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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lucasville, OH, USA
    Posts
    118

    Big Grin First hives put together and set up! Now all we need are bees!

    Greetings, All!

    I put together our Beethinking top-bar hives a couple of weeks ago and they’ve been sitting in our family room waiting for a decent weekend when we had the opportunity to put them out. We did so today.

    We went back and forth about where to put them. It wasn’t as though we are limited on space, but we wanted to take into consideration things like where the grandkids like to play when they are here, morning sun, mowing around them, etcetera.

    In the end we opted to put one hive between two trees (cherry and apple) and the other on the other side of the apple. They are facing south. This was in part to minimize mowing impact for my wife. I don’t know if the positioning will help with a bit of mid-day shade or not during the summer, but we’ll see. Does anyone think the location between the trees and with a tree in front of one will be a problem?

    One thing I realized is that we’ll never be able to put those hives where they can be seen from a road. Around here we have people willing to break in to electrical power stations to try to steal copper wire from live circuits (and often regret it, if they live) so I doubt bees would be much of a deterrent.

    After setting them up and getting them level we went ahead and baited them with lemongrass oil. Although there were a few bees foraging around our feet while we worked (small flowers in the grass were attracting their attention) we don’t expect the weather to warm up enough for serious bee traffic until after Easter, I think. But we baited it anyway. 

    I did decide I needed to tie down the hives somehow. The method I came up with was to use an auger-style tie-down point (purchased at Tractor Supply in their trailer section) and ratcheting tie-down straps. We’ve had trees broken on our property from storms last year, so I don’t want to take any chances. After coming up with this plan I found that Christy Hemenway has a Youtube video about preparing a top-bar hive for winter winds using the same method with a dog tie-out point.

    Next up is beekeeping school starting the first Wednesday of April. We get our first package from a member of the association we joined April 19th, a couple of days after school ends. I’ve also ordered a package from Gold Star Honeybees, but won’t get those until mid-May as earlier shipping dates conflicted with a trip I have planned. Actually, I may be asking if I can get an earlier shipping date as I’ve just learned that my original plans have to change.

    Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome!

    Cheers,
    Tom

    My wife bringing out one of the hives:



    Myself with the second hive:




    And the hives in their new locations:



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,369

    Default Re: First hives put together and set up! Now all we need are bees!

    Welcome to Beesource!

    Your hive location looks OK to me, although many beekeepers believe that full sun on hives is an aid in fighting hive beetles.
    Graham
    --- Practical reality trumps philosophy!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lucasville, OH, USA
    Posts
    118

    Default Re: First hives put together and set up! Now all we need are bees!

    Thanks, Graham!

    Yup, a couple of things slipped my mind when making the last-minute change of planned placement location. That was one, another was whether or not I'll have room to put up a wind break for the one between the trees. I plan on checking the sun situation over the next couple of weeks, but I think that since the hives are not directly under the tree the shading will be minimal. We'll see how it goes; I can always move them before we get our packages (unless a miracle occurs and we actually get a swarm in before then!)

    On a humorous note, my daughter told me today that she told her daughters that Papa and Nana were getting bees. The 8-year-old looked at her and said, very seriously, "Why would they do that?" Well, I thought it was funny, anyway!

    Cheers,
    Tom

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Lykens Pa USA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: First hives put together and set up! Now all we need are bees!

    Welcome to Beesource and good luck.put some lgo inside of them and maybe you will get a swarm.I put my 2 top bar hives up a week ago and then the cold came back now 5 to 8 in of snow tonight.come on spring

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lucasville, OH, USA
    Posts
    118

    Default Re: First hives put together and set up! Now all we need are bees!

    Thanks, Stonecaty!

    Both hives are baited with lemongrass oil, but like you I don't expect the weather to cooperate much for a little while longer. We were bypassed by the snow for the most part, but the 10-day forecast has temps rising until it hits 60 on Sunday, then dropping again. I am hoping we'll get lucky and attract a swarm. We do have bees active on the property, so there is at least one hive within bee-foraging distance!

