What else do I need for my first year?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Hanover, PA
    Posts
    109

    Default What else do I need for my first year?

    So I am getting ready for April, what else do I need?
    I am looking to have three hives
    -6 deep hive bodies
    -6 mediums
    - Corresponding wood frames with plastic foundation
    -3 bottom boards - solid
    -3 inner covers
    - 3 top covers
    -Made 3 wood feeders that sit on top of inner cover that hold mason 2 mason jars each
    -box of gallon baggies
    -25 pounds of Domino sugar
    -smoke
    -smoker fuel (cotton) also using wood shavings
    -hive tool
    -jacket with veil
    -frame holder that sits on side of box
    -I will be making 1" feeder frames that will sit on the deep for the baggies

    I am not sure if I need a pollen or feed for the packages that are coming? or just sugar water. Is there anything else I need? I was thinking about making a nuc box in case I can catch a swarm.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Olympia, Washington
    Posts
    1,352

    Default Re: What else do I need for my first year?

    If there is no nectar flow when you get your packages, you'll need to feed syrup until it starts.

    Listen to the old guy at your be club with the propolis stains on his steering wheel about when/if to feed afterwards...don't listen to those who say, "feed 'em all they'll take" unless theya re familiar with your flows and apiar.. othersie you'll get to experience firsthand what it looks like when you lose most of your bees to swarms.

    You'll want a quart jr with canning ring and some cheesecloth or 1/8" hardware cloth to test mite levels occasionally.

    Treatment free sounds nice, and is certainly romantic, but chances are you'll need to treat a time or two until your apiary is established and you understand bee biology well enough to make informed decisions about treatment and survival.

    I like treatment free beekeeping, but to do hat you ought to start out wit the deck stacked in your favor...which it won't be with almost any package you buy.

    I start new hives with nucs (or by splitting existing hives), and of you have access to nucs in your market, would advise that as a more likely way to have an enjoyable and successful first year as compared to packages.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Greenville, SC
    Posts
    375

    Default Re: What else do I need for my first year?

    A little pollen patty won't hurt, if you're getting packages. It'll help them get a good start on brood rearing, if there isn't much pollen when you install them. When you make up your sugar feed, it's a good idea to sterilize the jars and lids, and boil the water, before adding the sugar. Pine needles work great as fuel. Really no need to buy fuel, so you're on the right track. A little green grass stuffed in the spout serves as a nice spark arrestor, should the need arise. Duct tape is a good addition. Sometimes the little buggers like to sneak through the hole at the zipper junctions on the veil/jacket, and up your pant leg. I had the misfortune of getting tagged on the rear. I was grabbing my hind end and hopping around like a loon. It must've been a sight! You'll also want a bee brush or large feather. Do your bottoms come with entrance reducers? You'll need those, too.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Forsyth, Missouri
    Posts
    674

    Default Re: What else do I need for my first year?

    If you can try to get at least 1 frame per hive that is already drawn out. This will help with the hive getting started faster.
    Ask around at the local club or your mentor. Even if it is dark you can move it to the out side of the box as they draw the others.
    Also take your time and don't open them every day!!!
    Zone 6b 1400'

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,922

    Default Re: What else do I need for my first year?

    >So I am getting ready for April, what else do I need?
    I am looking to have three hives
    -6 deep hive bodies

    I would consider your options.
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesoptions.htm
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeseightframemedium.htm

    >- Corresponding wood frames with plastic foundation

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoursimplesteps.htm
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm

    >-Made 3 wood feeders that sit on top of inner cover that hold mason 2 mason jars each

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding...tomBoardFeeder

    >-hive tool

    I prefer the Italian hive tool... the right size hook and a nice length.

    >-jacket with veil

    On a hot summer day a ventilated one will be a life saver.

    >-frame holder that sits on side of box

    I had one for about a decade and finally gave it away... I never used it.

    >I am not sure if I need a pollen or feed for the packages that are coming?

    If there is no nectar coming in they will need syrup. I have never seen any point in giving a package pollen sub since real pollen will be coming in. It just helps the small hive beetles and does nothing for the bees that time of year.

    > I was thinking about making a nuc box in case I can catch a swarm.

    Or if you go with all eight frame mediums, you just need a couple of extra covers and bottoms and boxes and you can use them however you find a need for them, including swarm catching, and nucs.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnewbees.htm
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesbasics.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Paulding County, GA
    Posts
    147

    Default Re: What else do I need for my first year?

    A chair to sit near your hives. Some of my most enjoyable times with the bees are spent watching the girls fly in and out bringing back different types of pollen, etc.
    A queen excluder may be helpful, at times. I don't use one all of the time, but they do help in restricting queens to prepare for a split or to let the brood emerge from mediums that were overwintered (that if you want to use the mediums/supers for mainly honey stores.

