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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Would y'all help me make up my mind on how best to do this? I've got a few different plans below.

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What I'm getting June 20th: One full-strength BeeWeaver colony in a complete hive - deep body with 8 frames of bees, brood, and honey, and one division board feeder (which I'm thinking makes it a 9-frame configuration in a 10-frame body, yes?). I did some research and found a thread here from Laurie at BeeWeaver saying that they're on standard foundation, which my research says is 5.4mm (right?).
What I want to end up with:
1. All 8-frame mediums for interchangeability and easy of working/lifting.
2. All foundationless.
3. No preference on management style for one hive product or another. I'd like some honey and candles to sell at my farm stand with my peaches and tomatoes, and maybe a few nucs to sell would be nice. Whatever I end up being good at raising is what I'll raise.

What I can get: Whatever's needed - I have a list and am about to put in an order from Mann Lake so I'll have everything I need well in advance of when they get here, hence this thread so I can make final decisions and get it ordered. (Btw, I already have some deeps and empty deep frames from a friend who got out of beekeeping.)
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Plan A: Just go for it. Put an 8-frame medium box of empty frames (with comb guides) on top of the deep, covering the open space left on the outside-top of the 10-frame deep with a 1x2 (or 3 or whatever's needed). Keep adding supers like this 'til I get three (or four) mediums on top of the one deep, then move the queen to the mediums with a queen excluder below, removing the deep once all the brood hatches.
Question: Is this too much of a change at one go - 9 frames below to 8 frames above, 10 frame equipment to 8 frame, deep to medium, PLUS 5.4mm to natural foundationless?

Plan B: Only change one thing at a time - probably go foundationless first, then change either frame number or box size (10s to 8s) next, then the last of the three - moving the queen, inserting queen excluder, and removing the old style box/frames after hatch out each time.
Question: Any order better in which to do these things? Can two of them be done at the same time? If so, which two? And all have to be done on a flow, right? Or can any of them be done in between? Feeding needed then?

Plan C: Chicken out and keep them on the same configuration they're in now for the first year.


I keep going back and forth between the three plans, one minute being gung-ho to go for it all, then next thinking better of it because I don't have enough experience to tell me if Plan A is even doable. I've got to decide on equipment and get it ordered, so what do you say?
 

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I do not have an answer for you but I will maybe see you there LOL I am picking one up also that day. On another note my coffee comes from spicewood LOL Cuvee Coffee.
 

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Oh and I probably am going to just put a Super on mine and see how they do the first year being established I thought about a split but decided to let them be till fall for now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Cool, Roboto! I'll be there as soon as they open; in a big, tan, GMC double-cab one-ton with Spicewood stickers on it and a mismatched (Chevy) tailgate with a homemade hole in it (couldn't get it open, so went at it with a chisel and hammer to get to the latch arm - works great now :D ). And I know Cuvee - haven't tried it, but pass by their cutoff every day on my way to work. It's good, huh? I need to try it. LOVE my coffee.

I'd love to do a split or two in fall, into nucs to overwinter like Mike Palmer, if all goes right and they're healthy enough. *crosses fingers* Otherwise, I'll just leave them alone 'til spring. Just watch them.
 

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Have been drinking Cuvee for about 3 years now great stuff a little more money than your average but well worth it to me and Mike and his crew are great people he has a website and they do a tour I think once a month well worth the time. I am coming from Conroe but will be leaving early may even come out the day before and hit Cuvee up.
 

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Like you, I am a new beek. I wanted to go all medium 8 s for the weight factor. I can tell you what I did and why. The key word for me in your list of products that you want to produce is nukes. I would suggest watching Michael Palmer 's talk about sustainable beekeeping with nukes. They drive his business. They support his production hives in several ways and they are a product that is marketable. So I went with deep hive bodies for the production of nukes. I am foundation less for the most part and will be all when they draw out the combs and I can remove every other one of the foundation. I have them checker boarded.
For me the ability to use nukes to drive my farm's production and pay for it outweighs the difference in picking up 20 more pounds per box.
Mike
 

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Suggestion. ...why don't you keep them the way they are the first year. Then when you get comfortable and more experience then do a gradual change. Your bees probably won't respond well to that many changes. Enjoy your new learning experience. You will be overwhelmed enough trying to learn the basics. You will develop your own style and likes and dislikes. I started this year, I wanted mediums and small cell. After my first month now I like deeps and I prefer to let the bees make their cells the size they want. I was in favor of foundation initially. Now foundation less in brood boxes and wired foundation in honey supers. You only start off one time, why not enjoy the ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'll have to look into a tour, Roboto. Thanks for the tip!

I would suggest watching Michael Palmer 's talk about sustainable beekeeping with nukes. They drive his business. They support his production hives in several ways and they are a product that is marketable. So I went with deep hive bodies for the production of nukes. I am foundation less for the most part and will be all when they draw out the combs and I can remove every other one of the foundation. I have them checker boarded.
For me the ability to use nukes to drive my farm's production and pay for it outweighs the difference in picking up 20 more pounds per box.
I will watch his video, Mike. Thanks.

