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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Orange, Tx
    Posts
    10

    Default Hi There! I'm moments away from ordering a complete hive kit! Any Advice?

    I'm looking to get started, I really want to get a good hive kit/beekeeping kit! Any advice you guys can give me from a to z would be much appreciated it cause I'm still not sure on what to get or where to look.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,590

    Default Re: Hi There! I'm moments away from ordering a complete hive kit! Any Advice?

    Welcome to the forum.... Don't buy a kit!

    Do more homework first, you have plenty of time.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Ligonier, PA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Hi There! I'm moments away from ordering a complete hive kit! Any Advice?

    Need to be careful most places put cheep equip in kits! If you r going to buy a kit look In to mannlake their kits look ok!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    carney, maryland, USA
    Posts
    562

    Default Re: Hi There! I'm moments away from ordering a complete hive kit! Any Advice?

    Jalek,

    I agree with BeeCurious, assuming you plan to get started early next spring. I am in my 60's, a second-year BEEK. Watch the replies to your post, especially your fellow Texans and other folks from the coastal south. Since I am in a totally different climate zone (7b), there are likely some things you would do differently.

    If I had to do it all over again, I would standardize on 8-frame mediums, reason being an 8-frame "deep" box can really be heavy when full of capped honey. I would not bother with any shallow, but that is my opinion. I have mixed plastic and wood frames in the same boxes, which have worked out fine for me. Do not be afraid of making mistakes; I am confident that like all other beeks you will.

    Best of luck!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,940

    Default Re: Hi There! I'm moments away from ordering a complete hive kit! Any Advice?

    Welcome to Beesource!

    Most new beekeepers acquire bees in the spring in the form of packages or nucs. Unless you are planning to buy an existing hive with bees (soon), you probably won't need any equipment for several months. Use that time to learn more about the various possible ways to keep bees, and the associated equipment. I agree with the posts above that a kit often does not offer the best value.

    Reading more threads on Beesource is a great idea, but there are other useful online sites as well. Here's one that has lots to offer:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm
    ultracrepidarian >> noting or pertaining to a person who criticizes, judges, or gives advice outside of his expertise

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Orange, Tx
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Hi There! I'm moments away from ordering a complete hive kit! Any Advice?

    http://millerbeesupply.com/catalog/d...beee5d32f36fed

    This is the one I was looking into getting, it looked a little nicer than the other ones I saw.

    Everywhere I look my area seems to be sorta dead on social media as far as beekeeping goes....I've tried a couple groups on Facebook weeks ago and still waiting to get in.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    proctorsville, vermont
    Posts
    151

    Default Re: Hi There! I'm moments away from ordering a complete hive kit! Any Advice?

    start looking around as you drive around ,when you see a beehive or two at some ones house stop and ask questions, see what beekeepers are using and ask why. I cant think of any beekeeper that wouldn't love to show you there hives and answer any of your questions. not that you cant get them answered here. with the time you have until spring you can get a lot of info. and welcome.
    thats the way i roll.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Kingsland, Ga
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Hi There! I'm moments away from ordering a complete hive kit! Any Advice?

    Hey, Jalek.... I'm from the same zone as you and am also pretty new to allowing bees to control my life. I also started with a package and spent more money on "stuff" than I should have. In retrospect I wish I had taken the advice already given to you here. I, if given the chance to start over, would have waited till spring to get started but would have ordered my packages/nucs already. I also would have built my own hives. After buying the guts to my first two hives I decided it was better and cheaper to do it myself. Just takes time. That's what you should be utilizing right now...using this time of year to get all your equipment stocked (you'll always need more boxes, frames, nucs, lids, porches than you think!), reading this forum and researching bee species, getting to personally know where you can buy local queens and swap queens/bees with from other local folks, etc. If you aren't sleeping with the book Practical Beekeeping (and a couple others) then you haven't slept well!

    I did all the reading, got caught up in the HUGE excitement and pushed the "go" button in October of 2010. I should have waited. Lost my first package and killed my second by mistake. If you could have done it wrong, I did it! Mistakes make a harsh teacher but the lessons are well learned. It wasn't that I wasn't sincere and I certainly wasn't uneducated. I was just starting out behind the 8 ball trying to do something that is hard enough with the best of conditions much less trying to succeed when even the "pros" are struggling to get ready for the winter and fearing losing half their hives! Of course, your mileage may vary, and I hope it does!

