Less than a year to get ready - Page 2
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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    4,265

    Default Re: Less than a year to get ready

    Before you invest in the considerable amount of time and effort in making your own equipment, buy a complete set of good quality equipment and install some bees in it.

    In other words, start this year.

    Actually caring for bees (in their woodenware) will improve the eventual design and construction of your own stuff.

    I can barely use a screwdriver to assemble pre-drilled shims, so I have no advice to offer on that.

    But instead of shop classes, because I was a girl, I was steered to Home Ec classes and learned how to sew. So I now make my own hive jackets and veils. But I still bought my first few of them (with different design details) to try them out in practice. That way I could make improvements and changes from personal knowledge, not from speculation. Of course I could have just looked at pictures in catalogs, and even tried on some at bee-suppliers, but I wouldn't have known what really works best in the bee yard.

    Expecting someone to jump at the chance to be your mentor is really a big ask. You need to mentor yourself, which doesn't mean you can't ask for advice and help (here, at club meetings, or just informally from other beekeepers). It just puts the responsibility for figuring out what you need to know, and where to find the info, on you. You can do it!

    Nancy

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  3. #22
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia
    Posts
    795

    Default Re: Less than a year to get ready

    Voila! Instant mentoring, albeit via forum posts. Hundreds of folks eagar to help the new beekeeper and willing to share their cumulative experience. Before I got my bees, I read a lot of books and watched a lot of videos. So much conflicting information. Everything started to come together AFTER I got my first hive. The only way to become a beekeeper is to get some bees. That is why I encourage you to build a few swarm traps and set them out if you don't want to spend the money on a nuc just yet. I use the plans available at:
    http://www.horizontalhive.com/how-to...ee-plans.shtml
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  4. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Rosebud Missouri
    Posts
    2,963

    Default Re: Less than a year to get ready

    Or even better then Jw's suggestion (only my opinion) is to build a few deeps and put them out for traps. Then you can just move them when they catch something and use them as hives. I run all mediums and have added skirts to the bottom to make bigger or just built deeps with the intention to cut them down to mediums if I ever run low on equiptment and have a need but not the time or rescorces to build more. Just use one of my traps for a hive. I have built some traps out of scrap that was not good enough for hive bodies but if I am building, I hate wasting good wood that can be used for hives for just a trap.

    I have thirteen hives ahead now and will throw a little lemon grass oil in them untill I put bees in them. This is not saying JW does not have a good ideal but just that you might be able to do both. The easiest and fastes traps I have put together is with half inch plywood that you make a few cuts and slap together and can use a peice of half inch for a frame rest. I still like the ideal of being able to use the traps as hives if needed.
    Cheers
    gww

    Ps If you get into it too hard, you can have more money and time in traps then if you just went and bought a nuc. Even gas to check them or pick up swarms is not free.
    zone 5b

  5. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    9,838

    Default Re: Less than a year to get ready

    Welcome!
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  6. #25
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Follansbee, WV, USA
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Less than a year to get ready

    Thanks to all of you. If I seemed pissy, and I'm sure I did, I apologize. I understand the reasoning for purchasing a complete hive to start out, I really do. I may even consider it if things do not go as planned in the shop this spring. I have been studying several frame designs and believe I can mass produce a very nice frame with my router tables. The current design involves dovetailing the sides into the top and bottom bars. Using dovetail followers will fill the gaps and make the frames immensely strong, more so than any staple or nail ever could. The hive bodies are simple box joints, easily mass cut with a dado blade or on a router table. Having more than one router table and multiple routers means accurate, repeatable cuts.

    On the mentor front, I have a quasi mentor in my sister. She has kept bees in Florida for several years. Unfortunately, that's a bit far to travel often.
    I'm not getting bees this year, unless by a stroke of luck. I just don't yet have the confidence to put thousands of lives at risk. I doubt I'll be ready next year and will probably kill many bees, but it won't be for a lack of trying to learn all I could before taking the plunge. Does that make sense?

