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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am trying to get into beekeeping and had some questions about beekeeping in northern-east Maine.

This just a list of questions I thought would help me make my initial decisions on what I should aim for.

1) What types of honey bees are generally kept in Maine (I know the "dark" bees generally stand up to hard weather better than the Italian, but as you may suspect I was considering the Italian since they appear to be calmer)?

2) What time of year should the bees be purchased to give them sufficient time to prepare for the nectar flow in northern/mid Maine?

3) When does northern/mid Maine usually get to the maximum nectar flow and about how long does it usually last?

4) About what time of year should the bees have been prepared for winter?

5) I have heard from some northern beekeepers that they generally run a two brood setup per hive. Is this common in Maine? And does it matter whether I choose a deep or shallow super (having heard that shallow supers are better for the northern regions since they can be prepared and filled faster?)?

The last three questions are not as important but I thought I would like to include them,

6) How many hives can generally be achieved in an apiary? I would be starting (I hope) with 2 until I learn more but I would like to know an estimate of what can generally be sustained in the area.

7) After the first year (when the bees have come to full strength and I am assuming wintered well) - how many pounds of honey should be expected to be harvested (after the necessary wintering rations are left for the bees)?

8) Wintering - is it advisable to provide some form of extra protection to hives for winter or do healthy hives generally withstand Maine winters without anything more than a fall feed down?

I know that is a lot of questions and some can't have a definitive answer.


Thank you,
Michael Parks
 

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Not many Maine beekeepers here.
Most of your questions could be answered by beekeepers in most northern states where they have snow and cold temps.
I believe that Minnesota and Wisconsin has very simular weather. Here in Michigan we tend to run a little warmer because ot the great lakes.

:D Al
 

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I am trying to get into beekeeping and had some questions about beekeeping in northern-east Maine.

This just a list of questions I thought would help me make my initial decisions on what I should aim for.

1) What types of honey bees are generally kept in Maine (I know the "dark" bees generally stand up to hard weather better than the Italian, but as you may suspect I was considering the Italian since they appear to be calmer)?
Italian do fine here.



...2) What time of year should the bees be purchased to give them sufficient time to prepare for the nectar flow in northern/mid Maine?
Breeders have them available for purchase in November.

The local breeders [Swans] may have a few nucs available if you talk to them.

I usually attend his workshops each fall in Unity.



...3) When does northern/mid Maine usually get to the maximum nectar flow and about how long does it usually last?

4) About what time of year should the bees have been prepared for winter?

5) I have heard from some northern beekeepers that they generally run a two brood setup per hive. Is this common in Maine? And does it matter whether I choose a deep or shallow super (having heard that shallow supers are better for the northern regions since they can be prepared and filled faster?)?
Every body does something different.

Some years we do have late springs, this last year my bees never dropped down into their brood chambers, they stayed right on top of it. So I am using top-feeders this winter.



... The last three questions are not as important but I thought I would like to include them,

6) How many hives can generally be achieved in an apiary? I would be starting (I hope) with 2 until I learn more but I would like to know an estimate of what can generally be sustained in the area.

7) After the first year (when the bees have come to full strength and I am assuming wintered well) - how many pounds of honey should be expected to be harvested (after the necessary wintering rations are left for the bees)?

8) Wintering - is it advisable to provide some form of extra protection to hives for winter or do healthy hives generally withstand Maine winters without anything more than a fall feed down?

I know that is a lot of questions and some can't have a definitive answer.


Thank you,
Michael Parks
If your bees do not make enough honey to get them through the winter; then you must supplement their feed through the winter.

I have not as yet, gotten my hives to produce surplus honey. I am still working on that part.

Mite load can be real bad.

Some folks go to great lengths to wrap, insulate and protect their hives for winter. Other folks do nothing. At the workshops, it appears that while each beekeeper has his own methods. There is little difference in results.

I use a windbreak made from wooden pallets.

We got 14 inches of snow in one dump the week before Christmas, and most of it has packed down into a thick layer of ice. No further accumulation since then. In my local micro-climate, we do not get the thick accumulation that is seen in Southern NE.

http://www.city-data.com/forum/maine/

For more 'Maine' discussion come join us.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I am a little surprised to hear November since that would seem like the worst time of year to try to setup a hive. Also the lice problem. I thought in such cold climates this would be less drastic. And that leads me to a question about bee diseases and pests: If the bees are raised in a rather isolated area from other beekeepers where do the diseases and pests come from? (Like a cold, if your not around people a lot you rarely would get one).

Thanks
Mike
 

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I am a little surprised to hear November since that would seem like the worst time of year to try to setup a hive. Also the lice problem. I thought in such cold climates this would be less drastic. And that leads me to a question about bee diseases and pests: If the bees are raised in a rather isolated area from other beekeepers where do the diseases and pests come from? (Like a cold, if your not around people a lot you rarely would get one).

Thanks
Mike

Ooops, sorry for the confusion.

I have found that if I try to buy a nuc past 1November most breeders are out. So I must buy them before that deadline.

Nucs tend to be delivered in March/April.

Mites just are.

Never really thought of them as communicable. I attend workshops and see keepers who have as many as 1500 hives. The big bee operations do not seem to have any more or any less mite load than us little guys.

