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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings!

The hubby and I will be making our first foray into beekeeping this spring. We plan on starting with two hives in the back yard, being totally accepting of whatever addiction may come of it. ;)

I have done an obsessive amount of reading (bit of a nerd that way) and have made some determinations on what we want to try first. We've already joined the local bee club, and will certainly be looking to the good folks there for advice. But, I also wanted some input from this group as well.

I know that there are probably at least a million recommendations on how to do what. What I'm really looking for is information from those of you who have experience with what we're trying that you can share in terms of the sorts of things a new-bee is likely to miss or fabulously foul up :pinch:eek:n the first go 'round.

Woodenware is coming from Rossman. Bees are coming from Wilbanks. Our local club prez says that the bees they get are usually so gentle that, in general, they don't even smoke them when visting hives. Not sure I'm ready to go without smoke, but it is an encouraging thought. Also, Wilbanks is only about an hour from here, so the bees are more or less local.

What we are going to try is to set up with small cell foundation in one hive and use small cell 'guide strips' in the other. (Using 8 frame boxes.) If and when they spread enough that we can add supers for honey, we plan to do the same. Seems straight forward enough...

I'm curious to see how quickly they build up compared to one another. Also wondering if the queens (packages) will have much trouble with the smaller cells from the start or if I need to be monitoring comb and culling out larger comb as we go along. And as I said, just looking for general guidance as I go along.

Thanks for answering what I'm sure is probably and "old" question. Would also love to hear any outstanding experiences with either Rossman or Wilbanks.

Thanks again!
 

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My wife & I started with 2 on small cell plastic frames last spring. She got 40# of surplus honey from hers. Mine went queenless & it took a few tries for them to raise a laying queen, 2 months. So no extra honey from mine.

In you're area you probably need to learn about the small hive beetle.

No worries, you'll do fine.
 

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Rossman gets 95% of my bussiness. In the past I have gotten package bees from Gardner/spell bees in Baxley Ga. I have nothing but positive experince with both companies. I live south of you 100 miles or so, But In this area I prefer to use Cypress hives, its all personal choice and I'm sure some would agree and disagree. Thats the great thing about this forum. Best of luck...
 

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Re: Observation Hive

i have a 2 deep, 1 medium frame OH. this is my first winter with it. is it normal to have brood and larvae at this time of the year? i was surprised to find she has been laying. any help is appreciated.
 

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Re: Observation Hive

I've had no trouble tossing a package onto small cell foundation. Others may have had different experiences. I never culled comb. I've used Rossman's numerous times and found them to be just fine.

Fabulously fouling up? Why that's just natural! It's the best way to learn of course. Bees are remarkably tolerant of ever changing conditions. Based on the research you've apparently done, I doubt you'll really "foul up". Take all advice with a grain of salt and remember that a hive is constantly changing based on a vast number of factors. What worked for me, in one of my hives, here in New England on any given day may not at all be good for you in beautiful Savannah on the very same day (can you tell I've visited and...in spite of being VERY Yankee, fell in love with the area).

The keeping of bees is stewardship. Something not easily or commonly practiced in today's times. Good for you!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks guys, for all the encouragement!

In you're area you probably need to learn about the small hive beetle.
AJ's Beetle Eaters, the large ones, are on the way!

Ravenseye, it's not your fault you're a Yankee. :D I'm not from here originally either, (though I'm Southern born), but I can't imagine anyone not loving Savannah. Hope you'll get to visit again.

Anybody work with Bumbles too? Our group prez mentioned it but the left for vacation and left me wondering.

Thanks again for your input. You've got a great forum here!
 

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Re: Observation Hive

i have a 2 deep, 1 medium frame OH. this is my first winter with it. is it normal to have brood and larvae at this time of the year? i was surprised to find she has been laying. any help is appreciated.
I'm surprised the weather was warm enough in your area that you could go into the cluster? Are they Italian bees, if so they could have a small patch of brood, but if your talking about frames of brood no that would not be normal for tour area. Jack
 

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I put 2 of 4 packages on small cell HSC and used a queen includer. Had horrible results. The other 2 hives I put in a couple of HSC. Only 1 hive had a queen that layed in the HSC. Would only lay in one spot about the size of a grapefruit. But I didn't wax the HSC first.

I plan on putting brood boxes of HSC on my 2 small cell nucs that I have ordered. Nucs are mediums. Will put the in 8-frame and finish up with small cell foundation and the add a brood box on top with the waxed HSC.
 

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You might want to think about going FoundationLess. Check out Mike Bush's writings about that... do a search on this forum.
Welcome, and good luck!
Steven
 

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I prefer the west style beetle trap (bottom pan under SBB) to the AJ's - provided you can find (or build one) that fits your box size. I didn't enjoy disturbing the bees everytime to check those traps, also have had the clip-on lids separate from the resevoir and then it would fall down between the frames and get oil all over everything.
 

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Every new thing to come along finds a home on this site. That's because it's an open place and all are welcome, with an equal voice. I've tried most of them. For a time FGMO was king and everyone was fogging their bees. You hardly see a mention of it these days.
If I could have one wish it would be that new beekeepers would start with basics and add the other things later. Go with small cell if you wish but know that it's been around for at least 10 years and if it were as effective as has been presented....the commercial beeks would gobble it up. They don't. I started 8 colonies on it and they drew it out OK. They were just ordinary bees and went the way of ordinary bees.
If you start a new colony on foundation-less frames don't expect them to copy the small cell starters you mention. They may build usable comb but they also may decide to build it 90 degrees from where you want it, linking all the frames together. Better to alternate starter strips with foundation frames. With mites, beetles and diseases it's hard enough.
It's also great fun!

Good luck,

dickm
 

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>I'm curious to see how quickly they build up compared to one another.

Foundationless and foundation will make less difference than just one colony to another. But all in all the foundationless goes faster.

>Also wondering if the queens (packages) will have much trouble with the smaller cells from the start or if I need to be monitoring comb and culling out larger comb as we go along.

Hard to say. I've had them that would draw 4.7mm right out of the package and others that would not draw smaller than 5.1mm. You need the core of the brood nest down to 4.9mm to get the Varroa under control.

Foundationless:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm

Eight frame:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeseightframemedium.htm
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm#lighterboxes

Beginner:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnewbees.htm
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesbasics.htm

Stuff:
http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks again, to all who have continued to answer my note here.

I prefer the west style beetle trap (bottom pan under SBB) to the AJ's - provided you can find (or build one) that fits your box size. I didn't enjoy disturbing the bees everytime to check those traps, also have had the clip-on lids separate from the resevoir and then it would fall down between the frames and get oil all over everything.
We ordered AJ's on the recommendation of the club president, but I see your point. I do have screened bottom boards so it shouldn't be much to switch if we find we have trouble. Thanks!

As for the small cell (and Thank you, Mike, for your input. Have been on your site a good bit as well.) I'm really not trying to do that as a way of mite control, at least not primarily. We will certainly continue to employ other means to maintain a healthy population. The small cell is because I find the whole conversation about the size of bees, and all the whys and wherefores, fascinating. I want to see it in action. But, I don't want my curiosity to cost the bees if I can help it. So if there is some particular care necessary for this mode of operation, I want to be sure I am aware.

Better to alternate starter strips with foundation frames.
I will bear that in mind. It makes perfect sense.

Thank you, all of you, for your answers. And, Happy Holidays. May the season be kind to us all.
 
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