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Beginner needs help!

1941 Views 11 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Honeycomb
I need some guidance please!!! I will be getting my bees at the end of the month and I still haven't gotten any equipment and I'm starting to get nervous! As usual I have been procrastinating and I have so much to learn and just need someone to help walk me through this! I'm thinking that I want to start out foundationless and go with pre-painted medium sized boxes with everything pre-assembled. It's too much for me to even think about assembling things at this point so I want to avoid any part of that as much as possible until I can start getting used to everything. Please bear with me....... If I used Kelley's foundationless frames, would they work well with Dadant hive boxes? I went onto Kelley's website a few days ago and found it so incredibly confusing. After that I was paralyzed on ordering anything. Does Dadant sell foundationless frames? At this point I don't want to be having to add popsicle sticks or anything like that, I just want everything ready to go. Here is the thing that I am also unsure about. I have read that if you start out foundationless that you need to have some foundation mixed in so the bees don't get too out of bounds when they are drawing out the comb. So just tell me how I should do it. Let's just say I put out a hive box with frames in it. What should the configuration be? How many frames should have foundation and where in the hive should I put them? I don't want to use plastic. I also don't want to get into crosswiring because that is too overwhelming right now. Basically I would love it if someone could just set me up - tell me exactly what to get and from where! Cost is not an issue either. Even the Dadant website is confusing to me. Figuring all this out is like being in a foreign land where everyone speaks a different language! I'm actually feeling kind of stupid right now! And not to try and open a whole new can of worms or anything, but I'm still not 100% sure that I want my brood chambers to be a medium size. What are the pros and cons?
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Take a look at the below listed web page. They do a really good job of explaining things in terms a beginner understands.

Good luck
Honeycomb, you need to just order something to put those bees in when they arrive. You'll really have a problem if you get the bees and still the equipment hasn't arrived. Get a smoker, hive tool, protective clothing (at least a vail), and some boxes, frames, etc. I wouldn't start out with no foundation in a new box cause I think the bees wouldn't have any idea where or how to start and you'd have a big mess on your hands. Are there any beeks in your general vacinity that you could talk to? That would be the very best thing you could do. If money isn't a issue and there isn't anyone you could talk to in person, call one of the suppliers and just tell them what you are trying to do and maybe they will help you decide, without sending a lot of unnecessary stuff. Good luck!
All I can tell you is what I've done. I actually build all of my woodenware from scratch, but of course, do what ever you feel comfortable with.

My first suggestion would be to take a very very deep breath. :)

I like the mediums because everything works everywhere and they are lighter than deeps. Those are probably the two main reasons you'll get from most anyone.

I also started with ALL foundationless frames. I had absolutely no problems with any miss configured combs. Simply make sure that everything is level. You WILL have to do a little work on the frames and you have two choices. 1) Use popsicle sticks or 2) flip the piece of wood that you crack off on its edge. Its very simple to do and you should be able to do all that you need in an afternoon. You can also use starter strips of foundation, but I have a feeling that might be too much for you from what you are saying.

If you don't want to build your own equipment, simply buy some boxes and some frames from any of the suppliers. For the most part they all stick to the same dimensions for deeps, mediums, and shallows so if you buy boxes from one place and frames from another, you should be fine. You WILL have to assemble everything, otherwise shipping is just plain insane.
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The idea of all mediums is a great idea. That way you can use the body or the frames anywhere in the hive.
Get in touch with a distributor, I prefer Dadant, and tell them you need everything. They will be able to assist you with making sure you get everything you need to be ready to accept the bees when they arrive.
If you really are a procrastinator as you describe then please consider buying pre-assembled and painted equipment.....
Take a few deep breaths. Find a supplier near you and order the boxes and frames. Kelly is the only one with foundationless frames that I have found. It is their F frame. You can get them in a kit with the boxes. Assembly is easy. Ask a friend to help. The rest of the stuff is assembled.
Find your local bee club. They will be happy to help you.
make a decision and do it now. all you have to do is start. the rest will be easy.
The advice you've been given about taking a deep breath and relaxing is on target. And there is one thing all beekeepers simply need to remember: It is NOT about what the beekeeper wants, it IS about what the Bees NEED. And when they need it! Beekeepers simply have to do what we have to do, when it needs to be done. If you aren't willing to do this, or make a good effort to try, you might want to look for a different hobby.

When you order your equipment, which should be now, today, get a beginner's book (if you don't already have one) such as Beekeeping for Dummies, Starting Right With Bees, First Lessons in Beekeeping, or How to Keep Bees and Sell Honey. Many of us years ago started out with those simple books, and they have been great guides in getting started. There are several vendors who sell preassembled and painted hives and supers.

Next, join a local beekeeping club.
Good luck!
Yes! Kelley's frames work in Dadant boxes. Order now, so you have wiggle room if something is out of stock!
Its nerve racking at first, it will all be ok though! I prefer to browse through catalogs then online, makes it so much easier. For me that is. So for next time, get catalogs you can flip back and forth between them all to find the best options for you. Way less confusing. But Id get everything ordered and set up asap!
Thank you all, for your responses. It is so great to have the support of these forums. These last two days I have just been reading and reading and I have finally ordered everything!!! I will barely be getting what I need in time. I can't tell you how many times I have changed my mind about various things throughout this learning process. As far as going foundationless, I have definitely gone back and forth on that. I am now actually thinking about using foundation for one hive and none for the other - kind of like an experiment. I ordered my hive parts - all mediums, with wax foundation and grooved top and bottom frames from Brushy Mountain. I also have ordered foundationless frames from Kelleys. As well, I have gotten over the whole part about not being willing to do any part of the assembly, though I ordered everything pre-assembled. I was really confused about how to wire, and really really didn't want to, and was even convinced after reading a lot of posts that it would be fine not to. I mean, I'm sure it is for a lot of people, but for the wax foundations I think I'm gonna do it. At this point I finally feel like I can take a deep breath!
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