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I became interested in having some bees last July when visiting my brother-in-law and seeing his hives. I've read a few books and have spent some time on the forums here -- Great Stuff! I'm really been impressed with the small cell, natural cell, and foundationless discussions. I avoid medication and other chemicals for my goats, chickens, turkeys, and sheep as much as I can. I don't like the general assumption in recent books on beekeeping that you must and will medicate your bees.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I acquired my first two hives. It was something that just worked out -- I thought I would start with a couple of packages. I haven't opened up the hives to inspect them because I didn't want them to get too cold. I'll probably inspect on a warm February day. On the warmer days so far they have been out and quite active. I'm continuing to feed them, using 2:1 syrup. They are really sucking it down -- about a quart every three days while the weather has been warm (one hive faster than the other as it appears to have more bees).

The hives each have one deep and a shallow super. It's my thought to increase the broodnest area to two deeps at least. My plan at this point is to swap the current shallow and deep (assuming that the broodnest is or will be in the shallow and the deep) and add another deep on top when the weather warms this spring. I would like to try foundationless -- checkboard drawn frames and foundationless frames in the two deeps. Does this sound right?

I just wanted some feedback from ya'll. I've really appreciated what I've read so far. I'm excited about the bees and kind of nervous.

Thanks,

Darryl
 

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Hello mudburn and welcome to the forum. Sounds like you have a plan, that is half the battle. Please do not hesitate to ask questions and get involved. Enjoy the bees!!
 

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>The hives each have one deep and a shallow super.

I know this is common, but I've never understood the point of having two different sized frames in the brood nest.

>It's my thought to increase the broodnest area to two deeps at least.

Sounds like a plan.

> My plan at this point is to swap the current shallow and deep (assuming that the broodnest is or will be in the shallow and the deep) and add another deep on top when the weather warms this spring.

Sounds like a plan. Although I'd prefer several mediums for the brood so the frames are all the same size and the boxes are managable.

>I would like to try foundationless -- checkboard drawn frames and foundationless frames in the two deeps. Does this sound right?

Sounds fine.
 

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I'm not sure about Kentucky but if I were feeding right now in N Georgia, I'd be using 1:1 syrup. Isn't 2:1 more for fall feeding to build up winter stores? I hope to start 1:1 feeding in a few weeks to promote a population build-up for the coming nectar flow. Other thoughts on mid to late winter feeding....?
 

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Hello Mudburn: You sound like you have a good plan figured out. You can get all your answers here on this forum, just ask, and use this search engine. Everything found in any book is found here. The moderators and a lot of the members have already tried all the questions you have about beekeeping. I have been keeping bees for three years, only because of this web site. The only chemicals I use are food grade mineral oil, with thymol, for our mite problems. You can get these chemicals locally from your local druggist. Good luck, you are going to have a great time.
 

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MudBurn,
I'm at mammoth Cave. I'm bringing my extractor up soon.

I'm still adapting to being in KY as I moved from AL. Not much different, but the plants seem very different.

Feel free to email if you ever just want to chat.
Waya
 

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Discussion Starter #7
You all are great! Of course, I'd already figured that out just reading things you've already written.

Michael, I know that you favor all mediums. I would go that direction, too, except that I don't currently have any mediums, but I do have some extra deeps. I hope to remove the shallow from the brood nest later on after the bees move the upward (as I assume they will do) so that I'll have them in two deeps with no shallow.

Kenpkr, I switched them over to 2:1 from the 1:1 they were being fed before I got them. I wanted to make sure they had enough stores, thinking that they might not with the space they have to occupy. I will switch to 1:1 later when the weather begins to warm up, unless I'm encouraged otherwise.

I checked on the bees syrup last evening and decided to top off the feeder (an upended jar on the inner cover) on one hive. I knew the weather wasn't conducive to calm bees (cloudy with rain coming) and I heard their agitated buzzing but didn't stop. So, I received my first sting from one 'over zealous' worker. It was neat though to hear the difference in their buzzing and to smell the pherenome from the sting (which I never have before).

Thanks!

Darryl
 

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>Michael, I know that you favor all mediums. I would go that direction, too, except that I don't currently have any mediums, but I do have some extra deeps.

It will only take lifting a deep full on honey once and you'll favor mediums too.
You can cut them all down. I did.

> I hope to remove the shallow from the brood nest later on after the bees move the upward (as I assume they will do) so that I'll have them in two deeps with no shallow.

That's probably better. At least they will all be the same size frames.
 

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Darryl,

I was going to ask a similar question. I am getting 5 frame nucs to start my hives. I assume they will be on deep frames, with large cells and many chemicals. After reading the responses and informative websites from this forum, I want to develop a game plan to get to a natural(kind of) hive. (The next project would be to get to medium super hives, right Michael?)

If I possibly end up with a double deep brood chamber, would the core of the broodnest most likely be in the bottom deep, straddling the middle of the two, or in the top one? If it took a couple of generations of brood to get to the right frames(with the right size cells), could I concentrate on inserting frames to be drawn with natural size cells in the most probable location of the core of the broodnest?

Since smaller cells are also shallower(?), could the spacing of the frames containing the core be adjusted with some sort of guide to make them closer? I imagine the frames might have to be fixed to preserve bee space.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Walid
 

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>I was going to ask a similar question. I am getting 5 frame nucs to start my hives. I assume they will be on deep frames, with large cells and many chemicals. After reading the responses and informative websites from this forum, I want to develop a game plan to get to a natural(kind of) hive. (The next project would be to get to medium super hives, right Michael?)

How about buying a five frame deep nuc and a couple of medium five frame boxes from Brushy Mt (or cutting down some deeps). You can start the nuc and add on five frame medium boxes and when you have about three of those full of bees you can start trying to phase out the one deep box.

>If I possibly end up with a double deep brood chamber, would the core of the broodnest most likely be in the bottom deep, straddling the middle of the two, or in the top one?

Where ever the bees decide to make it. It will likely be in both deeps slightly toward the south side of the boxes.

>If it took a couple of generations of brood to get to the right frames(with the right size cells), could I concentrate on inserting frames to be drawn with natural size cells in the most probable location of the core of the broodnest?

Yes, I would insert frames into the core of the broodnest. Or just try to move them up to some medium small cell frames.

>Since smaller cells are also shallower(?), could the spacing of the frames containing the core be adjusted with some sort of guide to make them closer?

If you shave 1/16" off each side of the end bars you will get 1 1/4" spacing. You don't have to but it will speed things along.

> I imagine the frames might have to be fixed to preserve bee space.

Some people space their regular combs (5.4mm cell size) at 1 1/2" (nine frames) and the bees adjust. Most people space their small cell combs 1 3/8" (standard Hoffman frames). Some of use cut those down to 1 1/4" to get one more frame of brood in each box AND encourage them to draw smaller cells.
 

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Let's see, Michael

1- 5 frame deep nuc kit - $36.95
3- 5 frame medium supers- $23.25

Having a spare nuc conversion kit,
or hive splitting kit, or
swarm kit - $(priceless)

Thanks, sounds like a good plan

Walid
 
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