I like to start keeping bees in spring 2022…

WannaBeHillBilly

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As it happens I’m not a fan of spending more than I need to so the ’split hive’ is probably out. For 5 month here it is cold to very cold and then chilly so if that were to interfere with the works it would just be a hinderance. Plus I do have need of a steady supply of beeswax as one of the main ingredients in a proprietary 17th C furniture Polish/preserver product that my antique furniturerestoration/ repair shop sells. It is getting very hard to find affordable and in our neck of the woods you lose customers if you raise prices much. Usually ‘inflation’ is met with a deep breath, a grimace and defiant look as they walk away realizing they can do without your product. We are pretty conservative folk. I think the work of the traditional hive will be pleasant and measured and something I will enjoy. Thanks for getting me up to speed I will start by getting connected with a local beekeeping group…there is a medium sized city within an hour of me and a lot of farms so I’m sure I can find a good one.
There is (imho) nothing better than the smell of freshly melted bees-wax! - And that wax has a gazillion uses. I remember applying bees-wax to my hands before slipping into the winter gloves. Somehow my fingers stayed warmer with the wax cover.
 

WannaBeHillBilly

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You'll be fine with your location. The most important thing to focus on now is learning how you are going to count and control varroa mites, the rest of the stuff is a lot easier. Look into getting a Veto Pharma Varroa EasyCheck.
I watched the video of the »Veto Pharma Varroa EasyCheck« on YT.
So you dump 200-300 bees into that device and basically drown them to count the mites? 😶
Isn't there a non bee-killing method available?
:hide - just in case that was a dumb question…
 

Field Bee

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I watched the video of the »Veto Pharma Varroa EasyCheck« on YT.
So you dump 200-300 bees into that device and basically drown them to count the mites? 😶
Isn't there a non bee-killing method available?
:hide - just in case that was a dumb question…
Not at all! You can do a sugar roll, it's a little less effective but works well if you take the time and do it right. I used to do sugar rolls all the time, but like they say killing 300 bees (1/2cup) is like taking a blood sample. It has no effect on the colony as a whole and the test can save them.

https://www.honeybeesuite.com/mites/sugar-roll-test/
 

Field Bee

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My local bee-breeder was emphasizing the importance of Varroa control multiple times! He recommends oxalic-acid vapor. - which is kind of hazardous for us humans…
With the proper PPE, a good respirator, it's not bad. Like a lot of beekeepers, I use OA. You can also do an oxalic acid drench during bloodless periods, so you won't need a respirator.
 

WannaBeHillBilly

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Looking more into the varroa mite issue, i have found an interesting YT-video (see below): In a nutshell a German beekeeper claims that modern hive-boxes keep the bees too wet, generating mold that is weakening the bees and makes them more susceptible for the mites. He has built new covers for the hives that allow the moisture, generated by the bees to escape the top while retaining the warmth and bottoms whicht allow symbiotic animals like chelifer cancroides (pseudo-scorpions) who will eat bee-pests like the varroa mites to live together with the bees.
What do you think about this approach?
Has anyone ever tried this?


EDIT: Found an English publication for this topic:
 
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Field Bee

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Looking more into the varroa mite issue, i have found an interesting YT-video (see below): In a nutshell a German beekeeper claims that modern hive-boxes keep the bees too wet, generating mold that is weakening the bees and makes them more susceptible for the mites. He has built new covers for the hives that allow the moisture, generated by the bees to escape the top while retaining the warmth and bottoms whicht allow symbiotic animals like chelifer cancroides (pseudo-scorpions) who will eat bee-pests like the varroa mites to live together with the bees.
What do you think about this approach?
Has anyone ever tried this?
I dont remember the exact years but there was a time roughly in the mid to late 1800s when beekeepers had high losses due to American foul brood and back then most didnt know the cause. It's not unusual to find bad years for beekeepers in the past. One of the reactions was to build a better heavy beehive with double hard wood walls and insulation. One researcher told me he had found parts of one in a field in western NY still intact. Of course, it didnt solve the problem of losses. So, the Langstroth hive was still popular until the mid 1980s when varroa and the diseases they vector showed up. All of the sudden they are bad again. As predicted, everyone has a new box to put bees in to save them. Apimaye, Technoset, top bars, long Langstroth, Paradise, cathedral, on and on, way too many to list. New great pieces of hives got popular like screened bottom boards, vented lids, quilt boxes, vivaldi boards, all kinds of wraps and insulation. What does any of this do? Not much. Honeybees are so incredibly adaptable that no matter what you put them in they are going to try and survive. No two tree cavities are the same and they can adjust, thats why they have been around for millions of years. Add diseases and pests and they will struggle to survive. There's plenty of snake oil now as well. Like Super DFM, honeybee healthy, hive alive and many others. What's a beekeeper to do? Choose whatever equipment you like best. Learn how to control and manage mites, go into winter with low mite counts, first year queens, and plenty of stores and you will be ahead of a lot of other beekeepers. The pseudoscorpions are useless, mites have an incredible way of hiding between the tergites of the honeybee abdomen and breeding under cell cappings. Mites hitch rides on foragers and drones going from hive to hive. They could never have any meaningful impact on mite populations.
 

