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Hello everyone and thank you for your future welcomes to beekeeping and to this great forum. I have some experience in beekeeping as I helped a guy care for nine hives for six months over a summer long period a few years back so I have some of the basics under wrap. I live in Portland Oregon and have just today found a place where I can set up two hives of my own. My only concern is that it is to late in the year to begin hives. I have located local nuclear hives from which I intend to get started with as soon as next saturday if I get enough positive feedback on it not being too late. Thank you for any help.
 

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Dont know your area, but I know here its not too late for nuc s. Welcome to Beesource and good luck in your endeavor. G
 

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If you're willing to feed you absolutely can still get going. I started a couple nucs in July last year and wintered them over just fine. Feel free to PM me if you need a hand or have specific questions.
 

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This is my first year with my own hives, too. So, take this with a grain of salt - but you can definately still get startes with nucs. Nucleus hives will be well on their way with brood emerging regularly and some food stores. Open them up at the beekeepers place before you take them home to check how their doing. Get them home, add more space (move your 5 frame nuc into a 10 frame box) and feed them to get them really building up. Everyone tells me - feed them until they stop taking it. So, that's what I'm doing. I'm doing 1:2 (1 part sugar, 2 part water) to simulate a nectar flow. I add "Mann Lake Pro Health" which is a supplement with essential oils. I interned on a farm with a few dozen hives and when offered opened buckets of plain sugar syrup or syrup the the essential oils the bees always chose the essential oils, especially lemongrass. So, I'm giving that a shot this year! I digress - feeding your nucs will help them build up enough before winter :)
 

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Feed them 1:1 the bees won't have to work as hard to cure the syrup. It's rare that they will quit taking sugar syrup, they'll keep taking it if you keep giving it. The rare time they quit is only momentarily and they'll go right back to taking it. I don't believe it's too late to get started for you just feed like others are saying and keep an eye on them.
 

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Actually, feeding them 2:1 (sugar to water) will help them cure it faster. If you do get started now, keep a close eye on the queen and her laying behavior. Requeening in the fall when the colony has built up and is fairly strong is ok. But, if you lose a queen mid-summer and it takes a while to kick start the colony, you could find yourself running out of time as the days get shorter.
 

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Your concern based on your local climate conditions is if you start bees soon, will they be able to build up and put by enough stores for next winter? I can't answer that from Maine - you really need to talk with local beekeepers. I would be surprised if you couldn't - but if not - get a jump on next year by working with several local beekeepers and learning all that you can.

Questions I'd ask myself - do I know anything about bees already? What is the local support system like? Is there a local source for both bees and equipment?

Good luck - bees can be great fun and give sweet reward for doing your part correctly!
 

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Not too late.
All nucs are not created equally. Compare what they mean by nuc; five frames with bees that have been together for weeks/ months or two frames with foundation and a cell. Could be anything.
 

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Yup, the "Lil House" advice is poor. Feeding thin syrup is fine for hummingbirds, but is generally a disaster for honey bees. They will take it and fill every cell in the nest with the unusable sweet water. It will over-extend the small number of bees in a new hive, and they won't be able to defend these frames of loose syrup from robbers. It will backfill the brood area, and the small nuc will swarm from crowding.

Scent plays an enormous role in the discovery and recruitment of feed/nectar. Why rose flowers have perfume in the first place. A bucket treated with an attractant, attracts. The bees don't "intuit" the nectar has "healthy vitamins", only that it easily found and easily "taught" to other foragers.
 

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Feed them 1:1 the bees won't have to work as hard to cure the syrup. It's rare that they will quit taking sugar syrup, they'll keep taking it if you keep giving it. The rare time they quit is only momentarily and they'll go right back to taking it. I don't believe it's too late to get started for you just feed like others are saying and keep an eye on them.
Actually, feeding them 2:1 (sugar to water) will help them cure it faster. If you do get started now, keep a close eye on the queen and her laying behavior. Requeening in the fall when the colony has built up and is fairly strong is ok. But, if you lose a queen mid-summer and it takes a while to kick start the colony, you could find yourself running out of time as the days get shorter.
Not to hijack - overall the consensus seems to be that the OP has time! But it's so interesting to hear the take on sugar water. Nectar is higher in water content then either a 1:1 or 2:1, is it not? I went about reading a lot of feedback on the 3 common ratios including the 1:2 and most if not all who actively tried to use all 3 ratios found no real difference in it's efficacy in building up comb and brood. In my area it's dry and hot (North of Reno, NV. Hello desert!) so, the 1:2 helps keep bees hydrated and cool, while still supplementing. I think if you have more moisture you can upgrade to a thicker sugar ratio. I might experiment more with the ratios in following years - When I get up to more hives perhaps feed a few hives each ratio and find what works best here!

Hijack over.
 

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while it might not be to late, I don't really see an advantage to buying a nuc this late in the year, if you do end up losing it overwinter you will end up just having to buy more bees next spring I would think finding a supplier and getting a nuc early next spring would be the better option.
 