    I have questions. I'll ask them in the appropriate places. Again, thank you to all.

  7. #26
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia
    Posts
    795

    Default Re: Less than a year to get ready

    Smokey, it sounds to me as if you lack some confidence in yourself on the beekeeping front. The best time to get into beekeeping is the spring and that means NOW! You will kill bees, we all do. Sometimes we make mistakes and kill a lot. So we learn from our mistakes and move on. The swarm trap I linked to in a previous post cost about 15 bucks each to make. A package around here goes for 135.00 Do the math. Even one swarm caught and you are ahead. The main thing is, there is no amount of reading or video watching that will prepare you to be a beekeeper. There is no magical point in time when suddenly you are ready. Keeping bees is hands on and a becoming a good beekeeper is a long journey that starts with the first step. Also, I'm jealous that you have multiple routers tables.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  8. #27
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Amsterdam, NY, USA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Less than a year to get ready

    Smokey, let's put a few things in perspective. Bees in their wild state will live in a hollow tree, an old tire, the cores in cement blocks, between floor joists, between the studs in a wall, in a soffit, and just about any other hollow spot you can think of. Your carpentry skills and those of Dadant or Mann Lake are totally irrelevant to the bees. If you decide you want to build your own stuff.... go crazy, it's your time to waste. I myself build everything. I get nearly as much enjoyment from building as I do keeping the bees, and along the way I get to experiment with some new ideas. Some of the ideas work out, others don't, but I can tell you this much, there are simpler ways to build wooden ware for bees than what's in the catalogs. Don't forget, you're competing with the space under the hood of a junk car so don't be afraid.

    I will, however, agree with many others here. Don't wait, start now. It's fun. You will screw up, and you will kill bees, and you will not avoid it by waiting. Contrary to what you'd like to believe, you won't be smarter next year than this year; all you will do is screw up in different ways. So get on the learning curve now.

    I also say to heck with your mentor idea. The folks on this forum are as good as any mentor you'll find. If you want to avoid killing bees, study, read, research, ask questions, observe, and keep good notes. That's what the Masters did. They knew as much as you when they got their first hive; the difference is what they did after.

    Keeping bees is supposed to be fun, so just give in, and have a bunch of fun!!

  9. #28
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Rosebud Missouri
    Posts
    2,963

    Default Re: Less than a year to get ready

    Smoky
    Do what you want but worrying about putting thousands of lives at risk is kind of a misnomer and a funny way of looking at things. Just look at swarms, 80 percent of them that issue die. So if that was the route you took first and caught one, you might be saving thousands of lives if you so want to look at bugs in that way.
    Do what you want though.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  10. #29
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia
    Posts
    795

    Default Re: Less than a year to get ready

    Quote Originally Posted by gww View Post
    Smoky
    Do what you want but worrying about putting thousands of lives at risk is kind of a misnomer and a funny way of looking at things. Just look at swarms, 80 percent of them that issue die. So if that was the route you took first and caught one, you might be saving thousands of lives if you so want to look at bugs in that way.
    Do what you want though.
    Cheers
    gww
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  11. #30
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Idaho Falls, ID
    Posts
    617

    Default Re: Less than a year to get ready

    SmokeyHill, welcome! Wish i would have gotten in on this discussion a few days ago, but there is a lot of sound advice here already, and all i could really do is quote and agree with a lot of what is said.