I was thinking of 8-frame mediums as nucs to overwinter - not doable? If not, I might rethink my plan of all 8-frame mediums and find a nice hive-lifter to save my back...

Crap. Now I'm even more conflicted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Suggestion. ...why don't you keep them the way they are the first year. ... You only start off one time, why not enjoy the ride.
Good point. Maybe I'll just leave them as-is, maybe transitioning to foundationless only.

I was trying to avoid buying equipment I'd not need eventually, but I guess it's easy to sell later.

Anyone want to try to swing me back the other way again? (Much more of this and I'll be getting seasick.)
 

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Just adopt the view that deeps are to be removed anytime they don't have brood in them and there is a flow. Mediums can be put between two deep brood combs to fill out a box if necessary (they will build comb on the bottom of the frame which can be cut off and rubber banded into a frame later). A deep can be cutout and tied into a medium if necessary. A deep frame can extend down through a medium box into the box below if necessary (they will build some comb on the bottom of the frame which can be cut off later). Everytime you get into the hive, remove what you can. Juggle things the easiest way you have available. In other words if you have 7 deep frames, then put one medium in the deep box When you are down to 3 deep frames, put them in two medium boxes with mediums filling out the other 5 frames in both boxes. If you are down to one deep frame, cut out the comb and rubber band it into a medium frame. If you have some brood on mediums, put the queen in the medium box and put an excluder on to keep the queen out of the deep frames. I just do what seems the least work for the circumstances, but pull all the combs that aren't brood that you don't want and look at what you have left and how best to put it back in the hive...

If you want simple and straightforward, then do a cutout. Cut all the combs of brood and bee bread out and rubber band into medium frames and harvest all the honey.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Just adopt the view that deeps are to be removed anytime they don't have brood in them and there is a flow. ...
If you want simple and straightforward, then do a cutout. Cut all the combs of brood and bee bread out and rubber band into medium frames and harvest all the honey.
Of course! *slaps forehead*

Great options. Thanks, Michael! Your whole post is full of greatly useful advice. The two above stood out to me. Especially the second - one and done.

Now I'm thinking I'll leave them for a week or so to settle once I get them home, then take a frame of honey from the outside, replacing it with a medium frame in the middle of the brood nest. Maybe do that again, and by then I'll know their attitude and how well they'll take me cutting up their entire home in one day - if they're easy going and I feel comfortable enough, I just might do the whole cutout option then and get them over into 8 frame mediums. If they're too antsy, I'll keep replacing deep frames with mediums, adding boxes where needed/where I can, juggling things as they present themselves to me like you said in the rest of the post.

I'll sleep on that plan and see if it still sounds right tomorrow, but right now I like it. Sounds simple enough and I like simple. It feels good to have a plan and a couple options if that plan doesn't work out. Most importantly I know what equipment I'll need. Perfect!

Muchas gracias again, Michael!
 

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Slap yourself again. Are medium nukes marketable. Or as marketable as deeps.
Michael had me sold on the mediums also till this snag hit me. He is right about his points till the extra work to get them back into a deep format. He has been doing this for a long time and I am a fan of his work. But I think the deep nukes will sell faster than the medium for now. The market may change, not soon but it may. The other thing is more of everything, a deep is 3 inches or there about deeper than a medium. The frames cost the same, the foundation cost the same and the boxes cost the same but they are 3 inches shorter. So for every 2 deeps you need 3 mediums. That is another 25 bucks going foundationless. With just a few hives that is not much but with growth that adds up. Keeping open area for the queen comes into play also. Those 3 inches gives you more of a cushion when adding boxes. With one deep you added 1.5 mediums.
Keep us posted on how it works out for you.
Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
I'm still going to keep your advice in mind, Mike, and watch that video you told me about. But even if it convinces me that I should sell deep-frame nucs, I think I have to try the mediums as nucs, too. I read that an entire 8-frame medium is the same volume as a 5-frame deep nuc, so after doing the math to double-check that, I might play around with trying to sell those, making sure I give a very good description of what they're getting. I did read on Michael's site that mediums are more expensive than deeps, but being able to do it all myself until I'm 70 or 80 while avoiding back surgery makes it worth it for me (I doubt I'll ever have more than twenty hives, and that's a generous estimate, so not that much extra cost relatively speaking). I can't help but think others think the same, especially backyard beekeepers where the cost isn't so drastic either, and want to start out with mediums from the get-go.

But thank you for the warnings. Seriously. I appreciate you making sure I've thought of all angles.

Of course this is all in the future, and providing I find out that I'm good at raising bees in the first place. I think I will be - I've been good at breeding/increasing my numbers of Longhorns, horses, chickens, and pigs over the years (though can't take much credit for the pigs - man, let me tell you, they're like rabbits if they're healthy and happy). But this is still all conjecture at the moment. I just like to research, research, make a plan, research, discuss, research some more, then do it. It's kept my butt out of a sling more than once. Ask me how I learned THAT lesson. :cool: (It was the pigs. Good thing they're tasty, quite barbecue-able, and go well with beer.)
 

