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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Took a class last year thinking I wanted to get into it. Decided I was a little late in the season and wanted to do more homework. Well, here we are almost into the bee season and I'm starting to worry that I've forgotten some things. I have my hive built, a local Nuc on order and most of my necessary accouterments. I'm not even planning on taking honey from them this year (maybe a small slice of comb if there is enough) but just wondering what small details I've glossed over. My ultimate goal is a healthy, mostly self-sufficient hive that I can get some honey from and reap the pollinating benefits they offer for my garden and wildflower meadow.

I went with the horizontal hive for the added insulation of the thicker wood and ease of access to the frames.

What have you found works for you? Any tips or advice is appreciated.


Furniture Outdoor bench Table Wood Desk
 

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I asked my wife to read your post and tell what she saw. Bonnie had a few suggestions, She immediately said to keep on top of mites. Use a divider bord to keep bees in a smaller part of the box until they fill up that part. She recommended being ready to feed, sugar and water 1-1, when you first get your bees. She said a Biggy is to join a bee club if you have one locally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Tell her I said "Thank you"! Appreciate the advice. The divider board is something I hadn't thought of, good idea. I did look into the bee clubs, have to figure out if I can somehow join without having a facebook.
 

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I started my first bee hive last year and I have had a great time working with them and learning along the way. I was excited to see large amounts of bees on a nice warm spring day a couple weeks ago, it was a relief knowing that a good majority of them made it through the winter. A bit of advice would be to not disturb the hive more than necessary, I wanted to go into the hive and peak around quite often but didn't on the advice of my bee mentor buddy, let them do their thing and leave them alone. Feed the bees once you introduce them into the hive 1:1 sugar water and when things start to flower and open up you can stop. Make sure you have hive tools for extracting frames and separating boxes the bees will propolis everything together. Return frames back into the hive in the same order you removed them. Have two dedicated brood boxes/winter store box, (I use a vertical hive) but the bottom larger box, larger than the honey supers, is the brood box all those frames will contain eggs, larvae, honey and pollen etc. when the frames in that box are 90% full of eggs, brood, honey and pollen its time to add another brood box then once that second brood box is fully established then it's time for a honey super. I never touch those first two boxes, meaning I take nothing from them, those two boxes are left exclusively for the bees. Also, feeding in the fall up until freeze is very important. Don't get complacent and wear you head gear at a minimum, I usually wear gloves and veil and only fully suit up when I'm doing a honey frame extract or a whole hive inspection. I intentionally let myself get stung last year by not using gloves and wearing short sleeves, I did this because I haven't been stung by a honey bee in 40 years or so and I wanted to see how my body would react and to make sure I wasn't allergic and I'm not. I could probably go on and wish we were neighbors to talk about this over a few beers. BTW my favorite beer drinking activity is to sit near the hive and watch the bees come and go while sipping on cold ones. Have fun and enjoy them, I know I have and I also, I don't think I would hesitate to do a honey harvest this year, I did two last year and yielded about 45 one pound jars.
My hive Spring 2022
Plant Apiary Beehive Pollinator Wood

Beehive Pollinator Insect Apiary Natural material
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I started my first bee hive last year and I have had a great time working with them and learning along the way. I was excited to see large amounts of bees on a nice warm spring day a couple weeks ago, it was a relief knowing that a good majority of them made it through the winter. A bit of advice would be to not disturb the hive more than necessary, I wanted to go into the hive and peak around quite often but didn't on the advice of my bee mentor buddy, let them do their thing and leave them alone. Feed the bees once you introduce them into the hive 1:1 sugar water and when things start to flower and open up you can stop. Make sure you have hive tools for extracting frames and separating boxes the bees will propolis everything together. Return frames back into the hive in the same order you removed them. Have two dedicated brood boxes/winter store box, (I use a vertical hive) but the bottom larger box, larger than the honey supers, is the brood box all those frames will contain eggs, larvae, honey and pollen etc. when the frames in that box are 90% full of eggs, brood, honey and pollen its time to add another brood box then once that second brood box is fully established then it's time for a honey super. I never touch those first two boxes, meaning I take nothing from them, those two boxes are left exclusively for the bees. Also, feeding in the fall up until freeze is very important. Don't get complacent and wear you head gear at a minimum, I usually wear gloves and veil and only fully suit up when I'm doing a honey frame extract or a whole hive inspection. I intentionally let myself get stung last year by not using gloves and wearing short sleeves, I did this because I haven't been stung by a honey bee in 40 years or so and I wanted to see how my body would react and to make sure I wasn't allergic and I'm not. I could probably go on and wish we were neighbors to talk about this over a few beers. BTW my favorite beer drinking activity is to sit near the hive and watch the bees come and go while sipping on cold ones. Have fun and enjoy them, I know I have and I also, I don't think I would hesitate to do a honey harvest this year, I did two last year and yielded about 45 one pound jars.
My hive Spring 2022
View attachment 822135
View attachment 822136

Would be cool to learn some stuff about bees and have a few beers, I've got the hive set up near the deck so I can watch it while going on "Labattical". Hive box is out with 10 frames and divider board to get rid of the new wood smell before the bees arrive. Just waiting on the bees now.
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Thanks for all the advice everyone.
 

