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  1. #1
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    Default Lessons learned as a newbie

    Ok this thread will be about all the hard lessons I learn as a newbie , So you can help me with them or just read about them as I have them and learn from my mistakes .

    So here we go

    So I bought the 6 packages with each a frame of honey and brood which also had breed laying queens . So it was 35 pound spilt 6 ways . So each got about 6 pounds .

    Ok got them on a Wednesday at 3pm got them home at around 5pm or so there was no stops on the way back . So I have been watching them and keep noticing something just ain't right . Today is Saturday so three days latter . I was told to stay out but the guy I got them from for 15 days. But just can't because something just ain't right .
    One hive seems there's to many bees or hot or robbing . So I have to figure it out . So I took a look in all hive so see what's up and to see if the queens are out . 5 where out one was almost .

    But the big problem 5 hives only have maybe 2 pounds of bees in the hives mostly on the two frames I got with the deal . Some had bees on one or two of the undrawn frames . So not a lot of bees like I seen get put in my boxes .

    The one hive which is the yellow/orange one is completely full and I mean full they can barely stuff the selfs in the front . So it looks that I lost bees from the other 5 and they went to the one . So now I have a super sized hive . They have done drawn the 6 frame almost all the way out in 3 days or less .

    I haven't feed any sugar water as the flows on .

    So I got way scared and went and seen the beekeeper that's helping me which I hadn't asked for any help or he had seen the new bees I got . So after talking he said let's go find out what's going on since he was worried I had a robbing problem . And it was about 6pm at this time . So his first was to test for robbing which came up not to be a robbing . We then opened the hive and then he seen I had a super hive full of bees .

    So the why and what happen . He thinks they had to have come from the other hives after we opened and seen the numbers of bees in them . And the why he believes it happened because I have screened bottom boards and did not have the slide boards in . he believes it was a major cause that and the local was to close and that the bees was shook one or two hives and took back to there original state .

    He's is highly worried about the screened bottoms cause the smell of the hive to cause me major problem like what has happened and they can cause a robbing problem and causing the bees to sit un the hive at the screen which they doing . So I got the boards in now .

    So now I have a super strong hive that took another brood box in just three days . And 5 some what weak hives . That my mentor I guess will call him said will most likely still be good since I had the frame of broad and honey and enough bees he believed .

    So there's what I have learned so far thought I would have 6 strong hives started . Only to get one super dupper hive and now semi weak hives going . But there all out gathering .

    This will be on going with the things I learn or need help with . So please comment with your thoughts also to help Or just read and learn with me . Thanks Josh the newbee . Need all the help I can get .
    Last edited by 78-79fordman; 04-26-2014 at 08:35 PM.

  2. #2
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    Elizabethton, Tn
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    Default Re: Lessons learned as a newbie

    Sounds like you had some drifting, you can always switch hives with the super duper place and gain some bees back to the other hives.
    It takes a family to raise a family, it takes a village to really screw that up... Djei5

  3. #3
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    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Lessons learned as a newbie

    Well, I think you learned the first, and perhaps most important thing, a first year beekeeper needs to know: watch your hives enough so that when you think you see something wrong about what you are seeing you'll recognize the difference. And then act on your suspicion even if somebody told you that (in general) it's better to leave the hive alone for awhile after you set it up.

    Having a super hive will probably work out fine because I think you will be able to harvest frames of brood from it to add to the others. Then those eggs/brood, when they hatch out, will think that their new hive has always been "home" and stay there, so in the end all will be well. The big hive will probably be a comb-making, brood making dynamo for awhile.

    Be SURE you are not moving the queen from the big hive when you transfer the frames. That would be a really big oops!

    Keep an eye out for robbing as the size differences between the big hive and the smaller ones will be great. But as the smaller ones grow (from their own efforts and any brood you transfer) it will equalize in a month or so, as foragers only live about three weeks.

    Your hives look very nice, all painted those pretty colors. (I'm partial to mixed colors for bee yards, my hives are eacha different color which helps me keep them straight in my mind.) But I'm curious about the brown panels on the sides - what are they for? And your apiary has a very tidy, well-managed look about it.

    How did your mentor test for robbing?

