Blackhat's First Year Plan
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  1. #1
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    Default Blackhat's First Year Plan

    I might have a tendency to go overboard sometimes. Feel free to say this is nuts and try to talk some sense into me.

    So I receive my package on March 31st, and a VSH nuc on April 15th. Both are italians, but long term I'll probably transition to some mite biting specialty line like Russians or Carpenters. Main flow in East Tennessee is rumored to be May through June, but rumor also has it pollen is constantly available from February to October unless there's a severe drought. We claim to be the allergy capital of the world after all. I think that means that brood rearing can be maintained throughout that period by feeding sugar syrup.

    The goal is to maximize the expected number of colonies coming out of winter next year. If beekeeping is really for me it'll give enough hives to make a profit in year 2, and if I hate it the bees should be pretty easy to sell and break even.

    That seems to mean overwintering mostly nucs in split deeps, made up using a loose/noob interpretation of Michael Palmer's method of creating Nucs for overwintering. He has a great system for a commercial operation but I have more time, fewer bees, and no queen rearing operation. That means continually splitting and equalizing, feeding a lot, and possibly letting the bees raise queens. Such nuc production has two other big advantages for a beginner: spreading the loss risks out, and giving a lot of chances to work bees without pestering a single colony to death. And nucs should be easier to learn to work without gloves.

    At install I want to hit the mites with a hard treatment. Probably OAD for the package and Formic Pro for the Nuc. I'll learn to do mite washes and IPM once there are bees to spare, but given how many colonies will split from them, and the intent to raise the maximum amount of brood, this seems like a good place for caution. Then the plan is to wait until the colonies are broodless in November and hit them with OAD to knock the mites back to near zero for the winter. The problem is that raises the winter population with a potential highish mite load. The other option is to schedule the nuc makeup so there's a broodless period (Randy Oliver presents an interesting option in figure 1) and hitting with OAD. What would you do?

    Both colonies will be allowed to settle in and build to 10 frames (middle May?). Originally I wanted to shake the package into a queen castle and order 3 queens, but the 31st appears too early for anyone not in Hawaii.

    After initial buildup, it seems best to wait for swarm conditions (with a single broodbox) before doing Lauri's flyback split to both and making 8 nucs from the queenless 8 frames. Taranov is an option as well. Those last two are attractive options because they should draw quite a bit of comb. It seems like the core metric is to maximize queen laying days, which means getting new queens as early as possible.

    Either way, after splitting there will probably be a syrup factory in the kitchen. The goal (for all colonies) is to let the foragers focus on pollen and give ample sugar for wax making. Most likely I'll feed all the syrup they will take and pull plugged out frames until October/November. If nucs run out of room I'll just split for more nucs, at least until the middle of August.

    Finally, in October it will be time to get the hives enough stores for winter. I'm thinking plugging the broodnest with syrup and then feeding candy boards. There won't be time to draw extra comb, and Randy Oliver struggled to get late summer comb building during his pollen patty test, so whether it's optimal or not everything will probably have to be single deep. Shouldn't be a huge problem though - if canadians like Devan Rawn (Ian too, but he uses sheds) can winter a single deep it should work well enough in TN. Moisture control may be an issue, so moisture quilts will be a likely first year precaution.

    The big thing that I'm not sure about is queens. When you have a thousand hives and need to make twice as many queens, strong dedicated cell builders building grafted queen cells make a lot of sense. When you have two hives and need 10 queens the efficiency gain is smaller or non existent. So if you're still with me and haven't closed the thread in exasperation at beginner overreach, can you provide some guidance on the true cost of using emergency queens? Would you recommend that I suck it up and get grafting tools and use a cell builder? Use emergency queens? Other options? Or order them from producers? I know there's a cost to uncontrolled queen rearing in terms of quality, but for this year "quantity is its own quality".

