Almost ready to quit and I just started!

    Hang in there! I'am a little bit like you except that I don't know enough yet to be terrified. There seem to be a lot of knowledged and helpful folks on this site. I'm sure that they can help you out. Best of luck!!
    memtb

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,250

    Default Re: Almost ready to quit and I just started!

    Unbaked, There is actually a lot to learn in keeping bees but don't despair it will all come in time, I have heard of hive top feeders drowning bees but have never experienced it myself since I don't have any. I needed feeders for my six hives so I took the cheap way and went down to the local Dollar General store and purchased 1 quart plastic food storage containers with snap on lids for a dollar apiece then came home and placed a number of holes in the lids with a heated frame nail. I have two containers for each hive, they sit lid side down on top of the frames with 3/8" shims under them to allow the bees to move freely and collect the syrup. Then I place a shallow super around them on top of the hive and the top cover above the super. I do have to open the hive to refill them but it is only a small inconvenience and I need to keep an eye on whats happening in the hive anyway, You will not have a drowning problem with this method.

    Since you have no one to learn from locally don't hesitate to ask questions on this forum, there are many people here who would be happy to help you or you can PM me at any time, I would be honored to help in any way that I can....
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Roseville, CA
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: Almost ready to quit and I just started!

    Please be patient, for what you are experiencing everyone has at one point in their beekeeping careers. We have all learned over time by making mystakes, and hopefully keeping costs at a minimum while making them!

    Two things that I have found very helpful is reading lots of books and consulting some of the wonderful minds on the website. Between those two resources and your new beek friend, that is all you really need. You will learn more here than you will with the one class you are missing per month.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    proctorsville, vermont
    Posts
    151

    Default Re: Almost ready to quit and I just started!

    just think of what you have learned so far. every time i find myself with a problem, i ask questions , i try solutions and i still have bees. bought a nuc. caught a swarm . made 4 nucs endid with 2. have 2 hives and 2 nucs. and a lot more knolledge than what i started with. i have only had one mouthfull of comb and honey from one of my hives and it was all worth it. all i have is 3 books this web site, and an unending interest. it's going to bee alright !
    thats the way i roll.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Buckeye, AZ, USA
    Posts
    70

    Default Re: Almost ready to quit and I just started!

    Hang in there. I was in you same predicament a year ago. I lost 3 hives. Finally, after a year with no mentor, and just this forum to research from, I now feel very comfortable with beekeeping. I have one very strong, established hive that I bought locally, and this hive is making honey like crazy!
    Being a beginner, I think this is what led to my success so far. Feed sugar syrup constantly until you put honey supers on. (I like to cut a hole in the top cover big enough for a mason jar lid to fit in. Then I cover the mason jar with a sock so it protects it from the sun.) I feed costantly so I didnt have to worry about starving them. Then I could concentrate on whether the queen laying and mites and other pests. Thats when you really start learning. After a couple months of weekly inspections, you start getting a feel of and noticing whats right and whats wrong.
    You may lose a couple hives and spend a couple hundred dollars before you pick it up, but you will get it.
    This forum is and awesome resource. Take advantage of the knowledge here and formulate how it applies to your hives and enviornment. Best of luck.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Conestoga, Lancaster County, PA, USA
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Almost ready to quit and I just started!

    Don't quit! This is my second year, and the first year I lost (killed) 3 hives. That was extremely discouraging, and a lot of money gone. I think I was leaning too much on what my mentor told me, and not doing my own research. Not that his advice was bad, but I didn't take ownership of my hives. This year I not only got honey (woo hoo!) but I split a hive so that I can have "insurance" against losses for this winter. You can do it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,206

    Default Re: Almost ready to quit and I just started!

    Quote Originally Posted by UnbakedPegga View Post
    In fact I am unsure that I am knowledgeable enough to enjoy this hobby
    I feel that way myself from time to time. And I have had bees since 1976. As many as 800 colonies. So, welcome to the boat. Try to stick w/ it. It will get better though it may never go away.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Perth Western Australia
    Posts
    175

    Default Re: Almost ready to quit and I just started!

    Beekeeping can be frustrating but is also very rewarding. Have you tried the beekeeping lessons at www.honeybeesonline.com .
    Hang in there if you can.. From the items posted on Beesource it's been a terrible year in the US.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: Almost ready to quit and I just started!

    Quote Originally Posted by sweetas View Post
    From the items posted on Beesource it's been a terrible year in the US.
    In the North East it has been one of the better seasons I have seen in the last 15-20 years. I know people who have pulled surplus off of first year packages.