    Enj.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Lessons learned as a newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    Well, I think you learned the first, and perhaps most important thing, a first year beekeeper needs to know: watch your hives enough so that when you think you see something wrong about what you are seeing you'll recognize the difference. And then act on your suspicion even if somebody told you that (in general) it's better to leave the hive alone for awhile after you set it up.

    Having a super hive will probably work out fine because I think you will be able to harvest frames of brood from it to add to the others. Then those eggs/brood, when they hatch out, will think that their new hive has always been "home" and stay there, so in the end all will be well. The big hive will probably be a comb-making, brood making dynamo for awhile.

    Be SURE you are not moving the queen from the big hive when you transfer the frames. That would be a really big oops!

    Keep an eye out for robbing as the size differences between the big hive and the smaller ones will be great. But as the smaller ones grow (from their own efforts and any brood you transfer) it will equalize in a month or so, as foragers only live about three weeks.

    Your hives look very nice, all painted those pretty colors. (I'm partial to mixed colors for bee yards, my hives are eacha different color which helps me keep them straight in my mind.) But I'm curious about the brown panels on the sides - what are they for? And your apiary has a very tidy, well-managed look about it.

    How did your mentor test for robbing?

    Enj.
    And ya that's what my mentor said also I was doing good seeing something wasn't right .

    Ya that was my thought also use the brood from the big hive to help the smalls . And ya I no I will have to be careful and find the queen as she will probley be some what hard for me to find with so many bees and new to finding her.

    The boards on the side was put there to hold the bottoms on as I had to take my hives to the person I bought the bees from for them to put them in the hives . I just haven't removed them .

    First he watched the front watching them . And then stood right in front of the hive as in covering it . He said if there was robbing they would attack him the robbers .

    Maybe this right off the bat will make me better down the road I hope . And ya I have been really watch them I been sating in the truck where I can watch but be out of the way ever little bit that I can .

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Lessons learned as a newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by djei5 View Post
    Sounds like you had some drifting, you can always switch hives with the super duper place and gain some bees back to the other hives.
    My mentor thought that could have happened also but he said that it seemed it wouldn't be that many . The drifting I hope i wouldn't have with the different colors .

    I don't know really what happened . All I know is I will never do packages and put them so close together . That's one of the biggest lessons I learnt . This time.

    I probley should have just put two on a stand at each end . And left a empty one in between . Tell they got started . But there on the upper and middle stands . The pic below was before the bees in mock up.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Lessons learned as a newbie

    Man that is a really fine set up. Love the stands. Mind telling me what the ground in your yard is covered with.

    You have plenty room to grow and apparently have a eye for details. Think you are going to do really well. Keep us posted.
    Started 9/13, building slowly, now @ 7 Lang hives + 5 nucs, and treatment style not decided yet

  7. #7
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    Jun 2012
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    Brooklyn, NY
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    Default Re: Lessons learned as a newbie

    That's a real pretty bee yard. I'm jealous.
    3 years-5 hives-T
    brooklyn-queen.com

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Lessons learned as a newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by marshmasterpat View Post
    Man that is a really fine set up. Love the stands. Mind telling me what the ground in your yard is covered with.

    You have plenty room to grow and apparently have a eye for details. Think you are going to do really well. Keep us posted.
    Thanks

    and its old carpet that was took out and replaced .

  9. #9
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    Thumbs Up Re: Lessons learned as a newbie

    So, what do you do now?

    I'm skeptical that 'screened bottom boards' caused this. In my way of thinking, you have a really good queen in that hive box with all the bees.

    A queen that puts out more pheromones than the others might draw drifting bees. Does she put out enough pheromones to waft out the bottom screen? Maybe, but I haven't seen that reported any place I'm reading.

    As djei5 suggested, moving your weakest hive to the place of the strongest hive and the strong hive to the weakest hive location will help equalize the populations. Then, switch the weak and strong hives again and again to equalize all the hives.

