Bee Keeping here I come!


#548

I don’t know a Mr/Ms. Farrar, but I’ve been of the opinion for 20 yrs. to steal all the honey and let them protect the comb from wax moths until a hard frost then dump them on the ground, store your equipment, and put new nucs in in the spring. Fresh queen and new spring bees gets colonies going quick w/o massive mite or disease loads, saves on meds too!
Anymore, wintering bees is a nonprofit operation and if you know commercial beeks that winter in California, you can easily slap together 1-100 nucs in a few hours.


#549

I’m sorry…I should have been more clear. I actually fed for a while and then stopped and then got worried I didn’t feed enough so I started back. Also, whether it was from my own early feeding or bees collecting from actual flowers, my 4 box hive has almost 2 boxes completely full of honey, and from what I’ve read that seems like it may get them thru winter. And on warm days I’ll feed more if needed. We actually get quite a few days about 50 degrees here all through the winter.

I know you’re of the opinion that it makes more sense to just collect all honey and start over with new bees each spring, but that just makes it so expensive for me. I have to pay about $150 for nucs here, so I’d have to spend $300 every spring. I don’t sell honey and to be honest I don’t even use a lot of honey, so spending $300 on my 2 hives every year just seems expensive. Of course, I’ve also never bought meds for my winter hives so I’ve never had much expense from trying to overwinter. I just think of all the honey I could just buy for $300 and it makes my hives seem like a huge cost. Of course the goal is polination, but I’m not even sure I get $300 worth of benefit from polination of my trees. I always got pretty good polination before I started keeping bees and when I look in my trees I see more mason bees and bumble bees than honey bees even now that I have bees.

You know I’m new to all this, though. I might be missing something here? Thanks all.


#550

Good luck overwintering your bees. Prices for spring replacement bees have escalated since I kept bees. I would always overwinter my bees in either two deep chambers or a deep plus a super on top. If they were heavy at this time of the year it was rare that I had to supplement their food in early spring. The most critical time for starvation is early spring while they are rapidly expanding the bee population. Keep a close check on the hive weight at that time. Rarely did I have a hive starve with this method. Someone else could better advise about Med needs. Hope they survive. Bill


#551

Well I took most of my honey today, I’ve got 19 medium super frames ready to be extracted. Not a very fun job, I got stung through my gloves several times on both wrists and a number of times just above where the good Lord split me. I’m sure it was less fun for the bees however. I left the deep super alone, I didn’t see much capped honey down there. Gave them some sugar, though I’m sure they have no chance to make it through a Minnesota winter. I’ll probably check the hive around Christmas and harvest any leftover honey the old school way (funnel and strainer). This was only my second year of doing bee’s. Their numbers were much higher this fall than last fall. I was surprised being I lost half of them this year in June to swarming, must have been a good queen. . .


#552

Well, my bees are dead and it isn’t even winter yet. I think it was mostly my fault. After my son took the third super off and put them all into two supers I didn’t close down the entrance and I had noticed a lot of yellow jackets around the entrance when I was putting on sugar syrup. I’m pretty sure they killed enough bees that they couldn’t survive. They had swarmed this summer so it wasn’t a nice full hive like I had last year. Will have to buy another nuc or maybe the swarm from my hive will survive. Will need some for pollination next spring.

My son was on the top of a 16’ extension ladder up a pine tree to get the swarm from mine and he has it at his house in only one super. They might make it in one box if we have a milder winter.


#553

if there is honey still in the boxes, combine frames into a single box, then take it to your son’s hive and give it to them.


#554

Great idea, I hadn’t thought about doing that now. Was going to use it in the spring. Thank you


#555

WHen you say you should have closed down the entrance, please clarify. Should I put my reducers across the entrance of my hives for winter?

I didn’t do that last year, which may be part of why I lost all my bees. I also didn’t put the plastic board across the very, very bottom of my hives last year. I will this year. But when I told our local bK club that I had failed to do that last year, I was surprised to hear the people I trust say they doubted that had much to do with me loosing my bees. Some of them don’t even use those bottom boards for winter. They said further north they are important, but here in TN they don’t think they are critical. Hmmm???