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I did not mean to get you to beat your self up. Or for me to beat up on you either. We learn our best lessons for the mistakes we make. The more painful ones we seem to remember the longest. With that said, I realy like Michael Bush's outlook on life and beekeeping.
I do like the weight reduction factor. I also think the 8 frame may be better for the bees production. He has done enought of it to know what he is doing. Me, I was just trying to explain what I saw as the bump in the road.

Today I added a 2 nd deep to a split. 3 weeks for them to fill it out, Making their own queen. With 3 frames of brood. 2 frames of foundation, 2 frames of stores and 3 blank frames. They were out of room. Beautiful white comb in the foundation less frames. Full of brrod. I was so proud of their progress. Also so happy I checked on them today. If I had used one medium they would have been out of room last week or the week before. So that was on my mind today also. The speed they can fill out a box, with an 8 frame medium might sneak up on you.

Your marketing plan should be what drives your production. The selling price of the product should give you return on investment be it your time or materials. A nuke per value of time spent is way more profitable than any other product of the bee yard. I can see setting up a nuke in 3 minutes. That is lawyer money. Or some I know would like to make that much. I know I have never made that much in 3 min. I know it takes more than that to get it to market but still it could be what drives your process.


I looked at your website. Nice Job. Keep up the good work.
And as I said let me know how it works out for you.

mike
 

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I agree there is a shortage of medium nucs. But it would not be any trouble to have both deep nucs and med nucs if you wanted to sell both. Just run deep bottom boxes and mediums from there up. If you wanted a deep nuc pull two or three frames from the deep put a queen with them give them some time to build to five frames and you have a deep nuc. The queen will move up into the med above the deep and lay so if you want a med nuc pull three frames of brood and a couple frames of stores put them in an eight frame med box with a queen wait a while for them to build strength and you have a medium nuc. All that means you have to have different size equipment but it makes you operation more versatile. Just something to think about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I did not mean to get you to beat your self up. Or for me to beat up on you either.
I didn't think either of those things, Mike. Not at all. :) I asked for advice and you're giving it to me. I greatly appreciate it. Really.
I realy like Michael Bush's outlook on life and beekeeping.
Me, too. In all my experience of livestock husbandry, the thing that stands out the most is leave them the heck alone. Quit monkeying around with things. They know best usually. I never kept a horse in a stall, a pig in a tiny little sty with farrowing crates, or chickens indoors all the time. In my experience, there are more problems when you do that.
I do like the weight reduction factor. I also think the 8 frame may be better for the bees production. He has done enought of it to know what he is doing. Me, I was just trying to explain what I saw as the bump in the road.
Seriously not a problem. Made me think on it a bit and that's why I'm here asking questions - so I'll think about all these things. It's good to know you think the 8-frame may be better for the bees production. Another check on the Plus side.
Today I added a 2 nd deep to a split. 3 weeks for them to fill it out, ... The speed they can fill out a box, with an 8 frame medium might sneak up on you.
I've be keeping that in mind, too. That's part of my difficulty in deciding on ordering equipment - I want to have enough on hand, but would rather buy ten 8-frame boxes than twice that if I have to buy both 10-frame and 8-frame. They'll all be here at home (I have fifty acres, so plenty of room for those aforementioned max-of-twenty hives), so I can keep a close eye on them and add boxes often if need be.
Your marketing plan should be what drives your production. The selling price of the product should give you return on investment be it your time or materials. ... That is lawyer money.
Sweet! I like lawyer money! I hope I end up being good at raising bees. And I definitely know to price them accordingly. If it costs me extra to make medium nucs, then I'll have to sell them for a bit more. I don't think that will be a problem. I would have gladly paid more for one since I would have been able to avoid the trouble that started this thread.
I looked at your website. Nice Job. Keep up the good work.
Thanks! That blog started as a personal garden record and has grown into a learning site with some how-tos to help in my job, to show the visual learners (I'm a horticulturist at a local garden center, solving customers' problems and teaching others how to get started gardening). I know there will be lots of beekeeping posts eventually.


I think there is a serious shortage of people producing medium nucs. It may limit your market to have only medium nucs, but I doubt it. I think you can sell all you can produce.
Well, THAT'S sure good to know! VERY good to know.



I agree there is a shortage of medium nucs. But it would not be any trouble to have both deep nucs and med nucs if you wanted to sell both. Just run deep bottom boxes and mediums from there up. ... Just something to think about.
That's something I was thinking about just today aamof, Sterling! Get off my wavelength, man. ;) Thanks for the info. I'm still leaning towards just all medium euipment, probably 8-frame, from the get go. But haven't ruled out keeping one hive in a deep or two.


So many options. Better than having none though.
 
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