Advice for a new beekeeper in SE Missouri
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    Perryville, MO
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    Default Advice for a new beekeeper in SE Missouri

    I am new to bees this year. So far so good but I am wondering about my next steps.
    1. I started with a swarm this spring which I split and then there was two.
    Each hive has one deep which is full and one medium which is empty for the most part. Question: Should I remove the empty medium for winter since they did not store anything in it?

    2. I purchased four double deep hives that all seem strong. Each came with a large "two-frame" feeding installed in the top box. Each top box has 8 frames (mostly) of honey/stores and the feeder. The bottom boxes are mostly empty with a little brood and some pollen. Any suggestions on this setup?

    3. In the spring I have an opportunity to set up another bee yard about three miles from the house. The property has an alfalfa field and crops all around. The owner has asked me to set up bees when I have a chance. The question is, what is the best timing and way to do that? Should I wait until spring, then split my strong colonies and set up the splits in the new yard? Or, move a few boxes there and do any splits from there?

    4. Best timing for splits is? or will splitting really reduce my honey to almost nothing again for next year? I only took about 5 quarts this year. I have fed 2:1 sugar water to all of the hives to help them fill up as much as possible. The purchased boxes came from someone who too just about everything from them.

    Thanks for you advice!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Advice for a new beekeeper in SE Missouri

    1. You should go for 2 deep before making the splits. But it is too late now in this season. So in a snow country without much feed stored for overwintering I would worry very very much this winter.

    What you can do is to make Lauri's sugar bricks or the fondant for each hive. This should help them somewhat over this winter. But you will need 20 lbs. per hive minimum just in case.

    2. Again, you should of feed them to weight with enough time to cap the syrup. Now it seems like a bit late in the season for that. Use Lauri's sugar bricks also. They don't seem to have enough stored away for this winter.

    3. Don't put all your eggs in the same basket. You don't know what the property owner will use to spray his crops or fields. I would put either 1 or 2 split hives there to see how they do first. Wait until thing are blooming in the early Spring time when the weather is warm enough for a mated queen. Make this location your split hives location for an out yard. If it is a good location then your nuc splits will grow otherwise you have to feed them all.

    4. Yes, starting out making the splits you will not collect much honey compared to a 2 deep hive. That means no honey harvest for another year unless the location is full of nectar all summer long. So do you have about 120-130 lbs. of cap syrup for each hive this winter?
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    Perryville, MO
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    Default Re: Advice for a new beekeeper in SE Missouri

    Thank you for your reply and advice!

    1. On my original hive I had two deeps which were filled and crowded before I did a walk away split in early July. Once I split them they were both doing well and I put the medium boxes on top because that is what I had available. I have made sugar water available but most of the time they did not seem interested in it. As we went through fall they started taking it but still did not store anything in the upper medium. Hind sight, but perhaps I should have put the empty box below the full box.

    2. I will try to weigh the hives to see where they are.

    Thanks again. done a lot of reading this year but still feel very ignorant.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Red Bud, IL, USA
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    Default Re: Advice for a new beekeeper in SE Missouri

    What's your objective in the overall scheme of things, expansion and production can be diametrically opposed and how much honey is your target amount? Six "production" hives in this area can produce over 300 lbs of a honey crop even with moderate forage and still leave plenty to avoid feeding.

    From what you've mentioned above it seem as if you have a couple of hives with little stores and no surplus resources to "borrow" from, obviously not a good situation. Our winters are nothing compared to our northern brethren and we can successfully overwinter with a deep and a med configuration but a mild winter with any late season cold snaps can be killers. Sugar bricks or some other form of winter emergency feed is cheap insurance but not a guarantee.

    The best I can tell you for your situation is feed as much as you can with what warm weather we have left and get some emergency feed on them once our daytime temps drop consistently into the low fifties. Assuming your double deeps have "little brood" due to their winter configuration, eight frames of honey can potentually get them through provided winter isn't too warm and doesn't go out like a lion; recommend they are also fed syrup and plenty of emergency feed. Once the syrup is chilled during the night below the mid fifties the bees will not take it until the syrup warms again, so you'll see a decline in consumption unless you do something to maintain/affect the warmer temps. Also ensure they have adequate ventilation as the syrup will be adding a lot of moisture to the inside of the hive.

    Spring is your best time for splits and expansion. Personal opinion, too quick of expansion at this stage of the game can get you into trouble. You might consider taking a frame each of brood and stores from two/four hives and create a nuc or two, then let the hives produce you a honey crop. gives you a chance to see the effects/impact of some of the your decisions.