    After further consideration, I think doing a flyback/taranov split with one hive and letting the 8 remaining frames raise 10 or so grafted queens is probably the wisest plan. Hopefully the queens will be good quality despite the mediocre hive since there aren't 54 cells. Once the cells are ripe, split the builder and the other hive to use all new queen cells, recombine any that don't mate correctly, then use emergency queens for any further splits later in the season. Does that make sense to you?

    My hope is to enter winter with ~12 nucs and come out with at least 6 for a 50% success rate. That seems very achievable, and much more profitable than any more conservative splitting strategy. But perhaps 50% is not achievable for 5 frames, even with a partner nuc and sugar bricks. If anyone has experience with this please chime in.

    Sorry for the disjointed ramble. I mainly wanted to write out my thoughts to clarify intent. But I'd love to know what experienced beekeepers think. If it's a good plan confidence would help, if it's bad I want to know before I waste money.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Blackhat's First Year Plan

    Well, you do tend to go all-in don't you?

    That's not bad thing, but may I suggest that you file these plans for a few years? You need to learn how to keep bees reliably alive and healthy, year and after, first.

    Mike Palmer and Randy Oliver have decades of experience and their ideas, while very sound, presuppose a basic level of beekeeping experience in order to have a chance at success.

    You say your intent is become profitable in year two. I assume you mean profitable from the sale of nucs? Is it fair - or ethical - to offer nucs for sale (often to other beginners) before you will have enough experience to know whether the nucs are healthy and disease and pest free?

    Get your two colonies started this year. Seeing them successfully through a full year may prove to be more of challenge than you expect.

    But if you're feeling confident enough to risk your investment (it's your money and your time, but it's the bees' lives that would also be at risk), you might try splitting one of them so you'd have three full-sized colonies by the end of the summer. Use basic splitting techniques and let the split raise its own queen so you can observe the basic biology of queen rearing. Then concentrate on getting those three colonies strong-enough, pest-free enough, well-supplied enough to winter well. And next year in March, make plans for trying some of the more aggressive ways of busting colonies down into multiple nucs. And then see if you can successfully winter a bunch of colonies as nucs.

    You may think this is a hopelessly slow and conservative approach. And you may have twigged to the fact that bees are tough as nails (despite all the publicity about the "plight of the bees"). And that bees have this enormous capacity to divide and subdivide their colonies. All that is true. But what you may not have focused on is that caring for them entails a steep learning curve for beginners even if the goal is as low as simple survival of a colony from one year to the next. And managing them with the goal of a making a lot of increase for sale is orders of magnitude more complex than simple colony survival.

    You can get there, but it won't be in your first year, or two.

    Meanwhile, see if you even like caring for bugs. It's not for everybody, and it's not easy money.

    Nancy

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Blackhat's First Year Plan

    I'll bite...this is nuts, cashews I think. Nancy has provided you with excellent advice. There is soooo much to learn before you start with your plans. Not saying that it can't be done, I started with 1 hive and went into winter with six and then lost three. Also killed $200 dollars worth of new queens and a boatload of bees in the process. Learned a lot too. I would not do what I did, knowing what I know now. If you want to be proactive, get the bees to draw as much comb as possible right away, even if you have to remove the fresh comb and frames to add new frames with foundation. This will be your limiting factor for making splits later. Bees in our climate pretty much stop producing comb around July. The splits won't have a chance to build up strength for the winter if there is no place for the queen to lay. Depending on how well the nuc does, you might try the fly back split at the end of May. See how you do with that. Properly done you should get two nucs from the QL section and the QR section should build back to full hive strength by July if you keep feeding. Again, what is relatively easy for an experienced beek can be next to impossible for the newbee. That is why we learn in stages and try to improve our knowlege and skills each year.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Blackhat's First Year Plan

    those are your dreams...
    the Bees will do as they please.
    you won't have enough comb to do your dream.

    what you want to realize won't really materialize for about 3 seasons.

