In New England, the beekeeping season is short and the winters are long. In order to sustain the bees throughout the cold winter, they need to have the equivalent of 2 deep supers of wax, honey and brood baby bees just to survive. Wax and Honey they make after this is completed goes inside the honey supers. Extra honey and wax which is not needed by the bees can be kept by the lucky beekeeper. Click the Links for Pictures. Screened Bottom Board — The white sticky board can be removed.
Entrance Reducer. Slatted Rack — Position on the hive with the wide board toward the front and the slats on top. Queen Excluder on Hive. Inner Cover — Position the entrance hole toward the front and the Rim Side Up all season long until winter arrives. Outer Cover. There are plenty of other pieces of equipment you can get once you have the basics down. The important part is just get to it, get your hive ready and start keeping bees. Anita Deeley, BeverlyBees.
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Interested in Email address:. In the cylinder you build a slow burning fire, using pine needles, old burlap, rotten wood or even commercially prepared smoker fuel. A slow burning fire produces mostly smoke, and when the bellow are squeezed, smoke comes out of the nozzle. When smoke enters the beehive when you are working in the hive, a couple of things happen. First, a honey bee's natural instinct when confronted with smoke is to react as if there is a forest fire, and the natural home recall that hollow tree?
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Escape is the first defense, and worker bees will duck into the hive and eat as much honey as they can to take with them when they abandon the hive and seek out a new nest. Thus, they are busy when you are working, and they pretty much leave you alone. Second, communication in a beehive is chemical These chemical messages tell other bees what to do, when to do it and when to stop. Smoke interferes with these messages, and communication breaks down Keep your smoker lit at all times.
Now that we've discussed the safety gear you'll need, and the place to put your bees, and the tools you'll need to work with your bees, it's time to look at the actual boxes you can use to keep your bees in. Recall that bees live on vertical-hanging beeswax sheets that hang inside the boxes you will get.
These sheets are suspended at the top by a bar of wood that just fits into a groove at the top of the box, with the other three sides of the beeswax sheet enclosed in a 'frame' of wood to keep it secure so it doesn't bend. This photo shows the frame with the beeswax sheet, full of honey.
Beeswax is relatively solid, but will bend if forced, which is why beekeepers use these wooden, and sometimes plastic 'frames.
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Note the small space that exists all the way around the outside of the frame. This is how bees get around inside their home, walking around their 'bee space. Beekeepers use different sized boxes with corresponding different sized 'frames' inside, as seen here. There are boxes that hold 10 frames and are 9. A deep box with 10 frames, when full of frames of beewax, honey and bees weighs about 90 pounds, a medium about 40 pounds and a shallow about 30 pounds. Some beekeepers, me included, use boxes that are the same heights, but hold only 8 frames each, and weigh correspondingly less.
Choosing your boxes depends to a great degree on how much you wish to lift when working your bees. My advice is to use all 8-frame, medium-sized boxes because they are light enough to work easily and the bees don't mind. I use 3 medium boxes on the bottom where the queen and young live, and the same above that for extra honey storage. But a common suggestion is to use 2 deep boxes on the very bottom of your hive, where the queen and the young live, and above that use mediums for honey storage.
It comes down to weight, space and the advice of other beekeepers where you live. Now that you've found where your bees will live, and what kind of boxes to keep them in, the next big question is what kind of bees should you get? There are basically three kinds that are commonly available and are good for beginners, though you will see many more advertised in the journals.
Though claims made are many, most of the bees you see advertised are simply variants of these three. Italians, pictured here, are gentle, very productive, pretty and easy to manage. They have lots of yellow on them. They are the most common bee available. Carniolans are dark bees, very gentle, a bit more demanding for management, but they winter better where winters are harsh. Their populations build fast in the spring so you need to be prepared to prevent swarms.
Plans for a Complete Beekeeping System
Russian bees are known for their gentle, somewhat erratic nature. They are generally very docile.
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They are slower to build in the spring, but build fast when they do. They swarm at the drop of a hat sometimes; others, not at all. They're found in all different colors of yellow and dark. They are a bit more complicated to manage, but a strong suit is that they are tolerant of, and resistant to varroa mites -- a definite plus in my book.
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Most of my bees are Russians, the rest And who on Earth has bees for sale? Interestingly using either of the beekeeping journals is one good place to go when you want bees or queens for your now-ready boxes sitting on your now-ready hive stands. Call or e-mail and I'll get you a copy and you can find a supplier nearby or who has bees and supplies now and take it from there. Also, your local beekeeping association may have someone who buys bees and resells to club members. To find a club near you and absolutely join when you do find that club , go to our Who's Who section , find your state and then a nearby club.
Contact them to find local suppliers of both equipment and bees. One of your biggest costs is going to be the freight you pay to get stuff to your door, so check out local first. Most people start with a package of bees. To install your bees in a colony, you can find thorough instructions in books at the library. Don't forget your feeder see catalogs for types, but the pail is the best , your hive tool and your safety gear Check back soon for the next installment of how-to steps, or get reading with these great resources:.
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