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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have not kept bees since I was a teenager(30 years ago), but I am working back into the swing of things and plan on setting up a couple of hives next year. I am thinking of sticking with the Italians from my youth.

Any recommendations for places to order my bees from? Please feel free to send a private message.

Note: No one in my area discusses or gives any leads on any local swams.

Great to meet everyone here!
 

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Hey buddy i see you are from Bedford, VA and i don't know how far you are willing to travel to pick up a 3 pound package of italian strain honeybees. But Miller Bee Supply is located in North Wilkesboro, NC.

I just assessed mapquest.com and discovered it to be about a 3 hour 4 minute drive from your location. Not knowing if you are interested in buying from this supplier but they are a reputable supplier but will not ship bees via postal services.

I bought my bees from this company and traveled 3 hours to get them as well and the bees traveled just fine in the back floorboard of my vehicle without any undue stress upon them.

They are now doing just fine in their new home.

Just thought i would throw that out there. Or you could get them from Moravian Falls, NC at Brushy Mountain Bee Farm which is 3 hrs. 7 minutes away from your location.

Thanks, Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you!

I probably will follow your lead for the bee sources.

My gameplan for now was this summer set up my hive area and gather all my materials and next spring start out two hives.

For my hive area, since I am up in the mountains and it gets quite windy at times, I was going to drop some 4x4's on 4' centers and run a square "U" shaped area with wooden lattice about 4' high as a general wind brake and use one of my solar electric fence rigs across the front of the "U" to keep varmits out. The open electric fence section will face the east to catch the sunrise.

I also will probably mulch the area for weed control.

Thoughts anyone?
 

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Sounds great my man, in reference to the package bees at the above mentioned sources that i advised, it is advisable to order your bees now for next spring. I cannot remember exactly as to whether or not you are required to pay for your bees ahead of time or not. I did but i am not sure if this is mandatory.

You can obtain their numbers off of their websites and those links in my earlier reply are set up to take you there.

Now in reference to your beeyard that you are creating, that sounds great with the install of the lattice fencing. I really like that idea and when the temps drop really low, you could simply place a canvas cover over this lattice to stop the wind altogether and remove it when needed.

That should work great and i guess being that you are located in the mountains the reasoning for the installation of the wire fencing is to ward off critters like skunks which i am sure you guys have in the mountains where you live? Correct?

I'm excited :banana: for you about getting back into beekeeping, exciting, for they are really a pleasure to be around and to know the ecological impact that they have on the environment is all the more reasoning for keeping these neat creatures.

Take care buddy, Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
We are thinking the same about the tarps!

Yes...I have skunks, racoons, foxes to say the least.

Part of what prompted getting back into bees was that I just got done planting a small orchard beside my vegitable garden that has apple trees, pear trees, plum trees, peach trees, cherry trees, blackberries, rasberries, grapes, blueberries, elderberries, and strawberries.

A little pollenation is a wonderful thing!
 

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Virginia Bee i must say i am jealous my man for the orchard you have, WOW!!!

That is something to be the owner of, wow, what a joy to feast off the fruit of your land as you will be doing. I wish i had the land to have such a orchard, gracious that must be enjoyable to say the least.

Chris
 

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Welcome new feller...best wishes from Tennessee! As for your question about Italian bees...yes...many of us still have Italians...although Russian bees are getting quite popular in some areas. The main thing is to try to get some bees established that are hygenic and of course, a good prolific queen with desirable traits. Good luck...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well I am trying to put my 20 some acres to good use. It is not a huge orcharde, 3 or 4 of each of the trees, but it will be productive in a few years. Besides, the kids are tired of veggies from the garden...some fruits and berries into the mix should play out well.

I followed those links back near the beginning of this post and they look like some pretty good sources. I think there is a Dadant (sp?) store about an hour away and I think I will have to pay them a visit.
 

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Yes, there is a Dadant plant in Lynchburg that usually has packages available for pickup in early April. I got a few from there in 2008. Be prepared to stand in line! But it's fun to chat with people while you wait.

Heishman's HoneyB Hut in Wardensville, W.Va., sells some limited numbers of packages and nucs in the spring, I believe. They have a Facebook page (you don't have to join Facebook to see it): http://www.facebook.com/pages/wardensville-wv/Heishman-HoneyB-Hut/166471084956

And if you ever end up having to go the mail order route, I got some packages in 2009 from Waldo's apiary in Ohio. The packages took three days to make it to me, but they were in fantastic shape, with minimal dead bees.

Good luck with starting your apiary.

-- Christine
 

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Packages are good to start with, but I might also reccomend starting with a 5 frame NUC hive. You get an established colony with brood and queen, a little quicker jumpstart on things than a package. There are pros adnc cons to both, just my 2 cents...good luck
 

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You might want to run that electric fence all the way around for the stray black bear that might visit your hives. They are in your area.:eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I was thinking about that also. I was going to run one low around the base of the lattuce and one near the top to encourage critters to stay away.

I just don't want to spook to many deer away...I tend to snag at least one 8 pointer and a few does out in the fields every year.

Hey...I just noticed...this is getting to be one popular welcome message!

Now I noticed some of you brought up the nucs vs. package issue. The only thing I worry about with nucs is how old the frames/wax are. I am a tad bit worried that I may end up with some old or infected stuff.

I was thinking about using a deep brooder with feed to start out in the spring, once they get built out a bit, add a second deep, then after that gets moving pretty good drop in a queen excluder and one or two supers with the top wedged up a bit for upper entry.

I am also planning on getting a screened bottom board and I have heard that it is not a bad idea to leave that open over winter to control condensation.

I am currently trying to decide if I want to start with 2 or 3 hives. I think I am going to go Italians across the board.

Comments anyone?
 
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