My first bees....

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Omie, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    I have mentioned on a couple other threads that I will be getting my first hive soon- a gift.
    This is my first hive and I'm a beginner, so I thought i would post this thread here in Beekeeping 101.

    The plan is to move it around the end of October with the help of a very enthusiastic local beekeeper.
    The woman who owns the hive has it on the farm she has put up for sale, and she cannot keep the hive in her new home. She is giving it to me.
    The hive has not had its lower deeps opened for thorough inspection or had honey taken since Spring 2008. the owner did take off the super and looked in briefly last week and she said the bees looked good in the top deep though the the frames there were only half filled up. But there are two more deeps below.
    The bees seem to be happily going in and out and have been pretty much on their own for about two years.

    I won't be able to evaluate the hive much until we get it over here, but here are some pix I took of it on a recent cold sunny morning, only a few bees were out and about yet:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Once it's here I have some good BK people willing to come and inspect and look over the situation and help me with a longterm plan.
    It has three deeps and a super. The super is in bad shape and will be removed- it's empty anyway, for all I know it doesn't even have frames in it and might have been put there for feeding last year. The owner had nailed a board in front to block the rot holes- that is coming off too. I have spare hive parts if needed.
    The top deep of the three is supposedly half full and we may remove the frames during the move.

    I realize this hive may not do well over the winter for me, but if they die I have other local BK willing to get me more bees in the Spring, and I'll have my two new empty hive setups here as well
    My goal is to have two hives in back of my garden. I may well need to just leave the hive fairly undisturbed for the winter once we get it here and hope for good winter survival.
     
  2. ski

    ski New Member

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    I remember the anticipation and excitement of waiting for my first bees, you may have a little work to do on the hive but it will be fun. Its great that you have local beekeepers around to help out, that is priceless. You may plan if you haven't already to do some reading over the winter and attend a local bee school. Of course there is the forum where you have access to many many many years of experience from some very bees smart beekeepers.
    If you get any 65-70 degree days you may want to check to see how much capped honey they have to survive the winter.
    It may not be possible in NY but if you have any 50+ degree days you may try feeding some sugar syrup.
    keep your smoker handy.
    Ski
     

  3. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    You say you would remove some of the empty frames in on of the boxes before you move them. An empty frame does not weigh very much and it will also hold the other frames in place and keep them from sliding sideways in the boxes (if they have not been popped loose from being propolised in place they will not be going anywhere anyway).

    I think I would go through them before moving and try to consolidate all of the filled frames and remove the empty and rotted wooden ware. Rotten boxes do not travel well, don't ask how I know that. Of course that will stir them up some and get them flying around but will settle back in after a little while. Put a rachet strap around them, stuff a rag or screen wire in the front entrance, load and go.

    Good luck with them and I know you will let us know how it goes.

    G3
     
  4. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Below is this week's forecast for my town....do you think this is already too cold to be putting a ziplock syrup feeding baggie inside the hive on the uppermost active frames?:

    This Afternoon
    Chance Rain Chance for Measurable Precipitation 30%
    Chance Rain / Hi 44 °F

    Tonight
    Rain/Snow Likely Chance for Measurable Precipitation 70%
    Rain/Snow Likely / Lo 33 °F

    Friday
    Rain/Snow Likely Chance for Measurable Precipitation 60%
    Rain/Snow Likely / Hi 42 °F

    Friday Night
    Chance Rain/Snow Chance for Measurable Precipitation 30%
    Chance Rain/Snow / Lo 30 °F

    Saturday
    Chance Rain/Snow Chance for Measurable Precipitation 40%
    Chance Rain/Snow / Hi 45 °F

    Saturday Night
    Rain/Snow Likely Chance for Measurable Precipitation 60%
    Rain/Snow Likely / Lo 33 °F

    Sunday
    Rain/Snow Likely Chance for Measurable Precipitation 60%
    Rain/Snow Likely / Hi 46 °F

    Sunday Night
    Chance Rain/Snow Chance for Measurable Precipitation 50%
    Chance Rain/Snow / Lo 33 °F

    Monday
    Chance Rain/Snow Chance for Measurable Precipitation 30%
    Chance Rain/Snow / Hi 50 °F


    Is there a way to feed them in this type of weather, or is it too late/cold in the season, you think?
     
