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Ok how often do you all take the top off your hives and inspect your frames?

Also If I have honey suppers on do I take them both off to check on the upper deep and do I have to take that off to check lower deep? All the books I am reading say to always be on the lookout for eggs so you know if you have a strong queen.But I would imaging it really would get the girls panties in a bundle if I did all that once every few weeks in the warm months.

Also how many honey supers can I stack?If it looks like I am going to get more than two should I harvest and restack or just stack one more on top.I know this wont be a problem this first year.

You also want to keep ontop of the proprolis(sp?) right?

How many years do you let the bees use the same comb?

ok last one:eek: If you have overcrowding going on will adding honey supers help or should you attempt to split the hive?Can you add another deep?

I have raised chikens and pigs and goats and one thing I have noticed is people sometimes make it way more complicated then it is so I am wondering if this is the case sometimes in these books.

thanks,
Rachel:viking:
 

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I know you are going to hate this answer, but truthfully, it is "personal preference" to each one of them.

There are very few set rules in beekeeping. You can do about as you please.

Inspect partially or fully.

Inspect weekly or 3 times a summer.

Stack supers or extract and replace.

Clean off propolis or leave it, doesn't matter.

New wax every 5 years or 30 years, your choice.

Add boxes, or make splits, for you own objectives.

Told you you would hate it..... :p
 

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Iddee is right about not having set rules, but I'll throw in a few recommendations...
thorsgurl75 said:
Ok how often do you all take the top off your hives and inspect your frames?
I recommend that beginners do this about every-other week the first year. Inspect every frame. Yes, it is disruptive to the bees to some extent, but your first hive is your 'learning hive'. As you gain experience, (and invariably add more colonies!) you'll learn to "spot check" certain things and be satisified that either they're okay, or that maybe you need a closer look on a particular hive.

Also If I have honey suppers on do I take them both off to check on the upper deep and do I have to take that off to check lower deep?
Depends. I only take them off to examine frames in the deeps if I feel there is a need.

Also how many honey supers can I stack?If it looks like I am going to get more than two should I harvest and restack or just stack one more on top.
Again, it depends. For example, I did a harvest last year right after the tulip poplar bloom so that I'd have a distinctive tulip poplar honey. On the other hand, I borrow an extractor, and it's a royal pain clean up afterwards, so I don't want to extract unless it's gonna be worth my while.

You also want to keep ontop of the proprolis right?
Not a big priority with me. I do what I have to in order to get frames in & out, but don't spend any more time on it that I have to.

How many years do you let the bees use the same comb?
There is growing research showing that it's good idea for the health of your bees to replace old comb. I know beeks who use colored thumbtacks in frames and are "religous" about rotating out combs every three years. I tend to be more hit & miss about it: I do a thorough inspection of each hive in the spring, and I pull out frames which look very dark and "past their prime" and replace them with new foundation.

If you have overcrowding going on will adding honey supers help...
Yes.
... or should you attempt to split the hive?
If you want to increase the number of colonies.
Can you add another deep?
Yes, but I'd add supers. Two deeps is plenty for brood, so a third deep would likely end up being honey.

Typically, beekeepers believe "you can make bees or make honey". If you make splits, you're making bees. If you want to maximize your honey crop, add supers.

I have noticed is people sometimes make it way more complicated then it is so I am wondering if this is the case sometimes in these books.
Very likely. To get back to Iddee's point, so much about beekeeping is personal preference: there are many ways to do things, and you have to develop your own "style" of what works best for you.
 

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"Ok how often do you all take the top off your hives and inspect your frames?"

About every month and a half now. Every other month once the honey supers are on.
That changed from every two weeks due to fuel cost and the amount of out yards we have.
I want to make sure that the queen is still going strong & remove burr comb. Much worse than proplis.

"Also If I have honey suppers on do I take them both off to check on the upper deep and do I have to take that off to check lower deep? All the books I am reading say to always be on the lookout for eggs so you know if you have a strong queen.But I would imaging it really would get the girls panties in a bundle if I did all that once every few weeks in the warm months."

Once the honey supers are on I only check the honey supers to see that the girls are filling them and watch the entrance for a lot of coming and going. Other wise leave them alone.

