Bee Keeping here I come!


Im hoping to catch this wild swarm next year, we were going to this year but the very late freezes in may stopped the swarm. I do think you should get carnolian or russian bees for overwintering in SD and definitely think you need to give them some form of wind protection such as a old tree or 2-3 sided shed.


Swarms tend to move into very specific size cavities with certain characteristics.

  1. They tend to move into cavities that are situated about 10 feet high.
  2. The cavity should be about the size of a Langstroth 10 frame deep brood box
  3. The entrance should be about 2 inches diameter and should face south or southeast
  4. It must NOT be infested with ants
  5. Bees prefer locations in shade vs in direct sun
  6. Bees are highly attracted to old comb but can also be baited in with lemon grass oil
  7. Do not under any conditions put a bait hive out that does not contain frames, preferably with foundation

I could list a few more items, but the above are the basics and will catch plenty of swarms.


Also i should add maybe you should buy headgear in person, you need to be able to see out of it or its worthless. Personally I don’t use any protection and get stung 7 times a year maybe? I think if your calm and confident so are they and you just don’t do it when its hot or they are on a dearth if so feed them a day before doing anything and try not to upset them by moving them much. I recommend glass windows as this will keep a more harmonious bee population but you will need to make sure the window is covered with tar paper for winter so no wind enters the hive. If i move the hive i do it at night and block off the entrance. I went with the warre hives and think no matter what style you absolutely need a quilt box for the winter. I would not do any plastic and no plastic frames, bees are very affected by plastic and these are in my opinion made for the high fructose honey suppliers that have a weird form of italian bees that accepts a pretty non natural lifestyle. You can use fishing line or dental floss if you want for guides but just the thin wood strip frames and you can spray on some geranium 15 drops/qt and lemongrass oil 3 drops/qt on the top of the combs will get them to build comb. The pesticide industry has become firmly entrenched in a lot of beekeeping associations and there is a pretty strict divide on how to approach the new needs of bees similar to this thread in the natural sustainable style and the english bulldog style of beekeeping.

Also that one feeder even though its plastic is pretty nice and easy to use i know people who like them alot. Also are you getting a screened bottom board? i think this is a must for cleanliness and proper ventilation and airflow equal to the quilt box


didn’t get screened bottom boards, can prolly build something if necessary…

any thoughts on painting or staining hive bodies? what lasts longer or it’s better for bees? see people on YouTube doing some hot wax dips…


The screened bottom boards really help with mites and foul brood as well as condensation which will be your biggest enemy imo. I did Tung oil and am really into it. I like the wood to breathe slightly but you need to weatherproof the outside, paint is good for very wet or very dry areas but i think wax is better however you only should do the outside in my opinion and leave the inside as rough hewn lumber all untreated. If your hives are close to each other you need to differentiate them from each other with different bottom boards or paints that come through in uv (bees see in ultraviolet) also cool to look at pictures of flowers in ultraviolet like dandelions and others that seem boring to us are really trying to bring in the bees!


What paint colours come thru in Uv?

I have a feral bee colony that set up in a shed wall last June. I thought I should try my hand at bees since I have a free colony right here. I am hoping they will make the winter, we fixed some rigid insulation against both sides of the shed wall, put up a tarp windbreak and now I am hoping they will survive.

Meanwhile I am reading all I can about bees and so unfortunately I am hooked! Even if these bees don’t make it I am going to buy a Nuc.

I decide to go with a Layens hive plan since I am so far north and high honey production is not my main goal, I just like the bees.


Fun ? Bee keeping story…
Years ago I moved from Ohio to Wv.
With my bees…
I stapled screens on the entrance, after dark ,and taped the boxes together, rope , etc …
I had a old Nova car, I put several hives in the back seat, and one in the passenger seat the next morning , off to Wv…
Everything was good…
A car pulled out in front of me in a small town.
Slammed on the brakes,…that hive up front came apart as it hit the dash.
Bees everywhere ! Rolled up the windows to keep them in.
I was " OK" with that. I was comfortable around them
My bees were very gentle, and I did not really mind.
The funniest part was…
When I stopped at a long red light , and a lady in a car next to me…
Looked over, did a double take , in disbeelief.
…As there were bees almost covering the Windows.
She just could not believe what see was seeing.
I will never forget the look on her face !
I just waved and smiled.
Good stuff, :sweat_smile:


Holy crap that is hilarious! I understand why you rolled up the windows and kept going (what else are you going to do they are going to be upset for hours) I will bet money that lady never in her life forgot seeing that and imagine the questions she had!

You know it mainly only matters when you put multiple hives close to each other and in general you are looking for shiny light colored zero voc latex paints. You can also change up bottom boards to let bees know where home is (the smell near hives kind of overpowers them) However i think where you live maybe the Oil staining will be better (Wood can grab more heat) and you probably need to put them in morning sun. Shed walls are a very good place for them and everything your telling me sounds like good stewardship. Usually what kills bees in the north if its not herbicides-pesticides and a lack of food is the hot cold cycles and the precipitation from that wearing them down.