    I do a number of splits from 10 frame single deeps into nucs but have gotten away from 3 way splits because the lower population of bees gives the shb too much leverage. I don't anticipate any excess honey from any of the splits in the first year.
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  6. #5

    Default Re: Advice for a new beekeeper in SE Missouri

    Study up on varroa mites. Don't ignore them. They are in your hives.....whether you notice them or not.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Advice for a new beekeeper in SE Missouri

    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Forsyth, Missouri
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    618

    Default Re: Advice for a new beekeeper in SE Missouri

    Welcome pastorjimk

    You are a little North of me and at the other end of the state but your weather usually is warmer over the winter than here.
    That being said remember beekeeping is local.

    Keep feeding all hives till they stop taking it or the temps get below 60 during the day.
    There are members of the Mo. State beekeepers club in your area that take single nucs through the winter with out any kind of wrap or covers on them.

    If you can get away for 2 days the Mo, State Beekeepers conference is this coming weekend.
    http://mostatebeekeepers.org/2017-msba-fall-conference/
    Zone 6b 1400'

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    Perryville, MO
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    Default Re: Advice for a new beekeeper in SE Missouri

    checked hive weight today. Don't think it is good news...

    Hive 1: original hive with original queen. Didn't take all the syrup I gave. Weight with 1 deep of frames, brood, and stores, 1 medium with frames but empty, and 1 medium box to allow feeding weighted 88.6 pounds with lids

    Hive 2: Original split, same configuration as above weighed 110 lbs

    Hive 3: Double deep, upper box has a double feeder installed that is empty. purchased 6 weeks ago 104 lbs

    Hive 4: double deep purchased 6 weeks ago: robbed out, nothing left but drawn comb and cappings in the bottom

    Hive 5: Double deep, upper box has an empty double feeding installed, weight 95 lbs

    Hive 6: double deep, upper box has an empty double feeder installed, weight 103 lbs

    All weights were taken by lifting the entire hive and setting it on a scale.
    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  10. #9

    Default Re: Advice for a new beekeeper in SE Missouri

    Quote Originally Posted by pastorjimk View Post
    checked hive weight today. Don't think it is good news...
    refer to posts 5 and 6
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  11. #10
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    Perryville, MO
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    Default Re: Advice for a new beekeeper in SE Missouri

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    refer to posts 5 and 6
    Not sure what you meant by that Dan.... Are my weights indicative of a mite issue? The four hives that I purchased were treated (so I am told) prior to my purchase. My two have not been treated at all (1 & 2).

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Advice for a new beekeeper in SE Missouri

    Every thread on the post has a number on the upper right hand corner of the thread. Yours is #10 if you look by
    the date, location and posts on the upper right area.

    So he is referencing to #5 & 6 thread above which is to check for the mites. I agreed. Even though you can get
    them thru this winter the early Spring build up will crashed the hives if there are mites inside. You have to keep
    track of the mites through out the 4 seasons especially at early Fall and Spring build up time.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  13. #12

    Default Re: Advice for a new beekeeper in SE Missouri

    Colonies under a heavy parasite load will underperform in every area. Sick bees lack vigor. Varroa are enemy number one. Is that the cause of your underperforming hives? Not necessarily. If you have ignored the possibility….the likelihood rises to the top….in my experience.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  14. #13
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    Jul 2017
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    Perryville, MO
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    Default Re: Advice for a new beekeeper in SE Missouri

    Thanks to everyone for the help/advice. I have been reading about mites and mite control, I have not seen any signs of them. the 4 new hives were supposedly treated after the honey was collected. Should I treat them all again? What form of treatment would be effective considering that I do not have any equipment for such a thing?

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Weston, ME
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    Default Re: Advice for a new beekeeper in SE Missouri

    If you want to know the state of the mites in your colonies do a roll. I like powdered sugar rolls. You can search the forum for directions on how to do it.

    What is your target weight for winter? People keep mentioning 2 deeps. If this is the case, then that means a lower deep with brood and stores, and an upper deep mostly stores.

    If you are under weight you need to feed. Mites can kill, starving will kill.
    Sounds like your saying you bought a couple 2 deep colonies. 1 is now dead after being robbed out (sounds expensive, colony goes for what $250?)?

    I am not familiar with your winter needs, so first thing would be to find out how much the colonies will need in stores to get through your winter.
    I would pull the frame feeders and replace any undrawn or empty areas with drawn comb from the robbed out hive. I would then start feeding heave syrup above the inner cover using bucket feeding, and keep it going until the second deeps were full or the bees stopped feeding.
    If the bees stop feeding before you hit your target weight you will need to provide stores in the form of either dry sugar, fondant, or sugar bricks (or any variations).