    I find that the biggest mistake new beekeepers make is that they interfere too much. You have to find a balance between inspecting enough to see what is going on and not so much that you roll the queen or knock her out of the hive. Mite counts can be monitored without even opening the hive. You can guess at how strong a hive is by watching the afternoon orientation flights and from that determine if you need to open the hive. etc.

    You don't have to do a full inspection (of every frame) every year. Unless I am rearing queens or making splits I never look for the queen and stay completely out of the brood nest.

    Beekeeping is like learning to drive. Part of the learning curve is that you are going to kill your first few hives just like you will wreck your first few cars. Most people don't quit driving because they smashed up their car
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    6,793

    Default Re: Almost ready to quit and I just started!

    Welcome UP! Most hives have Varroa. I hope the mentor tested for how many Varroa are present. There are thresholds called IPM that require different treatments. Weekly powdered sugar dustings are not quite enough. It takes every three days or the mites will transfer to another capped (protected) cell before you get around to dusting again. Sugar dusting only catches the mites out on adult bees. The other half are growing inside brood cells. Varroa prefer drone brood for the longer life cycle. You can also remove drone brood before it emerges. Screened bottom boards also allow the mites to drop of and they will not jump on another host (bee) if the gap is over 3/4 inches.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Portland, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    240

    Default Re: Almost ready to quit and I just started!

    UP,

    Where did you get your bees? Are they healthy other than varroa? Did they make honey this year. I only live about 25 miles from Mt Juliet in Portland. Email me, maybe I can help. beeman2009 at hughes dot net. As for a good feeder, try using a inverted bucket feeder away from the hives so as not to start robbing. Right now we have a good golden rod flow, might not take syrup anyway.

    Waiting to hear from you.

    Beeman

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Red Bluff, California USA
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Almost ready to quit and I just started!

    UnbakedPegga: Keep going on the bees, theres lots to learn and it takes time. The top feeders mentioned by WWW work real nice and are inexpensive. I have had drown bee problems with conventional top feeders, just added regular home insulation strip on top to improve seal with cover so bees couldn't sneak in and drown. American Beekeeper mentioned drone comb being used and when hive is growing and going through the summer it works nicely, just need to check it to catch most of larva sealed in, than take out and freeze to kill mites..and drone larva. Just reading basic book on keeping of the hive can give you some direction. If possible, try going out with an experienced beekeeper to their bee yard and watch, you will learn the pace and learn to enjoy your bees more. Hope you enjoy your new hobby

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    238

    Default Re: Almost ready to quit and I just started!

    Lots of good advice here, and do not forget bee clubs and books as well. Beekeeping for Dummies is widely available, and most bee clubs have libraries or members who will loan you books. There are TONS of resouces on the web, lots of blogs, like Linda's Bees, Michael Bush's site, ACBees and videos (The Fat Bee Man has great videos as does ACBees). Most areas also have Master Beekeepers around who are glad to come help you do a hive inspection and offer up advice.

    Great hive top feeder:
    http://www.beeworks.com/catalog/inde...products_id=14

    I am in my first year and lost two queens in a row. I learned TONS, a lot of it the hard way! With bees, you need to help them discreetly, but leave them alone as much as possible. That is a learned skill, the heart and art of beekeeping...it takes time and practice to get it right.

    If you enjoy beekeeping, keep trying. Take the winter to read up and make beekeeping contacts. Even when you are great and experienced, there will be bumps on the road and learning opportunities . That's agriculture!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    21

    Thumbs Up Re: Almost ready to quit and I just started!

    Gloves on! Hat down! Chin up!
    I too am a first year with two hives. Think I squashed a queen with my first inspection and it was almost 5 weeks later that I saw the first brood in the one hive. I later found what I now know were emergency queen cells. So they recovered from me just fine! Now I am more careful but I still can't find the queens, so I just look for brood. Eventually I will see her!
    I too have found no-one close to mentor and bug, but everyone here has been very helpful. I am faced with 8 months of winter coming up as first frost is next week and I am still not sure that I can get them through the winter.....BUT..... I got them and now I'm gonna give it my best shot! And if I fail then I will definately learn something, maybe a lot of somethings.

    But you can be sure of one thing.... I will persist. And next year will be different.

    Mom of 5 boys and about 40,000 bees!

    These guys and gals here have thousands of hours of knowledge to share and I for one will not pass it up!
    Maybe one day I'll be the one who is helping the next newbie!

    Good luck!

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