Im personally a fan of the Warre hives but i think everyone in the northern areas (or any area that condensates alot) especially needs to build a quilt box. This allows the bees to control there humidity and temperature and mimics the way a hollow tree would absorb humidity easily. Hollow trees also would not have a bottom and beneficial hypoaspis mites and nematodes are able to eat up the bees pests (Varroa destructor mite, SHB etc…) which is why i think its also important to put in the screened bottom board (cleanliness).

Here is a thing on colors that are likely to show up in uv and you can buy uv additives or paint markers to put designs on them although it really depends on paint manufacturer for additives.


I am currently building my hives and I was interested in a quilt box as moisture management or rigid styrofoam, so thanks for the tip. I have been looking at the Warre hive and it is certainly an option for me to try. I had to make a decision so I just went with the Layens for my first attempt.

With our very cold outside air my chicken house has frost on the door because I hang a quilted sleeping bag inside the door opening in the winter to keep out the -40C drafts and keep the heating bill to a minimum. I have seen how much frost can build up when hot air meets -40C cold. I found out that the frost does not build up on the inner side of the sleeping bag but on the face of the door behind it and a little on the outer surface of the fabric. It is a lesson well learned that for me puts quilt boxes in the ‘works’ category. If I don’t use one in the winter I am certain that the frost would build up above my bees and drown them in the first spring thaw.


That is the best and funniest story I have heard in a long time. You are a brave soul, I probably would have exited the car, stood outside and wondered what to do next, or got run over in the process.


A good podcast series, about pollinators.


Layens hives work fine, but you will have to build all your own equipment. In the same situation, I would give strong consideration to a Kenya Top Bar hive.

Re moving bees, either learn to make a tension knot with rope or else purchase tie down straps for each hive to be moved. You can get cheap tie downs for $1 each or less. I’ve moved bees for 50 years safely by using appropriate methods.

Given the interest in bees and beekeeping, here are a few threads on beesource that would be worth reading.


Great links! While top bars make great sense in warmer climates they really condensate bad here in Colorado even though i have met excellent beekeepers who use these they admit that they lose more hives in them and that they are just easier to work with compared to langstroth. They seem much harder for bees to winterize. I like to look at where honeybees live if they are feral in your locale and recreate that for each environment and it seems horizontal makes more sense where its warmer and you need better airflow and that vertical makes more sense where the bees need to condense there heat and stay away from wind and heat loss.

While obviously moving bees is much much smarter in a truck, Im insane and didn’t want to wind blast my bees with wind while moving them to there new home and did it in my car for the improved ride experience of struts vs shocks. It worked great and they did wear a seat belt contraption, but a break check at 50 could have changed that similar to hillbillyhort which i hope i would have reacted half as calmly!

Off topic but I have always wanted to ask you what you think the first fusion power that we will have available to us will be and when you think it could possibly come out as a viable alternative to nuclear (or do you think thorium is the near future?


Ventilation is an issue in just about all climates. I keep small upper entrances on my bees to resolve the problem. It should be easy to adapt an upper entrance to a top bar hive.

I think ITER will eventually lead to a lithium moderated fusion reactor. Re thorium, I think it is viable, but there is a chicken/egg situation that needs to be resolved. IMO, it will take a government entity backing it to get it off the ground. Fusion is still a better solution long term.


An article about a new kind of bee…


This past year was my first, and it was mainly for my fruit trees. For the past 5 years or so I am in my small orchard 6b in late March, early April among the beautiful pink and white blooms looking for bees. No bees anywhere. I brought along my trust paintbrush to try and pretend I am a bee, but I’m not accomplishing much. I spend a couple years with mason bees, but the warm sun sends them out too soon and they die when the temp drops.

I started with one hive and a 3 pound box of bees with a queen and her attendants. I am really nervous about bringing this box home in the car. Even more so when I get dressed for the first time, light my smoker, and shake them in. As it turns out, I am surprised how well it has gone! Just within the few weeks that caught the end of the blooms, I have had my best luck at growing. Over 100 peaches before thinning on one tree. Some things I learned: I do much better lighting my smoker with a torch than matches, plus I can relight quickly it I have to. Have everything ready, laid out in front of you. I get enough smoker burlap, small leaves, or other firestarter for several starts so I dont have to run around looking for more. I’m using a small patch of wax as a point of attachment and they create their own form, but I need to make sure I have extras ready to go. I cant lean down well, so I have a portable table or similar to set items on. You are smart to have a mentor! You-tube was mine, and its just not the same. Grab you a chair and sit close enough to watch their comings and goings. You will love it!!


I drilled a hole in the upper front section of my hives for ventilation. Appeared to work well and it most likely would work on top bar hives.


Try using the small animal cedar litter at wally world. Lights easily with a match and will burn long enough to start compressed sawdust pellets for a long burn. smells better than burlap too.


Thanks. Never considered that. I will try it.


Yes I considered the top bar hive, a friend has one and he does pretty well. I went with the Layens because of it’s success in colder regions of the world. While reading up on beekeeping the large amount of information on which hive is best is daunting, so I picked one solely based on winter survivability. Beekeepers can be firmly in one corner or the other and when you are ‘newish’, a good argument favouring one side can seem credible until another that refutes it comes along. :thinking:

My frames are built, my boxes are ready to be assembled and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process.