    If there is time of course treat the hives if the rolls show it is needed. You can do this as you feed with some treatments.
    - - Michael Joel
    1 John 3:3-4, Matthew 5:19, Matthew 5:18, James 2:17-20, 1 John 5:2-3

  16. #15
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    Jul 2013
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    Louisville, KY
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    Default

    In Louisville i shoot for atleast 30lbs of stores. Without outer cover included, equipment tare weight estimates i use.

    Single 23lb
    Double 39lb

    Obviously there is variation. But singles 50 to 60lb total and doubles 75 to 90lb works well for me. Again without outer cover.

    I split the strong ones in early april. Im in urban environment so hives can work and ramp up early on maple which starts blooming end of february/early march.

  17. #16
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    Jul 2017
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    Perryville, MO
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    Default Re: Advice for a new beekeeper in SE Missouri

    I will check for mites. Still interested in a treatment recommendation for a beginner.

    I bought 4 double deep colonies for $150 each and lost one. So I don't think I am doing too badly yet, but. We will try to not have anymore losses if we can help it. My first hive set up was a gift from a church member and I caught a wild swarm so again, I'm still ahead so far.

    I will pull all feeders and use the empty boxes and frames to fill out the frames and bucket feed as long as they will take it. 30 lbs of stores does not seem like a lot, maybe I'm not as far off as I thought...

  18. #17

    Default Re: Advice for a new beekeeper in SE Missouri

    Quote Originally Posted by pastorjimk View Post
    My first hive set up was a gift from a church member
    How long have you had this first hive?
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  19. #18
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    Lynn Haven, Bay County, Florida, USA
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    Default Re: Advice for a new beekeeper in SE Missouri

    [QUOTE=pastorjimk;1586334]I will check for mites. Still interested in a treatment recommendation for a beginner.


    I'm in my first year too and have two hives. One hive was holding its own but not thriving while the 2nd one was going like gangbusters. The population seemed stable but not increasing and there wasn't much brood, capped or otherwise. There was very little stores of pollen, nectar or honey. I was thinking maybe it was a queen problem and she needed to be replaced.

    During a state inspection the inspector said the problem was likely varroa mites and recommended I treat with Apivar strips, which I did. About six weeks after putting the strips in I started seeing a real difference in that hive with big improvement in numbers, overall activity, stores of pollen and honey, etc. The queen got her act together and started laying like she should and brood increased by 3 times what it was. That hive is looking great today and I have to think the Apivar treatment had something to do with it.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Red Bud, IL, USA
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    Default Re: Advice for a new beekeeper in SE Missouri

    Well Pastor, cooler temps have arrived, hives are light on stores and mite level unknown; sounds like we're in for a crash course in winter preps and damage control. Fall is notorious for robbing and feeding can set it off so you'll also need to think about robbing prevention. Don't mean to insult your intelligence or skill level, just trying to assess the full situation.

    1. are you familiar with the sugar/alcohol roll for mite counts and are you able to conduct one on each hive?
    2. do you have entrance reducers and/or robber screens, are they installed?
    3. are you using any type of feeders other than the frame feeders mentioned?
    4. are you familiar with making sugar bricks/fondant?
    5. do you have freezer space to cycle though any frames of drawn comb?
    6. treatment is a personal thing in this business so Ill let you decide, access the link on post #6, download the guide and go to I believe page 11 or so. The guide outlines the pros and cons on the various treatments including any temperature restrictions.
    7. are you a woodworker or do you plan to purchase your equipment? If you're purchasing, recommend you look up Isabees, Jane is in south county and carries a well rounded supply of equipment and some treatments.
    8. there is an adage in beekeeping that you take your losses in the fall, what's your thoughts on trying to save them all or getting better odds on a few (can't believe I just asked a gentleman with the moniker of Pastor if he wants to save them all or get better odds)

    We have the cooler temps for at least a few days, be careful if you open a hive that the brood isn't chilled; these are some of your winter bees.
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Weston, ME
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    976

    Default Re: Advice for a new beekeeper in SE Missouri

    Apivar takes 6 weeks, then you remove the strips. Do you have time for that (what will be your temperatures in 6 weeks)?

    OAV needs a vaporizer so you can't do that right now.

    OA dribble (do not know if that has temp. constraints) doesn't need special equipment - other that to protect you from the acid, rubber gloves (you should wear a respirator at least while the oa is in powder form).

    MAQs requires temps between 50F-85F and will run 7 days or 21 days (two options for application - see instructions). Many people (and instructions) warn that the treatment can cause loss of queen if she was heading downhill already - most say they haven't had it happen to them. As a precaution you may want to be sure you have a way to get a queen if you chose to use MAQs. Up side is MAQs leaves undetectable residues (i.e. could be none, could be just extremely low).

    There are others of course.
    - - Michael Joel
    1 John 3:3-4, Matthew 5:19, Matthew 5:18, James 2:17-20, 1 John 5:2-3

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