Florida Newbee

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Skyhigh, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. Skyhigh

    Skyhigh New Member

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    Hello all,

    I'm a very new beekeeper...well, new-to-be beekeeper. All is set, I just have to get the bees delivered (could be as early as Saturday... :shock: ) I took a course this past summer (along with my young teenage daughter) through the county extension office and am finally ready to take the leap. Only, now that I am ready (vacations are over, school has become routine), I realize every time I read something I have more questions than I did before.

    I've been searching around the web, looking for answers (getting more questions...) when I saw that there are at least a few beekeepers on this forum from Florida. Many of my questions stem from all the information I'm reading geared mainly toward northern hives and preparing them for winter. If you all won't mind the many questions I'm bound to ask as I begin, I will be truly grateful!

    Paula
     
  2. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

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    Welcome.
    You have come to the right place to learn.
     

  3. Walt B

    Walt B New Member

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    Welcome Paula. :hi:

    That's the nice thing about beekeeping: you answer one question and it leads to 2 more. :D You and your daughter are going to have fun. Enjoy!

    Walt
     
  4. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    welcome to the forum :hi: , there are plenty of good folks on here ready to answer any and all questions.
     
  5. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    :hi: Hi Paula and daughter,
    Greetings from one tropical beekeeper to two other beekeepers-to-be. Excuse my ignorance, but whereabouts is Lee County (the only Florida county I know about is Dade)?
    Dare I put a slow brake on your plans: Unless you have a full sized hive with food and pollen reserves, late Sept is not the ideal month for starting with a new colony. Unless Lee county is way down south and doesn't have much of a winter pause in flowering or suffer from cold weather, the best time to startwould be in the spring when everything "wakes up" and you can look forward to watching a hive develop from "nothing" to a real collecter of honey.
    Fall and winter seasons are best used in preparing the equipment and studying whatever you can in preparation for the spring start.
    Rest assured, no matter how much one studies and prepares, the bees will always surprise us. That's part of the fun of it all.
    My best wishes for your success, whatever you decide. :thumbsup:
     
  6. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    welcome aboard to the most family friendly bee forum on the world wide web. There is a wealth of knowlege on the site and hope to see you around
     
  7. Skyhigh

    Skyhigh New Member

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    Thank you all!

    Ah, efmesch, you voice many of my questions in your response! However, I am in a very warm area. Directly across the peninsula from Dade County, in fact. We're just going into a bloom here (entering foreign territory...blooms?!) according to someone at the beekeepers association meeting last night. Brazilian peppers? When I asked there about starting a hive now (I'm getting a 5 frame, recently requeened nuc...or that's the idea) at this time of year, I got several blank looks and a couple "why nots?" We're still reaching 90F/32C daily and most of the winter it will be close to 80F/26C pretty regularly. Winter is really marked by the daily downpours stopping with only a rare cold snap (though they are becoming more frequent.) So, I'm thinking starting now is okay. That said, I'm not sure if I just over-rationalized a couple blank looks and ambivalent comments! :confused:
     
  8. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    I don't want to shower a downpour on your words--the best advice is from local beekeepers who know how things go in your area. :roll:

    Allow me a tiny bit of "blasphemy". :oops: Early on in beekeeping I was taught that in raising bees, the most expensive item is the equipment. Bees can be replaced for less than the cost of their hive and accompanying paraphenalia. The worst thing that can happen is that you will "lose" your hive. Fear not, the bees can be replaced easily--and in the process you will have learned much.
    But I earnestly wish you full success. Carry on! Any way it turns out, you will be a better beekeeper for the experience. :thumbsup:
     
  9. Zookeep

    Zookeep Active Member

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    Howdy from Sarasota Florida, welcome the the forum, new here also but already liking it
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    A big HOWDY from Texas from a former Floridian. Go Gators and all that ra ra stuff.. which here in the season of football I guess is appropriate.

    A long time ago I began beekeeping as a 4-H project (not in Florida). Even then, during that long ago era when beekeeping was suppose to be easy and simple, my father who knew absolutely noting about bees insisted that I start with 3. His simple reasoning was one would be a 'poor doer', one would do average and one would perform exceptionally well. This then gave me a good chance to succeed in the requirement of my 4-H project. A lot of experience has taught me that the boomer are often the difference in keeping the 'poor doers' going from time to time. More than one also give you the opportunity to see somewhat subtle differences in hives (population build up, demeanor and such).

    At your location I see nothing wrong with starting with a fall nuc. Do go to the effort to obtain good gentle queens in the nucs if you are just starting off and most especially if you are in an urban setting. For lots of folks starting out I like to suggest Cordovan queens since 1) they have a reputation for being extremely gentle and 2) they are without a doubt the pretties bee on earth. Mind you I am extremely biased here since I raise Cordovans (nucs and queens) primarily for the new beekeeper market.

    Good luck...
     
  11. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

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    Welcome, you should have no problem starting a hive now. The first year we had bee workshops at USF we started splits in September and October. Brazilian Pepper is not very nice for people but great for bees. If you are ever up in Tampa the bee workshops are the third Saturday of every month at the University of South Florida Botanical Gardens. Best wishes!
     
  12. Skyhigh

    Skyhigh New Member

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    Thank you again! :wave: I love the advice. I've really had no one to talk to except my daughter (who is "into" it, but not that "into" it...weird, but what do I know. lol) And have been very hesitant about asking anything online as I keep thinking I'll find the answers if I just look hard enough (finding more questions instead.) I haven't gotten this excited about a new hobby/endeavor in a while, it's a great feeling and even better when there's others who feel the same way.