"Also how many honey supers can I stack?If it looks like I am going to get more than two should I harvest and restack or just stack one more on top.I know this wont be a problem this first year."

I have seen as many as 8 shallow honey supers on a bee keepers out yard hives. A friend who has just a few colonies extracts when ever he gets a couple of boxes full but he sells every Saturday along side a busy road.
I will only do 4 supers on a colony and when they are full remove them and extract.

"You also want to keep ontop of the proprolis(sp?) right?"

For all the different breed of bees we have had Proplis isn't an issue. Clean it out in the spring when you do the reversals. In the fall they use it to seal the hive from drafts.
We also place proplis traps on our hives and leave them by rotation all summer long. Burr comb is a bigger issue for us.

"How many years do you let the bees use the same comb?"

Depends on condition. Comb can get relly dark in no time at all since the girls do not :happy: wipe their feet when they enter the hive. I like to take out any that starts getting the look and feel of warm tar, to many drone cells, Most last about 5 years though. Again a friend with just a few colonies replaces all his ever other year thru the summer.

"ok last one If you have overcrowding going on will adding honey supers help or should you attempt to split the hive?Can you add another deep?"

You want real strong hives in the spring just as you place the honey supers.
Placeing honey supers at the right time will make room so the girls are not as apt to swarm. Placeing them to late and you will have a swarm.
Since we no longer buy packages or nucs we manage our hives so they are just boiling over by the end of April. We then do about ten to 20 nucs and split the rest of our colonies. A few of the nucs we sell but most we keep to increase our colony numbers. Our queens come from about 10 slect colonies. Raised in an out yard where we encourage the colonies to raise high number of drones.



"people sometimes make it way more complicated then it is so I am wondering if this is the case sometimes in these books"

Yup it is made more complicated than it really is. they have to do some thing to sell those books.

There only a couple good all around books that answer just about every question asked about bee keeping.
Many bee keepers will have their likes, mine is the ABC XYZ of bee keeping by A I Root. I have the 1975 edition so it is before the vorroa mites hit the USA.

:D Al
 

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Rachel-

a couple of things to remember.

When getting advice on an internet forum, take it with a grain of salt and realize that hive management differs from one part of the country to another. If you don't have an opportunity to take the U of M beekeeping course, go online and order the text book which they use. FYI- the actual title of the course is "Beekeeping In Northern Climates". It is specifically geared towards beekeeping in, well, northern climates, lol. I kept bees for almost 10 years n Florida before I moved to MN and the first thing I did was to go take the course- before I moved any of my bees up here. The book will give you a really good idea of what needs to be done when. It is geared towards beginning beekeepers and I find that I can skip some of the recommended inspections since I have learned from experience what to expect, but for the first 2-3 years, I'd say, use their schedule and stick to it.

You will need to remove any honey supers and your top deep to inspect the brood chamber. Although, once I start putting on honey supers I worry less about queen cells, swarming, etc. and tend to inspect less often.

Northern beekeepers do all, or most of, the same things that beekeepers in other areas do- the differences have to do with timing. We have a very short season here, so you MUST get your bees at the "right" time, and you must do things right on schedule or your chances for overwintering successfully decrease dramatically. So, timing is more critical up here. In the South, or out West, you can be a "lazy" beekeeper and put some things off for a week if you want, but if you do that up here, you may find that you run out of season before the bees are ready for winter.

Re: inspections- the U of M text book tells you to do inspections every week to 10 days. IMO that is a lot of inspections. BUt, when you are starting out, it gives you the chance to see what is going on in your hive(s) and hopefully, allows you to nip any problems in the bud. Also, up here, I have noticed that when the hives get started, they seem to EXPLODE! They build up very quickly- they have to because they don't have much time to put up winter stores. So, where I might have been more likely to split hives in the South, I am less likely to do so here. A July split is not going to make it through the winter here. Instead, I do more inspections, keeping an eye out for queen cells and overcrowding, and I may pull a frame or two if a hive is particularly strong, but am not likely to do a proper split.

