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Re: d) Getting bees

I have a friend with a wild hive living in the wall of an old shed. As i have just finished buillding my first hive, he was telling me i could have the bees out of it. I know this is a bit off subject of Nuc vs package, but is this a bad way to go? Is there a bad time of year to move them to my TBH? I was simply thinking this could get me started now instead of waiting till next spring.

also a question on NUCs can you use them on a TBH?
 

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Re: d) Getting bees

This section is not for general discussion, but I kept your post here for a point. I have since changed my position on this topic. I have always been an advocate of packages for the beginner. Years ago this worked well. In recent years, I have found packages to be very unreliable. A high percentage of queens get superseded. Putting your name on a swarm list and starting with a swarm is by far the best bees to start with, but you have to be willing to wait for that day to come. Nothing out performs a swarm.

I don't know about timing in Kentucky, but I would sure do everything I could to get those bees.
 

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Re: d) Getting bees

You might want to wait a year. This isn't the ideal time of year. I still think packages are a bit pointless.

In the meantime, make your bee yard bee friendly. Grow flowers that bloom during dearths.

Make a vacuum thing, and do the cut out next year.

Here's what I use to make swarm traps.
cardboard boxes
a $13 4'X8' sheet of plywood (~12 traps)
bungees
staples

If you don't catch bees with these, it means you probably didn't make the lemongrass lures right. The traps (without the bungee cost) are about $1.15 each. The lemongrass oil (lifetime supply) is $5. Try to go foundationless when you can. Your first box should have all foundation, or checkerboarded comb. Follow the foundationless rules (keep things level, etc.). Use all deeps. If you don't want to lift 100 lbs, use all mediums. Don't put different box sizes on the same hive. Never treat. Exterminate sick bees. Use a SBB.
 

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Re: d) Getting bees

Best breed of bee for what area? It is very different in the North than down South, for example...
That said, Buckfasts, Italians, and Caucasians are usually considered excellent for beginners, although Caucasian bees do make a lot of propolis. Russians, mutts, VSH, Carniolans, and German Black bees can be challenging for a beginner, although many a beekeeper has begun on every race of bees, and has perhaps become a better beekeeper for having started with somewhat more difficult bees.

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OK, so there are 9 common ways to get bees. Each has pluses and minuses.

1. Capture a swarm.

2. Buy a complete hive. Perhaps the very best way to get started. You'll likely harvest honey your first year. The breed will be known.

3. Buy an over-wintered nucleus colony. Considerably less expensive than buying a complete hive, but you likely won't harvest honey the first year. They are also very unlikely to swarm the first year (some races, notably Russians and mutts with some AHB ancestry, are exceptions).

4. Buy package bees.

oops...out of time. Will continue tomorrow. - kc
 
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