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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thi is my new adventure. I will have a package ready for pickup on May 17. I have been told by some that this is late. What do you think? Also I would like to have 2 or 3 hives. Should I go ahead and try to start 2 around this time or wait and start#2 next spring along with #3. Please advise as all opinions are welcomed.

Thanks
Kenny
 

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Well, "late" implies a comparison to something else. If other packages that are potentially available to you are also mid-May delivery, then you have done as well as you can. The alternative is to not start this year and instead be first in line for 2015. :)

I would recommend that you start out with two hives. With at least two hives you have more options if one develops a problem. With only one hive, you are stuck.
 

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I started with two and one of them was weak and being new at this I would have never known if I had not had my other one which was almost double in size
 

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I started with two and one of them was weak and being new at this I would have never known if I had not had my other one which was almost double in size
Very good point,,,That is why it's best to have at least two,
If there is bees around your area, Maybe you could set some swarm traps out,Never know. Don't cost that much,& it sure is fun going around & checking to see if you caught any thing,,,,,Mark.
 

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Well, its "late" in that packages generally start being available in April, but April-May is considered quite normal for these things, especially given the large demand.

And yes, I would second getting two hives going to start with if at all possible. I started last year with one hive and managed to make it work (got a nuc coming in in April, and building bait hives to catch swarms in to further expand with), but it really would have been much easier had I started with two.

Reason is like the others have said, it gives you something to compare against. My hive was weak most of the best parts of last season due to several issues that took them the better part of the season to get over, and if I had had two hives and the other was going strong I could have borrowed a few frames from the strong hive to boost up the weak one and things would have gone much better.

Having two hives will also help with you screwing around with them. And yes, we all like to obsess over them and poke our noses in there to see how they're doing, its perfectly natural. If you've got two going, you can at least alternate which hive you're poking around in so that overall you disturb each hive less than you would if you were constantly opening up one hive.

It may sound like you're getting twice as much work, but its a non-linear scaling with beehives. A lot of the time required to maintain them is in things like getting dressed, getting the smoker going, etc. Once you're actually going, doing two hives isn't much more work than doing one at all.

So yeah, get two if you can, but working with just one to start with is totally doable. There is even some good reasons to start with only one (obvious ones being that the hive woodware alone can be expensive, and making sure you will actually want to keep doing it after a season of buzzing insects and getting stung). So there are tradeoffs each way. Starting with two is twice as expensive and requires more work, but starting with one means you don't have the resources to correct problems if they come up.

I started with one, wish I had started with two.
 

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It IS late, but you are in central Georgia, where normally you enjoy a long flowering season. If you can swing it 2 is definitely better than one colony. You can rob Peter to help Paul, that is, swap a brood frame from one in return for a pollen/nectar frame from the other if conditions require it.

Good luck!

Phil
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Managed to reserve another package.... Lucky day it was. There will be two hives here. Plan to built a topbar this weekend. Looks to be a fun project.


Kenny
 

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, but you are in central Georgia, where normally you enjoy a long flowering season.
Although I'm not quite in central GA....I can tell you that we enjoy a relatively short flowering season. Having said that, one can establish a colony with a mid May package but an early April one would be better.
My nectar flow typically peaks late April to early May. Natural nectar flow sufficient to stimulate wax production ends late May to early June and the nectar flow totally ends by mid to late June. To my thinking a May 17 package has about 4 weeks to get established. Stay on top of them!
 

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i agree with dan. it would be good to check with the beekeepers in your area, but in the southeast it is not unusual to experience a 'dearth' in nectar and pollen flow starting anywhere from mid june to mid july and lasting for possibly a month or two. package bees will be starting from scratch and have to draw out all of their comb. it's very possible you will have to make syrup available to them if their is a dearth in your area to help them get established. normally i don't like to use artificial feeds but this would be an exception.
 
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