New guy thinking about setting up a new hive, questions about size and location.

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by roastbeef, Jul 7, 2014.

  1. roastbeef

    roastbeef New Member

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    Hello everyone, my name is Mike. I own my own place and thought it would be neat, interesting, and rewarding to do some beekeeping. I have done some reading on this forum, and still have some reading to do, but I can't help but wonder if i have the proper spacing on my property to be conducive of successful beekeeping.

    i live on about a 6,500 sq/ft. lot in a single family residence in the city of Orange, in southern California. I don't have any kids, and I don't have any pets that would disturb the hive. I attached a picture of where I would like to place the hive. There are tons of flowers in the backyard and I am sure the neighbor's pomegranate and lemon trees will keep the bees busy.
    So here are my questions;

    1. If I were to invest in a "small" hive, would the swarm stay a small swarm, or eventually outgrow it and leave or expand nearby outside of the hive?

    2. (somewhat of a continuation of the above question) I would not want the bees to take up residence in my air conditioner, fire place, or eaves of my house. If given adequate space, do bees still feel the need to "explore" other areas for potential new hives?

    This is where I would like to start the hive. I rarely go to this side of the house, so thats why it looks unkempt. Any suggestions for optimal placement?
    [​IMG]
     
  2. roastbeef

    roastbeef New Member

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    Also, I'm thinking of a top-bar hive, but should i go with a sold or screened bottom? this area gets partial sun in the afternoon hours. would a metal roofed (i'm thinking it would last longer outdoors) get too hot? it gets about 80-85*F out here in the summer months.
     

  3. srvfantexasflood

    srvfantexasflood New Member

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    Hi roastbeef,
    Read, read, read and learn all you can prior to obtaining bees.
    Location is extremely important. Read all you can before you set up a hive. This varies in different parts of the country. What works for me (full sun) may not work for you.
    I don't know anything about top bar hives. Can't help you there.
    It is recommended that a beginner start with two hives. This gives you something to compare with and a safety net should you need to do some manipulations. Purchase your woodenware prior to getting bees. Assemble and paint it and have it ready.
    As for the bees taking up residence in your chimney, etc. I believe you are referring to bees swarming. A proactive beekeeper will stay on top of their hives and control or attempt to control the swarming urge.
    You should probably check with your local municipalities to see if there are any laws regarding beekeeping. Even if you know of other beekeepers in the neighborhood, you don't know if they are doing it legally.
    I encourage you to join a local beekeeping club. You will become familiar with local, proven practices. They won't care that you don't have any bees yet. They will appreciate that you are doing your homework first.
    I am sure other members of the forum will add to this list. Good luck.
     
  4. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    If you keep a hive from swarming then the bees stay in the hive allow them to swarm and no telling where the swarm will set up house. Could be any ware with in flight range, 2 miles radius.
     
  5. roastbeef

    roastbeef New Member

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    thanks for the input guys, i appreciate it. i looked into my city's municipal code and didn't find anything, at least not yet.

    does harvesting honey or the comb help control the population of the hive? i would speculate if the amount of fertilized eggs were limited, the population would stay in control. i would think that careful management of the combs i allow to remain would keep the population from getting too big for the hive, or too thin to maintain a successful operation.
    ‚Äčthoughts?
     
  6. srvfantexasflood

    srvfantexasflood New Member

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    roastbeef,
    You are thinking ahead and that's good. This is where reading all you can prior to taking the big plunge is good. I can only tell you about my experiences with a Langstroth hive. I haven't heard of anyone have much success with a top bar hive. Most beekeepers would like a reward for their work and that would be HONEY.
    In a typical Langstroth hive set up there are two deep brood boxes. http://www.beverlybees.com/parts-beehive-beginner-beekeeper/ I have included this link so that you can see what I am talking about. The brood boxes belong to the bees. When the time is appropriate, a queen excluder is placed over the brood boxes and then a honey super. Except for a rare occasion, all honey is pulled from only the honey super. Removing honey will not control the population in the hive. Removing too much can result in the potential for starvation. Usually, the need to monitor for swarming is in the second year. We should all be so lucky to have a colony flourish your first year, and the need arise to control the population. One can do that with the appropriate timing of adding a second brood box. Adding a queen excluder and honey super will also give the colony more room.
    I keep a colony's growth in check by doing splits or balancing out the population of the hives by taking from a flourishing colony and adding bees and frames to a struggling colony. This is one of the reasons 2 or more hives are recommended. If you are not interested in acquiring additional colonies by doing splits, consider selling your splits. Around here, splits are in high demand.
    "I would speculate if the amount of fertilized eggs were limited, the population would stay in control." Do your homework. Most beekeepers salivate over a queen that is a good egg layer. The queen will also regulate the amount of eggs she is laying depending on the time of year and the space available. If it's time to ramp up for spring production and there is too little space, you are inviting the queen and colony to swarm.
    I hope I have been of some help. Should you go with a top bar hive, I still strongly encourage educating yourself prior to your first purchase. There are many good books out there. First Lessons in Beekeeping by Keith Delaplane comes to mind.
     
  7. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    If you try to suppress the brood laying ability of the queen you may push the bees into swarming, which is worse than a strong hive.