What Bee's to Buy?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Hog Wild, Jan 26, 2010.

  1. Hog Wild

    Hog Wild New Member

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    I have read so much on Beekeeping over the last couple of weeks that I can't figure out if I am confused or overwhelmed, still trying to sort it out! I have decided, unless someone here steers me otherwise to purchase a Deluxe Beginners Style package to get started. I am sure that there are numerous "must have" items than what comes with these kits and I am definately open for any suggestions. With that being said, I have a NEW set of questions.

    What type of Bee's should I get for my first hive? I was thinking the Italian or Russian based upon aggressiveness,
    productivity, etc. Should I purchase nucs or packages?

    I have not been able to locate a local supplier for bee's, does it hender them to be shipped versus picking them up from a supplier?

    The Beginner Package has an entrance feeder should I go ahead and invest in a top feeder? Looks like less maintenance....

    Any advice or criticism is appreciated!
    Hog Wild
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Put this in your bookmarks and check the classifieds each month.

    http://www.ncagr.gov/paffairs/agreview/

    You can also try here.

    http://www.guilfordbeekeepers.org/forum ... =2191#2191

    Strain of bee isn't all that important, in my opinion. Trusting the supplier would mean more to be than the type of bee.
    The entrance feeder is fine for spring start up, but not so hot in the summer and fall. You will need another type of feeder before it's over with. When you buy it is your decision.

    Nucs are my favorite, bought locally. "within 200 miles". Packages work fine, tho, and are easier to ship long distance.
     

  3. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I would suggest you just buy what you need and spend whatever is left over on a good bee suit and good gloves.

    as to kind of bees first I would ask myself to what purpose am I keeping bees. if you are just into learning about bees or perhaps you want a little extra pollination service then the variety shouldn't matter much. by changing out the queen you can change that as you go along anyway. if I was wanting a bit of a honey crop I would tend to favor the italians over the russians for almost anywhere in the southern us of a.

    as iddee said, having some faith in the supplier would be essential.
     
  4. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper New Member

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    I shutter every time Ihear of some one buying a beginners kit from the suppliers. Here in the north you only get half of what you need for one year in a kit. Then you get junk you just do not need to keep bees too.
    I don't have a suit never had a suit nor will I spend the money for a suit. Just a simple long sleeved shirt, jeans, hat of some sorts with a veil and if your so incluned like me a pair of gloves. I wear the gloves more to keep the proplis off the truck steering wheel when we go from yard to yard. I have discovered the so called baby wipes are a god send to wash thing off your hands if you don't use gloves.

    Sort of like IDDEE I don't believe the breed of bee is so important either but the supplier I feel is. Since I have several yards and raise my own queens I just can not figure out how some one can be so sure of the strain of bees they get any way.
    Fo instance I loaded up one of our yards with SMR Carnoloinas strain of bees. A mile away I loaded the yard the same but placed lots of drone comb for the drones to mate the queens hatched from the other yard. Idea was a good one but right after that was set up a truck arrived next door to the drone yard with 25 colonies of bees. Fellow said Itialian. So who did my new queens mate with? What was the strain? Most of the new queens were very good producers never the less.

    I also agree Nucs from close by is best.

    :mrgreen: Al
     
  5. Hog Wild

    Hog Wild New Member

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    Thanks for the comments and information!

    Al, I have yet to purchase any equipment and have used the search engine trying to gather a hit list for a beginner to no avail. I am not as concerned with the cost as I am with getting what I need up front. Does anyone have a hit list of must haves?

    IDDEE, I talked with someone at Busy Bee in Chapel Hill as they are the closest to me. Have you had any dealings with them? They seemed very willing to help out a green horn out!

    I know some of my questions may seem petty but I am not one to half a something, if you know what I mean.

    Thanks
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Jack Tapp is as fine a fellow as you will ever want to deal with.

    Of course, there is a lot of them in the bee business. If they aren't, word spreads rapidly and they don't last long.