    8 nucs, lol, good luck, you can't split one into eight, dude you are not living in reality here.
    get 2yrs under your belt then realize what's up.

    good model to follow, your timing is off big.

    have fun

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Blackhat's First Year Plan

    Taking a package and a nuc and splitting them into 12 nucs with the hope that six will make it through the winter. Might be possible if you had some experience and drawn comb. With zero experience your just going to make too many mistakes and too many of your assumptions just don't work like you think they will. Even with three frame nucs, thats thirty-six frames of drawn comb and with aggressive splits you have a hand full of bees to draw comb. I see no mention of small hive beetles(shb). With nucs this small, shb, wax moths and robing can kill hives in short order and you wouldn't be able to tell whats going on because you have no experience. Take the time to learn beekeeping, then you can decide how to make a profit. If all your bees die the first year, You can't sell them in year two and break even.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Blackhat's First Year Plan

    I'm nothing but a newbie, but I know you are getting good advice. Bees are definitely on their own timeline.

    What I want to add is that your enthusiasm is your strongest asset. This is a frustrating hobby sometimes.

  8. #7
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    I'm in sevier county and July is latest you can do a split unless u have drawn comb they won't draw comb after July no matter how much sugar you put on them and better do a mite treatment around August or At least first of September unless you done mite wash and they are under 3 or 4 mites I'd treat them this is my second year and I had big plans like you but realized once I got the bees I had a lot more to learn that no one can tell you or learn on the internet and that is the experience of how to work the bees and the timing of when everything happens until you know what bees are doing at what time of year you are playing with fire making splits and id buy a queen or make cell builders walk away or emergency queens really aren't as good they never seemed to be as good or even close to compared to what the mothers were just my thoughts but I'd listen to jwpalmer and everyone else coming from a 25 year old hard headed east Tennessean with big plans just like yourself

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Blackhat's First Year Plan

    Glad I could provide comic relief for your Sunday!

    But seriously, thanks to everyone for the advice.

    Those who highlighted the comb building issue and the tendency for comb drawing to hit a hard stop in summer are greatly appreciated. I knew that might be an issue, but had thought Oliver's experience might be a special case, especially since he was surprised by it. Guess not. Does anyone know what causes bees to stop? Any resource or threads that explore the mechanisms?

    JW's comments are especially helpful coming from someone who already tried the basic plan and wouldn't do it again. That carries a lot of weight. Would you mind posting a brief list of what happened to those colonies/queens?

    Another issue Vectorjet pointed out is SHB and wax moth's ability to parasitize a weak hive. I've read enough about them that I would probably know what was crashing the colony, but hadn't really considered how that would apply to a 2 frame nuc asked to raise it's own queen. That alone is a good reason to never use emergency queens for such a program.

    So I'll scale it back to target more like 4-6 hives going into winter, and only doing that if sufficient drawn comb and strong hives are available. JW's suggested program is the likely starting point.

    There were two themes here that bother me a bit. The first is the implication that someone should focus on learning during their first year, and that this proposal lacks that in some way. A big part of the appeal for me is that it gives a lot more opportunities to learn and enter hives without constantly disrupting the same two colonies. Of course there's an advantage to seeing a stable colony go through a normal buildup compared to a nuc building up in a highly abnormal time of the year, but it seems difficult to imagine that it would outweigh the additional opportunities to work bees. It would also allow a lot of the work to happen on smaller, gentler colonies that will allow practice without gloves. If anyone feels nucs learning would not be best served by aggressive splitting I'd love to hear the reasoning.

    Secondly, Nancy mentioned "risk your investment" when referencing splitting a colony. I understand where that comes from, but even with prep committed only to getting two colonies ready for winter, best case I've got a 70% survival probability as a beginner. It's possible that even experienced beekeepers would struggle to make that with stock of unknown wintering characteristics. If that's overly pessimistic feel free to correct, but if true it would mean a 40% chance of coming out of winter with only one colony, and a 10% chance that both colonies would perish despite the beekeeper doing everything right. That's hardly a safe, low risk option to protect an investment.