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The advantage is that he gets to have an extra season of experience and enjoyment and knowledge. Starting with a nuc now greatly increases his chances of successfully overwintering one than if he doesn't even bother to try.

If I could successfully start nucs in July and bring them through Maine winters, why is June considered "late in the year," particularly in a city with mild winters?

Go for it. Learn and enjoy. And welcome to Beesource, where we seldom agree about anything.

Wayne
 

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Lilhouse study the effect on life expectancy of the different syrup ratios also. I've been foundationless for 12 years, beekeeping for 50, turned my commercial operation over to my grandson, have 4 generations of beekeepers living. I gave up 1:2 a long time ago, I am interested in trying Michael Bush's 5:3 the only ratio I haven't tried. there's a big difference between what you read and the practical application of. One of my goals in beekeeping is to get longevity out of my bees. Experiment with your bees for longevity also. I've kept bees in more than one state snow to deserts I've kept bees there. Use what works learn what doesn't and if capable keep your bees alive. No matter how long you've kept bees there's always something new to learn, that's what I like about beekeeping. If you paid attention Getyourbuzzon is in Portland OR not desert quit moist up that way to much moisture could be an issue for him that's why others are suggesting thicker syrup. If nectar was thicker the bees would have better longevity.
 

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The thread is already hijacked so - I get a wide range of nectar here (as most do I suppose) from water thin, to tulip poplar which is so heavy it is almost honey when it comes in. Wax building goes into High gear when the poplars are in bloom as does swarming, brood and honey production. My conclusion is why bother with thin syrup other than in early early spring when water foraging might be an issue? I would rather do half as much work by feeding heavy syrup whenever possible. Plus during summer/fall it is much less prone to ferment.

I might change my mind if I see other evidence, but it seems like false economy to feed thin syrup - more work for me and the bees.

To the OP - if you can overwinter a nuc in your area (you can in mine) then starting now has the wonderful advantage of letting you have bees in early spring when so many folks are wishing they had bees. Here I would not count on building very much additional comb before winter - so you need enough now to winter on.

Good luck.
 

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Re posting because I really dislike the way I said it before;

There are nucs out there that it is not too late. mature & stable, ready. Keeping it under control may be the problem.

There are nucs out there which are too late. It was too late the day they were made. A freshly made nuc may or may not be too late for your area, it depends on how well it is made up as much or more than your season.

Still do not like this post either, but that is not going to stop me from hitting the button.
 

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I half thought to post another thread...but we'll all here anyway!

So - on the advantage of starting now - I agree, experience experience experience. The joy of it, the learning curve, etc.
Some have mentioned the type of nuc and I agree with that too. Did the breeder you know just throw a new queen in with bees and brood from another colony? Or has she been in there laying in the frames for sometime so the bees are mostly hers? Of course, a nuc is a sort of forced reverse swarm...the bees wouldn't do it this way. The mother and half the bees would leave and let the daughter hatch out and continue on. We do the opposite - we take a daughter and some bees out and try to make that establish. And it works. I like it more than a package (but hey! It's my first year!!) So, moral of all this? If you can get your hands on some nucs where the queen has been mated and in there for a bit - a few weeks to a month at least - then you know the bees know her and they're raising brood together. Plus, at the point, her first eggs would be near hatching pupae and you'll get a much needed boost in population.

SUGAR WATER!! I am so not above learning from the pros. Thinner syrup isn't what some chalk it up to be, huh? I was really curious so I opened my hives. They have 2-3 frames each of drawn comb full of the syrup. But they have NOT build up more comb for my queens to lay in. Queens are laying in the combs on the brood nest frames, though. That tells me that thicker syrup might just be the way to go. On the other hand, no robbing going on right now and they've dried the syrup enough that is does not run if you hold the frame sideways even for a long period of time. So, they're drying it out and getting the evaporative cooling benefits I was hoping for.

I'll try some 5:3, see what I see. I'll be looking for them building combs for brood AND actually capping the sugar syrup - the tinner stuff has not been capped yet which obviously means it's taking a while to cure. If they're capping the thicker syrup faster -- well, you get the idea.

And add another nearby water source for them. They use the drip line drippers to the orchard they are in, the dog and horse water buckets, etc. But I'll place one nearby to see if they take the water in themselves when given thicker syrup.
 

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Good morning, Getyourbuzzzon!

My husband and i are new to beekeeping, situated just North of you on the other side of the river. Although the days are certainly getting shorter, i'm inclined to encourage you to begin your adventures with beekeeping this very year! If nothing else, your observations of your bees this year will help you understand the way a colony behaves, the anatomy of the hive, how to feel comfortable handling the combs, etc. Whatever happens over the winter, you'll be better positioned next Spring to either expand, or begin anew with a little more knowledge under your belt.

No amount of reading is a substitute for hands-on experience (and in some cases, what you've read may actually lead you astray because there are so many variables in beekeeping). My husband and i will likely spend the whole of our lives as eternal students to the teachings of the honeybee. But we're thrilled we got started this year. In my opinion, it's not too late for you to take your first steps either.
 
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