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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey, I am a novice beekeeper and hope to get started this spring. Id really like to meet any beekeepers close to Putnam county that could mentor me or give me any recommendations from whom I should buy my first supplies and bees

Thanks in advance!!

Steven
 

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Hello from E. TN... there are a lot of great mentors hanging out around here... but some of the best to learn from may not be local. Michael Bush, Grant, Iddee, and many others are absolutely masters at this and worth listening to. As for an in-person mentor, I would check with the Putnam county beekeepers association.

As for recommendations on supplies and bees... I would recommend Dadant and Walter T. Kelley for supplies, though I know other people have had great luck out of other suppliers so far I have just used those and haven't had a single problem with either of them. For bees, I recommend going and getting a swarm next spring instead of buying bees... unless you are intending to start with a great number of hives. Swarms from feral honey bees are generally more hardy and will survive longer... plus they are free.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey thanks for the response!!

I checked with http://www.tnbeekeepers.org/ and sadly it doesnt seem Putnam county has a branch :(, however, I did email the president of the Overton county branch and am awaiting a response from him. I actually had already looked through much of what Dadant offers and was impressed, so that's encouraging! I was planning on buying one of their starter kits... such as "M58101 HONEY OF A HOBBY BEGINNER KIT NO 1" along with perhaps another assembled hive as I would liek to start with two... do you think that is the right path to take?

As for catching swarms... I would absolutely love to do that. I have read elsewhere all you do is contact your local emergency personnel and inform them of your interest in doing it? My only concern is that I am not called... resulting in no bees and possibly too late to order a package (?)... if I did put my name on the list then how often do you estimate people are called to respond to a swarm? I have no idea how commonly spotted they are.

Again thanks for the insight! any more help is soooo appreciated!!!

Steven
 

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Hello from West KY.

In my opinion your best bet would be to start with a couple of nucs. Look around for a local bee club or at least someone in you local area that has bees and would let you come help out in their apiary.

Read all you can and attend field days whenever possible.

Whatever you do, don't become discouraged if both your hives die the first year or for whatever reason they don't come through the winter well. With new diseases and pests it seems that it has become more difficult to keep bees but after a few years of experience you will do fine.

Nothing wrong with swarms, I love to catch them but for a beginner there is no guarantee you got the queen, you probably will not have drawn comb to start with which puts you a few weeks delayed due to comb drawing. All these little things play a role in your ability to winter the hive the first winter.

If you are set on swarms, try posting on this site under the correct section on removals for your area, put up a notice on your local Tractor Supply or other Agriculture supply bulletin board.

Good luck.


Tim
 

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I was planning on buying one of their starter kits... do you think that is the right path to take?
Depends. I recommend doing a lot of reading & research before starting to spend money. There are many choices to be made, and it's not unusual for new beekeepers to buy starter kits and then discover they wish they had bought something else. For example, weight is a big issue: do you want 10-frame or 8-frame equipment? Deep boxes, or all mediums? Plastic, wax, or no foundation? The post by "Bens-Bees: referred to Michael Bush. I suggest reading everything at his site, especially the page on beginning beekeeping:
http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm


I would like to start with two...
Good! Two is better than one for many reasons.

As for catching swarms... I would absolutely love to do that. I have read elsewhere all you do is contact your local emergency personnel and inform them of your interest in doing it?
Also provide your name and contact number to librarians, county extension agents, nearby bee clubs, online sites, state/county apiary inspectors, etc.

My only concern is that I am not called... resulting in no bees and possibly too late to order a package (?)... if I did put my name on the list then how often do you estimate people are called to respond to a swarm?
I'd recommend ordering bees from a local supplier and having extra equipment on hand for swarms. The frequency of swarms is unpredictable - some years you'll be inundated with calls, other years you might not get any.
 

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Welcome Steven, Spring is a great time to start. You will probably have to place an order this Fall or Winter in any hope of getting package bees next Spring. Many, many new and experienced beekeepers will be competing for the same resources. I would suggest you get a minimal hive kit to assemble this Winter - bottom board, deep super with frames, medium super with frames and cover. Paint the outside only white or any light color. Most of the suppliers have kits but they have ways to spend your money on junk you do not need too. You will need a smoker, hive tool and veil. Everything else is someone preying on your naive' enthusiasm. At the USF workshops they build a hive for $30. The next workshop they put bees and a marked queen in their hive for $50. The smoker, hive tool and veil have been running $17 for the last two years. So anything over $97 is overhead/profit. These are at or near cost with generous help from several suppliers. They send catalogs to pass out and we introduce a hundred new beekeepers to their rolls. You could always do Disney a couple days and join us for Bee workshops on Saturday in Tampa.
 

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I was planning on buying one of their starter kits... such as "M58101 HONEY OF A HOBBY BEGINNER KIT NO 1" along with perhaps another assembled hive as I would liek to start with two... do you think that is the right path to take?
Definately start with more than one hive... but in addition to the things indypartridge brought up, buying a kit can often be more expensive than buying the individual pieces, so be careful and do your homework to make sure you get a good deal on the kit as well as making sure you find the setup that will work best for you.

I have read elsewhere all you do is contact your local emergency personnel and inform them of your interest in doing it?
Or put an ad in the paper, put a few signs up on bulletin boards... there are numberous ways to advertise that you'll collect swarms.

My only concern is that I am not called... resulting in no bees and possibly too late to order a package (?)... if I did put my name on the list then how often do you estimate people are called to respond to a swarm? I have no idea how commonly spotted they are.
Well I'm in the Knoxville area and advertized with a listing in craigslist as well as a few places online and got 10 new colonies from swarm calls this year... so I wouldn't worry as much about not getting any calls as I would worry about getting too many calls. Make sure you find the name of another beekeeper in your area that you can differ callers to once you've gotten your fill of swarms.
 
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