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Thread: Getting bees

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Fort Wright Kentucky USA
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: d) Getting bees

    I have a friend with a wild hive living in the wall of an old shed. As i have just finished buillding my first hive, he was telling me i could have the bees out of it. I know this is a bit off subject of Nuc vs package, but is this a bad way to go? Is there a bad time of year to move them to my TBH? I was simply thinking this could get me started now instead of waiting till next spring.

    also a question on NUCs can you use them on a TBH?

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  3. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    12,001

    Default Re: d) Getting bees

    This section is not for general discussion, but I kept your post here for a point. I have since changed my position on this topic. I have always been an advocate of packages for the beginner. Years ago this worked well. In recent years, I have found packages to be very unreliable. A high percentage of queens get superseded. Putting your name on a swarm list and starting with a swarm is by far the best bees to start with, but you have to be willing to wait for that day to come. Nothing out performs a swarm.

    I don't know about timing in Kentucky, but I would sure do everything I could to get those bees.
    Regards, Barry

  4. #23
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    South Hamilton, MA
    Posts
    201

    Default Re: d) Getting bees

    You might want to wait a year. This isn't the ideal time of year. I still think packages are a bit pointless.

    In the meantime, make your bee yard bee friendly. Grow flowers that bloom during dearths.

    Make a vacuum thing, and do the cut out next year.

    Here's what I use to make swarm traps.
    cardboard boxes
    a $13 4'X8' sheet of plywood (~12 traps)
    bungees
    staples

    If you don't catch bees with these, it means you probably didn't make the lemongrass lures right. The traps (without the bungee cost) are about $1.15 each. The lemongrass oil (lifetime supply) is $5. Try to go foundationless when you can. Your first box should have all foundation, or checkerboarded comb. Follow the foundationless rules (keep things level, etc.). Use all deeps. If you don't want to lift 100 lbs, use all mediums. Don't put different box sizes on the same hive. Never treat. Exterminate sick bees. Use a SBB.

  5. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Summit NJ USA
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: d) Getting bees

    Is there a consensus on the breed of bee best for beginners?

  6. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    2,643

    Default Re: d) Getting bees

    Best breed of bee for what area? It is very different in the North than down South, for example...
    That said, Buckfasts, Italians, and Caucasians are usually considered excellent for beginners, although Caucasian bees do make a lot of propolis. Russians, mutts, VSH, Carniolans, and German Black bees can be challenging for a beginner, although many a beekeeper has begun on every race of bees, and has perhaps become a better beekeeper for having started with somewhat more difficult bees.

    ************************

    OK, so there are 9 common ways to get bees. Each has pluses and minuses.

    1. Capture a swarm.

    2. Buy a complete hive. Perhaps the very best way to get started. You'll likely harvest honey your first year. The breed will be known.

    3. Buy an over-wintered nucleus colony. Considerably less expensive than buying a complete hive, but you likely won't harvest honey the first year. They are also very unlikely to swarm the first year (some races, notably Russians and mutts with some AHB ancestry, are exceptions).

    4. Buy package bees.

    oops...out of time. Will continue tomorrow. - kc

  7. #26
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Anon, Anonymous
    Posts
    135

    Default Re: d) Getting bees

    Quoting the post above here;

    You might want to wait a year. This isn't the ideal time of year. I still think packages are a bit pointless.

    In the meantime, make your bee yard bee friendly. Grow flowers that bloom during dearths.

    Make a vacuum thing, and do the cut out next year.

    Here's what I use to make swarm traps.
    cardboard boxes
    a $13 4'X8' sheet of plywood (~12 traps)
    bungees
    staples

    If you don't catch bees with these, it means you probably didn't make the lemongrass lures right. The traps (without the bungee cost) are about $1.15 each. The lemongrass oil (lifetime supply) is $5. Try to go foundationless when you can. Your first box should have all foundation, or checkerboarded comb. Follow the foundationless rules (keep things level, etc.). Use all deeps. If you don't want to lift 100 lbs, use all mediums. Don't put different box sizes on the same hive. Never treat. Exterminate sick bees. Use a SBB.



    This seems like an amazing idea...

    WOW. I want to try it.

    But maybe you could point to how you cut up and arrange the boxes and plywood? For some of us beginners I'm not sure what to build the formatting into...and if the boxes are cardboard would they need corner pillar reinforcements inside going vertically also?

    And do you need to arrange the lemongrass oil in any particular way, or blend it with other things, or just scent the box with it? (And after you scent the box with it, do I need to periodically come back and renew the scent?)

    And is there a list or something somewhere of flowers that bloom all year round?

    In my yard I swear it looks like radish plants have flowers on them for a long time after they go to seed...but I haven't seen bees on them in the last couple weeks, but maybe that's because I get a lot of wasps in the garden.

    Are wasps in my yard driving off the honeybees out of my garden? And how do you tell? At any given time I swear my garden has at least 5 to 10 wasps during the day. Is this going to be a problem for them?

    Thanks.

  8. #27
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    sequim, WA
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: d) Getting bees

    Hi everyone.
    Will certainly agree that nucs are the way to go, as package bees often do not even have many nurse bees to care for the queen. That brings me to a few points and a question?

    Through misfortune my own two splits never made it to being queened. So I have been waiting for swarms and my two ordered nucs to arrive. At the same time I ordered three queens which were delivered early!!! This now is a problem.
    The existing splits never did become laying worker hives but are all older bees foraging away. These cannot because of age feed the new queens. So far I have only been able to get one other beekeeper to spare a comb of brood. So a swarm or dropping some bees from the incoming (1 week) two nucs might do the other two mini, mini nucs.

    QUESTIONS? I know the queen can go without being fed for a long time ... that just becomes lost brood/hive development time. I do hope she will start laying eggs regardless from her existing mated and health situation. Those young offspring will however eat up a few weeks, meanwhile my foragers may continue to decline.
    1. So, WITH her existing attendant bees will the queen be able to lay eggs with her just say four attendants?
    2. Or even without?

    Other thing to ponder. I am hearing that due to Covid-19, the post office has been sealing some packaged bees in plastic and killing the bees. Mann Lake and others have announced many packages are dead and there will be no more available.

    This is simply turning out to be an unbelievable disaster all around. Hoping that queens will still be shipped responsibly.
    Lappes was one such good and quick delivery. I highly recommend. Nice package with an air vent. Last year I got some Minnesota Hygienic that were scrawny little things and in a small plastic cage. They were sent in a SEALED bubble envelope. Both did not take.
    These three I got in, despite my terrible placement have all been accepted. It was a night and day difference. NW Carnolians from Strachan are also shipped in a careful way.

    Returning to the thread issue is an another observation. Nucs and frames they come with.
    I was shocked to find that the late delivery and expensive nucs I have yet incoming will only contain four frames of brood/honey/pollen. The fifth frame is a one gallon feeder.
    That IMO should be an accessory, not an acceptable 'frame' in an advertised five frame nuc.
    Personally I do not like them and far prefer the round top feeders in which bees do not drown as easily and IF they do, they are instantly noticed and will also fill up the small cone area and prevent more drowning.
    SO ... check the nuc supplier and make sure they are selling you a mated queen and five frames with real brood or food/pollen and honey.
    For the same price, I could have bought cheaper nucs nearby two weeks ago, used them to produce brood and bought 3 better queens to arrive this month or the next.

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