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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don’t know about you but I’m ready for spring :rolleyes: This will (fingers crossed) be my second year as a beekeeper! I’m still new to this…so is there anything I should REALLY know before starting year 2? Any tips/advice appreciated...please and thank you!

(PS, sorry if there are already lots of posts like this :eek:)
 

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Hey Olive,
My second year I was determined to have healthy bees and started feeding pollen patties. Well the bees were healthy and they multiplied quickly, so quickly I could not, or didn't know how to use techniques to reduce swarming, I had swarms and after swarms and after swarms. I would advise reading about swarm control by splitting or checkerboarding or some way of keeping the brood nest open. If you do a search you will find some great posts and discussions on swarm control.
Good luck,
Ski
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Ski :) A lot of people are talking about swarming...I'll be sure to read up on it!
 

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The second year is exciting. Do you want to split if you can? Be thinking about your alternatives for more hives or increases. Think about equipment, honey production and healthy bees. I remember that my second year was challenging because my bees struggled with mites and my delayed treatments.
 

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> is there anything I should REALLY know before starting year 2?

First, it's so refreshing to hear you're still excited about bees!

Second, there is a huge wealth of information here and a very willing group of great folks teaching all of us, young and old. So, read, read, read!

Back to your question, I agree with Ski, swarm management is probably your biggest challenge in year two. If you can tie it in to learning about splitting your colonies, you'll accomplish two things at the same time. (This also throws the varroa mites a curve by breaking the brood cycle.) It's also a good chance for you or the bees to raise some queens from your own stock. Keep it simple though and it will be less frustrating. Be ready to go catch some swarms, too. That's a blast!

Mites will probably be your next biggest challenge. Learn to dust your brood boxes with confectionery sugar. Easy and effective. Tip - don't do it on a windy day or you'll look like a mad baker wearing all that sugar! Been there, done that, have the T-shirt!

If you want to have a lot of fun, find a friend or relative that wants to start keeping bees. You'll learn tons when your trying to teach someone "How to Keep Bees." You'll be surprised how much you know. Or if your like us old beeks, how much we still have to learn!

Lastly, don't get discouraged when a colony fails. It's going to happen, so expect it and learn from it. I call them "Beekeeping Seminars." After all, they are just bugs. If someone told me I'd be enjoying these "bugs" this much when I was your age, I would have thought the were really nuts....now I'm the nut!

Enjoy, Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
okay...so swarming seems to be the big issue with year 2. i'll have to check out some of the threads about that. :) I'm interested in splitting...but that sounds a little intimidationg, haha...and so does catching swarms. but i'm up for a challenge :) thanks everyone!
 

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A nuc box is your best defense against swarming (IMHO). Understanding the timing of swarming is going to be based on your location and just experience. A mentor can help though.

I don't have much swarming problems anymore, but it took many years to get a handle on it. What I do is "swarm" for them. If you have a nuc box handy, a couple of weeks (at least) before the honey flow starts I go to my booming hives and take the queen and three frames of emerging bees/brood and put them in the nuc. Then install your new (you need to have ordered this earlier or have a good local source) queen.

The new queen will lessen the odds that the hive will swarm (I think that they think that they just did), and they won't really miss a beat with honey production.

I have also just taken the queen and 3 frames of emerging brood and let them make their own queen during the honey flow. This works good too.
 

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Swarms are the greatest, most gentle bees you will find and the only source of free bees. I learned to catch swarms from my mentor at 11 and I have been able to pass it down to one student. I would love to teach more but it is time critical. I just made splits my first two years. They never showed any sign of swarming since I did it before they got the idea on their own. I had an observation hive and a 5 frame nucs going for years. I had 25 hives before I could drive a car. You still get plenty of honey, just not as much as not splitting or swarming. I never bought a hive and my dad bought 25 of his own after driving me to the groves for years. I had already taken over the garage with an extracting setup I wished I still had.
 

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In your area you will probably notice swarming at the end of April or early May. If you are going to do splits for swarm control be prepared to do them early April before they begin swarm preparation. Splits can be as easy or complex as you choose to get.
Michael Bush has a great section on his site about splitting.
http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm
 

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Welcome Olive! You're going to love your new hobby, and this forum.
When I first started out in 1971, the only thing available were books, so I bought and read. When i restarted in 2005, I bought books and read again. And subscribed to Bee Culture. Then I discovered this forum.

I would encourage you to put some good bee books on your birthday and Christmas gifts wish lists. They will be an invaluable reference source for you. As will the POV sections on the home site of this forum.
Plus, there are so many great beeks here to help answer your questions, as you've discovered.
Regards,
Steven
 

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okay...so swarming seems to be the big issue with year 2. i'll have to check out some of the threads about that.
Yes, read up on what to do to prevent swarms. Keep in mind that sometimes, even when you do everything "by the book", the bees haven't read the book! It's okay though, if you get a chance to see (and hear) the bees swarm from a hive - it's an awesome experience.

... sounds a little intimidationg..and so does catching swarms. but i'm up for a challenge
If you're interested in swarms, considering adding your name to the State swarm catching site. As of this moment, no one is listed for Noble county:
http://www.in.gov/dnr/entomolo/5755.htm

Lastly, if you can, I recommend getting involved with a local beekeeping club. The Michiana club has some great beekeepers. Consider giving Danny or Tim a call:
http://indianabeekeeper.goshen.edu/mba.html
 

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Hi Olive-

Welcome the wild, exciting and often controversial world of beekeeping. Most bee books published before 1989 are going to be of little help other than some very basic info which you probably already know. Why....they were published pre-mite invasion. Since mites showed up(varroa, tracheal and the diseases they carry/spread) hive management has taken on a whole new perspective.

I would recommend reading George Imiries "Pink Pages". Someone has posted the complete set here on this forum. The link escapes me now, but if you use the search tool, you should be able to find them. George gives a good over view of management techniques and scheduling. He was a beek in Maryland, and some of his recommendtions will have to be adapted to your climate. George was a beek for 72 years before he passed away. Some of his reading is redundant, but he is trying to drive home the importance of some things.

Best of luck to you and ask lots of questions. Be sure and use the search tool on this forum, there is tons of good reading here. Remember, the only dumb question is the one not asked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
oh, believe me i'll read any book i can get my hands on - actually i have over 300 books in my library at home - i love to read! Unfortunaly i only have a few books about bees/beekeeping and i wouldn't know a good one from a bad one...here are a few of my titles:

1.Keeping Bees And Making Honey by Alison Benjamin

2.The Backyard Beekeeper by Kim Flottum

3.A Book of Bees and How to Keep Them by Sue Hubbel

4.The Hive: the Story of the Bee and Us by Bee Wilson

5.The Sacred Bee in Ancient Times and Folklore by Hilda Ransome

6.The Queen Must Die and other Affairs of Bees and Men by William Longgood

and the classic...
7.The Hive and and the Honey Bee by L. L. Langstroth

The first two - and arguably the last (though maybe a little outdated) - are the only real "manuals"...while the rest are mostly interesting books that i highly reccomend. :) I'm 100% open to further reading suggestions!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Read your "Bees". Experience is a great teacher
Thanks...i can agree to that despite my lack of experience...i learn something new every day. I don't see how we can ever learn all there is to know about bees :)
 
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