    I love your enthusiasm and desire. No one here will ever try to squash that. Keep the fire burning and if you can get an established colony from someone close by I'd say go for it with all the gusto you can manage. But if you're going to start cold, I'd wait till Spring....but order your bees now! Of course, you could write a book on what I don't know, so this is just my own humble opinion and thoughts of how things turned out for me. I sincerely wish you all the success and wonder in the world!

    Let us know what you decide.....

    Ken

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    116

    Default Re: Hi There! I'm moments away from ordering a complete hive kit! Any Advice?

    Do not buy a kit. Repeat. Do not buy a kit. Kits may sound compelling, but they are a package of what someone else thinks you need, and often are starter, lower quality products.

    Do your research, determine what you need, and look for the best source and price.

    Second point: whatever you think you need, buy twice the amount. For example, if you decide to go with a two-deep hive with two medium supers for you first hive, you will want to go ahead and buy another hive. You will use it before you think you will. Whether you end up with buying an additional package or find yourself collecting a swarm, you'll use the second hive inside of a month of starting out.

    Finally, don't panic. Find a local mentor and bee club. You can't imagine how helpful it is to have someone with you during that first hive inspection that knows what they are doing, while you are trying your best not to freak out from all the buzzing around your head

    If you need a specific list of what to get, just ask. You'll quickly have 122 different ideas to consider. Best thing is to ask a first-year beek what he/she bought and what he/she actually used.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Hi There! I'm moments away from ordering a complete hive kit! Any Advice?

    Get thee to a beekeeping class. . Southeast Texas Beekeepers on Facebook. There is also some traffic on here from 2010. Good luck.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
    Posts
    584

    Default Re: Hi There! I'm moments away from ordering a complete hive kit! Any Advice?

    Jalek - There is a bee keeping seminar in Beaumont, just a short drive away, in 2 days. They had room still this morning. Call the Texas AgriLife Extension office in Beaumont 409 835 8461.

    Supposed to be for beginners, so I will be there.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaston, SC
    Posts
    260

    Default Re: Hi There! I'm moments away from ordering a complete hive kit! Any Advice?

    I totally agree with Marsh,, GO to the seminar,, TALK with other beekeepers,, find a local mentor who will allow you to work with the bees,, learn the equipment ,, see what you really want and what you dont,,

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,049

    Default Re: Hi There! I'm moments away from ordering a complete hive kit! Any Advice?

    I recommend you read this link to begin your education. I buy most things from MannLake.com

    See if you can join this club: http://www.centraltexasbeekeepers.org/ They specialize in helping new beekeepers. HTH
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Orange, Tx
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Hi There! I'm moments away from ordering a complete hive kit! Any Advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by marshmasterpat View Post
    Jalek - There is a bee keeping seminar in Beaumont, just a short drive away, in 2 days. They had room still this morning. Call the Texas AgriLife Extension office in Beaumont 409 835 8461.

    Supposed to be for beginners, so I will be there.

    Very nice I will call first thing am

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Taylor County, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    713

    Default Re: Hi There! I'm moments away from ordering a complete hive kit! Any Advice?

    Don't buy that kit! You'll be money ahead by getting the bare basics separately.

    All you need to keep bees is this:

    Hollow oak tree.

    To be a beekeeper, all you need is this:

    Smoker
    Hive tool
    Hive bodies
    Bottom board
    Lid
    Frames
    Foundation (optional)
    A feeder might be handy, but you can make one stupid easy.
    Veil (though a full suit on hand is a good thing to have)

    If you have any amount of experience with woodworking, you can build beehives. They are horrendously simple.

    You've got a while before you'll be ready to install bees. Take this time to browse beesource and read. Beekeeping for Dummies is supposed to be good, though I have not read it.
    Try it. What could happen?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    794

    Default Re: Hi There! I'm moments away from ordering a complete hive kit! Any Advice?

