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Hi,
I have not done any bee keeping before, but have started going to a local bee school, I am after some advice on what to order in my start up package, I have a catalog from Bushy Mountain bee farm with a one time free shipping coupon and really like the English garden hive kit as Iam English myself and like the shape of their hive. My questions are, the kit comes with 2 deep supers and no shallow should I order some shallow or medium ones with the kit or will I not need them this year if I do how many of which size would be best. I was also thinking of ordering a top feeder and queen excluder, other than that is there anything else I really should buy, if it is wooden and needs to be painted I would like to do it at the same time as the main hive. Thanks in advance John
 

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Depends on what you care to lift. Shallows are really nice for small scale as they are much easier to tote around.

You can use a stain for more attractive boxes. Be sure not to coat anything that comes in contact with the bees.

A queen excluder is nice in my opinion. Some don't care for them.
 

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Hi John if you are starting with a packege and with undrawn foundation you will probably be able to get by without supers for the first year. Most starter kits will come with 2 deeps and 2 (supers) either mediums or shallows.If we have a good year as is being predicted by the moisture here in the northeast over the winter you will want a couple of supers, I believe the english garden hive is a standard hive with a different cover. compare prices and shipping with a second or third supplier. Betterbee is just over in greenwich NY and I believe Dadant has A branch in NY.both are excellent suppliers. Yes by all means get enough equipment to start with sometimes the bees just get carried away and get ahead of the beekeeper. Good luck. your local bee school may have a large order for the club members going in soon check with them it might cut down on shipping costs if someone is picking up a large order.
 

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I'd recommend you not go with a 'beginner's kit'. You should think about standardizing your operation from the start rather than having boxes of different sizes. If you can manage them I'd go with medium or Illinois supers for both hive bodies and honey collection in the future. That way all of your frames are interchangeable. Deeps have their place in raising nucs and queens but they don't make good supers because they are just too heavy for the average person to lift.

Check out Miller Bee Supply in Miller's Creek, NC.
www.millerbeesupply.com

I rode down there a couple weeks ago and picked up a large order. They have great customer service and fast shipping. I don't have any affiliation with them other than being a repeat customer.

Hope this helps you.
Mike
 

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I agree with Sundance and Fernhill regarding the ungangly weight of deeps. Moving them around on a nice WARM sunny bee-working day is quite miserable.

Many are going to mediums for their whole system. I wish I had done that myself. Just separating the two deeps of my hive "body" for looking for queens etc (very important to do when starting out as it gets you deep into your hive and comfortable with bees) is quite a chore at times when your back isn't into it.

I enjoy the little J-shaped hive tool for removing the first frame. I made my own. A "hair-clip" style queen catcher has been handy but not necessary first year. I almost never wear gloves and never really have. Dishwashing gloves work well.

Most importantly, I would recommend starting out-right with Small Cell foundation and never use the typical stuff sent with "beginners' kits."

Can't remember where I read it, but some Beekeeping writer expressed in an article what a "waste" it is for small timers to try extracting for sells especially when comb honey is a higher-valued product and Much easier to harvest (let alone cheaper).

Waya
 

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I agree with the above as far as using all mediums. How old are you? a 20 year old bodybuilder can probably life the full deeps for the next 15 yrs. Then You too can be sleeping on the floor. I suggest using all mediums and buying three. You never know when you need that first honey super.

Comb honey is not easier to store or to package or to sell. If you've never heard of it, you probably don't hang in those circles. That makes it hard to sell. Crush and strain. You're most valuable possesion (next to drawn comb) is going to bee your hive tool. It pries everything loose, pinches loser queens, Spanks the wife, Oh. where was I?

HAwk
 

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Hi there --

I bought two colonies' worth of wooden ware, preassembled, from Brushy Mountain last year and liked it so much that I bought another colony's worth this year. I also went with the English Garden hive cover, and like it alot. Since my bees are on a roof deck, keeping the boxes small was important.

This was my shopping list for 2 colonies:

</font>
  • 2 packages of Italian bees</font>
  • 1 beejacket with zip on screen hood</font>
  • 1 cheapo veil for the husband</font>
  • 1 hobbyist smoker</font>
  • 1 Maxant-style and 1 Italian hive tool</font>
  • 1 pair leather gloves, used mostly in August</font>
  • 6 medium deeps for brood nest, plus 4 extra for potential honey (and I needed them all)</font>
  • 2 queen excluders (which never got used)</font>
  • two hive top feeders, side by side bay type with wood floats</font>
  • 80 duragilt medium frames to fit all those boxes</font>
  • 2 hive stands (truly optional--cement blocks work)</font>
  • 2 SCREENED bottom boards (very strong recommendation)</font>
  • 2 inner covers</font>
  • 2 sloped copper English outer hive covers</font>
  • Diana Sammataro/Alfonse Avitabile's beekeeping book</font>
Boardman feeders are for the birds, you don't want one. Zip up veils ROCK, and you do want one of those.

