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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    4,531

    Default beginner needs help

    there's a guy i go to church with that wants to start beekeeping.

    he has decided that he wants to be 100% treatment free and use small cell,

    but there are no treatment free small cell bees for sale anywhere, not even packages.

    his only chance at bees for 2013 is a purchased package of standard bees if he can find one, a captured swarm.

    (he doesn't want to do any cut-outs.)

    what equipment should he buy and how should he go about hiving the shooked bees?

    he would ask himself , but he's not computer savy.

    i told him i would try and find out.

    thanks.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    schyuler, va
    Posts
    207

    Default Re: beginner needs help

    Check this outhttp://wolfcreekbees.com/home.htm they have small cell and treatment free I think.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,531

    Default Re: beginner needs help

    very cool keswickb. i have fly fished on the duck river. it's within driving distance of me ( and my friend ). maybe he could get some from them.

    but if not, anyone with suggestions as to how hive non-regressed bees?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,874

    Default Re: beginner needs help

    Last spring I searched for treatment free bees available commercially and there are more than what you'd think available. I ended up order from B Weaver and UPS delivered the packages. They were not inexpensive and finding out if they will thrive in my environment will take a few years.

    Treatment free and small cell - the search will be harder, but my thinking based on anecdotal evidence from BeeSource and other sources is that bees meeting your friend's requirements are available if you look hard enough.

    I am hoping that TF bees will thrive in climates substantially different from their home climate. As someone who is generally opposed to high colony mortality in the bee yard I will embrace bees that are almost TF - Kim Flottum observed recently that Russian Bees are not as robust at coexisting with mites as we had hoped, but they are still better at it than ordinary bees, and should need less beekeeper supplied help to survive and thrive in most climates.

    I wish your friend well with his search - please keep us posted on how things work out.

    Oh yes, what equipment will he need? Depends upon climate of course - here in Maine the usual is two deeps for the brood chamber and shallows for honey supers. So for my area the list of needed equipment for year 1 would include, solid bottom board, three deep boxes, one honey super, frames and foundation to fill two of the deep boxes and the honey super, an inner cover (with notch), telescoping cover, smoker, hive tools (plural), veil and/or jacket, an entrance reducer and a friction feeder. Gloves are a matter of preference - So long as your friend can be confident working bees without them - I'd skip them. Me, I keep them available and use them more often than not. For wintering I use roofing paper, 2" fiberglass insulation cut to fit the inner cover and a strap to run around the hive to keep everything together. Stones/cement blocks can work but I've had them slide off in the winter and then had the outer and inner covers blow off.
    Last edited by Andrew Dewey; 12-09-2012 at 04:35 AM.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    4,531

    Default Re: beginner needs help

    excellent post andrew, many thanks.

    how are your weaver bees doing at this point?

    we are going to check out wolfcreek to see what they have available, and at what price.

    do you have any specific recommendations for the type of foundation, given that he wants small cell bees?

    what are your thoughts about going foundationless with narrow frames?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,594

    Default Re: beginner needs help

    If your friend wants to go full bore, flat out, drink the Cool-Aid, small cell... I would recommend the following :

    Use Mann Lake's PF-120's for everything. Trimming them down to 1.25" is an option. There's less bridge comb with wooden frames so if there is some extra money to spend (some would say waste) the plastic pf foundation can be mounted in wooden frames.

    My two strongest hives last spring had narrow frames.

    I started with small cell nucs. If a sc nuc is available, that's a good option. Otherwise, many have reported that their package bees have drawn the small cell foundation correctly the first time. Unlike wax, the pf frames can be scraped off and returned to the hive to be drawn out again. I scraped off some old "dried up" disused pf-120's and put them back in this year. I was surprised how quickly new wax was drawn out.

    The U.S. made Honey Super Cell frames are not as nice as the ones that were made in China. I warmed and dipped my hsc through a layer of wax melted on top of a large pot of water. My wax coated hsc has been readily accepted. The problem is that it is not cheap and it demands a bit of work to prepare them... But, after a couple of brood cycles after forcing bees onto the HSC there's no returning to cycle new or scraped frames into the hive.

    I started out with all eight frame medium equipment as well...

