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I'll have 5 three-pound packages of bees arriving in the next couple of weeks. I ordered 2 extra queens, just in case. I have no drawn comb on hand. I plan to hive them initially into 5-bar TBH nucs, then transfer them to larger TBHs once they've got some comb drawn and brood going.

There's already alder pollen around, but I plan to feed honey in ziplock baggies and beepro pollen sub. patties as long as they're using it.

The temps will be below freezing at night and into the low 40's during the day initially. Probably won't get out of freezing nights until early or mid May. I'll have the nucs on stacked up cinder blocks in as much direct sun as they can get. When breakup comes (late April) we'll have lots of standing water everywhere for a couple weeks, then there will be a period with nothing blooming for another couple weeks. After that there will be flowers everywhere. So I figure I'm goning to have to feed them for a good month.

I worked bees for a honey producer in Oklahoma many years ago, but I've never started up hives from scratch, and I'm a worrier by nature. If anyone sees serious failure points in my plan, I'd certainly welcome any advice. I'm willing to put a few more $ into getting these going than might be wise, figuring that even if they don't overwinter, it will be an investment in drawn comb and pollen for next year.

Also, a couple of questions:
1. I've been told that you can buy bee polen at the health food store and rehydrate it in warm water and use that instead of beepro patties. Any thoughts, pro or con, on that?

2. If I start out feeding honey, will I have to stick with that, or could I switch to 1:1 syrup after while without causing harm?

Thanks. -Tim

[ March 26, 2006, 06:10 PM: Message edited by: wff ]
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Sounds like great advice, but I don't have a lot of options when I'm starting from scratch here. Honey from the grocery store. Pollen substitute from Mann Lake, or pollen from the health food store. What other options have I got?
 

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If you're buying honey to feed your bees, why not mix it with water 1:1 will save you a few $$, and I don't see any problem switching from honey to sugar syrup.
 

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"why not mix it with water 1:1 will save you a few $$"

That's one of those "DUH! Why didn't I think of that" ideas. Thanks.!
 

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>I'll have 5 three-pound packages of bees arriving in the next couple of weeks. I ordered 2 extra queens, just in case.

Just in case what? How will they survive without a hive to be in? You may as well split two of the three pound packages up for the 2 extra queens.

>I have no drawn comb on hand. I plan to hive them initially into 5-bar TBH nucs, then transfer them to larger TBHs once they've got some comb drawn and brood going.

I'd plan on that about a month after you hive them. Probably not before.

>There's already alder pollen around, but I plan to feed honey in ziplock baggies and beepro pollen sub.

There's no point in patties when there is fresh pollen. Real pollen is better then substitute. Fresh pollen is better then old pollen.

> patties as long as they're using it.

I'll bet they won't use it. I'd save my money.

>When breakup comes (late April) we'll have lots of standing water everywhere for a couple weeks, then there will be a period with nothing blooming for another couple weeks. After that there will be flowers everywhere. So I figure I'm goning to have to feed them for a good month.

If you actually have nothing blooming for two weeks, they might take the patty. But I have trouble imagining that once things bloom there will be that many gaps.

>I worked bees for a honey producer in Oklahoma many years ago, but I've never started up hives from scratch, and I'm a worrier by nature. If anyone sees serious failure points in my plan, I'd certainly welcome any advice.

I'm not sure about the two extra queens and since you're going to have that much cold still, you probably shouldn't split the packages up.

>Also, a couple of questions:
1. I've been told that you can buy bee polen at the health food store and rehydrate it in warm water and use that instead of beepro patties. Any thoughts, pro or con, on that?

It's cheaper from Brushy Mt. or Draper than the health food store. You can just mix it with honey or syrup, not water.

>2. If I start out feeding honey, will I have to stick with that, or could I switch to 1:1 syrup after while without causing harm?

I would just feed them syrup unless you have your own honey. I'd feed 2:1 for a package getting established. You're not trying to stimulate brood rearing, you're trying to feed them. Also the 2:1 will keep much better.
 

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How do you save money like that? You mix it and the bees just work harder to evaporate the water off to end up with the original honey. Don't make sense to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks, iddee. I've got about 40 gallons of honey that the local grocery couldn't or wouldn't sell because the containers were damaged by a forklift, but when that runs out I will be looking at switching to sugar.

Thanks for the link to globalpatties. Interesting site. I'll give them a call.
 

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>> Just in case what? How will they survive without a hive to be in? You may as well split two of the three pound packages up for the 2 extra queens.

Just in case I mash one or something unexpected happens, I don't end up with a queenless hive. If everything works out fine, I may take a bit less than a pound from each package and shoot for 7 ~2 pound nucs. But, like you said below, it will be cold, so I might just sacrifice the extra queens.

Although, I do remember the guy I worked for in the 70's "storing" extra queens by hanging them between frames in a queenrite hive. Might not be a good idea when starting a bare hive, but does anyone know how that works?

>> There's no point in patties when there is fresh pollen. Real pollen is better then substitute. Fresh pollen is better then old pollen.

> patties as long as they're using it.

>>I'll bet they won't use it. I'd save my money.

Like I said, I'm a worrier by nature. I'd rather buy some patties they don't use than not have enough real pollen around for them.

>Also, a couple of questions:
1. I've been told that you can buy bee polen at the health food store and rehydrate it in warm water and use that instead of beepro patties. Any thoughts, pro or con, on that?

>>It's cheaper from Brushy Mt. or Draper than the health food store. You can just mix it with honey or syrup, not water.

Thanks. I'll check there.

>2. If I start out feeding honey, will I have to stick with that, or could I switch to 1:1 syrup after while without causing harm?

>>I would just feed them syrup unless you have your own honey. I'd feed 2:1 for a package getting established. You're not trying to stimulate brood rearing, you're trying to feed them. Also the 2:1 will keep much better.

See my post above about having honey. I'll go with the 2:1 ratio, though. Thanks.
 

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>Although, I do remember the guy I worked for in the 70's "storing" extra queens by hanging them between frames in a queenrite hive. Might not be a good idea when starting a bare hive, but does anyone know how that works?

I bank queens often, but usually I have resources (bees and brood) and set up a queenless bank. I haven't tried banking them in a queenright hive. It sounds pretty iffy to me.

>>2. If I start out feeding honey, will I have to stick with that, or could I switch to 1:1 syrup after while without causing harm?

Yes, it won't cause any harm.
 

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>Although, I do remember the guy I worked for in the 70's "storing" extra queens by hanging them between frames in a queenrite hive. Might not be a good idea when starting a bare hive, but does anyone know how that works?

>> I bank queens often, but usually I have resources (bees and brood) and set up a queenless bank. I haven't tried banking them in a queenright hive. It sounds pretty iffy to me.

Actually, the more I think about it, I think he stored caged queens above an excluder. In my case, if I don't need the extra queens, I might just build some 3 frame nucs and skim a little off of each package to put in with each queen and see how they do.

Thanks for the feedback. -Tim
 
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