2490Re: New to Beekeeping Starting with top bars.
- Nov 25, 2011Cindy,
welcome to the most exciting hobby.
You can open your hive when the temperature is above 50 deg F. If it is cold the bees build a cluster which should be now close to the entrance. The cluster will move to the back as they consume the honey. If there is honey left in the front they will not come back to it when the honey in the back is gone, but you can rearrange the bars. As soon as it is warm enough in spring check them out. If they are out of honey you can feed them fondant.
Even if you do everything right there is a chance that one or both colonies don't make it through the winter. Don't be discouraged and allow yourself to make mistakes. Good decisions come from experience and experience comes from bad decisions. You learn and become better.
I strongly recommend that you contact your local beekeeper club and enroll in a class or find a mentor. The class is best because the contact with other "newbees". Twenty students have more questions than one. If you see your teacher open a hive or if you have a mentor present when you open your bees the first time you will gain the confidence that makes all the difference. Also, beekeepers are the nicest people and you may find some real friends.
In May you can split your colonies and fill the two empty hives. If your bees don't make it you have to buy new packages of bees. You must order them as soon as possible. Some suppliers take orders now.
Where are you located?
--- In TopHive@yahoogroups.com, "Cindy" <cyburham@...> wrote:
> I am new to beekeeping and need all the help I can get. I have recently purchased 4 topbars and a nuc from a person who was moving.
> 1st top bar has 30 bars and Italian bees which have wintered over 2 years.
> 2nd has 30 bars and has Minnesota Hygenics and has wintered over 1 year.
> 3rd and 4th also have 30 bars and are empty. The nuc is also empty.
> We moved them here about 2 weeks ago. There have been a few days of sun where a few of the bees came out but it is cold now so I haven't seen any in the last few days.
> I have not opened these hives at all because of the cold so I have no idea what I have. The owner says there is enough honey to get them through winter. We will see when spring comes.
> I also have about 4 bars that are filled out with empty brood comb. HE said they were from a previous year he tried to grow a new queen in the nuc that didn't work.
> When I open the hives next spring what do I look for?
> How should my new top bar hives be arranged. The bars have beeswax and some even have a small amount of comb on them. They are marked H for Honey, T transistion and B for Brood. What order should they be in my hives?
> I bought the beekeeping for Dummies book and have been looking on the internet but there is not much instruction about top bars. I have already paid for 2 packages of bees for the empty hives. Hopefully the others will winter over but I know there is a very high possibility this will not happen.
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