Oppurtunity for hives

Oppurtunity for hives

PostBy: wilder11354 On: Sun Jun 09, 2013 9:05 pm

a freinf of my GF is selling thier house, she has working hives, as well as other hive box setups. Shes asking $40 for a double bottom box setup, with 1 super top. They have all the comb boards in all of them. Also she has jacket, head net,spare smokers, hand tools etc, for hives. Is $40 a fair price per setup, and how involved is beekeeping? daily maintenance, weekly, monthly? She reccomends if i do buy some setups to try to get the russian bees to start up the hives. Various reasons she gives are: they're more tolerant to lower temps, and more resistant to pests illness(mites, etc) I am interested, any help with making my decision would be appreciated.
wilder11354
 
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Re: Oppurtunity for hives

PostBy: KLook On: Sun Jun 09, 2013 9:19 pm

The answer to the money question is yes, it is a good buy. They can take as much time as you spend with them. Towards the end of my beekeeping in Maine I was just letting them be. No pun intended. I was in a lousy area for honey and they died every winter. The Russian bees should help with that, I just had whatever swarmed into my empty hives or I went out and caught. Mostly Italians and Carnolians. It can be fun and educational, they are fascinating to have. I am planning to get back into it down here and see how it goes in a warmer climate.

Kevin

There are a couple people in here more articulate then I at describing all this and I am sure they will weigh in.
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Re: Oppurtunity for hives

PostBy: Scottscoaled On: Sun Jun 09, 2013 9:21 pm

That's a real good price. You could buy the wood for half the price but it takes quite a bit of time to make every thing even if you know what your doing and have the patterns all ready. She is right about the Russian bees also.They are smaller so you can use a smaller cell size. It scrapes the mites off.
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Re: Oppurtunity for hives

PostBy: McGiever On: Sun Jun 09, 2013 9:40 pm

Price sounds good. Russians are as she has stated.

The bees will do okay in spite of how much or how little one may do with them.
You could contact your County Agricultural Extension Agent for info from USDA and to tell of other beekeepers/beekeeping organizations in your area.
There are many good books available on beekeeping that detail the proper timing and techniques on the management of bees. Even ebay has a lot of listings for related items.
Basically you have, Spring Management, Summer Management, Fall Management and Winterizing and then repeat. Internet searches will also turn up a lot of info on bees.
BTW: They have their own society in pretty good shape. ;)
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Re: Oppurtunity for hives

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:22 pm

That's a great price for what you described. I'm confused, are the bees coming with it or do you have to add the bees? If the bees are coming make sure you have a laying queen. How much of that comb is drone comb or surplus honey/food for the bees filled comb? While not impossible, walking in on an established hive may be overwhelming. You would be starting down low on a steep learning curve. But hey for that price, even if you lost the bees over the winter, you'd still have the woodware, the combs and the personal gear for next spring. By then you would have learned a lot from this year and from studying about bees on your own. What's there to lose?

The Russians do well in the cold but many say they are a little grumpy and prone to sting. That may not be a problem if you are out in the country but if you live in town, it could get sticky. ;) The Russians also have more immunity to mites and other bee pests. Given all that, I'd go with the Italians bees because they are more forgiving to your mistakes. They should do well in PA with a little pampering. You could always change breeds down the line.

As for the time involved, it all depends on what you want to get out of it. They say that beekeepers are lucky to have a hive that makes it over the winter but I've found that those beekeepers whose hives winter well actually make their luck. They are the ones spending time to apply mite control and looking for other problems that may exist. They are the ones that insure that bees have a clean source of water or are fed during periods of nectar drought. It doesn't take long - maybe hour a month after the hive is up and running - but it has to be done or you become one of the unlucky ones. Lisa
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Re: Oppurtunity for hives

PostBy: wilder11354 On: Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:55 pm

lowfog01 wrote: I'm confused, are the bees coming with it or do you have to add the bees?

No bees will be with hive box setups.

The Russians do well in the cold but many say they are a little grumpy and prone to sting. That may not be a problem if you are out in the country

These boxes will be setup on the farm i work. closest dwelling will be 150 yards away, any other dwellings will be 1/2 mile or further.

