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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to thank everyone who has responded to my other posts with positive honest advice, thanks! So I've found that the local nuc's have been sold out and in fact are rather hard to get here in Montana, at least last miniute! There are several companies coming from states close by with deliveries this weekend with orders filled in January and February . I contacted everyone I could find ,via our local beekeeping clubs , just too see and got an email today that a customer backed out and he would sell me his!!! Only problems are...err... I don't know what the hell iam doing/I don't have any equipment either!! Ahhh what have I done now! I kinda dig a little stress now and again but bees probably don't. The company will gladly bring me all the gear i will pay for with the nuc and it's only a 3 hour drive for me , probably a 5 or 6 hour for him, so a really nice gesture or he just wants them gone? So I've decided on a hive and I feel the yard would be ok , is there a window of time I can keep the bees in the nuc to accomplish the hive set up and give her the onion or should I be a boring old man and lament the bad timing and get completely organized for next year? Thanks for your replies charlie
 

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Hello Bozeman - old Missoula person here,

My advice is to hold off until next year and then start with at least two hives. Spend the rest of this year working with folks to take care of their bees. Use the time to learn. make contacts, acquire & assemble equipment - and to arrange for spring 2015 nuc delivery!
 

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It depends on how badly you want to start now rather than next. If you start now I would start with 2 hives. You still have lots of time this year to play with your hives and learn how to over winter them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
iam curious to why the standard beginning is two hives, I get that you may need to help one or the other but it still seems like twice the learning curve and the ex spence. Just out of curiosity can one nuc populate two hives with an extra queen? Can one hive be managed successfully ? I would think with your full attention one hive could become spoiled? To be honest the visual effect of two hives might bum my wife out!? I will however consider all your replies as learned through experience. I have a bad habit of thinking I can just pull a rabbit from my arse! Thank you guys for replying it really helps! Hey andrew do you know my friend justin bay? He's a beekeeper in alberton.
 

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2 hives gives some room for failure. If 1 hive dies you have the second, if 2 hives do OK but end up weak you can combine them and if both make it; well then, next year you are even better off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for your interest andrew , nice to know this forum is frequented by montanans! I know you are the voice of reason here, I guess I just called the wrong guy about nuc's! He's going to be dropping them off in Missoula this weekend. For some reason I thought that bees would be pleantifull this time of year and when I heard they were sold out thought well that gives me time to research it, wasn't expecting him to email me and say" I got you a nuc! " "see you in Missoula this weekend!" Speaking of which he has an extra available. Anyway thanks and look forward to meeting you! Oh by the way do you know my friend justin bay in Alberton? He's a commercial beekeeper? Thanks again charlie
 

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Welcome aboard... If and when you decide to live the rewarding life of a beekeeper, you will find support and answers here.
My 2 cents for you from all the way east of you; is "When you decide go all in." Research , ask questions, if you dont understand ask a different way, and read. It will and can feel overwhelming at times, so many conflicting opinions, some are fact based,but bottom line is they will be Your bees... You will work with them in your yard, We will celebrate your successes and offer advice on losses. Its a journey everyday not a ending point. Big point for you in your area is all those peas.... put em to good use.
Good luck
Randy
 

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Another good thing about keeping two hives is that you can make some comparisons. Chances are, the two hives will behave quite differently. This is good for kicking a perfectionist out of OCD mode so that they can accept the bees as they are.:scratch: But the comparison will allow you to learn faster, with a small safety net.
 

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>iam curious to why the standard beginning is two hives, I get that you may need to help one or the other but it still seems like twice the learning curve and the ex spence.

Your most likely problems will be queen related. The best and simplest solution to those problems will be a frame of open brood, which the one with problems will not have. Two hives provides "spare parts".

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

>Just out of curiosity can one nuc populate two hives with an extra queen?

What you can get away with sometimes is not always the best plan. A strong split can recover quickly. A weak split (which a nuc being split would be) struggles. A bee colony is an economy. A colony that can cover their overhead with a bit of spendable income can get going quickly. One that is struggling to pay the bills cannot.

> Can one hive be managed successfully ?

In the long run? No. In the short run? If you are lucky.

> I would think with your full attention one hive could become spoiled?

They don't really need your attention...

>To be honest the visual effect of two hives might bum my wife out!?

hmmm... how is it different from one?
 

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A significant advantage to newbies of having two hives instead of one is that it allows comparison. Newbies don't have benchmarks and usually don't know what is normal. And even when one gains experience, no season is identical. The best way to evaluate a hive's performance is to compare it to others. The more hives you get, the better the picture. Two is a minimum, though, from my point of view, as it allows you to recover from a lot of mistakes that you would never be able to with a single hive.

And I'd add that if two hives might sound like "double" the work, it's really not much additional work. Time spent to get to the apiary is the same (even if it's just the backyard), you only put your suit/veil/whatever once, and you only light your smoker once. It might take a bit longer to inspect, but if it takes too long to inspect two hives, it's probably not because you have too many hives, but because you spend too much time on each. In the end, two hives is neither twice as hard, twice as long, nor twice as costly as a single one.
 
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