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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings once Again

So, I have ordered The Practical Beekeeper, The New Starting Right with Bees, and The Idiot's Guide to Beekeeping. I have also read through the Beekeeping Basics PDF recommended on the Beginner Books Thread. I have been left with some questions, and since my books won't bee here for another week, was wondering if y'all could help me out…

1: When it comes to swarm prevention, how fast does a well-established hive swarm?? And if I split the hive to prevent swarming, what can I do to prevent an excess of hives from accumulating in my backyard?? I MAY have room for 4 at the very most, but would like to keep my numbers down to 1-2…what do I do if I end up with extra bees??

2: On the topic of allergies, what steps can I take to make sure that neither myself or my family develop a bee allergy?? I have heard about desensitization regiments etc., but still wonder...

3: I see a lot of information about brood pattern…how much of a science is this?? Do you actually count the number of different cell types and determine averages, ratios, etc.?? Or is it more of a general thing? There doesn't seem to be a hard-fast rule

4: What does one do with the "drawn out comb"?? I see some people on the forum here referencing reusing it or processing it in some way…what do these things entail??

I'm sure many of these questions will be answered in these reference works, but I'm impatient to get the books :p

Thanks for the help
 

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Mephi.. There could probably be at least one book written for each one of your questions. Those are pretty broad topics. I am in just my second year of beekeeping and the biggest thing I've learned is just how much I have yet to learn. And while books are great and an important part of learning, it does not come close to having 2 or 3 hives of your own. Unlike anything I have ever attempted, the difference between book knowledge and practical knowledge in beekeeping is staggering. But as daunting as it may feel, it is even more fun, rewarding, and jut plain amazing. Spend a lot of time perusing these forums. They will help give book knowledge some perspective.
 

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While you are waiting for those books to be delivered, you can read much of the content of "The Practical Beekeeper" here .... :)

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


I'll tackle #4. If you have 'drawn out comb', you can use it to give new hives (packages) or splits a head start compared to drawing their own comb. Also it can be used in some techniques attempting swarm control. The idea is that if bees always have room to raise new brood, there will be less likelihood to swarm.

Also, drawn comb can be used for honey supers - some feel that bees may store more honey if they already have drawn comb available. That is part of the concept behind 'extracting' honey vs 'crush and strain' honey harvesting.
 

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>1: When it comes to swarm prevention, how fast does a well-established hive swarm??

From when to when? From the first blooms to the swarm? From the first queen cell to the swarm?

>And if I split the hive to prevent swarming, what can I do to prevent an excess of hives from accumulating in my backyard??

A combine can be done anytime, but the most useful times are just before the flow (to maximize the harvest) and just before winter (to have strong hives going into winter). Excess hives can be sold for good money in the spring...

>I MAY have room for 4 at the very most, but would like to keep my numbers down to 1-2…what do I do if I end up with extra bees??

Sell them. Combine them. Extra bees are never a problem.

>2: On the topic of allergies, what steps can I take to make sure that neither myself or my family develop a bee allergy??

Don't wash your bee clothes with everyone else's. Better yet, hang them on the clothesline (yes I have one, but odds are you don't...) and hose them off and then let them dry...

>I have heard about desensitization regiments etc., but still wonder...

I suppose you could make sure everyone gets stung often... but none of my family took an interest in bees, none wanted to get stung, and only one was ever stung growing up (barefoot stepping on bees...) and none had any reactions other than the norm (local itching and swelling). I would do nothing...

>3: I see a lot of information about brood pattern…how much of a science is this??

I think obsessing about brood patterns is how we ended up with unhygienic bees.

>Do you actually count the number of different cell types and determine averages, ratios, etc.??

Never.

?Or is it more of a general thing?

Yes.

>There doesn't seem to be a hard-fast rule

No.

>4: What does one do with the "drawn out comb"??

Use it in all kinds of ways... to give a package a good start, to get more honey because they don't have to draw comb to store the nectar in...

>I see some people on the forum here referencing reusing it or processing it in some way…what do these things entail??

"processing" is just extracting it. Protecting it from wax moths is an issue that is very climate dependent.

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

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the help!!

I'm really pumped to read all I can from the books, and will be trying to take a class either in sacramento or chico before the year is out.
 

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I'm anxiously awaiting Michael's book. Much of my library may be a bit dated. I'm especially looking forward to anything related to beekeeping in the new millenia...
 
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