    Cheers,
    Tom

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: First hives put together and set up! Now all we need are bees!

    Yup welcome... BUT put thim in FULL SUN in the morning and shade in the afternoon. that will get the girls up earlier (Really) as teh hive warms quicker in spring.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lucasville, OH, USA
    Posts
    118

    Default Re: First hives put together and set up! Now all we need are bees!

    Thanks, gmcharlie! This Saturday is supposed to be sunny, so I'll be checking through the day when the sun will be on the hives. My main issue with location is that where I'm willing to put my hives is on the east side of the trees on the property (putting them on the west side of the trees puts them in sight of the highway, which I'd rather not do.) I'll be looking to see where would be a good compromise.

    Cheers,
    Tom

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: First hives put together and set up! Now all we need are bees!

    Them being top bars Dang few will know what they are.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Manassas, VA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: First hives put together and set up! Now all we need are bees!

    Tom,

    The hives look great. I actually just built two top-bar hives and will be getting a couple packages tomorrow (though the weather is making me nervous). I look forward to hearing an update on yours in the future.

    Chris

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lucasville, OH, USA
    Posts
    118

    Default Re: First hives put together and set up! Now all we need are bees!

    gmcharlie, my main concern is that the roofs are copper, and around here people are willing to try stealing copper from "live" electrical substations--I don't think a few bees will deter them, so I don't want to tempt them.

    Chris, I'm getting the first of two packages on the 19th of April. I will keep posting about our experiences. I'm considering whether or not to eventually do a web page of my own, like many others have done. Between now and then, starting next Wednesday, we're attending the Scioto Valley Beekeeper Association's beekeeping classes. Naturally I expect the classes to be about beekeeping with Langstroth hives, but I don't mind that--we'll learn a heck of a lot, I'm sure! We do have a couple of members who have tried top-bar hives but one gave it up and another says he plans on getting out of it this year as they were more work then he wanted. I think the first guy had one hive, the other a couple.

    The people in the club are great, but they are a bit dubious about the whole top-bar thing. I don't blame them, really. I figure it will be up to my wife and I to go into it full-on, learning as we go, and become the club's knowledge-base on TBHes. :-) After we get the hang of this style hive I expect to give Warre hives a go.

    Cheers,
    Tom

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lucasville, OH, USA
    Posts
    118

    Default Re: First hives put together and set up! Now all we need are bees!

    Quick update: We haven't been out to look closely at the hives since we put them out last weekend. Rhonda just went out to show our visiting granddaughters the hives. She opened them up, and discovered that both of them were being prepped for use as bird nests!!!

    She's putting in the entrance reducers and we'll be checking on them frequently from now on.

    Cheers,
    Tom

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: First hives put together and set up! Now all we need are bees!

    I run 100+ hives and 2 top bars.... I sell a lot of TBH thought (about 50 a year) and I can tell you wintering in them is a pain. I thought I was good this year till last week. That said I am thinking now real hard that a good windbreak for winter is important. I hade been leaving mine out in the open next to the house. All lost to starving, not mites... so keep that in the back of the head... as for copper... good point...!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lucasville, OH, USA
    Posts
    118

    Default Re: First hives put together and set up! Now all we need are bees!

    I'm going to keep an eye on when the hives get sun during the next couple of weeks before we get our first package. We may yet move them, especially since I'm not sure I've got enough room behind the first hive to set up a good windbreak.

    A good windbreak is a concern. My wife and I have been discussing how to do them for the hives, between putting up stacks of hay bales to a latticework with vines to fence posts with tarps stretched between them.

    Later today after my wife left to take her father shopping I went out to check on the hives and saw a pair of bluebirds checking out the hive entrances, but the reducers made them a shade too small for them. I sent a text to Rhonda and asked her to pick up a couple of bird houses for bluebirds while she was out. When she came back my oldest granddaughter helped me put them up. I hope the bluebirds find them and move in!

    Cheers,
    Tom

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