As a beginner, is it really "best" to start two hives? - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Feb 2017
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    Burlington Michigan
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    Default Re: As a beginner, is it really "best" to start two hives?

    yes brood , food and even a queen if needed

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  3. #22
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    Feb 2017
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    Burlington Michigan
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    Default Re: As a beginner, is it really "best" to start two hives?

    Exactly

  4. #23
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    Mar 2017
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    Mercer, NJ, USA
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    Default Re: As a beginner, is it really "best" to start two hives?

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    2015-16 USDA numbers for the 5 hive and under crew http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda...05-12-2016.pdf
    Wow. Interesting, and alarming, report.

  5. #24

    Default Re: As a beginner, is it really "best" to start two hives?

    Beekeeping is a numbers game in my veiw. You are all is going to loose some for what ever reason. It is a lot easyer to recover from a lost if you have more. The reports I see the a average lost every year is 50% + and for beginners I think it is higher. In my production hive I so far have lost about 40% this winter. 😡 But my Nucs a couple. Mostly due to a high wind that blow them over. I have gotten to the point that I push two hive and a one or two nuc when you can build the Nucs. Don't be afaid to buy queens for the nuc. In my area I can start a nuc in mid July and get it through winter. Love double nuc two and three story's high. Just some things to think about. Your two best friends are drawen comb and spare queens.

  6. #25
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    Mar 2014
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    Henry, Illinois, USA
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    Default Re: As a beginner, is it really "best" to start two hives?

    I started with one. It adds anxiety and risk as the odds are not good for you in your first year. If you get trained how to use a oxalic acid vaporizer and measure mites and if you have some one nearby where you can be with them when they work their hives you should be ok. My neighbor, IF he does it again, would be replacing both his hives for the third time this year but he had been really persistent in believing bees don't need to be treated.

  7. #26
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    Jan 2014
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    Sandpoint, ID, USA
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    Default Re: As a beginner, is it really "best" to start two hives?

    Heck, i say start with at least 4!

  8. #27
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    Jun 2015
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    Rib Lake WI
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    Default Re: As a beginner, is it really "best" to start two hives?

    Start with as many you can handle. Then make more.

  9. #28
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    Penobscot County, ME, USA
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    Default Re: As a beginner, is it really "best" to start two hives?

    Quote Originally Posted by MoeC View Post
    Wow. Interesting, and alarming, report.
    Interesting perhaps, but I don't see it as particularly alarming. I see some inconsistencies with some of the numbers, but ignoring those, some of the trends are interesting.

    But, on to your original question- I'll add my voice to those who say it is 'best' [for a beginner] to start two hives.

    Two is not too many for a beginner to handle, and being able to compare two can help one to understand more, rather than having just one and wondering "Is this right/normal?" You will learn a lot more with two than with one.

    As well, if you have a serious issue with one, if you have another you may be able to solve a problem more easily.

    I would also highly recommend taking a *good* class/school *first*, before you get bees. That will help to give you a basic understanding of what it takes to manage a hive and keep it healthy, as well as an understanding of the pests and diseases that can affect a hive and how to identify them.

    There are scads of people who arrive at this forum who, having little or no knowledge of bees and how to care for them, never took a class, just bought bees and put them in a box...and are desperately asking "What's wrong with my bees?" or even worse "All my bees are dead/gone. What happened?"

    My first class, which I took from a large, professional beekeeper before I ever bought any bees, was only $65- less than half the cost of a nuc (and included a book) and well worth the price of admission. In fact, I would say that, for me, it was worth many times the price of admission. I got four lessons in classroom instruction, plus the book for reference, and a hands-on 'field day' to learn how to actually handle bees and how to look for the things you need to know.

    That class provided an excellent foundation and answered most of the questions I might have had, before I could need the answers...and gave me the ability to successfully grow my first two colonies and get them through the Winter. That was in 2011, and I still have those bees...not the exact same ones, of course, but the same continuous line.

    I took an advanced class the next year, to learn how to increase my numbers, raise queens, and learn more about best methods to keep bees and make honey. I take a class *every* year, plus buy and read other books...and doing so is well worth the investment of time and money. Continuously adding to one's knowledge is a Good Thing...which is why some of us can piddle about on this board giving advice to folks who buy bees but have no knowledge of how to take care of them, and then can't keep them alive.