Mites just are.

Plant a garden in a clearing in the forest, with no other garden for 20 miles in any direction. Will you get aphids? Sure you will. The forest is teeming with every known organism, every bug, every insect, every germ, every virus.

It is best to keep your mite load low. Monitor your mite count every couple weeks through the season to see WHEN you need to start treating for mites. And to see if your mite treatment method is still working.
 

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As far as bee races that survive the cold they all do fine. As far as bees that are more frugal during a long winter, the darker bees do better. As far as bees that build up earlier the Italians do better. Italians don't react to changes in the seasons and rainfall as quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If your bees do not make enough honey to get them through the winter; then you must supplement their feed through the winter.

I have not as yet, gotten my hives to produce surplus honey. I am still working on that part.
How long have you had the hives?
I thought by the second year you should get something?

Thanks
Mike
 

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I had a beehive in Ct. It did not survive through the winter.

Since it was too late to order a replacement nuc, I had to wait for the following fall to place an order and got them the next year.

That time I did 2 hives. They both did fine during that summer and winter, but died from Foulbrood the following spring

It took another year delay to try and get back into beekeeping. And by then i was shopping for land in Maine. So skip forward another year.

Then living in Maine, and the next fall I ordered 2 more nucs. They arrived the next spring. One queen did not survive the summer. She died about 4 weeks after settling into their hive.

This is the first winter for this hive, they never did 'drop' this past summer. They stayed up high in their box.

I am hoping that this colony survives the winter, so that I can divide it in the spring. So this summer I should once again have 2 hives.

I have been attending the beekeeping workshops at the Common Grounds Fair each year.

:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ok, thanks. (After I posted I was hoping my questions wouldn't offend).

I can understand them not dropping this last summer. It really didn't justify the name "summer" :D

Mike
 

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I am trying to get into beekeeping and had some questions about beekeeping in northern-east Maine.

This just a list of questions I thought would help me make my initial decisions on what I should aim for.

1) What types of honey bees are generally kept in Maine (I know the "dark" bees generally stand up to hard weather better than the Italian, but as you may suspect I was considering the Italian since they appear to be calmer)?

2) What time of year should the bees be purchased to give them sufficient time to prepare for the nectar flow in northern/mid Maine?

3) When does northern/mid Maine usually get to the maximum nectar flow and about how long does it usually last?

4) About what time of year should the bees have been prepared for winter?

5) I have heard from some northern beekeepers that they generally run a two brood setup per hive. Is this common in Maine? And does it matter whether I choose a deep or shallow super (having heard that shallow supers are better for the northern regions since they can be prepared and filled faster?)?

The last three questions are not as important but I thought I would like to include them,

6) How many hives can generally be achieved in an apiary? I would be starting (I hope) with 2 until I learn more but I would like to know an estimate of what can generally be sustained in the area.

7) After the first year (when the bees have come to full strength and I am assuming wintered well) - how many pounds of honey should be expected to be harvested (after the necessary wintering rations are left for the bees)?

8) Wintering - is it advisable to provide some form of extra protection to hives for winter or do healthy hives generally withstand Maine winters without anything more than a fall feed down?

I know that is a lot of questions and some can't have a definitive answer.


Thank you,
Michael Parks
Hi Mike,
You emailed me these same questions some time ago from the guest page on the Maine Website. Trouble is, there was a problem with your email address. The email kept coming back. If you would want to try it again, I'll forward the letter with answers to you. - Larry
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hi Mike,
You emailed me these same questions some time ago from the guest page on the Maine Website. Trouble is, there was a problem with your email address. The email kept coming back. If you would want to try it again, I'll forward the letter with answers to you. - Larry
I found out my ISP was having email trouble...
Thanks
Mike
 

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ET I SS, I don't under stand the term drop you used?
Do you mean they never went down into the bottom brood box?
If that was the case why didn't you reverese the brood boxes your self?

Also if you evfer loose a queen like that again place some eggs from the other hive in the one with the lost queen. The workers will raise a new queen for you. Takes about a month (21days) from placeing the eggs to having a laying queen.

:D Al
 

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I found out my ISP was having email trouble...
Thanks
Mike
Sorry about your ISP troubles, :badmood: but my computer gets an unsent mail message. It says it's timed out with unsent mail to you. I have never seen this error before until I started trying to send you mail. :rotfl: I've tried several times, including once today. :stars:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Sorry. Very aggravating. I have sent you an email with a different address.

Thanks
Mike


Sorry about your ISP troubles, :badmood: but my computer gets an unsent mail message. It says it's timed out with unsent mail to you. I have never seen this error before until I started trying to send you mail. :rotfl: I've tried several times, including once today. :stars:
 

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ET I SS, I don't under stand the term drop you used?
Do you mean they never went down into the bottom brood box?
If that was the case why didn't you reverese the brood boxes your self?

Also if you evfer loose a queen like that again place some eggs from the other hive in the one with the lost queen. The workers will raise a new queen for you. Takes about a month (21days) from placeing the eggs to having a laying queen.

:D Al
I did not move their brood boxes, as I was concerned that in previous hives, I had been messing with them too much.
 
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