Anyway, I had never heard to close entrances during winter, so please let me know if I should do that? Thanks.


#556

Your loss of bees was a failure to requeen after the swarm. Yellowjackets can’t/won’t rob a healthy, queenright colony. If the bees swarmed after June, the swarm will not have enough time to build up population to collect stores and build overwintering bees. Old beekeepers saying,“Swarm in May, worth a load of hay, swarm in June, worth a silver spoon, swarm in July, not worth a fly.” Save any stores for your nuc in the spring.

You don’t close entrances, you reduce them. Even after taking all the honey and leaving open screened bottoms in Iowa, 25% of colonies still survived. Cold doesn’t kill bees, winter moisture does!


#557

I should have said reduce not close. They did have queen cells and had a new queen within a few weeks.


#558

OK, thanks to you both. I also appreciate what you said about the open screened bottoms probably not being a killer, especially here in TN. Thats what I’d been told and I’m glad to get it confirmed. I cursed myself all summer because I felt like I killed my bees by not putting that board on the bottom last year. Nice to know something else probably did it! (Of course it was still probably my fault! ha).

I have reducers so it sounds like I should put them on


#559

I know by now lots of people are planning to add on colonies which means more boxes and frames. Wanted to mention a nail gun & stapler can be a handy thing if your putting together a bunch of equipment. It’s all been said before https://beemaster.com/forum/index.php?topic=34850.0. If your feeling ambitious and tired of paying shipping on hives you can use a beehive as a template and make your own boxes https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=U2i0jDKodSw and https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TRL0Usxcwvg and https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NCvVtMS10MA and https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6QOuv_NImKY. It’s winter time which is a perfect time to build boxes and get ready for spring!


#560

Especially if you have a nice, new, big barn!


#561

Chikn,
That’s true a new barn is nice. It was keeping heat pretty good in there today.


#562

We’re not going to keep any heat here, Tues high of 12.


#563

Chikn,
Stay warm maybe you can put off building boxes until January is over. I suspect since your a couple hours farther north you know just how cold this next month is going to be. It gets down right nasty here so I was hustling to get that barn finished before this stuff hit. I finished that project just in front of this nasty weather! It will be 9 degrees here in a couple of days.


#564

well, I’ve been following this thread for awhile. thought bee keeping was much simpler but the way I’m meticulous it will take too much time , money and worry. i want to raise pollinators for my fruits but i think I’m just going to place nesting boxes and buy cocoons for mason and leaf cutter bees. no honey but much better pollinators in my climate. i already have brush piles and ground boxes for the bumble bees to nest in. honey bees just aren’t hardy enough up here to warrant me investing the time and money in them. good luck to the rest of you!


#565

I know about Italians, Carniolans, Caucasians, and even German black honey bees but I don’t know about Russian honeybees. My understanding is they have significantly better mite resistance. What do you know about them? https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/comparison-of-russian-and-italian-honey-bees
http://www.russianbee.com/Russians.html


#566

Two very interesting articles. Thanks

Mick


#567

I need some advice from beekeepers:

THe last 2 years when I have bought bee packages to put in my empty hives, all of my frames inside those hives have had new wax foundations. This year, I have a whole bunch of frames that have empty honeycomb already built on both sides. I’ve tried to research if I can use this or if there is an advantage in doing so, but about all I have found is that there is a chance of passing on foulbrood but otherwise it is a good thing to use predrawn frames. Is that true? Foulbrood is supposed to be rare in my area and I’m pretty sure I’ve never had it, so I think that is unlikely to be a problem.

I have looked at each of my frames that have empty honeycomb and they all look pretty clean and no visible bugs or anything (I know some things aren’t visible to naked eye like mites). Also, I really haven’t done anything to disinfect them and I’m inclined not to. The only thing I see a bit usual (to me) is than the comb is a very dark color on some, not the white or very light tan color new honeycomb has in summertime.

what say you all? Can I fill my first 2 boxes with frames that have last years comb already built on both sides or should I use new frames again.