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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Newbie here, got a beehive with the house, need advice

So i recently purchased a house, and one of the bonus' that came with it is that the previous owners had a bee hive and left it for me. Unfortunately due to the crappy weather and lots of extra work with moving into the house and such i was only able to crack it open for an inspection for the first time last week.


Having read a couple of books and having no knowledge or experience other then that i wanted to post some pictures of my frames and box and maybe get some tips and advice from you guys.


http://imgur.com/a/r0l0m


So my first issue is that the hive boxes are old and Styrofoam, there kind of nasty and there might be ants actually living in it, they have tunnels and stuff dug out of it all over the place. so i want to replace it. i was thinking a warre hive as i like that design i just dont know how i could transfer from this to a ware hive, any tips?


next I am guessing i wont be able to harvest any honey this year, i see a very very large amount of dark comb which i assume is all brood, or is it just old wax with honey in it? there is no queen limiter so i dont know what to think.


let me know anything you guys see or any tips you might have thanks for your time.
 

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We need to know your general location, since so much depends on local seasons.

If it were me, I'd leave this hive completely alone until the Spring, at which time I'd split it in two and relocate it into all new Langstroth boxes and frames. Meanwhile I'd paint up new boxes and make new frames and learn a lot about beekeeping. :smile:

It's a congested hive right now, though it obviously has plenty of good honey to survive the coming winter on. You do not want to compromise their chances of surviving the winter at this point in the season. I wouldn't take honey from them right now...for one thing you might accidentally kill the queen when pulling things apart. You can take any leftover honey you like once the Spring nectar flow starts!
Because that hive is so congested, as a new beekeeper you may well injure the queen by pulling those tightly packed frames out before you are more experienced. At least after you split into two hives next year you'll have less danger of winding up queenless. Also there will be less gunk on new frames and then it will be way easier to manage the hives.

Not sure why you want a Warre hive...harder to manage or take honey from I believe. You almost have a Warre hive already, the way the combs are all connected now...! LOL You could just leave it alone forever and call it your Warre hive. ;D
 

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Omeis right about not pulling the frames out at this point, might not hurt to toss another box on under the honey boxes though, looks like they are pressed for room.
 

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All of the pics are of honey, some looks like it is from last year or older.
The last pic looks like brood, hard to tell, kind of blury.

where you are located will make a difference on how much honey you need to leave them for the winter, further north you will need more.

I also agree to leave it alone until spring, and again depending on your location, that will dictate when.

Welcome to the forum :hi:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
We need to know your general location, since so much depends on local seasons.
I am in the st. louis missouri area area. there are some spare frames, and a box they left from some of there old hives, should i give them a scrub and put them on under the shallow supers?
 

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Personally, I would not 'scrub' the box and frames and add it at this time. I don't feel they will be helped by adding empty boxes at this time of year- they seem to have enough space with the boxes they currently have. They have plenty of honey for winter and they're looking good. :smile:

There is much you can do in the Spring to split this hive and establish it as two hives in nice new clean frames and boxes. Bees rebound quickly from changes in the Spring, and Spring is their big population growth time. Now at the dry end of a hot summer is not the time to start disturbing them and moving their frames and boxes around or taking any honey.
If you want them to have the best chance of surviving for you next year, I'd say leave them completely alone until Spring. They've gotten along fine so far on their own. Winter is the most difficult time for bees, and a brand new BK disrupting their home late in the season to try to 'help' them likely will do more harm than good. Take your time and start reading up on beekeeping and making new frames and boxes for next year! :)
 

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Omie, how do you know all of this stuff :lol::lol:

Paridoth you can absolutely love your bees......to death. I know it will be hard for you to stay out of them but some sage advice was given.
 

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Welcome to the forum Paridoth. I gotta go along with the crowd here. Leave them alone till spring. Spend the time between now and then learning and gathering equipment. Check out threeriversbeekeepers.com, and easternmobeekeepers.com. Another source is the MO dept. of agriculture website.
Again, Welcome.:hi:
 

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Greetings on joining us in the forum. :wave:
The longer you'll be with us, the better you'll get to "know" Omie. She gives solid advice well worth listening to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you all for the help. I will start working on the new frames and boxes for spring. I found a very detailed site with construction plans for a warre hive but haven't found anything as equally detailed for a lang hive, i was torn between a warre and a frameless 8 frame all medium lang box, does anyone have some good plans for the lang hives? thanks!
 