WannaBeHillBilly

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I dont remember the exact years but there was a time roughly in the mid to late 1800s when beekeepers had high losses due to American foul brood and back then most didnt know the cause. It's not unusual to find bad years for beekeepers in the past. One of the reactions was to build a better heavy beehive with double hard wood walls and insulation. One researcher told me he had found parts of one in a field in western NY still intact. Of course, it didnt solve the problem of losses. So, the Langstroth hive was still popular until the mid 1980s when varroa and the diseases they vector showed up. All of the sudden they are bad again. As predicted, everyone has a new box to put bees in to save them. Apimaye, Technoset, top bars, long Langstroth, Paradise, cathedral, on and on, way too many to list. New great pieces of hives got popular like screened bottom boards, vented lids, quilt boxes, vivaldi boards, all kinds of wraps and insulation. What does any of this do? Not much. Honeybees are so incredibly adaptable that no matter what you put them in they are going to try and survive. No two tree cavities are the same and they can adjust, thats why they have been around for millions of years. Add diseases and pests and they will struggle to survive. There's plenty of snake oil now as well. Like Super DFM, honeybee healthy, hive alive and many others. What's a beekeeper to do? Choose whatever equipment you like best. Learn how to control and manage mites, go into winter with low mite counts, first year queens, and plenty of stores and you will be ahead of a lot of other beekeepers. The pseudoscorpions are useless, mites have an incredible way of hiding between the tergites of the honeybee abdomen and breeding under cell cappings. Mites hitch rides on foragers and drones going from hive to hive. They could never have any meaningful impact on mite populations.
I remember my uncle complaining about those »modern« bee-boxes that were being sold in Germany in the 1970's: Walls too thin, not enough ventilation and a whole other lot of reasons why they were a pile of junk in his opinion.
He made all his bee-homes - yes he called them bee-homes - he made them all himself. Being a greatly skilled woodworker and having all the necessary equipment - and a good source of wood - he built everything himself.
He used only beech-wood for the exterior of his boxes because (as he explained) though beech wood is softer and less weather-resistant it contains a lot of air and will keep the bees warm during the winter. The walls of his bee-homes were five centimeters (almost 2") thick and lifting a box full of honey frames was a two person job (that's where i came in 😊) And i remember his bee-homes had a deep bottoms and tops that he would fill up with wood shavings from his own workshop. Deep frames, maybe not for the scorpions but to keep the bees warm in the winter - in the 70's the winters in the Lüneburg Heath were bitter cold, like the today's winters in the Dakotas or Wisconsin. And he would submerge all parts of the hives in hot wax to protect them from the elements. No paint on those boxes!
 

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I remember my uncle complaining about those »modern« bee-boxes that were being sold in Germany in the 1970's: Walls too thin, not enough ventilation and a whole other lot of reasons why they were a pile of junk in his opinion.
He made all his bee-homes - yes he called them bee-homes - he made them all himself. Being a greatly skilled woodworker and having all the necessary equipment - and a good source of wood - he built everything himself.
He used only beech-wood for the exterior of his boxes because (as he explained) though beech wood is softer and less weather-resistant it contains a lot of air and will keep the bees warm during the winter. The walls of his bee-homes were five centimeters (almost 2") thick and lifting a box full of honey frames was a two person job (that's where i came in 😊) And i remember his bee-homes had a deep bottoms and tops that he would fill up with wood shavings from his own workshop. Deep frames, maybe not for the scorpions but to keep the bees warm in the winter - in the 70's the winters in the Lüneburg Heath were bitter cold, like the today's winters in the Dakotas or Wisconsin. And he would submerge all parts of the hives in hot wax to protect them from the elements. No paint on those boxes!
I’m an old guy and I firmly believe “If you want something done right, make a plan, measure twice, cut once…and build it YOURSELF!” I plan to buy some well made hives to start but I bet that is something I can figure out when it’s time for expansion. I know there are engineers out there who have figured out answers to questions that i am not yet knowledgeable enough to ask.
 

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I’m an old guy and I firmly believe “If you want something done right, make a plan, measure twice, cut once…and build it YOURSELF!” I plan to buy some well made hives to start but I bet that is something I can figure out when it’s time for expansion. I know there are engineers out there who have figured out answers to questions that i am not yet knowledgeable enough to ask.
Same here! I have been burnt one too many times by Cheap China Crap (CCC).
 
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