We want everyone that purchases nucs and queens from us to do well. Therefore we have decided to put a page on our site that will help new beekeepers succeed with their new hives. While we can not give a complete guide to guarantee that your bees will be healthy, we will offer a few suggestions to help keep them healthy and prosperous. We suggest that everyone read books and information on beekeeping, as knowledge is priceless in dealing with any type of agriculture. A mentor may also be helpful to folks looking to gain hands on information.
Q: What should I do now that I got my nucs home?
A: First, we suggest that everyone let the nucs rest for a few hours before installing them into your new hive boxes. Once you decide it is time to move them to there new box, we recommend that you remove the center 5 frames and place the 5 from the nuc box into the void, without changing the order that they are in the nuc box. We also recommend that everyone reduce the entrance size down to a small opening and place a feeder on the hive. We recommend that you fill the feeder each time the bees empty it, until they wont take any more syrup.
Q: What type of feed should I use for spring time feeding?
A: We use 1:1 syrup for spring feeding, which is 1 part water to 1 part white sugar.
Q: When should I add a second box to my bee hive?
A: It depends on if you have drawn combs or are using foundation. With drawn comb, we add a second box when the bees are using 7 of 8 deep frames. With foundation, we add the second box once the bees have drawn all the foundation into combs. We like to use the same size box as the original hive body, so that we can take a brood frame from the bottom box and put it into the top box, to encourage the bees to use the new box that we have added.
Q; I have a chance to buy some cheap used equipment, should I get it and use it?
A; I don't like to use equipment that was used in someone else's operation. Not knowing what treatments or diseases the beekeeper may have used, I don't like to put any used equipment into my operation. Old combs and boxes are vectors for Foulbrood and other diseases that could wipe out my bees. The frames that come in nuc boxes are the exception to my rule of not using others equipment. Most nucs are made up of newer frames and drawn comb, and I tend to cycle out the original combs from the nucs over the course of the next year.
Q: Should I expect a honey crop my first year with my hives?
A: I do not ever expect a honey crop from first year hives. My goal for first year hives is to grow them large enough to make it through our harsh winters. I do expect the nucs to grow to a minimum of a double deep brood nest with at least 1 medium for honey stores. Anything beyond that is considered a bonus.
Q: How should I configure my hive for winter survival?
A: I like to get my hives to a minimum of 2 deeps and a medium for winter survival. I run 8 frame equipment, so the 3 box configuration is a minimum. If the hive is large, I will change out the medium for a deep, or put on a second medium.
Q: Should I wrap my hive with roofing paper for winter, or ventilate the hive in any way?
A: The answer to this is totally up to the owner. We have in the past wrapped some of our hives to see if we got better results with overwintering. We did see a slight increase in survival rates, but that could have been due to a number of factors, including but not limited to wrapping the hives. We do suggest that everyone prop the inner covers of the hives to allow warm moist air to exit the top of the hive. We have found that propping the inner covers and providing adequate ventilation, our survival rates drastically improved.
Q: I want to have a top bar hive. Will a nuc work for me?
A: Typically No. Top bar hives aren't usually built to a standard like langstroth hives are. Your best option for starting a top bar hive would be a package of bees, not a nuc.
Q: Do you sell package bees?
A: No, only queens and nucleus colonies.
Q: How many hives can I put in one yard?
A: The answer is dependent on a number of factors. How far away are the closest hives? How is the forage in your area? Do you have neighbors close? There are many more questions that need to be answered before the number of hives can be determined. Some places can support up to 70+ hives, others can only support 1 or 2.
Q: My mentor says something different than what I read on your site. Who is right?
A: The great thing about beekeeping is that it is very localized, so many thing will work for some folks but everyone may need to take a different path to get the same result. The thing to remember is that the bees will tell you what they need, you just need to learn what they are saying. Maybe both your mentor and I are right, and maybe both of us are wrong, but the bees are always right.
Q: Should I treat for Varroa Mites?
A: That depends on your goals with bees. Some folks treat and others don't. Some use harsh treatments, others use light treatments, Some folks use brood breaks and drone brood culling. The answer is totally dependent on your own decision. There are some new treatments on the market that are easier on bees such Oxalic Acid vapor and Hopguard II. If you are unsure of whether you should treat or not, I would suggest that you do a lot of research to determine if you want to go down the treatment path or not.