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i was torn between a warre and a frameless 8 frame all medium lang box
You mean a foundationless Lang box, not a frameless Lang box. Lang boxes always have removal frames. Whether you put foundation in those frames or not is your decision. Many who want to let the bees build their own comb will start out with half the frames with wax foundation and maybe the other half foundationless.
I started my Lang hives with wax foundation, then over time I slipped in foundationless frames more and more often as I increased the number of boxes and hives I had. Now I have 5 hives and mostly foundationless brood frames.

If I were in your situation and wanted all medium box hives, to start with I'd prepare 6 medium size 10-frame Lang boxes for next year, and 60 frames with wax foundation installed. All this in preparation for splitting that old hive into two halves in the Spring and placing new boxes on top of each half. I'd give a month to ascertain that a new queen had been made in the queenless split half, and then I'd phase out the old lower boxes by getting the queens up into the top new boxes above an excluder. Once the two queens were laying ok up in the new boxes, and there was a nectar flow going, I'd remove the old boxes (the brood in them would have already hatched out below the excluders), crush/strain the honey from them and toss out all the old equipment...it's just too nasty and may have pesticide buildup in it too.
There are other methods, like tying cut out pieces of old comb into the new frames, but that's pretty messy, you might injure the queen, and you'd be preserving the nasty old comb which might be better tossed out.
I'm sure others will have good suggestions too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Sounds like a plan! thanks!
edit: oh one more thing, do you think i should replace the queen and or buy a new queen for the split or just use the old one/let the split make a new one?
 

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My own opinion is that I'd let the split make their own queen...they sound like good 'survivor' bees that are acclimatized to your area already. Why not try to keep their genetic line going? You can always make other hives and buy experimental queens later on if you want to try other kinds of bees.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Sounds good =) when i do the splits if i checkerboard with my fecundationed frames and my new foundationless frames will i still need wax foundation on the foundationless frames? do you have a preferred place to get the wax foundation from?
 

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I see that your current boxes are the styrofoam 'max' type, with all plastic frames w/plastic foundation.
It may be problematic to alternate plastic frames and wooden frames in the new wooden hive, depending on the exact measurement differences. You certainly could not alternate medium and deep frames.
I myself would not advise 'checkerboarding' the Spring splits if you are trying to establish two nice clean new hives from one old funky hive. Maybe you could use a few of the cleaner medium frames of honey on the outside of the new medium brood boxes, but your goal is a good solid brood area in the middle of your brood boxes for your queens to lay in. Look up what checkerboarding really means- it does not means alternating full and empty frames, but rather shifting entire groups of frames to allow the queen to have laying space in the top brood box and not be honeybound. :smile:

You should try to find an experienced BKer near you and go and spend some time hands on watching them inspect hives and ask lots of questions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
There is a free class in febuary that i will be taking at my local college that I'm sure will be enlightening. My dad is an accomplished wood worker and will be building the boxes and frames and stand ect. i just need to find some good construction plans for him to go off of. so come spring i will split the two deep hive boxes, and put one new medium box ontop of each, then one of the old mediums ontop of each of those. then when i see the queen begining to lay on the new medium boxes i should put queen excluders ontop of the old deeps and the new mediums, and once the brood is all hatched out of the old deeps i remove them and the excluders and put another new medium ontop of the first new medium and under the old medium, at what point should i get rid of the old medium and replace them with a my final new medium?
 

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It might best be gone through step by step when it's time to do it. I think between now and then you are going to be learning a TON of stuff about bees and things like this will begin making more sense. You might be answering your own questions by then!
But yes get two or three new boxes with new frames for EACH half all made up in the meantime. I'm sure others will point you to some woodworking plans for that.
Your hives will need either two deep boxes or three medium boxes each, for their brood raising and wintering 'home'. Any honey supers for honey that you might take will be in addition to that.
 

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There's a lot of info to be had on the internet for hive construction.
Try Googling "langstroth hive plans" and you'll be able to chose whatever best suits you.
 

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Welcome Paridoth! I too would leave them alone til spring and then split that hive into 2 new Langstroth Hives. I bought a kit for my Langstroth, 2 Deeps and 2 Medium Supers, all the frames and Plasticell Foundation for around $120.

I would get the Book "Beekeeping For Dummies" Alot of folks would think it isn't a good book but it's spot on and I refer to it all the time.
 
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