    Jack, tho, is still exceptionally easy going.
     
  7. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Hear is a good link from the University of Tennesee on beekeeping to help get you started, explains alot of things.

    Take a look and ask more questions here, more than happy to help you out.

    http://bees.tennessee.edu/publications/ ... nessee.pdf

    Also check on craigs list, every now and then you can find some beekeeping stuff there.

    G3
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    hogwild writes:
    Al, I have yet to purchase any equipment and have used the search engine trying to gather a hit list for a beginner to no avail. I am not as concerned with the cost as I am with getting what I need up front. Does anyone have a hit list of must haves?

    tecumseh:
    just take a list from a beginners list and mark thru the stuff you will likely never need.

    a couple of first decision you will need to make is the form of your starter bees (typically a package, a nuc, or an existing hive) and the kind of boxes you want to keep them in (some folks choose deeps and some choose meduims, or a mix of deeps and mediums). most especially if you want to go the package route you need to think about ordering that pretty pronto.

    how many hives do you plan to have in the short run? boxes and frames are much cheaper in quantity.

    and good luck...
     
  9. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper New Member

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    Beekeeping can have huge differances depending on where you live. Here in the north you need two deeps or 3 mediums to over winter one colony of bees.
    I tried the 3 mediums and found them to be a royal pain. They were not that much lighter to lift, but then when doing an inspection and needing to find the queen you have 27 to 30 frames to go thru.
    When we need to lift our deeps we remove some of the frames of honey to reduce the weight. We did need to move colonies with winter stored last fall so we used a hive carrier and a low trailer I backed right up to the hives.

    Also for the first year I recommend 2 honey supers either the mediums or the shallows. We have a good mix of both and some times if I don't pay attention I will put shallow frames in a medium box Which lets the girls play with adding the extra comb and honey on the bottom of the frame.
    We are trying to switch to all shallows for my age which may bring on back problems as I get even older.

    Of course you need A smoker,Hive tool, I make feeders out of FREE pickle jars from the local pizza joint and 2 gallon pails from the local donut shop.
    Optional a good mister for sugar syrup.

    I recommend wood frames with real wax foundation in any size you decide on.

    :mrgreen: Al
     
  10. Hog Wild

    Hog Wild New Member

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    Thanks!

    I am planning a trip to Chapel Hill (Busy Bee) next weekend and hope that getting a visual of the equipment will help me determine what I truly need. Hopefully I will be able to steal some of Jack's time/knowledge!

    Thanks again!
     
  11. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    find an online catalog and thumb through them, this will also help you see how many different things there are.

    G3
     
  12. wfuavenger

    wfuavenger New Member

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    Brushy mountain has a pretty good beginner kit:

    http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com/Bee-ginners-Kits/products/3/

    Here is their comparison of 8 or 10 frames and styles:

    http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com/Resources/HiveSizeComparison.asp

    Dr. Buddy Marterre has a PDF file you can download, Here is the text:

    Getting Started with Bees
    by Buddy Marterre
    Equipment:
    ? Hive stand, built level, preferably facing South / East, with lots of sun and a windbreak at the back:
    ? 8 Cinder blocks
    ? 2 4x 4s, at least 6 feet long
    ? 2 hives*, EACH with:
    ? Screened bottom board, inner cover, top, feeder, and entrance reducer (ALL 8 or 10 frame)
    ? Brood chambers (assembled or unassembled – also either ONLY 8 or 10 frame)
    • 2 deep (9 1/2†hive bodies) OR 3 mediums (6 5/8†deep - frequently inappropriately called
    supers since they are used for brood – although they are the same piece of equipment)
    • Appropriate depth frames and wax foundation (strongly consider using 1 drone frame per
    brood chamber)
    ? Honey super (assembled or unassembled – also either 8 or 10 frame)
    • Either medium (6 5/8â€) or shallow (5 11/16â€)
    • Appropriate depth frames and wax-coated plastic or Duragilt foundation
    ? Queen excluder (plastic or metal)
    ? Bee suit (inspector jacket) or veil, gloves, and painter’s pants or (white) jeans
    ? Hive tool, bee brush, and a (good, large) smoker
    ? Smoker fuel (cedar chips from pet store), and lighter
    ? Wood glue (TiteBond II or III), nails, primer, exterior paint, ventilation blocks (1/2†thick), and bricks