    @Zookeep, I went to college in Sarasota. If I could pick and chose and get just what I wanted, I'd have moved back there. How many hives do you have?

    @tecumseh, I'm very impressionable right now (I feel like a little kid in a toy store). I want the prettiest bees! Actually, extremely gentle would be a very good thing as I am in a residential area. And, while I do actually have two hive setups (provided at the class), I'd only thought of starting with one. Three is too many. But maybe two...
     
  13. Skyhigh

    Skyhigh New Member

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    @Gary, I just wrote that info down. That would be a great day trip for us! Do you have a link? (Funny...I get that if the bees make honey from the b.peppers, I should let them keep it?) And if waaaay up in Tampa you can makes splits and such in Sept./Oct., I should be fine. :D Awesome!
     
  14. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I think what AmericanBeekeeper is suggesting to you is that all honey doesn't necessarily taste great for humans, although the bees never seem to mind. There are any number of off tasting (sometimes nasty tasting) honey.
     
  15. Skyhigh

    Skyhigh New Member

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    Very interesting day today! I decided to call a man in the local beekeepers association that often has bees available. Well...I'm so new at this. He asked me if I have a hive all ready, I said sure. He said to put it in my car and be ready to meet in in the next hour or so, he was out capturing a swarm! I explained I was hoping for a nice, nuc with some nice, friendly bees and gentle queen... He thought this was funny, gave me the address and said he'd be calling when he gets near. So...

    Just a little earlier I had set up the hive, cut foundation corners, installed them in frames, placed it out where I wanted it, all that. It looked pretty. I had left the garage open (where I'd done all this work.) Now that I'm in a semi-panic, I go out into the garage and THERE ARE HONEY BEES ALL OVER!!! I suppose cutting the waxed foundation had attracted them. I haven't seen a honey bee in my neighborhood in a very long time. (They were very polite and the only one that managed to get into the house allowed me to shepherd him out the front door.) I put the remaining stack of 10 waxed foundations into the freezer and went out to look at the hive. There are bees checking it out, too! Now, my daughter and I are laughing. Was a swarm going to go into our hive? We hoped so, but after an hour and we got the call, the interest in the hive had diminished to only one or two bees. (And, by the zigzagging going on, I thought they were probably robbers looking for the source of that nice honey smell.)

    Unfortunately, by the time we reached the house where the swarm was, the bees had moved. We looked around, were quite disappointed, but amused nonetheless. This evening, I decided to find out where a friend of mine was going to get her bees and, not a minute after talking with her, the man from the association called. He'd found the swarm and tomorrow at 7:30 I'm to meet him again... :Dancing: Now, I'm totally excited. I had had NO desire to do anything with swarms here in SFL, but after my disappointment today, I'm thrilled to be able to try again. Weird. LOL

    Oh, and the man who is doing this (I'm just going along for the bees) really seems to find me and my daughter amusing. :D He got a total kick out of the flower painted brood box (daughter is creative) and is just as nice as can be.

    Btw, do beekeepers always walk around with queens in their shirt pockets?
     
  16. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Most queens I have known were in my hip pocket most times. :D :D

    I would advise requeening the swarm if you get it, unless someone there knows the hive it came from. There are AHB in the area and they are known for swarming more often then Europeans. Not trying to scare you, just saying be cautious.
     
  17. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    Hi there...just wanted to say welcome to the board!
     
  18. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    So....... you're learning fast---Swarms are the most fun of beekeeping. :yahoo:
    Listen to their hum as they fly around--As sweet as a classical symphony. Enjoy walking through the cloud of bees unprotected--they are friendly and happy. Don't be nervous with them. Love every minute of it. :drinks: :drinks:
    I can't get over the idea of swarms appearing in September. Here they used start on the 1st of April (no fooling). With the warming winters of the past several years they have started to appear a week or two earlier. By the end of April you can forget about swarms till the next year. :wave:
     
  19. Skyhigh

    Skyhigh New Member

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    It was VERY fun! :yahoo: Who'd have believed it? (Not me!) We had to capture it twice, though. First time, it was in a bush and we were able to get them to go in, nice and easy. Is it usual to leave the hive till the evening? Well, that's what we did or planned to do. But 5 minutes after we left, the woman whose house it was at called to say they'd vacated and flew up into a nearby tree (but it was a small tree, only about 15 feet tall.) We went back and this time it was more involved. Shaking them into a bucket, sorting out until we found the queen, sticking her in a little cage with attendants... Now, all are moving into the hive and I'll go back this evening, seal it off, and bring them home.

    The man helping us (okay, we were more like "sorta helping him", lol) told us that the queen looks like a carnelian/caucasian mix and the bees were very gentle. However, there are AHB drones around. Now, I got the sense he would keep the hive as is, and see what the eventual temperament of the it turns out to be. I'm less inclined to do this. He also said something about waiting 7-10 days before requeening (but he said this before he caught the queen, which was when he began saying things like "a month", etc.) What would all of you suggest? I do feel requeening is advisable. So, how long do I wait? Does the swarm need to relax, get comfortable, settle in, etc., before I do something like replacing the queen? (At one point he wondered if she'd even mated yet, but I don't know if that was him talking to himself and then not answering out loud.) So...help, please, and THANK YOU!
     
  20. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Normal swarm recommendation.... Wait one week before inspecting, to give them time to set up house keeping.

    After that, as with most beekeeping, it's your call. I would wait until the second check. ""In two to three weeks", then decide based on her laying pattern and their temperament. If you decide differently, that's the fun of the hobby.

    PS. Congratulations.. Glad you have bees.