I'm an old worker-bee who "grew up" (Hah!) on a farm in the Pacific NW and we had stacks of hives brought to our property each year. I loved the bees and would often stand a-midst them just to bee there and to watch and listen.
I just completed a two day course in the basics of beekeeping and have purchased and set my first colony in a deep box on a stand where they get almost complete sun and have some wind and rain (we get a LOT of each) blocked by my bananas. I can contact the guy who provided the course but right now he's so busy, I thought I'd try and find some answers from other beekeepers as well as my nice stack of Beekeeping books.
We live in an agricultural area and have citrus orchards and all kinds of assorted plants and trees in the area. I have some ohia on our property but will be planting more.
From a local beekeeper, I purchased a well-developed colony instead of a weaker colony, THEN I read how it might have been better for a beginner to start with a weaker colony so I'd have time to get to know them.
I have a second deep and a "?honey super?" sitting in the garage.
Here's why I began to look for a Hawaiian Beekeeping Forum, even though today's questions are probably more global in nature: I opened the box this morning, for the first time. The frames on each end are full of brood and there are bees hanging off each of the frames I pulled. As this was my first time opening, I wanted to see the queen but didn't see her when inspecting the two inner-most frames. Bees all seem happy and well-adjusted. I didn't see any queen cells.
1. Should I put on the second deep or should I first ID the queen?
2. Think it will bother the bees if I look for the queen a few days in a row or shall I give them a rest? Personally, I could spend all day staring at them and watching, but I've got WORK to do!!
3. Did I purchase a colony that will already need to split or I'll lose a swarm or two? ...and does that mean I need to build or buy more equipment already?
4. Did I mistakenly step into a "Rich Person's Hobby"?
Mahalo, in advance, for any assistance or ideas or comments or good jokes.
Welcome at this time of year your hive should be brimming with bees it gets harder to find the queen the larger the hive gets but if there are young larva and eggs in the hive the queen is in there. If the queen has used up all her space to lay in give her more room. Anticipate the needs of the hive, every caped frame of brood that hatches out will require 2 frames to hang out on. Renovate the hive and add the addition before the kids arrive. Some times you got to remove some clutter from the kitchen to give momma some more room (remove honey from the brood chamber and insert frames for the queen to lay in). Busy bees are happy bees. Board bees become restless and swarm.
Hello WorkerBee and WELCOME to our friendly beekeeping forum!
"Rich Person's Hobby"? Well................... Not really. You might not get rich doing it but it will certainly enrich your life! After your initial expenses it can actually be reasonable.
If the hive you have bought is in a single deep and there are 10 frames of drawn comb, most of which are covered with bees, I would add a second deep. Use a couple of the drawn frames of comb (probably those on the outermost positions) and swap them with a couple of new frames from your new deep box, putting the drawn ones in the top middle part of the upper box. This is referred to as "baiting", luring the bees to move up and draw out the new foundation.
Your honey "super" is the name given to boxes that you wish to use for the harvesting of the liquid gold your bees will try and provide you with.
You have found a great resource here with a friendly group of people who often stumble over each one another in an attempt to help others.
Ask questions if you have them and contribute when you can.
And I agree on the "Rich Person's Hobby"! I love that quote; "If you want to make a small fortune in beekeeping-----start with a LARGE fortune"! (Good thing I don't mind living on ramen noodles........sorta don't mind!
Glad to have you join the forum. With us, there's never a crowd. Always room for more and all opinions are up for consideration. As you already know, beekeeping doesn't always have just one way of solving a question. You'll get plenty of friendly opinions here--you decide what to do.
Proud member of the Beekeeping Forums,
From the land flowing with milk and HONEY
a snip followed by > my comment...
1. Should I put on the second deep or should I first ID the queen?> if you have some nectar source fixing to bloom and the box appear to be full of bees and somewhat heavy then add a super (adding space or taking off space if very much a local thing) and if when you last opened the box if the bees seemed settled (calm disposition.. not nervous or jumpy) and you notice eggs or young larvae in any comb you really don't need to directly see the queen to know she is there and going about her business in a proper fashion.
2. Think it will bother the bees if I look for the queen a few days in a row or shall I give them a rest? Personally, I could spend all day staring at them and watching, but I've got WORK to do!! >unless absolutely necessary I don't like to do a full scale examination of any hive too many days in a row. first this greatly disturbs what they are doing and secondly this can tend to make even gentle bees a bit hostile.
3. Did I purchase a colony that will already need to split or I'll lose a swarm or two? ...and does that mean I need to build or buy more equipment already? >any decision relative to the bees will have positive and negative consequence.... there are no 'win-win' solutions in these kinds of decisions and if you have bees you will likely always be in need of buying or building more equipment.
4. Did I mistakenly step into a "Rich Person's Hobby"? >certainly you are joking although I would guess everything you might buy in Hawaii is a bit pricey relative to main land prices.