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358 Posts
If you are looking for fundamental questions...Number one question for me as a new beek...what kind of bees do I start with? Other questions I had included what kind of frames/foundation and woodenware should I use? A huge one was what do I do with my bees and far as an outline of an annual mgmt schedule for feeding, swarm prevention, treatment(if used), supering, getting ready for winter, etc. the list of questions is so big when you are getting started.

The best sources of information I've found so far have been reading all of George Imirie's "pink pages", Michael Bush's website and this forum(although get ready to sift through many differing opinions on this forum). Without finding those sources, I probably would have lost all my bees the first year out of ignorance. Books(I have read about 20 now) generally have been useless and out of date or too vague in their details of what to do about anything.

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358 Posts
ooops....several others posted while I was writing mine. I have a better idea of what you are looking for now.

A big question I have right now is whether to go foundationless in the brood boxes and let the bees build natural cell or stick with foundation(wax or plastic).

Another big topic is whether or not to buy bees from africanized zones in the U.S. Mention AHB and the possibility of aquiring some of those genetics and cold chills run up and down most people's body. How big a problem does AHB really present in a management scheme?

How about should we as an industry continue to allow the open importation of package bees/queens from Australia and risk entry of new diseases/parasites?

Pollen substitutes: should I feed them or not, when is the best time to feed sub, what is the best way to feed sub and the real brain numbing question...what's the best recipe?

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25 Posts
My Top Ten might bee:

1) Feeding bees. Why?
2) Chemicals Why or why not? :eek:
3) Equipment e.g. Foundation or not, screened bottom board or not
4) Essential Oils What are they? What do they do?
5) Starvation how to prevent? What is The Dearth?
6) Placement of Hives Where and why?
7) Varieties of Bees and where to get them. What variety for your area? Pros and cons of each variety
8) Smokers. What type to get, type of fuel(s) to use, how much to smoke
9) Inspection of hive What is most important for beginners i.e. learning to watch the entrance and correlate w/ brood patterns, types of brood patterns
10) What are my goals? watching nature work, raising honey for own consumption, supplying organic food stores, conducting science experiment for my children.

You said Top Ten. Right off the top of my head in no particular order for a Sunday morning! :sleep:

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2,565 Posts
At least one of the top ten would be about inspections. How often do you inspect, how thoroughly, do you look for the queen, do you go all the way through the brood box, etc.

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13 Posts
I'm brand new, this year. Still lots of questions, but the thing that would be most helpful is a general timeline of things to do.

Like plant seeds after all danger of frost is past. It's general enough that you still need to adjust for your area.

When to feed? Mine bring in lots of pollen, late Janruary.

When to add supers?

How many?

For the backyard beekeeper. Can you let the bees take care of requeening on their own?

I'm sure there will be a different list for different levels of honey production.

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137 Posts
1) What stock is best for my area and where can I find it locally?
2) Are there nonchemical alternatives to deal with varroa? How effective are drone combs? Screened bottom boards? Sugar dusting?
3) When/what/how do I feed my bees? Is open feeding a no-no?
4) What is nosema and what can be done to prevent/treat it?
5) When should I inspect my hives and what am I looking for when I do?
6) What can I learn about my colony without opening the top?
7) What do I do to prepare for the spring build up? How do I prevent swarming? When do I super?
8) What do I do in the fall? Whe do I get my bees ready for winter? Should I wrap my hives? How do I know they have enough stores?
9) How do I recognize robbing and what can be done to prevent/stop it?
10) How do I deal with a dead-out?

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1,455 Posts
1 What race of bees?
2 Where do I get them?
3 How to install
4 Feeding
5 Inspection
6 Preventing swarming
7 Hiving swarms
8 Diseases
9 Taking honey crop
10 Spliting/requeening

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1,924 Posts
Hi Pete,
Good to see you over here. I've been following your adventures with a grin. I'm working on a list of what I want to teach to the mentors of our club (BYBA.) I'll share it off-line. The questions that hurt are the best ones.
I've got bees stumbling aound on the landing board. It seems that they can't or won't fly. What's wrong.
Some bees have shriveled wings. Why.
Why did my hive die.
How long should I feed?
When is the honey flow?
I've been feeding this package for a month. How advanced should they be?
How can I tell if my bees swarmed?
Queen cells: what do I do?
Scattered brood pattern: why?
Laying workers?

Dick Marron


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1,853 Posts
Hmmm, all these suggestions sound to me like they're coming from beekeepers with some experience...not that's a bad thing. I get a lot of questions from clueless people who think keeping bees would be a neat idea.

When the phone rings, invariably the conversation starts out with, "I'm thinking of getting into bees."

I say, "Great, what books have you read?"

Response: "Books? What books are out there?"

Other questions I get are:

1) Where do I get the bees?
3) Where do you get your equipment?
5) Do you have some used equipment you'll sell me? (Answer is always, but politely, "No.")
6) Do you know where I can get a swarm?
7) How much honey will I get my first year?

Jackson, MO

P.S. Peter, you might want to have the top ten, then the peripheal twenty! I hope to post the finished list for the rest of us.

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106 Posts
Sorry Peter,
But I have to go back to:
How often do you get stung?
My answer would be:
With full armour, a person who grew up in the bees but hates stings can work full time in the bees and get stung around once a month.
Without wearing gloves, under tough conditions at a commercial outfit it can be 200 to 300 times in a day.

Another question:
Can I move my bees a short distance across my property?


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1,614 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Another question:
Can I move my bees a short distance across my property?
I used to think this was not possible, until I tried it. I moved a hive from the front yard to the back yard, several hundred feet. To my surprise, they just went along with it.

I found out later, the secret is that there shouldn't be anything that even looks like a hive. Even an old hive body, they'll think that's their hive and hang on it.

If it's completely gone, they'll go looking for it, the way a swarm searches out the queen when they get separated from her.


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1,421 Posts
It is okay to use 9-frame rests?
Why so many choices in boxes?
Is a high body and a brood box the same thing?
What's the difference between nectar and honey?
What's the difference between a nuc and package? Why 2 or 3 lb packages?
When should I start?
Where is the best place to put bees?
What are the stages in the life cycle of a honey bee?
Why do drones take 25 days to "hatch" while queens who are more important only take 16 days?
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