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Just starting

926 Views 5 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  SeaCucumber
Good morning,
My husband and I are new to bee keeping, although we have wanted bees since we purchased 50 acres of unimproved land in northeast Oklahoma 9 years ago. We now have a small orchard, berry bushes, a small veggie garden with flowers, a few cows and sheep, chickens, and a pig. I have been a city girl all my life, so I have purchased books on all the livestock we own and do additional research online. I have 2 books on beekeeping.

The beekeeping idea kicked into high gear when a tree fell across our driveway last week. The top of the tree was filled with a bee hive 4 feet long.

Several of the people I work with have been beekeepers for years. They told me there was not much chance of successfully moving the bees due to the catastrophic nature of the tree collapse.
Nevertheless, my husband and I rushed out to purchase a bee starter hive (Langstroth type), bee jacket with hood, and a smoker with some burlap. By the time we looked at the log in again, most of the bees were gone and the wasps were eating the larvae.

So we harvested the honey. We got about 2.5 quarts of dark brown honey. We are trying to figure out what to do with all of the wax.

Beekeeping is much more complex than the other livestock I have learned about. My husband and I need a broader knowledge base before we start.
Unfortunately, our local bee association has cancelled fall classes due to COVID concerns.

I have read enough to know the following:
> Start with 2 hives-
> Site selection- location, location, location
> Site preparation
> Start new hives in the spring so they have time to build up honey for our cold winters
> Start with a nuc rather than a package if possible
> Find a mentor to work with-looking for a mentor.
Not easy as my husband and I still work full time, as do many beekeepers!

Any other advice from experienced beekeepers in northeast Oklahoma out there?
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Sounds like you are on the right track. Too bad about losing that tree hive!

As for the comb, it can be useful next spring. You can use rubber bands to attach large combs trimmed to fit the Langstroth frames, giving your new bees a head start. You can also use it in bee swarm traps to help catch 'wild' swarms. My current bees are all descended from a swarm I caught that way.

Best of luck! Keep posting here: People are generally quite helpful to answer questions. One more thing, add your location to your profile so local people can respond to specific questions.
Welcome to Beesource, DRose. It would be most helpful if you would post your location in your bio. Giving ideas and helpful guidance is very location sensitive.

Also remember that asking a question of beekeepers will usually get you different answers, so it's good to read and learn from sources that you'll learn to trust as time goes by. Even the best keepers will differ on somethings.

Good luck with your bees. :thumbsup:
I'm a 3rd year. Welcome. The short list to have hives live through winter are 1) mite treatment(s) goal- as close to 0% going into winter as possible 2) nutrition- starvation, feed heavily in the fall 3) queen viability and being queen right going into winter. This list is pretty universal no matter where you live. Only the most experienced can vary their mite treatments.

Just thought I'd pass this along because if you get the basics right, your satisfaction with the hobby increase over time.
Welcome to Beesource, DRose. Looks like you have received some good advice and I would only add that you can use this time to learn all you can about the wonderful world of beekeeping- because Spring will be here before you know it and you will suddenly find yourself confronted with 30,000 stinging insects and things will move fast...

One final point- now is not too soon to think about bee stock. If you are planning on buying nucs or packages you may want to research local options and get your name in the hat- good operators tend to sell-out early. Otherwise, catching swarms is a whole lot of fun and may yield good results for you depending on your local bee population.

Good luck and have fun!

Your goal should be to be treatment free, but you will want enough hives and genetics for that. Have a low threshold for 2 hives, and treat if its passed. Practice making queens. Don't get much of any new equipment until you have tested it. OAV is works for me. My vaporizer is made from a $10 immersion heater. 5 treatments over 20 days gives a good enough fall kill that gets them to the strong winter broodless treatment. If something makes no sense, do what's natural/simple/cheap. I don't use foundation because its too confusing. There's a lot of misinformation. If I could do things over, I think all my hives would be in Michael Palmer style deep nucs (with a shared bottom box). The stands would be Palmer style or pallets. Bottom entrances would be a tiny hole that I could plug with a cork over the winter. Telescoping tops would be just the metal.
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