I like to start keeping bees in spring 2022…

R2elk

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Legamin

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Looks great! I just bought my hives and ordered the bees & queen today! Starting with two hives with two boxes each. Any advice for the rank beginner? I got supplement protein/pollen to boost them for Spring, tools and suit. I’ve seen how to check for mites with a quart jar. I’m going out to build the platforms this week sometime and hope to have the bees delivered by next month…
 

Legamin

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Excellent. Did you order packages or nucleus colonies?
You got me there…I’m a rank newbie that probably SHOULD know those terms but what I recall from the purchase was that 1. They are local bees and will be ready as soon as the weather warms up to move them safely. 2. There will be about 3lbs of bees with a matched, healthy Queen (hopefully not of the drag or drama varieties). 3. There is no need to isolate the Queen or block the drones/workers from flying as they are able to immediately transfer into a ready hive with a protein supplement to give them nutrition until they get their bearings….normally within a week.
So…obviously (or not at all obviously) I’ve read a number of books and posts, and have followed the Backyard Bees site for three years now and watched infinite videos of many people who seem VERY serious about their bees and how to care, feed and protect them from parasites etc. I have seen some people who seem far too interested in bees for their own mental health….but that could just bee me?
I am not sure if the term nucleus or colony was used when I made the purchase. It is an area beekeeper group that supplies our local North 40. There are many good ratings from people who have previously purchased. When I compared to other suppliers that ship in from out of the area their customer ratings were 50% Great! Only 20% losses during shipping! and about 50% HORRIBLE! They arrived dead in the box and T….. S…..y refused to offer a refund! So I went local. My main consideration is that local bees are used to our weather, wind and warmth and are most likely to survive a sheer newbie like myself out of simple self-defense. i bought a watering system but they will be by a year round water source (slow running tiny creek) and in the middle of endless alfalfa fields…including 4 acres of dense clover hay/alfalfa/vetch/wildflowers/ grasses/ oats/ground peas that I’m planting this Spring. i plan to put the hives about 30” up off the ground on a poled platform on the banks of the creek in a gully near a shade grove of Aspen in a marshy meadow just off on dry ground.…and out of the direct wind that can get pretty blustery from time to time.
I bought two medium depth boxes for each hive with 8 frames each (a couple extra for breakage over time) all of my tools and smoker and a high end bee suit on line because I am allergic to our local variety of very aggressive Wasp venom and my Dr. thought I should be on the side of VERY PRUDENT in getting the best beekeeping suit possible…so I splurged. The rest seems pretty standard. I have not decided on whether to get an electric motorized or hand crank centrifugal frame extractor yet so if you could offer advice of a reliable brand I won’t have to buy twice. So…there’s a bit more than you asked for but that’s where I’m at! Thanks for any Bee wisdom you can toss my way!
 

Field Bee

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You got me there…I’m a rank newbie that probably SHOULD know those terms
When I started, I couldn't tell you the difference between a flower fly and a honeybee.
1. They are local bees and will be ready as soon as the weather warms up to move them safely.
It sounds like you bought nucs. Getting bees from a local beekeeper that produces his own nucleus colonies is the best you can get. Thats a great start.
i plan to put the hives about 30” up off the ground on a poled platform
You can do that, but when you get up to 2 deeps and 2 to 3 medium honey supers thats over 6 feet high. Lifting full supers at that height can be a bit much. Full supers can weight 40 to 50 pounds. Mine are about 8 to 10 inches off the ground. Hives getting buried in snow is no problem.
I bought two medium depth boxes for each hive with 8 frames each.
You should have 2 deeps and 2 mediums for each hive and a feeder.

"I have not decided on whether to get an electric motorized or hand crank centrifugal frame extractor yet so if you could offer advice of a reliable brand I won’t have to buy twice."

I have a MAXANT 20 frame and its excellent. No electronics, just a beast thats simple to run and repair if I had to. Ive never had a problem with it. I started with an SAF hand crank and quickly outgrew it. No matter what name brand you buy, Maxant, Dadant, Lyson, hand crank or motorized they hold their value, and you will have no problem selling it for almost what you paid for it to upgrade if you decide beekeeping is for you.

" So…there’s a bit more than you asked for but that’s where I’m at! Thanks for any Bee wisdom you can toss my way!"

I get as excited for new beekeepers as I do every time I open up a hive! It never grows old.
 

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What direction is the entrance of the hive facing?
Would it be OK if i have the entrance of my hives facing to the south-east? - The worst weather here is coming from the north-east and i assume it is a good idea to keep the entrance of the hive away from the rain. (?)
 

WannaBeHillBilly

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When I started, I couldn't tell you the difference between a flower fly and a honeybee.

It sounds like you bought nucs. Getting bees from a local beekeeper that produces his own nucleus colonies is the best you can get. Thats a great start.

