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New to Beekeeping Starting with top bars.

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  • Cindy
    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
    Message 1 of 10 , Nov 23, 2011
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      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.
    • Birdman Jack
      Try this website for info. http://www.worldofbeekeeping.com/forum/ Lots of help for beginners. From: Cindy Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 12:19 PM To:
      Message 2 of 10 , Nov 23, 2011
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        Try this website for info. http://www.worldofbeekeeping.com/forum/ Lots of help for beginners.


        From: Cindy
        Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 12:19 PM
        To: TopHive@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [TopHive] New to Beekeeping Starting with top bars.



        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.





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Jorg Kewisch
        Cindy, welcome to the club. If you are just a bit like me you will find beekeeping totally addicting. There is nothing like the high you get when you work your
        Message 3 of 10 , Nov 23, 2011
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          Cindy,

          welcome to the club. If you are just a bit like me you will find
          beekeeping totally addicting. There is nothing like the high you get
          when you work your bees and there is nothing else but you and your bees.
          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. It is good to have you with us.

          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. When 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?

          Jorg




          Cindy 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.
          >
          >
        • kewisch@ymail.com
          Cindy, 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
          Message 4 of 10 , Nov 25, 2011
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            Cindy,

            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?

            Jorg

            --- 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.
            >
          • owlsplace
            Check out Michael Bush s website. Tons of info there. Join the Organicbeekeeping group if you are into non-chemical methods of keeping bees. Lots of
            Message 5 of 10 , Nov 30, 2011
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              Check out Michael Bush's website. Tons of info there. Join the Organicbeekeeping group if you are into non-chemical methods of keeping bees. Lots of knowledgeable people there to answer your questions.
              When you moved the hives you should have been able to judge their winter stores by the weight. It is possible to feed them if necessary but it sounds like they are ok.
              Roger
              Northern Nevada

              --- 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.
              >
            • Rafael Montag
              Hi Cindy: Sorry for the late reply. First don t worry about the placement of the bars. The bees are a lot smarter than we are and they will sort it out as
              Message 6 of 10 , Nov 30, 2011
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                Hi Cindy:

                Sorry for the late reply. First don't worry about the placement of the bars. The bees are a lot smarter than we are and they will sort it out as far what they need to build up and when they need to do it. Suffice it to say that depending on the size of the colony at each hive you should have a follower board in there to enclose the colony itself and keep the bees from maintaining the appropriate hive temperature in too large a space. Also depending on where (geographically speaking) you're located, it may be too late to feed sugar syrup. If you have not gotten your first frost yet, then feed the bees a 2:1 solution of sugar water: heat the water, and dissolve twice the volume in the water, stirring occasionally. When solution reaches just the boiling point (keep a watch on it 'till it just starts to buble) turn off the heat, let it cool (I do a fast cool, by placing the solution in 2 liter soda bottles and immersing in a bath-tub full of cold water), and give it to the bees. If you have had your first frost, then it's too late to give them sugar syrup. CAUTION: if you do give them sugar syrup after the first frost you risk the chance of your bees contracting dysintery (diarrhea) and they will surely die from it. Instead give them "candy". not you everyday store-bought candy, but one made from the recipe below, which we, at the Frederick County Beekeeping Association (Maryland) made for the entire membership for overwintering our bee colonies:

                Candy Recipe for 10% Protein and 4% Protein

                20 pounds granulated sugar
                1 Pound Powdered Sugar
                46 oz Water (plus 4-8 oz more)
                2 oz Honey
                3/4 oz Lemon Juice
                Pinch of aromatic spice mixture (Cinnamon, Allspice, etc)
                For 10% Protein Candy add 6.75 lb Mega Bee to enough water to make thick paste
                For 4% Protein Candy add 2.25 lb Mega Bee to enough water to make thick paste

                Heat water to about 200F
                Add granulated sugar; stir to mix
                Heat to 210F
                Cool
                Add powdered sugar
                Add honey, lemon juice and incorporate
                Add Mega Bee paste and incorporate (add in extra water if too thick)

                When mix has cooled to 200, begin stirring
                Put into cold water bath and continue stirring
                As soon as mix "clouds up" and thickens, pour onto cookie sheets covered with wax paper to facilitate separation when they're cool. break of large chunks of the candy and place against the walls of your hives.

                4% is good for this time of year. 10% is to keep your queen healthy in the early spring and get the queen ready to lay brood. Watch the temperatures when heating using a candy thermometer. Mega Bee you get from Megabee.com.

                If you need any more info, holler

                Raf

                --- 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.
                >
              • madlongdogs
                Great info. Thanks. One question- how tight should the bottom board fit? Mine is not very tight and there is a fair amount of air that can get in. Should I
                Message 7 of 10 , Nov 30, 2011
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                  Great info. Thanks.

                  One question- how tight should the bottom board fit? Mine is not very tight and there is a fair amount of air that can get in. Should I wedge it tight? Or leave as is?

                  Thanks again.