    Getting educated is not that expensive, and is substantially cheaper than the cost of failure.
    If you want to be successful, study successful people and do what they do.
    Zone 4a/b

  10. #29
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    Mar 2014
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    Red Bud, IL, USA
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    Default Re: As a beginner, is it really "best" to start two hives?

    All good advise, faster learning, comparisons, greater resources, etc, but as a new beekeeper you still don't know what you don't know and the number of hives will not change that. Get a mentor and/or a beekeeping buddy with whom you can share information and problems. The forum is great for information and diverse thoughts but it's not a hands and eyes on medium. If comparing one hive with a mentor against multiple hives going it alone; the single hive with a mentor wins. Multiple hives with a mentor even "more betterer" IMHO
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  11. #30
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    Feb 2015
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    Rosebud Missouri
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    Default Re: As a beginner, is it really "best" to start two hives?

    I started with one bought one and got it a year later then I could have started bees. I just couldn't make myself spend more money on some thing that I might kill. I had swarm traps out the first year that didn't catch anything. The second year I bought one hive and then got luck and caught two swarms before I even got my bees. So I guess I started with 3. Even with three it was scary they may die and hard to see a way forward on how to get honey and more bees.

    What I will say is that even with three, you still are wondering if things are going well or not cause you just don't know untill you do.

    In the end, most times it seems if you don't plan by jan what you intend to do, you take a chance that everything is sold out and you may have to wait a whole year. Once you mess with it and start paying attention, you start finding more bee keepers and avenues to get more bees localy.

    So my view is if you could, more is better. You can make really bone head mistakes when you get your first hive and in my view could kill 1 or three. One is easier to lose then three money wise.

    Even with three that I ended up with, I didn't have the guts to move brood around from hive to hive and so each had to live on its own. I think after you play a little, watch enough vidios, you get over the newness a bit and feel a bit more comfortable.

    Finding anyone who will let you go through their hives with them would be a big help no matter how many you start with.

    So my view is that even if you could only come up with one hive, it is better to start because if you don't, you may be forced to wait another year due to most things happening in the spring. If you can get more then that is better.

    If you can find some one who will help once or twice or at least let you go with them to thiers, that is even better.

    You probly don't want to bug somebody everytime you go into your hive, but finding somebody you can ask stuff too for when you are feeling a bit intimidated by lack of knowlage of what you are seeing is golden.

    If I could start with 3 and no person that I trusted to bounce stuff of of once in a while or one with such a person, I would pick the one.

    If you can afford more, then I would start with more.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  12. #31
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    Sep 2014
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    frederick, md
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    Default Re: As a beginner, is it really "best" to start two hives?

    We had two as our start in May by the end of the summer we had four. by having four we could add frames of brood, move capped honey around etc.
    We are backyard keepers now have 10. Hubby wants more I say no, but we will probably end up with more.
    It does make it easier to save a hive, help a hive etc.
    Zone 6b: 27 hives in Maryland, Carniolan, Italian mix mutts: Still learning - started bees spring of 2014.

  13. #32
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    Mar 2015
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    Kamloops, BC, Canada
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    Default Re: As a beginner, is it really "best" to start two hives?

    2 would be better than one.

    Regardless, the first task a new beekeeper needs to learn is how to make increase with bought queens from resistant stock the first year and how to overwinter nucs in their area. 2 hives, 4 nucs going into the first winter would be a good place to be.

  14. #33
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    Jul 2013
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    lake hopatcong nj
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    Default Re: As a beginner, is it really "best" to start two hives?

    the first task a new beekeeper needs to learn is how to make increase with bought queens from resistant stock the first year and how to overwinter nucs in their area. 2 hives, 4 nucs going into the first winter
    Really? You think that task comes before making sure your first hive (s) are built up strong and have all the resources going into the first winter and dealing with mites?

    Perhaps you're putting the cart before the horse.

  15. #34
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    Sep 2016
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    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
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    Default Re: As a beginner, is it really "best" to start two hives?