    I'm not interested in foundationless.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,531

    Default Re: beginner needs help

    thanks bc. i am 'curious' , have you experienced non-regressed bees readily accepting your waxed hsc?,

    or has more of your experience with hsc been giving it to already regressed bees?

    i think you mentioned previously only doing that once, sorry if i am repeating myself.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,594

    Default Re: beginner needs help

    I forced one package, otherwise boxes of HSC were placed over bees that I wasn't sure of being sc. I have about 40 frames of HSC in a number of hives and nucs. I can start new colonies with those frames, knowing, without any doubt, that the bees are "small cell".

    There are a few choices :

    1. You buy sc bees.
    2. You put the package of bees on "pf" frames and possibly cycle some frames
    3. Do the intermediate foundation thing with I believe, 5.1mm wax
    4. Force the bees onto hsc

    #3 would be my last choice. I have limited time, and even more limited patience.

    I would suggest that your friend buy/build some five frame nuc equipment if possible. It will be nice to have when queen cells come along.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,874

    Default Re: beginner needs help

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    how are your weaver bees doing at this point?

    do you have any specific recommendations for the type of foundation, given that he wants small cell bees?

    what are your thoughts about going foundationless with narrow frames?
    The B Weaver bees are doing ok but not great. They required substantially more feed than my other bees. Two of eight colonies failed for non disease/parasite issues. I should have caught the drone layer/laying worker problem early enough to save the colony, but I didn't. At times their temperament is "testy" and at times they are completely mellow. They are going in to their first winter. {Colonies were established in new equipment, new Permadent Plastic foundation in wooden frames (with my own wax painted on the foundation} Entrances were left reduced all summer.)

    I have no experience with SC foundation nor foundationless frames and hesitate to offer any recommendations. For myself I remain unconvinced that SC benefits the bees and believe that the success reported by many SC beekeepers is due to other management practices (deliberate or not).
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Kingsport, Sullivan, Tennessee
    Posts
    783

    Default Re: beginner needs help

    SC nucs would be the best option, of course, but they are not an option for your friend unless he can find them within the state of AL. Unless he just smuggles them in. don the fat beeman (www.dixiebeesupply.com) does SC, according to his website. -js

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,141

    Default Re: beginner needs help

    All we use are the mann lake pf frames. The packages, & swarms we put on them draw them out just fine.
    Dan

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
    Posts
    2,695

    Default Re: beginner needs help

    I've put 6 packages directly on undrawn pf frames. All have done well enough to draw out 4 medium boxes and produce surplus honey the first year.
    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Portland, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    243

    Default Re: beginner needs help

    Squarepeg, These guys have told you right. Wolf Creek & DixiebeeSupply are both SC & chemical free. I know them both, especially Wolf Creek. They are very good folks to deal with. I will be buying from them this spring.
    Beeman
    All things may be lawful; but not all things are advantagous.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
    Posts
    875

    Default Re: beginner needs help

    I don't think the fat beeman is treatment free.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    900

    Default Re: beginner needs help

    edited since I just noticed everyone else already mentioned this. Sorry about that!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: beginner needs help

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    but there are no treatment free small cell bees for sale anywhere, not even packages.
    That's not true.


    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    he's not computer savy.
    That's why. If you want information, you've got to go where it is. The vast majority of information on treatment-free beekeeping is available online free. A much smaller portion of it is available in book form. Let him use your computer.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,531

    Default Re: beginner needs help

    many thanks sol.

    he has since learned of sources within driving distance.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Rock Port, MO. USA.
    Posts
    161

    Default Re: beginner needs help

    Has your friend considered using top bar hives? There are two basic kinds. Horizontal and vertical. I went with the latter - a. Warre hive. And I did get my bees from Wolf creek apiaries. So far, they are doing well in spite of the cold Midwestern weather.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,531

    Default Re: beginner needs help

    thanks bubbles.

    i think the wolf creek bees are advertised as '4.9' bees.

    have you measured any of your natural comb to see what they are drawing now?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Rock Port, MO. USA.
    Posts
    161

    Default Re: beginner needs help

    IMG_4111super.jpg

    This first picture is the super. I think it's where most of the honey are stored.


    I never opened my hive. I just peeked through the window. So I never measured the cell sizes. Maybe I can measure the width of the cells through the window. I'll try that this Spring.




    This was the original top hive box.

    Most of the combs are naturally drawn by the bees except for 2 top bars c/ halved foundations in the super to get the bees to build more combs from the topbar down.

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