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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings All!!

So, I'm planning on ordering my first batch of supplies in preparation for my first season of Beekeeping (got into this too late for this year, so next year it is).

I want to make sure I order the right sized things I'm looking for, etc.

For starters, Medium Boxes are 6-5/8", right? and the 6-1/4" frames are what go with them??

Also, are they difficult to assemble?? I'm probably going to order them out of the Dadant catalogue, and don't want to get something that you need an engineering degree to put together.

Second, are there better styles of smokers than others?? I like the look of the domed smokers, but are the cone-shaped ones better for some reason??

Third, what kind of bottom board/top board should I use?? And what kind of feeder should I have on hand should I need to feed??

I want to have all these supplies ready for next season, as the nearest bee store is an hour away.

Thanks, and hope to hear y'all's responses
 

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Yes on the Medium sizes.

I don't think the style of smoker matters.. if you like the dome go for it. it holds a bunch of burning stuff and smokes out the top ;)

oh and like sovak says below assembly is pretty easy.. Make sure you measure them corner to corner to make sure they are square before you nail them.
 

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yes, thats the size for medium boxes. Shouldnt be too difficult to assemble, most glue and nail theirs, some just nail things together. If you can swing a hammer, you can build a hive.

Smokers, I've heard domed smokers can build up condensation and cause issues keeping it lit, dunno how true it is.

Bottom board, I use a solid bottom board, others will use screened bottoms. Varies on the bee keeper
 

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I use a small metal square to make sure the frames are square so the bee space is correct. I like the hive top feeders with the plastic insert that has screen over the middle. I can fill it without worry of bees coming out. The other questions answers are based more on personal preference. Always keep an extra hive or two handy for swarms. Seems like once you have bees they attract swarms from the local area around you. Attracted by the smell of your bees most likely. Good luck!
 

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Medium boxes actually come in two sizes. 7 5/8" which take 7 1/4" frame, and 6 5/8" which take the 6 1/4" frame the later being the most commonly used.

I find both smokers work equally well. The theory behind the dome is the smoke rises to the dome and cools slightly so you are blowing cool smoke on the gentle puffs to send the bees down between the frames. Actually it has no real advantage other than a Kewl appearance.

What kind of cover and bottom board you use is all a matter of individual preference. Most people tend to use and stick with what their mentors teach them with. As well as geographical location, some things preform better in wet or warm climates. Your methodology of bee keeping can also have a bearing on the equipment you choose.
At this stage of the game the best thing you can do would be to join a local bee club, attend some meetings, get to know some of the members, find one who suits your personality, and ask them their advice. A mentor is by far the most productive way to learn to be a good beekeeper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Supplies arrived today!!! The order was missing some stuff (40 GTB Frames) but the rest of the stuff looks great!!! They're supposed to call with the info on the back ordered supplies Monday, so hopefully that will get sorted out.

Just need a suit, smoker, and hive tool and I'll bee ready for the season to start!!
 

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Any smoker should be sufficient but, I am fond of the Dadant smokers. They are better made than some of the cheap knock off smokers.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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>For starters, Medium Boxes are 6-5/8", right? and the 6-1/4" frames are what go with them??

Yes.

>Also, are they difficult to assemble??

Frames are tedious, not difficult. Boxes are simple. A jig for the frames makes it easier.

>Second, are there better styles of smokers than others?? I like the look of the domed smokers, but are the cone-shaped ones better for some reason??

The important thing is to get the large smoker. A large smoker is easier to light and keep lit.

>Third, what kind of bottom board/top board should I use??

Any kind of bottom will work. I like solid because I convert them to use as feeders when I need one.

> And what kind of feeder should I have on hand should I need to feed??

How about a bottom board feeder?

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm#BottomBoardFeeder

I make my own tops partly because I want a top entrance and partly because they are cheap and partly because I can put the hives up against each other for winter:

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

But any kind of cover will do.
 

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there can be some small differences in dimensions by manufacturer. medium boxes are usually 6 5/8 but there are some 6 1/2 ones out there. the difference between the 6 1/4 frame and the 6 5/8 box is to allow for a bee crawl space of 1/4 to 3/8 inch top and bottom. most supers are 3/4 inches thick but there are still a few makers still using 7/8. the inside dimensions of the 7/8 boxes are the same as the 3/4 ones, the outside a bit bigger with these some tops might not fit right. the 7 5/8 box mentioned by the poster above is refered to as a western super this is sometimes used by commercial operators in the northwest corner of the country, it is not as available for most of us.. there are good articles and references on this site, look up standard hive plans. there is also a good reference to variations in frame size by manufacturer.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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>medium boxes are usually 6 5/8 but there are some 6 1/2 ones out there

I have seen deep boxes that varied from 9 1/4" to 9 5/8" (which averages out to 9 7/16" +- 3/16". I have seen shallow boxes that varied in the official specs were from 5 11/16" to 5 3/4" (5 23/32" +- 1/32") with slightly more variance (more like +- 1/16"). Of course I have not seen every medium box out there, but I have had them from many manufacturers (Miller Bee Supply, Dadant, Brushy Mt. Mann Lake, Walter T. Kelley and Betterbee) but I have never seen a medium box that was not 6 5/8" +- 1/32"...
 

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Sounds like you are well on your way. :thumbsup:

If you want some help getting some of the boxes assembled, I can show you how to get them together. Consider using screws in your boxes instead of nails.
 

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And a Camera to shoot lots of photos to show off and to "kodak" any mistakes, you may make one .

Good fortune to you
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Just got back from my first bee outing!! User barbie (hi Katie!!) let me come with her to tend the bees at the Yuba College with her...I'm hooked now!!

I found that I like having a full suit...it made me feel very secure, and I actually only had one moment of fear during the 90 minutes we messed with the hives.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
When the first batch started dive-bombing my veil, and when they started walking on it. It was hard for me to tell if they were inside or outside, and I almost freaked out...
 
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