    That's not to question the wisdom of her or anyone else's conservative advice, but to point out that with the dismal success rate of new beekeepers there's hardly a conservative safe haven in which to learn without risk. It seems the only way to assure you have bees next year is to have as many as possible going into winter.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Blackhat's First Year Plan

    Blackhat, I can't address everything you asked of me in one post as I do all this on a cellphone. Really stinks not having internet in the neighborhood. I lost some of my queens due to typical newbee mistakes, including putting one in a hive that was still queenright even though there was no brood. One was a Russian queen put into an Italian hive. She was doing well but was superceded just a month later. That daughter and the entire hive died from mite infestation. Another was lost this winter because the nuc was too small to weather the -8įF we had one night. And this is an important point, going into winter, it is not how many hives or nucs you have, but how strong they are. Another thing to remember is the bees do not read the same books we do. There will be many things you will see and question that don't fit the textbook examples. Can you tell the difference between a wax moth larva and a small hive beetle larva if you were shown just one? Beesource is full of new beekeepers who think they can see a Varroa mite on a bee because the book shows them on the back of the thorax. That is not where mites are typically found. The list goes on and on. You will learn a lot as you progress, setting reasonable goals for your experience level will help keep beekeeping fun.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Blackhat's First Year Plan

    Your math may be correct, but you're still thinking about it wrong. It's not 70% x 2, or whatever.

    It's about taking enough time to study and learn from two hives, so that by this time next year you still have those two hives. Just making more colonies from them this year, doesn't mean that you'll still have 70% times the total number of colonies you created. The act of making more colonies will substantially reduce the odds that any one colony survives, including your original colonies.

    While splitting aggressively is a technical possibility, it's not likely to work well with just two colonies and with an inexperienced beekeeper, and with no backstock of resources.

    Dividing a barely-established colony is a recipe for disaster. That's the thing I don't think that you have enough experience, yet, to appreciate. Because a colony just getting established on bare (or no) foundation has to make this season-long, life-or-death sprint to draw enough comb, so that the queen can lay enough eggs, to develop into enough foragers, so they can collect enough nectar, in order to have enough stores to survive their first winter. What you are proposing is to keep interrupting this race for survival by forcing them to keep starting over in new colonies.

    The best way to be sure you have bees next year to is to go into winter with strong, healthy, well-supplied colonies. You'll have a far better chance of achieving that if you put all your first-year attention and effort on just two colonies.

    If you get your hives cooking along and make a commitment to learning how to meet their needs and see that they are treated for mites on time and have the resources to survive your winter, there is no reason at all to expect to lose either one of your colonies.

    Nancy

  12. #11
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    I hope you have a great first year, but I want to throw in a few more cautions.

    First, in order for nucs to take off with brood-rearing, there has to be enough bees to cover the area of brood which the queen has laid. If there arenít enough bees to keep the brood warm, they will eat or throw out the extra eggs and brood. So you arenít just limited by drawn comb, but also by numbers of nurse bees. One cold night, and all your brood might be dead the next morning. Or the few bees that are on the brood wonít leave the brood to get food, and will starve.

    Second, it is easy to get a false sense of confidence during a flow. Bees are easy to work, easy to combine, and make nice queens during a flow, but then it stops. And then you have to get them through the rest of the year. Nothing is as easy, and late splits are really hard to get up to strength before winter.

    Finally, it takes a while for an untrained eye to learn to read the health of a hive at different times of year. I have seen many, many beginners think a hive is fine and full of bees, when I see a hive that is walking-dead. They simply donít have a mental image of what a hive SHOULD look like at that time of year. If you donít have experience with truely healthy hives versus sick or failing hives, you donít have a mental image to compare your particular hive to.