Alot of beekeepers buy the equipment unassembled to save money, but I am short on tools and found the assembled stuff to be tough. I kinda wish I had tried small cell for one of my colonies, but don't know if I could get that in preassembled form.

You'll need other things, like paint and so on, but that does not run to much money. Just buy the cheap stuff on the "oops" shelf on the store. I used exterior latex.
 

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hello NHbloke,

I'm not far from you. I think your best bet for ordering is from betterbee. They are fast for us since they are in NY and their prices are competitive. I also would not order a kit. Just make a list of the things you really need or want and go with it.

The honeyhouse is not far from you, you should get to know him.
 

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A "hobbyist" smoker is also not a good choice to me. For a few dollars more you can have one that will vent well so it stays lit, have a heat guard on it and will last many, many years. I'd buy good stuff the first time 'cause if you don't you will soon be buying it again.

Also cast my vote for all mediums.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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Starter kits are not cheaper and they have NOTHING I would actually buy in them.

I'd buy all mediums and they are usually two deeps or deeps and shallows.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beeseightframemedium.htm

I'd buy an Italian hive tool, I don't like the regular ones.

I wouldn't use an excluder. You might want to buy one eventually, but you really don't need one now.

The kit will come with some variation of large cell foundation, and I'd buy small cell or none.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm

The kit will come with a small smoker, and I'd buy the large one because it's easier to keep it lit.

The kit usually comes with a veil, and I prefer a jacket with a zip on veil.

The kit usualy comes with cheap bee gloves, and I usually wear some regular doeskin gloves tucked into the ealstic sleeves of the jacket.

The kit usually comes with a solid bottom board and I prefer a SBB.

The kit usually comes with ten frame boxes and I prefer eight frame boxes.

The kit usually comes with a hive stand, and I never use them. It will come with a telescipic and inner cover and I'd just buy a migratory cover and prop the lid open. It will come with an entrance reducer but I'll just block the bottom entrance.

I might use the bee brush.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you for all your responses, i guess a starter kit is not the way to go, i will propably go with the english hive which in an 8 frame set up, would two medium size boxes be ok for the bees to winter over in NH, sorry if this is a stupid question but i dont want any bees to freeze or run out of food. I do agree with cheep not being good as you normally have to upgrade sooner than you think.
 

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Ditto on the mediums. I horsed deeps around during a relatively short inspection yesterday and they're a LOT heavier than they were just a few short years ago.
You need to plan on getting a long life out of your equipment, and I suspect that in a ten year span you might have a star-crossed season when a muscle or joint would appreciate a lighter load.
 

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You know, this just hit me, and it might be a bit off topic, so don't take this one to heart...

As a peace of mind measure, I had my doctor give me a prescription for an Epi-Pen, cost less than $30.

I'm not allergic to beesting, though they say it can creep up on you. It just seems like insurance against all kinds of things, you know? I keep it around.

[ March 07, 2006, 03:07 PM: Message edited by: Toni Bee ]
 

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I don't really like the kits much, and think that all of the above comments are good advice. If you can afford it, buy a bunch of mediums to start with. Usually you can get som type of bulk discount, and you'll be glad that you have them later. You can substitute almost any piece of equipment for houshold items, but a good smoker and extra hive bodies are hard to beat. You can easily manage without almost everything but gentle bees, strong boxes, and a good smoker.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I will go as most people suggest and order all medium supers with a 8 frame hive and not from a kit, i did think of getting a epi pen if not for me then then house guests. Thanks for all the advice and can anyone recommend a supplier for a 8 frame sbb (assuming that means slatted)
John
 

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S=Screened
B=Bottom
B=Board

Brushy Mountain has a nice selection of 8 frame equipment.

Jeff
 

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I just ordered my first hive from Brushy Mountain.
I did not order the beginners package, had to much stuff I didn't need. What I ordered was cheaper then the beginners package.

1 smoker
2 hive bodies
1 lid
1 inner cover
1 IPM BB
20 wedge top frames
Foundation from James.
1 bee jacket and hat
ventilated gloves.
Because my foundation is small I am going to cut it and place strips in the frames and then sell chunk honey.

Craig
 

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Discussion Starter #20
i have just ordered one English garden hive and 5 spare medium frames from Brushy, it comes with the IPM screen bottom as well as the solid base, should i just not use the solid base or at least drill some large vent holes in it, i will be ordering the other stuff from other suppliers to share the wealth and give local places some of the money.
 
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