    Really?
    yep...
    pull a frame of brood and a frame of honey mid summer and make a nuc per hive.
    leaves plenty of time later to make sure they are set for winter and more or less dubbles the chance you will have bees come spring.

  16. #35
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    Default Re: As a beginner, is it really "best" to start two hives?

    Msl,

    I did not mean that it's not possible. Of course it is. But where is the mention of feeding first (if it's packages), mite management and building populations for winter. That's great if the op knows how to make increases but what if they are not able to recognize slow building hives or other problems?

    You wouldn't agree that a brand new beekeeper should be only concerned with those hives being strong and disease free for winter? The op originally inquired about if it's better to have more than 1 hive. They also stated that money or space was not an issue. So that tells me that perhaps they are a little wary of getting overwhelmed. Now it's being suggested to get 2 hives and start splitting off into 4 nucs and then getting those nucs through winter. Sounds like a very tall order for someone who was just inquiring about 1 hive vs 2.

  17. #36
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    Oct 2016
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    York County, VA, USA
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    503

    Default Re: As a beginner, is it really "best" to start two hives?

    Let me go back to the first question: more than one hive? It was my experience that we considered even three hives as "pets" more than livestock...extremely stupid and untrainable pets that would "bite" if not treated gently. Bees are not "pets." We came to appreciate that more when the number of hives grew and we grew less fearful of total die-out. Eight successful overwintering colonies of eight turned into six after a slow withering of one nuc (possible queen problem, says apiarist inspector) and storm blow-off of the most remote hive's top, not noted for a few days. After splits of queen-cell builders, may be back up to nine, with more in the sights come warmer weather.

    Learn on two or more, is my recommendation. Bees are mindless, so don't treat them as pets. They'll run off (swarm) or die out or do something else and not get especially lonely without you.

    Look at and study Disselkoen's management patterns. Integrated pest management may enable you to avoid miticides of all sorts. Note the "may" very carefully. But his pattern of increase may make you multiple colonies so your over-wintering is less likely to come up empty. Just my thoughts.

    Michael
    "I thought I made a mistake once, but I was wrong." (heard often from the late David Sebree) Still making them, myself

  18. #37
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    Apr 2016
    Location
    Ripley County, Missouri, USA
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    6

    Default Re: As a beginner, is it really "best" to start two hives?

    Absolutely start with more than one if possible. I first ordered a package, then read so much that you should start with more than one and it made sense. I had some funds come available and ordered a couple of nucs. The bottome line was that the package requeened itself and stalled for a long time and I ended up combining it with another nuc which it bloomed after that. If I would have had only the one I would have lost it. The more you have the quicker you learn. Caught a couple of swarms in traps that spring and was on the way.

  19. #38
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    Feb 2013
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    Concord, VT,USA
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    143

    Default Re: As a beginner, is it really "best" to start two hives?

    I know it is a tough decision. But I learned the hard way. Get two hives. It is your best chance at sustainability. You will pay the cost one way or the other.

  20. #39
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    Jul 2014
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    N.E. KY
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    Default Re: As a beginner, is it really "best" to start two hives?

    Best? Yes.

    I did learn. If I would have just bought 2 packages to start, then I would have spent over 100 dollars less on sugar that summer. Because by the time I was able to split them, we were in dearth. That package could have been foraging and building on nature's dime and not mine.
    Last edited by rookie2531; 03-12-2017 at 09:18 AM.
    www.facebook.com/hives2honey Oxalic Vaporizers, supplement and more!!!!!! Check me out.

  21. #40
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    Default Re: As a beginner, is it really "best" to start two hives?

    Quote Originally Posted by trottet1 View Post
    Really? You think that task comes before making sure your first hive (s) are built up strong and have all the resources going into the first winter and dealing with mites?

    Perhaps you're putting the cart before the horse.
    Absolutely. My first year I bought a nuc, then a month later bought 4 queens and was given a swarm cell. I fiddled and made a couple not so good queens. Had 8 nucs including the original going at the end of summer. Fed well (had enough comb) and had 6 coming out of winter. The original queen from Hawaii was dead, dead, dead in the winter. The experience was invaluable.

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