    If you don't fix the population imbalance, that big hive will rob the weaker hives soon and too many of those bees will leave your bee yard in a swarm(s). Start switching before the hives get heavy! HTH

    P.S. Your apiary has to be the nicest apiary I have seen. Good work!
    Last edited by Lburou; 04-27-2014 at 10:30 AM.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Lessons learned as a newbie

    Another thought should I try to split the super duper hive . I can get another queen from the guy I got the bees from . I havent called him to see his thoughts .
    Any thoughts on trying a split and moving them a mile and a half away the new splits ???
    Last edited by 78-79fordman; 04-28-2014 at 12:50 AM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Lessons learned as a newbie

    Double post

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Lessons learned as a newbie

    You probably have enough bees for a new beekeeper to manage already.

    Switching the hive positions will split the bees.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Lessons learned as a newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by Lburou View Post
    You probably have enough bees for a new beekeeper to manage already.

    Switching the hive positions will split the bees.
    Ya 6 packages and 12 nucs so I'm starting with 18 hives . It's just I don't have my nucs yet . Few more weeks I'm told on the nucs .

    I was told by the guy I got them from to just super them all they need and let them work .

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Lessons learned as a newbie

    Called the guy I got them from this morning to tell him the problem I have with the 6 and ask for advice what to do . He said load the 5 up and bring them back to him he would fix me up . So I did and he put me another 4-5 pounds in the boxes . He said I would be good now .

    And he said the problem was drift to the one hive because i had them way to close . He said 20 foot minimum on packages . He assumed I knew that I never read it or was never told .

    I didn't ask him to give me more bees or anything he took it on his self to give me more . So I have meet a super stand up guy . And i will for sure buy from him anytime I need queens or bees .

    So what I learned packaged bees can not be any closer than 20 feet . And for at least 3 weeks they have to stay that way .
    So now I only have the super duper hive by its self on that land it's on . Have 3 of the rebee'd hives on 20 acres one on the very north side - one on the very south side - and then one on the very middle so they a good distance away from each other . And there 2 miles from where they was . At the pretty yard in the pics above . The other two are are on a different property that's a mile and a half from the yard they are spaced about a 1/4 mile apart . So I shouldn't have the problem I just had again .

  15. #15
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    Fenton, MI
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    Default Re: Lessons learned as a newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by 78-79fordman View Post
    So what I learned packaged bees can not be any closer than 20 feet . And for at least 3 weeks they have to stay that way .
    I know of many packages (mine included) that are within a few feet of each other.
    Did you stuff some grass in the entrance to keep them in the hive for a while after you first closed the hive? My thought is that it keeps them in the hive long enough to get to know the scent of their queen. They work to get the grass out and all is well. No drift.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Lessons learned as a newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by Jackam View Post
    I know of many packages (mine included) that are within a few feet of each other.
    Did you stuff some grass in the entrance to keep them in the hive for a while after you first closed the hive? My thought is that it keeps them in the hive long enough to get to know the scent of their queen. They work to get the grass out and all is well. No drift.
    They where put in my boxes where I bought them there where screened there for the 2 hour drive home . Didn't put anything in front when I got them home just took the screens off .

