Hi from Massachusetts
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Carver, MA
    Posts
    6

    Default Hi from Massachusetts

    I'm in cold, snowy Massachusetts, just northwest of Plymouth (you know...Plymouth Rock?) I'm just getting started with becoming a beekeeper. I've done a years worth of research and I'm still learning new things daily.

    I've decided to go with all medium 8 frame boxes. My question is this: if I was to start 2 hives (if my budget allows), how many boxes should I order? I was told 5 per hive (2 for brood and 3 for honey). Is this what most people agree with? Beekeeping can be expensive to get started, so I want to be sure I'm not over ordering. Or under ordering for that matter. Any input would be appreciated.

    Also...any input about going foundationless would also be helpful. I think I'm going to use the starter strips, but would using paint stirrers/popsicle sticks be just as good? I was going to go with foundation at first, but was so overwhelmed by the choices and advice, that I decided to go without.

    Thanks a bunch!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    lafargeville ny usa
    Posts
    2,280

    Default Re: Hi from Massachusetts

    some foundation would make getting started a lot easier. just get whatever wax coated plastic foundation your supplier has. the differences are argued about to confusion, the bottom line is the bees do not care. the foundation size and brand are not important in the real world. this may rile things up with some... best wishes, you are ok on box numbers but you always should have an extra top and bottom and a couple of boxes ready to use.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Gilford,nh,USA
    Posts
    59

    Default Re: Hi from Massachusetts

    Welcome safford5,
    I have some hives just down the road from you in Rhode Island. I am using both 10 and 8 frame mediums. The 8 frames worked fine this past year, but do require more boxes than the 10 frame or deep boxes. The general rule is three mediums equally roughly two deeps. I use three boxes when using 8 frame boxes for my brood boxes. How many boxes you use depends on a lot of variables. Are you starting with packages, nucs or planning on trying to capture some swarms? Packages generally start out a little more slowly than nucs and may require less boxes the first year. On the other hand I captured a large swarm last year and by August they filled eight 8- frame boxes. (Photo attached). If you have decided on using the 8 frame mediums, I would start out with five boxes for each hive but be ready to get more boxes if your hives build up quickly. If you can afford a couple of extra boxes, I would definitely have them on hand. It seems that you always need another box when you don't have one on hand.
    image.jpg
    As for foundation or foundationless, there are hundreds of posts with strong opinions on both sides. That is a choice you need to make after doing the research. For me, I found using foundation in my first year was the best way to go. There was a huge learning curve that first year and trying to go foundationless would have added a another whole set of challenges. In hind sight I am glad I went with foundation, but that's only my experience.

    Best of luck with whatever you decide.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    10,025

    Default Re: Hi from Massachusetts

    Welcome 5!
    americasbeekeeper.com
    [email protected]

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Lamar Co. Alabama, USA
    Posts
    4,141

    Default Re: Hi from Massachusetts

    Welcome to BeeSource!

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    S Hadley, Massachusetts USA
    Posts
    983

    Default Re: Hi from Massachusetts

    Welcome to beesource. I live in the western part of the state. I manage 30-50 hives. If you are ever in the area look me up.

    Welcome aboard.
    Check out our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pearlcityapiary

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    413

    Default Re: Hi from Massachusetts

    4 8-frame mediums is roughly equal to 2-deeps - which Middlesex County (to the North of you) recommends as the minimum to leave for the bees.

    I'm getting some 8-frame boxes for new hives, and I'm planning on 5 boxes for the bees, and 3 for honey/me.

    Tony
    Last edited by toekneepea; 02-09-2015 at 07:56 AM. Reason: clarity
    There must be a harder way to do that... let me find it for you.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Hanover, PA
    Posts
    235

    Default Re: Hi from Massachusetts

    Welcome to the forum and beekeeping! I think you should plan on getting more boxes as some others have already stated if you are rolling with all medium equipment. At least 3 for your brood boxes and another 3 for your supers (per hive) in my opinion. Your first year, you will probably be able to get by with only having two for honey, but a strong flow could result in your queen becoming "honey bound" and possibly spur a late swarm. My mistake my first year was not having enough equipment (more specifically frames), and my queens became bound and I had no additional equipment (nor any means to extract as I was not expecting to take honey my first season). I was lucky enough to be able to borrow another beeks extractor which allowed me to free up some space in my brood chambers for my colonies to feel less congested. I could've avoided this by simply having more frames to swap out with full honey frames, but I had only enough to fill the boxes that I had. If you go foundationless, just ensure you level your hives as best as you can to ensure straight and even comb! Good luck!

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,942

    Default Re: Hi from Massachusetts

    >I've decided to go with all medium 8 frame boxes. My question is this: if I was to start 2 hives (if my budget allows), how many boxes should I order? I was told 5 per hive (2 for brood and 3 for honey). Is this what most people agree with?

    Odds are for the first year that will be enough. You may need more next year.

    >Beekeeping can be expensive to get started, so I want to be sure I'm not over ordering. Or under ordering for that matter. Any input would be appreciated.

    You should always have an extra bottom an extra top and a couple of extra boxes. First you need a box with no frames in it, just for working the hive, to have a place to put frames you've gone through. Second you need enough to catch a swarm if you have one.

    >Also...any input about going foundationless would also be helpful. I think I'm going to use the starter strips, but would using paint stirrers/popsicle sticks be just as good?

    In my opinion I would use the wood and I would NOT coat them in wax. They are better because they will not fall out on a hot day and they will not ever get eaten by the wax moths so if you have a deadout, you just scrape them off and put them back in.

    >I was going to go with foundation at first, but was so overwhelmed by the choices and advice, that I decided to go without.

    That's what I would do.

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

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