I am on a not very rigid 5 year rotation with my frames. That means that, with a new hive, I will start replacing frames in the 4th year, maybe 15-20% of the frames. Then I will replace 20-30% of the frames every year after that, depending upon how they look. This frame rotation becomes a lot more critical, IMO, if you are using chemicals. This is for deeps only- you can keep your super frames in rotation much longer if they are only on for a few weeks during the summer.

You need to have as many supers available as you think you will need. In my area I plan on 4 supers per hive (mediums). I also run 3 deeps year round. What happens in my area is that we have a very short (10 days-2 weeks), intense honey flow and the bees need plenty of empty cells in which to store the honey. They don't get much of it capped until after the flow is over. I don't extract until the frames are at least 90% capped, so I can't extract and then replace the empty supers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Iddee,
dont hate the answer not looking for concret answers just opinions.
Elizabeth
I have checked out local bee clubs and the neares one is 90min away and on tues eves which dosent work with my work schedual so I am stuck with the internet for now.I am going to put up some fliers at the grocery store and feed bin looking for other beekeepers though.I do realise that diffrent areas will be different, I pay special attention to the posts from people in the northern states.I take everthing in life with a grain of salt...lol.
Do you know of anyone up here that will be selling russian bee nucs?
rachel:viking:
 

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I don't think you have heard any answers you would not like...

Deal with the bees just like you have dealt with the chikens and pigs and goats, and other things in life. Watch closely, learn from your successes and failures and events in between.
 

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Here in NY, I don't have all that much trouble getting my bees to build up for the winter. Lately, the problem has been that the winters are not consistent enough. I get a few really cold weeks, which I like, because the bees consume less stores during this period. Then I have a warm week or two, which leads the bees to become a lot more active. This is followed often by a sudden cold snap, which really wreaks havoc because my bees are spread out in small clusters when the cold snap hits, and they do not have the time to get back together into the larger cluster. All of the bees I have overwintered previously have done so in un-insulated hives. I have taken my losses, but I am happy to have some very winter-hardy hives now. Those that are left, I have insulated with hard insulation foam for the first time in three years. You don't want to bundle them up too tight, because then you run into ventilation issues. The theory behind my insulation is that it will take that cold snap a few hours longer to fully penetrate the hive, giving my bees a bit longer to gather back into that larger cluster.

The other thing that you need to consider is that, if you want to be getting honey, you better start stimulative feeding as soon as the snow is melted away and the bees begin their cleansing flights. This feeding of 1-2 sugar syrup will help to get the populations booming BEFORE the natural nectar becomes available in full swing. This way, your hives will be ready to bring in the nectar to the best of their ability.

Once you become more experienced with the bees, you can begin cut-down splits. This will be my first year with this endeavor, and others may have more wisdom and experience on the topic. The basic idea is that, right before the honey flow, you remove the queen and all open brood aside from a frame of eggs. The colony will now have only a single frame of brood to care for in addition to raising a new queen. This frees up a lot of bees to forage for nectar. The split you have taken off will obviously need to be fed pollen and sugar syrup so that they can build up their numbers and their stores quickly enough to get ready for the winter.

justgojumpit
 

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Justgojump it. I would like to hear about your hard insulation. You must be placeing a cover on tight if your worried about the ventlation?

:D Al
 

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Iddee,
I have checked out local bee clubs and the neares one is 90min away and on tues eves which dosent work with my work schedual so I am stuck with the internet for now.I am going to put up some fliers at the grocery store and feed bin looking for other beekeepers though.
Rachel,
Give your County Extension agent a call - ask if they know any local beekeepers. Ditto with 4-H. And, even if the nearest beekeeping club is 90 minutes away, contact them and ask if they can put you in contact with a beek who is near you.
http://www.mnbeekeepers.com/links.html
 

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>Also how many honey supers can I stack?

How tall is your ladder? I have put the on with a stepladder.

>You also want to keep ontop of the proprolis(sp?) right?

Not at all:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm#stopscrapingpropolis
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm#leaveburr


How many years do you let the bees use the same comb?

>ok last one If you have overcrowding going on will adding honey supers help

Help, yes. Stop the from swarming? Probably not.

> or should you attempt to split the hive?

That depends:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesswarmcontrol.htm
http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm

>Can you add another deep?
Anytime you like. I never like to and don't use any deeps. :)
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm#uniformframesize
 
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