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how to get started???

Posted by Pembroke1 cen.KY (My Page) on
Tue, Mar 22, 05 at 17:11

Just found this forum. Used to have a couple of hives 30+ yrs ago. no longer have any equipment or anything but the want to. how does one go about getting started? I know about what equip. I'll need, but need to know about mites and other pest. how to use the stuff that will control mites and other pests. Not looking to get into this big. just one hive to have honey on table and pollinate farm land behind house. How well do bees and bluebirds get along? Thanks. Mr. Pem In Mt. Washington, KY

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: how to get started???

You might check with you county agent about local bee keepers to find out if there are any that can give you advice. Checkmite strips or Apistan strips are good for parasites right now. The problems with them have blossomed over the years (pardon the pun). Your state bee keeper association can give you good advice also about what to do to assist with either getting started again or with parasite control.

RE: how to get started???

Hello Mr. Pem,

The two sites that have the most comprehensive and up to date information about beekeeping are: beesource dot com, and beemaster dot com (substitute a . for the word dot... it was the only way I could do it!)

The main problem with using Checkmite strips or Apistan strips is that if you over-use them at all, the Varroa mites tend to build up a resistance to them. When that happens, not only will it affect your bees, but the other bees in the area (ferral and otherwise).

Because of this problem, some beekeepers have gone to keeping bees in Top Bar Hives (TBH's) on "natural" comb. A good site to learn about them is at: It is a Georgia State University site that is maintained by George Satterfield. James keeps all of his bees in TBH's because he (like several other beekeepers) believes that when that bees build natural comb (as opposed to "store bought" foundation) they build smaller cells and therefore "naturally" reduce the Varroa population in a hive to the point that there is no longer a need for chemicals to keep them in check.

Before anyone goes to bashing me about "small cell foundation" or "small cell regression" I already know that there is quite a difference, and usually quite a heated difference in opinions about the "small cell" foundationless management and "store bought" foundation. But, there are several beekeepers out there who have even gone to foundationless frames in their Langstroth hives because they believe that the foundationless frame kept bees have less problems with the Varroa mites.

Mr. Pem, this is something that you will have to decide for yourslef. You can find lots of opinions and good information on the Bee Source forum. There is even one section devoted to TBH's and the discussion about keeping bees on small cell foundationless comb. Since you are only wanting to keep one hive, you might consider the TBH's because of the low start-up cost (they can be made out of virtually anything!) and what other TBH keepers say is a virtually chemical free way of keeping bees.

Well, that's my 2 cents worth... the rest is up to you. Regardless how you go, I wish you the best of luck with your bees!

Bee Good,

RE: how to get started???

Try contacting Tom Webster at KSU

RE: how to get started???

New to beekeeping myself. I joined the local beekeepers club last year @ County Extension Office. One night each month we meet and have guests (Master BeeKeepers) speak about beekeeping. Interesting in that new products come out every year. Most Master Beekeepers know what worked in the past and what is better today. They can also steer you clear of novelty or gimmicks. Bee Supply stores are interested in helping you but some may try to sell you something you don't need or something that does not work simply to make a sale. Check with you local County Extension Office about a bee club. Luckily, North Carolina has a cost-share program this year through the North Carolina State University Dept. of Entomology. I was selected to receive 2 Hives free of charge in exchange for submitting research over the next 2 years. One hive is Italian and one is Russian. Goal is to determine which breed offers better resistance over Varroa and other mites. Should be fun and interesting. All I had to purchase to get started was the equipment, i.e. veil, gloves, smoker, hive tool, etc. Cost was about 1/4 what it would cost if I had to purchase the two hives and two packages. Cost share was part of the Tobbacco Settlement entitled Project Golden Leaf. Idea is to reintroduce a great number of hives throughout N.C. by attracting new beekeepers who MUST join a club and work with a mentor. Looking forward to beekeeping. Sorry to ramble on....point is...get the info from an experienced and current beekeeper and don't rely on supply stores.

RE: how to get started???

Contact the KY dept of Agriculture. They have beekeeping classes are various times and places around the state. Join a local beekeepers club. Then buy some equipment.I think it's more convenient(although more expensive) to buy a complete beginner's outfit from someone like Walter Kelly who is in KY. You should have at least two hives, because it's easier to manage two than one, because you can compare and swap hive resources if needed. You can sometime find used bee equipment like smokers, veils, gloves, tools on ebay and in local swap-shop classifieds. I'd avoid used hives and combs because of possible disease problems, like American Foul Brood, the spores of which can linger in woodenware for many years. You may be able to find some complete hives for sale, with bees. Be sure to have them inspected first and make sure there are no quarantines on bee movements in your area.

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