Time to buy my kit!

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by SuiGeneris, Jan 17, 2018.

  1. SuiGeneris

    SuiGeneris Member

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    My first bees are ordered, which means that its time to order the hives and other stuff that I need to get my colonies going in the spring.

    I'm going with the standard setup that most local beekeepers (including my pseudo-mentor) are using - a single deep for the brood chamber, and then a queen excluder + medium supers for honey. My plan for the brood chamber is to install full wax foundation, to give the bees the best start I can (given that I don't have any frames of drawn comb).

    What I am wondering is what is the best approach for the honey supers. Assuming I get honey what I'd like to do is extract most of it, but I'd like a frame or two of cut comb as well. In my readings it was repeatedly stated that foundation shouldn't be used for cut comb, as foundation wax is often contaminated or dirty and therefore not suitable for human consumption. The same sources suggested using just a small strip of foundation among the top of the frame to act as a start-point for bees to then draw their own (clean) comb. Likewise, a number of sources recommended using small strips of foundation on a wired frame for extracted honey, while others recommended a full sheet on a wired frame. In looking at my options, there seems to be a number of routes I can take:

    1. Frames with support wires and full sheets of foundation for the extractor; wireless frames with small wax strips along the top (rather than full sheets) for the cut comb
    2. Wired (for extractor) and unwired (for cut comb) frames, both with strips along the top
    Which ones would you recommend? What is my better option? Also, would having wax-strip frames next to full-foundation frames lead to the bees making uneven comb )I'd assume they'd draw the foundation before building comb on the strips)?

    Thanks

    Bryan
     
  2. roadkillbobb

    roadkillbobb Active Member

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    I would say concentrate on growing your hive the first year and take minimal honey and get them through a winter, then the second season you can work on getting honey when you have a full hive of bees, also the second year you can split your bees and either buy a queen or let them requeen and you will have 2 hives to make honey..
     

  3. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I will second Bob's opinion. But for my cut comb I use foundationless Illinois mediums, just a couple per box. I rarely get enough honey to sell but I know a couple of people that like honeycomb
     
  4. SuiGeneris

    SuiGeneris Member

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  5. Dulcet

    Dulcet New Member

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    I make cut comb by putting an empty frame between the ones that are drawn out. But, I'm very lazy. The issue I have with is wax starter strips in they tend to warp and full out.

    I've found gluing tongue depressors only the top as a guide works a treat when acting as a guide.

    Have you also bought a spare nuc?
     
  6. SuiGeneris

    SuiGeneris Member

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    Bought a couple of nucs (don't think they're 'spares'; its coming from a local bee breeder).
     
  7. Dulcet

    Dulcet New Member

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    I do more beekeeping using nucs than I do in my full hives - I love them.
     
  8. roadkillbobb

    roadkillbobb Active Member

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    interesting, why is that? I have a few wooden nuc boxes I use to try and catch any stray swarms.
     
  9. Dulcet

    Dulcet New Member

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    In the UK polystyrene nucs are popular. You can buy brood box extenders for them that make them very flexible.

    I do use nucs for swarm control, I rarely catch swarms because I don’t really want them.

    But, I use nucs mainly for queen rearing and requeening.

    The standard nucs are six frames, with the extenders I’ve gotten them to 18 frames – but my standard is a double nuc for 12 frames.

    With that flexibility, I use nuc for a number of things during the year.

    1. I use nucs for queen rearing, that includes celling raising, mating and maintaining my queenless cell builder for about 8-10 weeks when I’m rearing. I only need 20-30 queens per year so three rounds does it for me.

    2. I also use them as timing boxes. I take a brood extender and separate them with a queen excluder – four days before grafting I put the queen above the excluder on drawn comb, on grafting day any larva in that new comb is less than a day old. Saves me digging through hives looking for larva.

    3. Bees seems to build up very quickly in the nucs so to manage them I bleed resources out of the nucs into my production hives; typically brood frames.

    4. I use them to test new queens, I mate them in 3 frames nucs and the first ones to fill the box are marked as production queens.

    5. If my production hives start to swarm I decide if I want to old queen for breeding, if not I cull her and wait ten days then unite with one of my double nucs; requeening the hive by adding another hive to it.

    6. I then overwinter one nuc for every production hive plus three breeder queens from the previous year.

    I get to leave my production hives alone and play with the nucs during the season. It works well for me.
     
  10. roadkillbobb

    roadkillbobb Active Member

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    that will keep you busy...how many production hives do you have?
     
  11. Dulcet

    Dulcet New Member

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    Only six to eight(ish) I like to keep the numbers to the point it stays a hobby and not a 2nd job.

    I may end up with 20 nucs in the height of the season - think my record was 26 at that point I started to panic a bit.

    This is what I want to do every season, my success is highly variable :)
     
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  12. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    That is a good system. I like nucs for overwintering small colonies, stacked nuc boxes seem to survive better than 10 frame horizontal, whether deep or medium
     
  13. Dulcet

    Dulcet New Member

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    It's more work and managing nucs requires more hands-on interventions. But, I like it.
     
  14. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I do too, just wish I had more time