    I ask my students to get 3 hives. One hive is at risk for many disasters, rolling the queen chief among those, and a second "donor" hive will help both survive. It is really essential to reducing survival risk. It also separates the wheat from the chaff, as a three hive commitment is "serious" in a way that just playing with a "garden ornament" is not. Also the students over inspect their hives, and having three to dilute their meddling reduces the stress on the insects.

    You don't have to buy much equipment. A smoker is essential, but much else can be scrounged, fabricated or improvised. I started beekeeping (many, many years ago) with a wedding veil tulle hand sewn to a straw hat. I still have it, and it still is used in a pinch for a student that forgot their hat. I start my mentorships with a serious effort to trap a swarm (and we often succeed). Nucs are okay (if pricey at 3x) and Packages less so.

    (snark) If you start now, you'll have time before spring swarm season to develop an obnoxious know-it-all online persona based on the absolutist dogma, rumors and quasi-religious innuendo you gleaned from bee-keeping message boards which is thick with such. (/snark)

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Orange, Tx
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Hi There! I'm moments away from ordering a complete hive kit! Any Advice?

    Oh so can I buy Hives from Mannlake or should I make my own? If I need to make my own what type of wood should I use? Isn't Cedar good?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
    Posts
    584

    Default Re: Hi There! I'm moments away from ordering a complete hive kit! Any Advice?

    Here is a link with some of the closer bee keeping clubs. One in Houston, Pasedena, and Lufkin. That is not too far but for me on a work night, not sure I want to leave a meeting at 8:30 or 9:00 and drive 2 hours. Guess it is a sign of me getting old.

    http://texasbeekeepers.org/clubs/

    Lburou - That bee keeping school look nice, but that is alittle far from Orange. But I have thought about trying to make it one day. Maybe next year.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lower Lake, California, USA
    Posts
    173

    Default Re: Hi There! I'm moments away from ordering a complete hive kit! Any Advice?

    jalek, the kit you found is a pretty good kit has far as kits go. I think you will see from everybody's recommendation you can make your money go a lot further if you buy components.

    Order a catalog from man Lake at http://www.mannlakeltd.com/ and any other supplier you can, this will give you price comparisons. You've already received one recommendation on what type of hive. As you read you will hear lots of controversy between double deeps and all mediums. Also between eight frame and 10 frame, top bar in four or five other more obscure type of hives for here in the United States.

    If you can make some of these bee meetings in your area you may be able to buy local bees/or beehives instead of starting with packages! If you buy equipment that is different or different in size you will have lots of trouble combining your nice new stuff with stuff that don't fit! If you can find a bee master or a mentor you might get to try different protection gear and tools before you buy them and find out you don't like!

    BTW I'm new and I started with a kit with lots of upgrades, most of which I no longer use!

    Spinner up above gave probably the most important piece of advice and I'm going to emphasize it here! Start with two hives (two sets of gear for your hives). With two hives can borrow from one to help the other! Without two hives if you're single hive has trouble you will have difficulty in helping it!!

    Welcome and lastly practice Patients. In learning to wait on buying this kit is good practice for moving slowly around your bees!
    Last edited by nobull56; 09-12-2013 at 08:50 PM. Reason: Spelling as always

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    794

    Default Re: Hi There! I'm moments away from ordering a complete hive kit! Any Advice?

    A box and frames/foundation == $25 at rock-bottom. You can save a couple of bucks handbuilding the boxes, but unless you are completely tooled up, I would guess it not worth the time-value of the money saved. At 3 hives and 3 boxes each you are going to need 9 (see how the numbers begin to add up).

    Not taking my own advice (chronic issue), I help my students build mediums out of loss-leader Cedar fenceboards for about 1.75/box cash. We do a frame building session too, just so they understand the pieces, but building your own frames is for those with OCD diagnosis (okay, so I build frames too).

    Other than the start with three hives spec, my advice is start with a plain-vanilla Lang, one deep + mediums. This means you have maximum compatitibility with other standard supply and can compare the hive to what is expected locally. After you have learned the yearly round of nectar flow and dearth, winter and summer behavior for your very specific landscape, Then and ONLY then, you can begin doing fancy "hipster" adjustments like rolling your own foundation out of nile perch scales fastened to titanium frames with gotu percha. Leave that stuff for next year.

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