  5. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    You can wait until you get them home. You need to have an estimate of how much it weighs before you start feeding. If they have enough honey, it is better for them than sugar. If not, you can feed fondant or plain sugar, even in cold weather.
     
  6. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Oh thank you - that is reassuring.

    I sure wish I had them here now already....the wait is killing me! :(

    Thankfully my two new empty wooden hives and my bk equip should all arrive in a couple more days....that will keep me happy, 'playing' with it and painting the outer surfaces in appealing colors. :)
     
  7. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    LA, LA, LA... She has been bitten by the bug. She will never be the same again. :thumbsup: :rolling:
     
  8. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    It's true. I'm a goner.
     
  9. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Update....the new plan is for the BK and I to move the hive to my house tomorrow. Weather forecast looks good (partly sunny,high 50's), he says his schedule looks good for it. Please keep your fingers crossed for me! :beg:
     
  10. Walt B

    Walt B New Member

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    Good luck! You will have great fun. :Dancing:

    What's even better, after you get them moved you can play with them. :yahoo: It just gets better and better!

    Walt
     
  11. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Good Luck.... and have fun.
     
  12. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Yes! :Dancing:

    Here is the spot behind my vegetable garden where I plan to locate my two hives...
    I put up some burlap windbreaker screens, which also make it harder to see the hives from the neighbors'. I have some cement blocks there for the first hive to sit on. the fenced garden is at the back of my back yard, there's a tall row of spruces along our property line there on the right. The hives will be facing south. the last picture is if standing behind the hives looking out towards our shed.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Looks to be ideal. Do you have skunks in your area? If so, leave as is. If not, I would remove the center blocks, making it easier to handle the supers. They will be 8 inches lower.
     
  14. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Yes we do have skunks around here. caught a lil' stinker in a Hav-A-Heart trap in the yard just last year! :lol:
    And have seen at least one grown one in our driveway prior to that, too. :shock:
    That's one reason I did put the extra blocks on. Plus we can get pretty deep snow here sometimes.
     
  15. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    I can tell you are so excited to be getting those bees, I can't hardly wait for you to get them.

    G3
     
  16. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Yes, I'm practicing Lamaze breathing techniques to keep calm. I'm like a broody hen! :lol: :lol:

    thanks, at least I can come here to gush and not feel like a total loony....since there are obviously other addicted souls here too. :wave:
     
  17. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    We are all on pins and needles with you. Just trying to hang on for 12 to 18 more hours. :beg:
     
  18. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    I'm excited for you! It looks like you have given LOTS of thought and planning to your bees, and you have prepared a great spot for them. Post pics of their orientation flight if you can....those are so cool looking!!!
     
  19. SlickMick

    SlickMick New Member

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    Enjoy your girls and have fun.. that always makes up for the occasional sti..... er... S word :thumbsup:

    Mick
     
  20. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    THE HIVE INSPECTION & CONSOLIDATION....

    Hey, the young beekeeper met me at 'my' hive at the farm today and we took the whole 3 deep box hive apart to inspect it/consolidate it.
    Nothing but good news after good news to report!

    No evidence of disease, extremely low mite count, found the queen and she looks great and found some new eggs too, managed to remove enough empty comb frames to consolidate to two deep chambers instead of the three, put on a new top cover and new bottom board/screen combo. The other good news is that they have stored up enough honey to get through the winter (unlike a lot of other hives in our area which have done very poorly this rainy summer and may not have enough honey to make it through the winter).
    Plus, the beekeeper said they were about the gentlest bees he's ever worked with- he didn't wear gloves or even a head veil, wore just a flannel shirt and used only a few light puffs from the smoker... yet he took the whole 27 frame hive apart frame by frame, prying and scraping propolis- and all the bees did was gently fly around us, no stinging at all! "Such wonderful bees, I'm envious!" he said. :D

    So the hive is now down to a good snug winter-ready 2 deep box size, is strapped, queen is healthy and safe, and the hive is ready for us to go back at 5:30 and load it into his truck and bring it to my house ....I should have them here in 2-3 hours!! =8-D

    I can't believe it's actually happening finally! I'm so lucky. :yahoo:

    Will report back when the move is completed this evening.