    * It is MUCH better to start with two hives than one. If you have a problem with one hive you can use
    the strong one to ‘rescue’ the weaker one. It also gives you something to compare to, so that you will
    recognize a problem with one much quicker than you otherwise would.

    * Your first decision is hive width. If you plan on expanding your operation much beyond 4 hives, or
    plan to incorporate used equipment, I suggest the traditional 10 frame hive width. Bees would rather
    expand upwards than outwards, however, so if you plan to only have a few hives and only use new
    equipment, many new beekeepers chose the 8 frame width. Also, a 10 frame medium super full of
    honey weighs 55 pounds (and it may be over 5 feet off the ground!), so many female beekeepers
    chose the 8 frame width. ALL the equipment (bottom boards, brood chambers, honey supers, queen
    excluders, inner covers, tops, and top feeders) in your operation needs to be the same width!

    * Brood chamber depth is your next decision. Traditionally, 2 deep brood chambers have been used in
    our area, but many new beekeepers now use 3 mediums, as well as medium supers. That way all
    the equipment (particularly the frames and foundation) are the same depth, which greatly facilitates
    exchanges within and between colonies. The honeycomb of a medium depth frame is exactly 2/3 the
    depth of deep foundation. And the bare minimum depth of brood chambers for successful over-
    wintering is one deep and one medium; two mediums are inadequate!

    * Next decide your foundation type. Bees draw comb on wax foundation easier than plastic, but
    extractors may cause the wax to break. Therefore I prefer wax-coated plastic or Duragilt foundation
    for frames in honey supers and I prefer (wire-supported) wax foundation for brood frames. Then
    calculate how many frames and pieces of foundation of each size you need (example: 32 medium
    depth frames and foundation for each 8 frame triple medium hive with one medium super).
     
  13. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    wfuavenger wrties:

    when I began beekeeping almost 50 years ago as a 4-H project my father who knew absolutely nothing about bees or beekeeping insisted that I begin with 3 hives. this is still pretty good advice since it will first show the difference between a 'poor doer', an average hive and a boomer.

    plus if you loose one you still have resources to replace the loss while with one hive the games over until next season.
     
  14. SamgeeGamwise

    SamgeeGamwise New Member

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    I couldn't agree more. So many beginners get sucked in by the offering of a "good deal." The bee suit thing is more up to the individual and their level of comfort with bees. It might be a good idea for those who are a little nervous about being around bees to get the suit. In my expirience, bees pick up on the "energy" of the beek so if the suit gives a beginner some comfort then it has served its purpose and is worth the money.

    My best advice for a beginner would be to frequent forums like this one and piece together items based on their particular approach to beekeeping. If you are going natural or going with a top bar setup certain things in the popular packs out there are just not needed.

    Also, I've found that the stuff in a lot of those "packages" is really poor quality! This is especially true of the hive. This is an area where someone who plans to have their bees for years to come should NOT skimp!
     
  15. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    my advise is i would frequent the forums this one and beemaster there is others but i wouldnt recommend them for a beginning beekeep second i would find a keeper close to your location to use for a mentor or to follow around for a little bit. 3rd on what bees to buy i would buy nucs over packages if i was a beginner. i myself quit buying bees 2 years ago i do splits and the bees i have found that work best are not the bees you pay for but the ones people pay you to take in otherwords swarms and removals i find them hardier to your area and more able to deal with some of the problems packaged bees cant like varroa. and it also puts cash in your pocket when you collect them.