    One word of caution: beekeeping as a hobby can be very addictive! But as a fellow gardener and woodworker, you already know all about addictive hobbies. Maybe add in hiking, fishing, backpacking, hunting....... i find it difficult to do all the things i want to do.
    -- Joe
    "Make your own decision and embrace the consequences." -- jwcarlson

  12. #31
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Idaho Falls, ID
    Posts
    617

    Default Re: Less than a year to get ready

    Quote Originally Posted by lobottomee View Post
    Smokey, let's put a few things in perspective. Bees in their wild state will live in a hollow tree, an old tire, the cores in cement blocks, between floor joists, between the studs in a wall, in a soffit, and just about any other hollow spot you can think of. Your carpentry skills and those of Dadant or Mann Lake are totally irrelevant to the bees. If you decide you want to build your own stuff.... go crazy, it's your time to waste. I myself build everything. I get nearly as much enjoyment from building as I do keeping the bees, and along the way I get to experiment with some new ideas. Some of the ideas work out, others don't, but I can tell you this much, there are simpler ways to build wooden ware for bees than what's in the catalogs. Don't forget, you're competing with the space under the hood of a junk car so don't be afraid.

    I will, however, agree with many others here. Don't wait, start now. It's fun. You will screw up, and you will kill bees, and you will not avoid it by waiting. Contrary to what you'd like to believe, you won't be smarter next year than this year; all you will do is screw up in different ways. So get on the learning curve now.

    I also say to heck with your mentor idea. The folks on this forum are as good as any mentor you'll find. If you want to avoid killing bees, study, read, research, ask questions, observe, and keep good notes. That's what the Masters did. They knew as much as you when they got their first hive; the difference is what they did after.

    Keeping bees is supposed to be fun, so just give in, and have a bunch of fun!!
    Coming up on three years a member here with only 12 posts? Dude! You don't say much, but when you do, it's gold!
    -- Joe
    "Make your own decision and embrace the consequences." -- jwcarlson

  13. #32
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Amsterdam, NY, USA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Less than a year to get ready

    Quote Originally Posted by lemmje View Post
    Coming up on three years a member here with only 12 posts? Dude! You don't say much, but when you do, it's gold!
    Thank you! Your comment made my day!

  14. #33
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Des Moines, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Less than a year to get ready

    Quote Originally Posted by JTGaraas View Post
    Why wait - you can read, and obviously can think! You are ready to start now, not later!
    This, start this year. My daughters and I have spent the last two summers shadowing a couple of beekeepers and this spring the girls are getting bees of their own. We waited because of finances. Had we been able to start last year, they would have started last year. Sounds like you are ready to go this year.

  15. #34
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    52,500

    Default Re: Less than a year to get ready

    If you wait until you know everything you'll never get bees and you'll never know much... On the other hand if you don't try to learn what you can, you'll be posting pictures on beesource asking what those little white immobile worms in the bottoms of the cells are...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  16. #35
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Southeast Texas
    Posts
    1,759

    Default Re: Less than a year to get ready

    Smoky - there are several good beekeepers here that you can IM directly. I know of none that are not willing to help out a new keeper. Bush/Palmer/Ian/and several more here to help.

  17. #36
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Tappahannock Va
    Posts
    78

    Default

    Hey Smokey, sorry you had a bad experience with the beeclub. I also have all the equipment to build my own hives. I don't! Frames are a buck each, after you build the first hundred you'll be glad you only have to put them together. As for boxes, tops and bottoms I don't think they would be bad. I have a friend (John) who makes the nicest medium nuc boxes that you would ever want to get your hands on. The amount of work that goes into those things are unimaginable. From my point of view it just makes sense to buy the stock equipment that matches.
    As for waiting, the sooner you start the sooner you will learn what works or doesn't work for you.

  18. #37
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: Less than a year to get ready

    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeyHill View Post
    ...... how do you know that I would build an inferior frame?...
    Don't worry about building something NOT inferior.
    Bees don't care a bit of your frames or your hives or your shiny tools.

    I don't even build many frames - too busy.
    Pickup a stick from trash pile - here is your top bar.
    Done and it works.
    Bees really don't care.



    The bees - go and catch them.
    I never bought any bees and have no such plans (save for few feral queens I got through mail, to be fair).
    For sure, I would get busy building swarm traps just about now.
    Attachments Pending Approval Attachments Pending Approval
    (10 + 2) years. Dad's "smoker boy". Now I am the Dad. Classic 12 frame Dadants >> Ukranian frame horizontals.

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