    It never hurts to have extra equipment like the nuc box sitting around... I seem to always need more.
    Donny

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    7,849

    Default Re: What else do I need for my first year?

    Feed your bees all they want while drawing out the two brood boxes. Move outer frames in and well started frames to the ouside One At A Time to get all frames built out in the bottom box. Put the second one on when the bottom is 80 pct drawn and move a frame of brood up to get them working there.

    Pollen patties while this is happening are an excellent idea. Did I mention you should feed the bees to get the brood boxes filled out? When upper brood box is 80 pct full, stop feeding. If you put on a medium super the bees may not recognize it as their space. If I have no drawn med frames, I would pull the same middle frame out and move a deep brood frame up i to the two mediums. This will get the bees working in the supers and then you can move the deep frame back down. With three colonies there will be room for it in one of your colonies.

    Did you mention bees on your list? You will need three colonies. Find nucs if you can.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    1,798

    Default Re: What else do I need for my first year?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    Feed your bees all they want while drawing out the two brood boxes.
    That's what we were told, so, even after putting on the second box, we kept the feeder full. A natural flow started, they had so much, they backfilled the nest and swarmed, hardly touched the second box.

    Feed your bees, until there is a natural source of nectar available, then remove the feeder, and put it away. Keeping feed on at that point wont make them draw new comb any faster, but, it will help them run out of space quickly, which will trigger a swarm. And if you happen to be there when the swarm comes out like we were in our first year, after it clusters on a tree branch, you'll realize, the swarm has more than twice as many bees as the original package you put in those boxes. You wont be happy watching them fly away.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    7,849

    Default Re: What else do I need for my first year?

    If one does not encourage the bees to take up residence in the next box up, swarming can happen. If you are not using a feeding stimulant the bees will quit taking the syrup when a flow comes on. My advice remains the same. It included moving frames the bees are raising brood on up into the next lift of boxes. Honey bee healthy or LGO or other feeding stimulant should not be used constantly or they have all kinds of bad effects. Thank you grozzie for making me expand my original remarks. It is all about education. I just give the advice that has profited me.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    5,604

    Default Re: What else do I need for my first year?

    You may want to consider building 2"+ Feeder Rims. If you end up using sugar blocks or granulated sugar in the winter 1" might not be enough clearance for the blocks or sugar.

    A box of Nitrile Gloves would be handy for those days when the bees are in a bad mood.
    To everything there is a season....

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Squaw Valley, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,019

    Default Re: What else do I need for my first year?

    A Mentor

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    183

    Default Re: What else do I need for my first year?

    -Spray bottle for 1:1 sugar water IF installing pkg, finish nail, +/-mini marshmellow.
    -Fire starter for smoker.
    -Base for hives/hive stand/pallet/etc.
    -Provide water source.
    -Make a hive scale for use next fall.
    -NOTEBOOK to log events all summer and compare notes from the three hives (brood patterns of each queen, behavior of bees, how much sugar water they take, date second brood box added, date of swarm - (see previous posts, couldn't resist), date of suspected dearth, etc.)
    -leather gloves to allow inspection during your first dearth, before you know it's dearth time.
    -Practice lighting smoker and see how long it stays lit...
    Regards,
    KGB-8Fmed

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Springdale, Arkansas
    Posts
    334

    Default Re: What else do I need for my first year?

    Deleted, double post, sorry.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Springdale, Arkansas
    Posts
    334

    Default Re: What else do I need for my first year?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Gillmore View Post
    A box of Nitrile Gloves would be handy for those days when the bees are in a bad mood.
    Bees can't sting through nitrile gloves? If not, what thickness nitrile is required?

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Lassen, California, USA
    Posts
    679

    Default Re: What else do I need for my first year?

    More sugar, my new pkgs started out slow, then were eating 2 qts a day, EACH. Maybe some essential oils, check out some posts to see what people use for what and why. A note/journal, so you can document install, progress, feeding, mites, treatments, etc, etc. More medium supers, and a few extra hive bodies, along with covers and bottoms, just in case. An extra hive tool. A little cart/wagon to haul stuff out to the hives. A little tool carry thing. This summer make some quilts. Gloves, a box of "Thicksters", they run kind of small, so get a size larger than you usually use. I started out with the goat gloves, but they end up getting stuff on them that makes them slick, I dropped a an inner lid, that just happened to have a queen on itbecause of those stupid gloves.
    If you haven't already, and you are putting your hives on your property, set up the hives where you want them now. You may find you don't like that spot for various reasons, and like a spot better, that is 30 feet away. Easier to find that out while the hives are empty, than when they are full of bees.
    Do you have ants that may hassle the hives? Do a search for ant stands, I think it was CharlieB that has a good one he's posted pics of, I have to use one, those formic ants I have are a bear. Cargo straps, some people use bricks, but I found they bow the cover too much, so I strap my hives.
    I got some pollen patties and stored them in the freezer for just in case, was nice to have them on hand when I did need them.
    A galvanized sm garbage/ash can to set and store your smoker in. I live in an area notorious for fires in the summer, whenever I set down my smoker I set it down in that can, the can has a lid and handle that locks the lid on, I carry my smoker in it.
    Have fun!