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Lessons learned as a newbie

    30inches 30ft,doesn't matter.If you use screened bottom boards you must keep the debri tray in or they will drift.Leaving the tray out disallows the queens pheromones to permeate the hive.The hive must build up to the point that the bees feel they are established before you leave the tray out.I operate screened and solid bottom boards they both have positive and negative points or advantages and disadvantages.The point I'm making can be proven by again leave the debri tray out!Nice looking set-up!My hives set 15 inches apart a little closer than what you have there.If I don't leave the debri trays in they will usually drift to the hives on the ends particularly where the sun hits first.Yes they will also drift to the queen with the strongest pheromones if you leave the debri tray out.My hives are set-up for me to quickly work them 15 inches apart is what I like 8 to 12 in a row 6 to 4 rows 32 to 48 per outyard.I have more problems with hive bettles in screened bottom boards, is harder to clean the solid bottom boards.I have found for me screened or solid doesn't matter,but I surely don't like hive beetles,I surely don't like cleaning solid bottom boards.30 ft between hives would work if installing just a few packages.9hives x 30 ft. = 270 ft. leave something at the first hive you just walked 270 ft. you have to walk back 270 ft. to get what you left behind 270 ft. to go back where you were 810 ft. you're not home yet.The way I set-up that's to much walking for me in just one outyard.I have been very busy and very tired in the past ,forgot to put debri trays in boom I created a lot of extra work for myself.When you have an entire outyard like that you either straighten it out now(I just wanna go home)or it's more work and extra trips to my outyards(splits,raising queens tra la la la doh!)Needless to say I've never done that again!You shouldn't have to move your hives again just re-install with the debri tray in.Don't change your apiary looks easy and convenient to me.6 lbs. in each hive will probably build out to the 8th frame in 3 weeks give or take a frame.I like 5 to 6 lbs. myself build quick and nicely!Good luck and enjoy your bees!Grass isn't needed in this situation just the debri tray.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Lessons learned as a newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by Slow Drone View Post
    30inches 30ft,doesn't matter.If you use screened bottom boards you must keep the debri tray in or they will drift.Leaving the tray out disallows the queens pheromones to permeate the hive.The hive must build up to the point that the bees feel they are established before you leave the tray out.I operate screened and solid bottom boards they both have positive and negative points or advantages and disadvantages.The point I'm making can be proven by again leave the debri tray out!Nice looking set-up!My hives set 15 inches apart a little closer than what you have there.If I don't leave the debri trays in they will usually drift to the hives on the ends particularly where the sun hits first.Yes they will also drift to the queen with the strongest pheromones if you leave the debri tray out.My hives are set-up for me to quickly work them 15 inches apart is what I like 8 to 12 in a row 6 to 4 rows 32 to 48 per outyard.I have more problems with hive bettles in screened bottom boards, is harder to clean the solid bottom boards.I have found for me screened or solid doesn't matter,but I surely don't like hive beetles,I surely don't like cleaning solid bottom boards.30 ft between hives would work if installing just a few packages.9hives x 30 ft. = 270 ft. leave something at the first hive you just walked 270 ft. you have to walk back 270 ft. to get what you left behind 270 ft. to go back where you were 810 ft. you're not home yet.The way I set-up that's to much walking for me in just one outyard.I have been very busy and very tired in the past ,forgot to put debri trays in boom I created a lot of extra work for myself.When you have an entire outyard like that you either straighten it out now(I just wanna go home)or it's more work and extra trips to my outyards(splits,raising queens tra la la la doh!)Needless to say I've never done that again!You shouldn't have to move your hives again just re-install with the debri tray in.Don't change your apiary looks easy and convenient to me.6 lbs. in each hive will probably build out to the 8th frame in 3 weeks give or take a frame.I like 5 to 6 lbs. myself build quick and nicely!Good luck and enjoy your bees!Grass isn't needed in this situation just the debri tray.
    Ya I had the screens out I do believe like you said it was a big factor in the problem . But I put them in but it was done to late .

    So yes I learned keep them in . As soon as I set up the five after getting back with the rebee'd hives I installed the slide in broads Immediately matter of fact I had them in right before I opened them this time .

    Now I just have to wait the 3 weeks so I can get them back in my. Permanent yard . And hope all goes smoothly the next 3 weeks then after there moves then. .

    And I did make my stands where the would hold 5 hives . If I want that many on the stand . But with 3 per stand I just enough room for a work area .

    And how far apart is your rows as I planned my yard to layer rows but ain't sure the Distance needed to safely work the rows . Are the all the fronts pointed the same Direction .

  19. #19
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    Apr 2014
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    Default Re: Lessons learned as a newbie

    I like them the best at 15 ft.good clearance for a truck or tractor.Sometimes I run them back to back with comfortable work space between(what ever works for you)you can run back to back with just a couple inches of clearance with work clearance to the side.Apiary inspector really likes the yards with the side clearance.I'm fine either way.It just depends on the layout of the ground I set-up on.Flat ground with the right windbreak works good for back to back,sloping or moderately hilly works good for rows(bees fly over other hives rather than around)back to back they don't fly over other hives.I try to set-up so they aren't flying over each other,that's my logic behind my set-ups.Comfortable for me and comfortable for the bees,seems to work for us both.

  20. #20
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    Mar 2014
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    Default Re: Lessons learned as a newbie

    Well new problem where I put my 3 hives at my house I had to go somewhere this morning and came back to a dam roadrunner bird eating bees in my yard . Couldn't get in the house in time to get my gun . So now what ??

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