    Finally, document your observations of the bees every time you go in a hive. Write down your actions as well, but pay attention to the bees, and the progression of flowers, and the weather. This is how you will learn. At the end of the season, read it all over and look for patterns. Predict which hives you think will make it through the winter, and come spring, see how accurate your predictions are.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Blackhat's First Year Plan

    Big dreams and big plan. I'd say go for it.
    You have a lot of knowledge and a good grasp of different authors and BS bee keepers.
    The problem I see is that you don't have the resources. Not enough comb, bees, queens and brood.
    The 8 frames you might split to 8 nukes but will need 8 pollen/ honey frames. Hard to do from just 8 frames. Yes you can put feed on them but most bees can't read or there not like a child at the table. They move to their own rhythm. I have seen them not touch syrup even though they are starving. Now if you feed honey they would be all over it.
    Those original 8 frames will have different age brood and will become broodless by the time queens are mated, laying and new bees are hatching. That means harvesting larva of the right age. Hopefully getting cells to take and then capped. Now comes the hatching hardening off and finally mating. Maybe there is a week or rain or it's cold. Without complications this process from the egg to laying queen is around 22 to 25 days. The 28 day mark is when you are checking for eggs. Now if she started laying right away it's another 21 days for her first batch of brood to hatch. That's 40 plus days with little or no new hatching bees.
    There is a good chance she will not lay very well either unless you add another frame of bees. There's 8 more frames of brood you will need. Your bee population has to be large enough to tend, cover the brood, collect, build wax etc etc. So without adding there are not enough bees for all the jobs and there are few foragers. Without the bulk of bees the queen will slow laying until resources say speed up.
    To give these guys a good chance you will need to supply them with another frame of capped brood about every 10 days until her brood hatches and starts to get up to speed. That could be another 16 frames of brood. So on the hard side you need 40 frames of resources. On the soft side 30ish. That's resources not foundation.
    Your season is much longer than mine but a dearth is a dearth. As with all things in nature they produce more in times of plenty and less when food is short. Sugar syrup might stimulate wax building (not a given) but not necessary brood building at certain times of the season.
    Doable....sure. However, if you don't start with resources you will need a boat load of luck for everything to fall into place plus Ian's or Devan's experience.
    Been wrong before and suspect it will happen again tomorrow.
    On the border near 04619
    Zone 5B @ 29m

  14. #13
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    buy a couple more nucs then buy some queens late may june and split them in nucs or singles with a frame of brood and bees and feed and if need after queens take in split add more brood and bees if they need it try to double your numbers and they will build up fine in a single 5 or 10 frame for winter here in tn I had nucs and singles make it just alcohol wash for mites don't sugar roll and treat if needed and dont let them swarm on you only make a split if you have swarm cells or buy queens or cell builder and make them draw out the whole box by July

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Blackhat's First Year Plan

    Build a couple of swarm traps to set out in hopes to increase the amount of bees you have by the end of summer. Each year I write out my "bee plan" and it serves as a nice guide for what I set out to do each season.

    To address your emergency queen cell question, how good they are depends on a few things. I use a modified method of this in my topbar hives to get my queens, but I call it a "planned emergency replacement". I make sure there is newly drawn, soft, wax in the hive with fresh eggs/larvae and then pull the original queen over to a nuc. With a large hive and the soft wax, they make beautiful queen cells, about 10-14 in a full size hive that I can carve out once mature and put into nucs to emerge. I do have a queen castle of 2-3 bars where the cells can also go.

    In my part of eastern Virginia, we usually have very mild winters and so I can overwinter these smaller colonies without too much problem. This year wasn't one of them. All of the smaller nucs got too cold to keep everyone from freezing in the 2 weeks of cold weather we got in January. The big hives are fine. So for you in TN, you want to be sure you have colonies that are healthy and full strength going into winter. Sure, have a couple in the MP 5 over 5 nucs, but keep the bigger colonies as well.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Blackhat's First Year Plan

    Once again, thanks to everyone for their input on this thread. It's really helpful. I can't promise to follow all of it to a T, but I've listened.

    Guess this will be a "2018 experience" thread, so here goes: package install.