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,536

    Default Re: What else do I need for my first year?

    Robbing screens of some kind for each entrance planned on each hive. If you don't wind up needing them, you're lucky. But if you do need them, you'll wish you had installed them the day before - and you won't want to wait around to get some by mail order or make your own. I believe there are some plans here on BS. But if you get a single example, you'll be able to make your own copies.

    A couple of feet of bee-proof hardware cloth; usually not available in ordinary stores so it has to obtained in advance because it is the base material for homemade anti-robbing screens. Also needed to make the screen for a sugar roll testing device. And I find a square push-in cage made of it to be very handy as I can isolate the queen in place on a frame for a bit and be less stressed while monkeying around in the hive. If you don't have them a set of airplane shears is useful cutting the bee screen.

    TWO hive tools (at least get a second cheap one, if not the fancy one you prefer.) Hive tools are the sneakiest things in the world - put one down for second and it scurries out of sight faster than a SHB.

    Personally, I'd plan on having at least three mediums per colony and a single extra deep on hand- extra boxes are very handy if you ever have to pull more than one frame at a time, you can just set the additional ones into a spare box.

    A soft dark, smooth (not terry cloth toweling), cloth (or two) big enough to slip over the top of an open box - use it when you have a box open and need to step away for a minute or so and want to keep the bees calm w/o re-setting the cover.

    Push pins or thumb tacks for attaching small bits of bee-screening over holes you don't want bees to come out of for some reason, for a few minutes. Or if you want to allow ventilation w/o allowing bees to use a particular entrance point (say the upper entrances.)

    A package of those wooden door and window shims that are sold in hardware stores. These are very useful for leveling up corners or sides of the hive.

    I also use wooden paint stirring sticks to avoid squashing bees when I'm restacking boxes. Once you get your bees, you'll see why this is can be an issue. Ask for extra sticks when you buy the paint for your boxes.

    I'd buy a hair-clip type queen cage, too. Though in my experience they break very easily - and just at the most awkward moment.

    I second the suggestion for a comfortable, all-weather chair out by your hives. I regularly take a nap with my feet up on the hive stand and the bees crawling all over me (I'm wearing my jacket and veil during this.) Nothing gets all parties used to each other and comfy than some relaxed, down time where nobody feels pressured by intra-hive jobs. The steady hum of a busy and content apiary is the best sleep-inducer in the world. And by just loafing around watching the bees as much as possible your eyes and brain will subconsciously start to "see" the difference between the state of "all's well" and "uh-oh" with your bees. That will stand you in good stead when irregularities or unexpected events come into play.

    Have fun.

    Enj.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    5,604

    Default Re: What else do I need for my first year?

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeAttitudes View Post
    Bees can't sting through nitrile gloves? If not, what thickness nitrile is required?
    No, they can sting through nitrile gloves if they have their mind set on stinging. I find it rare that they sting through the gloves if I'm being careful, but if they do, the stinger does not penetrate into the skin nearly as much. The sting reaction is greatly reduced with the nitrile gloves on. Still burns a little, but much less swelling or redness.

    The OP did not list gloves so I assume they might be planning to go bare handed. That's fine, but it's still a good idea to have some type of gloves handy in case they get cranky. Especially during late summer.
    To everything there is a season....

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    2,080

    Default Re: What else do I need for my first year?

    I would recommend an extra deep box or two with a top and bottom board. Once people know your a beekeeper you will get some swarm calls plus you never know when one of your hives may swarm. You will never be sorry for having an extra hive or two in the shed.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    lafargeville ny usa
    Posts
    2,278

    Default Re: What else do I need for my first year?

    Quote Originally Posted by johng View Post
    I would recommend an extra deep box or two with a top and bottom board. Once people know your a beekeeper you will get some swarm calls plus you never know when one of your hives may swarm. You will never be sorry for having an extra hive or two in the shed.
    exactly what I was thinking reading this. it is better to have extra stuff, always.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Blacksburg, VA
    Posts
    667

    Default Re: What else do I need for my first year?

    Quote Originally Posted by remist17 View Post
    So I am getting ready for April, what else do I need?
    Determination, vigilance, sense of curiousity. When they die out, be ready to start up again. Have fun!

    Definitely make some nuc boxes and keep them going for restocking deadouts when they happen.

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