The Russians also have more immunity to mites and other bee pests. Given all that, I'd go with the Italians bees because they are more forgiving to your mistakes. They should do well in PA with a little pampering. You could always change breeds down the line.

Another question is, obtain bees locally from other keepers? (queen and drones) or buy from known reputable dealer.?

As for the time involved, it all depends on what you want to get out of it. They say that beekeepers are lucky to have a hive that makes it over the winter but I've found that those beekeepers whose hives winter well actually make their luck. They are the ones spending time to apply mite control and looking for other problems that may exist. They are the ones that insure that bees have a clean source of water or are fed during periods of nectar drought. It doesn't take long - maybe hour a month after the hive is up and running - but it has to be done or you become one of the unlucky ones.

Will definitely be doing weekly checks of them, plus how long and what amount of time to establissh a hive, feeding , how often(sugar water) when first started up with queen and bees in kit(nuc?), pollen cakes? like to have them last thru winters.
ho Lisa
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Re: Oppurtunity for hives

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:09 pm

First thing you need to do is go buy a book about bee hive management. The "Backyard Beekeeper" is what I used. Start reading that - you are behind a power curve and need to learn fast. Get the hive boxes and get them set up. When did they last have bees in them? If it was a while ago, the comb may be infested with hive beetles and wax months. If that’s the case, throw the comb out and plan on starting in the spring. Spend the fall and winter studying bee hive management.

If the comb is good, order some bees - locally if they are available or from another source via the internet. Packages come with queens and about 3 lbs of bees. They will come in the mail. Look on the internet to see how to install them. If you contact your local bee club, they may get called to remove a swarm and you may able to get that.

You are in a race with winter. The drawn comb puts you ahead of the game but the bees still will need time to store enough honey to feed themselves and build up their numbers so they can keep the hive warm through the winter. You may have to feed them over the winter but whatever they can save is a plus.

I think your location will be great for the bees. I would consider going with Italians because they are easy to come by and they are easier to work with. You will get stung - more so if you chose to go with the Russians. That’s going to test your commitment. You are already behind the power curve, why make it any harder then it’s already going to be. The issue of mites and other diseases can be dealt with using other means this first year.

Initially you can count on having to “go into” the hive weekly after you have installed the package. That’s so you can make sure the queen is laying. After she is established that will drop down to once a month or so to check on mite levels and general wellness.

The amount of time for you to establish a hive with drawn comb and packaged bees will be about 6 to 8 weeks. The queen has to establish a good laying pattern and the numbers of bees has to expand. It takes 21 days for a worker to hatch. Once you have 3 or 4 generations of bees in the hive, I think you could call it established. During this period you will be supplementing the bees' foraging with sugar water - as much as they will take. Pollen cakes are helpful when growing brood. If the girls are unable to store enough honey for their winter needs, you will have to feed them “sugar candy” throughout the winter. That’s the same stuff bakeries use as icing.

First things first, get a book and start reading. Get the hives set up, continue reading and add some bees. Continue reading and learn about bee hive management including bee diseases and pests.

Remember, you can do everything right and still lose your bees so I say do the best you can and go for it. You will learn as you go. Good luck, Lisa
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Re: Oppurtunity for hives

PostBy: Scottscoaled On: Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:17 pm

Can't use the drawn comb with the Russian bees. The need a smaller size comb. They end up rebuilding everything to their size. Wastes time and bees.
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Re: Oppurtunity for hives

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Thu Jun 13, 2013 4:39 am

I don't have any experience with Russians but I'm not having any problems with my smaller Carniolains using the larger comb which was drawn by Italians. I couldn't find any references to a problem like that on the internet either. My Carnie queen just moved right in and made herself at home. I did find a gazillion references to problems with putting a Russian queen in a colony of Italians. Apparently, the Italians don't like Russians. It's hard to get them to accept the new queen. From what I've read, despite the advantages with mite control, I'd stay away from Russians. It's just not worth it since you can control the mites with minimal attention; just my opinion. You know what they say, if you have a roomful of beekeepers and you find one that agrees with you, you must be looking in the mirror. Take care, Lisa
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