    Got the package today. Setup the hive this morning on a stand about 10 inches off the ground. Game plan:

    1. Spray caged bees with 1:1 sugar water.
    2. Knock them down in the cage.
    3. Spray them again. (they weren't drenched, but I probably oversprayed a little.)
    4. Pop the can out.
    5. Don't drop the queen! took her out and set her on the bars.
    6. Pour the bees into the box.
    7. Take plug out of candy end and wedge cage between frames.
    8. Put inner cover on and set pail feeder on top. Put extra brood box on top and cover.

    I made a few mistakes along the way. For one, in haste to get the bees settled before they got mad (I didn't have a smoker lit, because I've read it can cause problems with package install) I forgot to take the plug out of the candy end of the queen cage. That's not such a bad thing though as I'm pretty sure the packages were shaken within the last 48 hours, so more time to get acquainted is useful. I'll have to go in tomorrow or Sunday and pull the plug. After that there will only be feeder changes for two weeks.

    The other mistake was that after step eight, I looked at the package and thought "boy, there are still quite a few bees in there". So I decided to shake it onto the ground as much as possible before laying it down for them to crawl out. That took a big jolt. Bees rated "1 of 5 stars, did not appreciate." There were 3 spots on my leg that got light doses through the pants. Oh well. The pants were dark, so not a huge shock. Set the cage down and walked away ASAP. I was only wearing nitril, but nothing tried to sting my hands, so all in all not a bad first effort. Guess I need to get some light pants though.

    My only other concern is the home drilled pail feeder. My first few attempts leaked when they were tested in the kitchen, but the current hole pattern held water fine. Can't help but worry it's dripping onto them or that they can't get sugar though.

    Checked on them a few hours after install and they seem fine. A few hundred around the (reduced) entrance and quite a few flying around. No evidence of syrup leaking out the front, but *shrug*.

    Edit - One thing that surprised me: There were at least 15 SHB on the can of feed when I pulled it out. Guess that's what you get with Georgia bees. Don't think I need to be worried about it in a hive with nothing but foundation, but of course it wasn't great to see. Also not sure about the varroa status, So I'll probably hit them with OAD when I open the hive in a few weeks, before the brood gets sealed. That may mean I have to open 11 or 12 days after exposing the candy plug to avoid sealed brood though. Gotta check the timelines. Should I just do it tomorrow before the queen is released, or could that mess up their settling in?
    Last edited by blackhat; 03-30-2018 at 02:57 PM.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Blackhat's First Year Plan

    not doable at all, your plans for sure, but not the bees plan, they direct you, and you guide them.
    I can say this good luck, you really don't understand.
    get the bees work them correctly the first year, then go ape shite splitting when you hav the correct resources.

    serious, you are going to have dead bees next year come this time if you split nucs aggressive.


    uhhh a drilled pail feeder, sounds like a drowning bee problem, feeders are vacuum operated, and you don't drill, al you do is punch 5-7 tiny nail holes
    in the top of a lid close flip and set.

    no smoker? wow, good start lmao...have your smoker lit sugar or not a little puff of smoke calms the bees.

    you ned help, your driving down the wrong path nuff said...do you have "The Beekeepers Handbook"? by Sammataro...if not I suggest you get it and use it as your guide.
    This is the textbook for Beekeeping, and maybe join a local club asap

    so are you going to dribble or vape your bees...oav at this time is no good, won't do a thing for you, unless you follow the 3-4 times a week vape schedule for a month...that works, it covers the broodless periods maybe 2 cycles.
    At this time of the season Api Life Var.

    wow...
    Last edited by Apis Natural; 03-31-2018 at 07:09 AM.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Blackhat's First Year Plan

    Hi Apis.

    I'm aware that a pail feeder works by vacuum. What that has to do with a drill vs a nail is beyond me since both serve simply to make holes in this application. I drilled six 3/64th holes in the lid of the pail feeder. When I took the plug out of the candy side today the feeder was about 1.5 inches down and bees were feeding, so it seems to be working. No water running out the front of the hive either.