You can do that, but when you get up to 2 deeps and 2 to 3 medium honey supers thats over 6 feet high. Lifting full supers at that height can be a bit much. Full supers can weight 40 to 50 pounds. Mine are about 8 to 10 inches off the ground. Hives getting buried in snow is no problem.

You should have 2 deeps and 2 mediums for each hive and a feeder.

"I have not decided on whether to get an electric motorized or hand crank centrifugal frame extractor yet so if you could offer advice of a reliable brand I won’t have to buy twice."

I have a MAXANT 20 frame and its excellent. No electronics, just a beast thats simple to run and repair if I had to. Ive never had a problem with it. I started with an SAF hand crank and quickly outgrew it. No matter what name brand you buy, Maxant, Dadant, Lyson, hand crank or motorized they hold their value, and you will have no problem selling it for almost what you paid for it to upgrade if you decide beekeeping is for you.

" So…there’s a bit more than you asked for but that’s where I’m at! Thanks for any Bee wisdom you can toss my way!"

I get as excited for new beekeepers as I do every time I open up a hive! It never grows old.
Thank you very much for your answers!
I was thinking about setting up two pallets for the two hives i have ordered (sometimes in April/May…) and wasn't sure what to put under those pallets, but thought about raising the pallets so that the top is at least two feet above the ground to prevent my ducks from feasting on the bees…
 

R2elk

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What direction is the entrance of the hive facing?
Would it be OK if i have the entrance of my hives facing to the south-east? - The worst weather here is coming from the north-east and i assume it is a good idea to keep the entrance of the hive away from the rain. (?)
My hives face the south. One thing I rarely see mentioned is to have the hive set so that the entrance is the low point to allow any water to drain out easily. It does not require much of a slant. I set my "stand" up slightly off of level for all my hives with the south end being slightly lower than the north end..
 

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My hives face the south. One thing I rarely see mentioned is to have the hive set so that the entrance is the low point to allow any water to drain out easily. It does not require much of a slant. I set my "stand" up slightly off of level for all my hives with the south end being slightly lower than the north end..
Our nastiest weather seems to come from the Northeast so South is a great direction. I’m having to prepare for wind by pouring two 200lb pillars into the ground (on either side of the hive) and then run a cable over thee hive to keep the wind from upending them. The wind comes from the West so I have a block on the side of the hive. Our weather is not so extreme but the wind comes twice per year and we have lost almost half the buildings…and every roof (at one time or another) to the winds.
 

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Excellent posts fellow beeks!

I have a few suggestions that may be helpful.

1. If you live in the northern states the best honeybee I have found for strong over-wintering is the Carniolan honey bee. No joke! I have pulled frames in January that were 85% full of sealed brood and this is unheard of in mid winter in cold weather. Most queens will stop laying eggs or severely curtain egg laying during the winter. My favorite trait of the Carniolan bee is its incredible gentleness...they are an absolute treat to work with!

2. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER purchase old woodware for honeybees unless you are 100% certain they are free from disease. It only takes one box infected with American foulbrood (AFB) and then you have no other option but to literally burn all your honeybee equipment and start all over again. And I am not exaggerating or making this up at all!

3. An IPM aggressive varroa mite treatment in this day and age is an absolute necessity unless you have a proven mite resistant stock that exhibit strong hygienic behavior.

4. Do NOT mess with the El Cheapo honeybee suites if you are a beginner. If you have an in-depth understanding and experience of honeybee behavior and can work the honeybees with a veil with no suite and no gloves, then you are blessed. If this does not describe you, I highly suggest you purchase a professional bee suite from Mann Lake or one of the other vendors that sell professional bee equipment. I started with the El Cheapo honeybees suites years ago and got stung so many times that I lost count...and that led to unnecessary stress while tending the honeybees! Purchase a professional beekeeper suit with professional gloves and you will tend honeybees stress free!

5. Grafting your own queens is an incredibly easy and rewarding experience and can also save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars! There is a small initial investment [queen cage, marking paint, queen cell bars for the frames, queen cups, queen grafting tool, incubator, etc.] but it will really pay off in the long run.

6. Hook up with a genuine local professional honeybee keeper and work with them as much as possible. There is simply no better way to learn the basics and the more advanced techniques of working with honeybees.

7. If you can have a honeybee quarantine yard at least 5 miles from your honeybees, then you may want to consider making honeybee swarm traps and setting them out in the spring if you live in an area with a strong nectar flow. In the past, there were some phenomenal swarm years and we have caught 5-10 swarms a day. Some of the swarms were $1,000 swarms because we could easily split them into 5 colonies. I highly recommend you quarantine them for at least a month to be sure there are no diseases before moving them to your bee yard.

8. Check, double check and triple check to be absolute certain no farmers nearby are using pesticide! At one bee yard we had 200 strong colonies. A neighbor put in hundreds of acres of walnut trees...then sprayed them. We lost 98% of our honeybees that year [200-196=4 surviving colonies].

I could go on and on, but I already seem to be a bit long winded...

So, good luck and hope you do well!
 
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