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My wife trapped a swarm last year for our first bees and she really got into. She researched and learned a lot. She had a Bluetooth sensor in her hive to monitor temperature and her hive died during a cold spell a little over a week ago. She had a lot of honey left. She will get more bees this spring. We are in a local bee club and winter mortality was high this year.
 

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I started my first bee hive last year and I have had a great time working with them and learning along the way. I was excited to see large amounts of bees on a nice warm spring day a couple weeks ago, it was a relief knowing that a good majority of them made it through the winter. A bit of advice would be to not disturb the hive more than necessary, I wanted to go into the hive and peak around quite often but didn't on the advice of my bee mentor buddy, let them do their thing and leave them alone. Feed the bees once you introduce them into the hive 1:1 sugar water and when things start to flower and open up you can stop. Make sure you have hive tools for extracting frames and separating boxes the bees will propolis everything together. Return frames back into the hive in the same order you removed them. Have two dedicated brood boxes/winter store box, (I use a vertical hive) but the bottom larger box, larger than the honey supers, is the brood box all those frames will contain eggs, larvae, honey and pollen etc. when the frames in that box are 90% full of eggs, brood, honey and pollen its time to add another brood box then once that second brood box is fully established then it's time for a honey super. I never touch those first two boxes, meaning I take nothing from them, those two boxes are left exclusively for the bees. Also, feeding in the fall up until freeze is very important. Don't get complacent and wear you head gear at a minimum, I usually wear gloves and veil and only fully suit up when I'm doing a honey frame extract or a whole hive inspection. I intentionally let myself get stung last year by not using gloves and wearing short sleeves, I did this because I haven't been stung by a honey bee in 40 years or so and I wanted to see how my body would react and to make sure I wasn't allergic and I'm not. I could probably go on and wish we were neighbors to talk about this over a few beers. BTW my favorite beer drinking activity is to sit near the hive and watch the bees come and go while sipping on cold ones. Have fun and enjoy them, I know I have and I also, I don't think I would hesitate to do a honey harvest this year, I did two last year and yielded about 45 one pound jars.
My hive Spring 2022
View attachment 822135
View attachment 822136
Did you start with a nuc or a package? That's pretty awesome that you were able to harvest that much honey off a first year hive!
 

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Did you start with a nuc or a package? That's pretty awesome that you were able to harvest that much honey off a first year hive!
I started with a package. A Queen and 10,000 bees that I introduced into my hive which consisted of one brood box. We had an exceptional spring down here and excellent clover production lots of forage for the bees all summer. I harvested honey in June and the first week of August. Our springs are a month earlier than Michigan and our falls are about a month longer so we definitely have milder weather and shorter winters down here which is a bonus for beekeeping but not ice fishing.
 

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I started with a package. A Queen and 10,000 bees that I introduced into my hive which consisted of one brood box. We had an exceptional spring down here and excellent clover production lots of forage for the bees all summer. I harvested honey in June and the first week of August. Our springs are a month earlier than Michigan and our falls are about a month longer so we definitely have milder weather and shorter winters down here which is a bonus for beekeeping but not ice fishing.
How long did you feed your new package? Did you do anything special for a feeder, or just use the ziplock bag? I'm just waiting for the bees to show up now lol.
 

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How long did you feed your new package? Did you do anything special for a feeder, or just use the ziplock bag? I'm just waiting for the bees to show up now lol.
I started with a frame feeder which came with my initial purchase of a brood box/starter kit. I filled it twice starting in mid April. Then by the time spring was in full bloom I discontinued my feeding and let nature provide. I resumed feeding in late September until night time temps were below freezing in late October. Here’s an example of the frame feeder and the fall feeder I used then and now. I pulled the frame feeder in the summer to add another frame into the brood box to allow for more room for the Queen to lay eggs and for extra honey stores. Here’s an example of the two feeders I use.
Frame feeder
Rectangle Packaging and labeling Plastic Box Magenta

Mason jar (32oz) feeder
Tableware Drinkware Serveware Barware Rectangle
 

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A little off the thread, but I caught a new (to me) series on TV called 'Bee Czar'. A little corny, but it was pretty interesting to watch. Hosts go out and rescue bee hives. Texas area, but quite interesting to watch.
 

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you mentioned "mostly self-sufficient". With bee-keeping there are a lot of varying opinions on almost everything but IMO, in order to be mostly self-sufficient you will need multiple hives. If you have 3-5 hives it would take a rather bad stroke of luck to be in full reset mode. If you have 3 hives and 2 die in a harsh winter, you have 1 hive that you can split multiple times to build your apiary back up without the capital expenditure of additional nucs/packages. With 1 hive, if it dies your done. That and taking care of 3 or 4 hives (in the same area/yard) really isn't any more work than taking care of 1. just my $.02
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
you mentioned "mostly self-sufficient". With bee-keeping there are a lot of varying opinions on almost everything but IMO, in order to be mostly self-sufficient you will need multiple hives. If you have 3-5 hives it would take a rather bad stroke of luck to be in full reset mode. If you have 3 hives and 2 die in a harsh winter, you have 1 hive that you can split multiple times to build your apiary back up without the capital expenditure of additional nucs/packages. With 1 hive, if it dies your done. That and taking care of 3 or 4 hives (in the same area/yard) really isn't any more work than taking care of 1. just my $.02

Good advice, thank you.
 
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