    I have joined my local club and attended the beginner class where they explained how to install packages. They recommended only sugar water. Dadant's instructions do not mention a smoker at all, but give clear direction to use Sugar Spray. Perhaps they were all wrong. But you might try laughing your ass off at them rather than new beekeepers following their recommendations.

    Oxalic is widely recommended for treatment of broodless colonies regardless of the time of year. To quote Randy Oliver:

    Package bees: Aliano and Ellis, in their very well done preliminary investigation into treating package bees with oxalic, found that the spray application of 3 mL of 2.8% of oxalic acid in sugar syrup per 1000 bees resulted in very high varroa kill, with minimal bee kill.

    Oxalic is indeed a poor choice for an established colony in the spring because most of the mites would be protected by cappings. Unless they're now making packages with capped brood that's not a problem with packages. I would think an expert such as yourself would understand the underlying reasons for treatment guidelines better than a 2 day beekeeper, but we've already established in this thread that I can be wrong.

    A brief perusal of your other posts on the forum shows several responses combining negativity with an abrasive and insulting delivery of the verdict. Three just today. Sorry about whatever put you in a bad mood. It doesn't show me as much about your personal beekeeping experiences though.

    I made some errors but had the humility to ask the community for advice, to adjust my plans based on said advice, and to post my mistakes for others to see. You responded with mocking insults while making several incorrect and demeaning statements. One of the only attempts at constructive advice was based on an outright falsehood. And even if your intent was not to make a new keeper feel like quitting it would be hard to craft a post better suited to the purpose. This in the "Beekeeping 101" forum.

    I'll refrain from exploring what could motivate such behavior.
    Last edited by blackhat; 03-31-2018 at 04:25 PM. Reason: factual correction

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,256

    Default Re: Blackhat's First Year Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by blackhat View Post
    Hi Apis... A brief perusal of your other posts on the forum shows several responses combining negativity with an abrasive and insulting delivery of the verdict. Three just today. Sorry about whatever put you in a bad mood. It doesn't show me as much about your personal beekeeping experiences though.
    Apis, i agree with blackhat and there have been complaints from other members as well. if you want to keep playing here you have to play nice.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,263

    Default Re: Blackhat's First Year Plan

    Dang Blackhat, I'm proud of ya. Not only did you get your bees installed without any serious mishaps, but you told off someone who was being negative in a bad way. (Negative in a good way is called coaching.)
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Maryville, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Blackhat's First Year Plan

    Thank you JW. I may be inexperienced in beekeeping but it is not my first rodeo in the internet argument department. And anyone who wants to coach (had a lot of that there already) is of course quite welcome to add their $0.02.

    So I got back into the hive today, and had a foible but got the job done.

    First, I pulled the queen cage, pulled the plug with a staple from the package (forgot to bring the leatherman, do not recommend) then set the queen aside. Next dribbled the OA onto the 5 seams before replacing the queen cage and buttoning up.

    I tried to insert a queen excluder under the main hive body because I decided absconding scared me. But I didn't want to move the hive body off the stand so early in the colonies life (absconding again) so I tried to tilt the body and slide the includer under. That... didn't go well. Lots of cockamamie monkey-motion and several bumps getting everything lined up got the bees excited. Long story short: if it's not worth moving everything above the working plane it's not worth doing. Lesson learned.

    Saw ants ambling around above the inner cover going for the sugar syrup. It didn't seem like a problem since they appeared to be staying outside, but has to be monitored.

    One thing that amazed me was how much not having gloves slowed me down - in a good way. It really "encourages" you to see things from the bees perspective, which seems like a big plus in this learning process. No stings either, though a few probably went for my face during the QX business. It was cool to pick up a cage covered with bees, work on it with them crawling on me, then put it back in the hive without any problem.

    But it'll be another two weeks before I can practice again. Gonna follow Harry's advice and let them settle in. The main reason I went ahead with the dribble today was so I wouldn't have to break in earlier to treat before capped brood shows up. Monday I'll check the not so sticky board for mites to get an idea how many were in the package, and check the pail feeder level.

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