                  On Nov 30, 2011, at 8:11 PM, "Rafael Montag" <rmontag48@...> wrote:

                  > Hi Cindy:
                  >
                  > Sorry for the late reply. First don't worry about the placement of the bars. The bees are a lot smarter than we are and they will sort it out as far what they need to build up and when they need to do it. Suffice it to say that depending on the size of the colony at each hive you should have a follower board in there to enclose the colony itself and keep the bees from maintaining the appropriate hive temperature in too large a space. Also depending on where (geographically speaking) you're located, it may be too late to feed sugar syrup. If you have not gotten your first frost yet, then feed the bees a 2:1 solution of sugar water: heat the water, and dissolve twice the volume in the water, stirring occasionally. When solution reaches just the boiling point (keep a watch on it 'till it just starts to buble) turn off the heat, let it cool (I do a fast cool, by placing the solution in 2 liter soda bottles and immersing in a bath-tub full of cold water), and give it to the bees. If you have had your first frost, then it's too late to give them sugar syrup. CAUTION: if you do give them sugar syrup after the first frost you risk the chance of your bees contracting dysintery (diarrhea) and they will surely die from it. Instead give them "candy". not you everyday store-bought candy, but one made from the recipe below, which we, at the Frederick County Beekeeping Association (Maryland) made for the entire membership for overwintering our bee colonies:
                  >
                  > Candy Recipe for 10% Protein and 4% Protein
                  >
                  > 20 pounds granulated sugar
                  > 1 Pound Powdered Sugar
                  > 46 oz Water (plus 4-8 oz more)
                  > 2 oz Honey
                  > 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
                  > Pinch of aromatic spice mixture (Cinnamon, Allspice, etc)
                  > For 10% Protein Candy add 6.75 lb Mega Bee to enough water to make thick paste
                  > For 4% Protein Candy add 2.25 lb Mega Bee to enough water to make thick paste
                  >
                  > Heat water to about 200F
                  > Add granulated sugar; stir to mix
                  > Heat to 210F
                  > Cool
                  > Add powdered sugar
                  > Add honey, lemon juice and incorporate
                  > Add Mega Bee paste and incorporate (add in extra water if too thick)
                  >
                  > When mix has cooled to 200, begin stirring
                  > Put into cold water bath and continue stirring
                  > As soon as mix "clouds up" and thickens, pour onto cookie sheets covered with wax paper to facilitate separation when they're cool. break of large chunks of the candy and place against the walls of your hives.
                  >
                  > 4% is good for this time of year. 10% is to keep your queen healthy in the early spring and get the queen ready to lay brood. Watch the temperatures when heating using a candy thermometer. Mega Bee you get from Megabee.com.
                  >
                  > If you need any more info, holler
                  >
                  > Raf
                  >
                  > --- 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.
                  > >
                  >
                  >


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • tomzboxathotmaildotcom
                  Air getting in is not a big issue unless you have a chimney effect by having a big opening up top so the wind can whistle through. Air moving in and out is
                  Message 8 of 10 , Nov 30, 2011
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                    Air getting in is not a big issue unless you have a "chimney effect" by having a big opening up top so the wind can whistle through. Air moving in and out is actually good -- it moves the moisture out, and moisture is what you want to go away. Unless the gaps around your bottom board are big enough to let a buncha robber bees in, just don't worry about it. If the bees find a gap they REALLY don't like, they'll fix it. ;-)

                    best,
                    Tom Warren
                    Pleasant Hill, OR


                    --- In TopHive@yahoogroups.com, madlongdogs <madlongdogs@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Great info. Thanks.
                    >
                    > One question- how tight should the bottom board fit? Mine is not very tight and there is a fair amount of air that can get in. Should I wedge it tight? Or leave as is?
                    >
                    > Thanks again.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > On Nov 30, 2011, at 8:11 PM, "Rafael Montag" <rmontag48@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > > Hi Cindy:
                    > >
                    > > Sorry for the late reply. First don't worry about the placement of the bars. The bees are a lot smarter than we are and they will sort it out as far what they need to build up and when they need to do it. Suffice it to say that depending on the size of the colony at each hive you should have a follower board in there to enclose the colony itself and keep the bees from maintaining the appropriate hive temperature in too large a space. Also depending on where (geographically speaking) you're located, it may be too late to feed sugar syrup. If you have not gotten your first frost yet, then feed the bees a 2:1 solution of sugar water: heat the water, and dissolve twice the volume in the water, stirring occasionally. When solution reaches just the boiling point (keep a watch on it 'till it just starts to buble) turn off the heat, let it cool (I do a fast cool, by placing the solution in 2 liter soda bottles and immersing in a bath-tub full of cold water), and give it to the bees. If you have had your first frost, then it's too late to give them sugar syrup. CAUTION: if you do give them sugar syrup after the first frost you risk the chance of your bees contracting dysintery (diarrhea) and they will surely die from it. Instead give them "candy". not you everyday store-bought candy, but one made from the recipe below, which we, at the Frederick County Beekeeping Association (Maryland) made for the entire membership for overwintering our bee colonies:
                    > >
                    > > Candy Recipe for 10% Protein and 4% Protein
                    > >
                    > > 20 pounds granulated sugar
                    > > 1 Pound Powdered Sugar
                    > > 46 oz Water (plus 4-8 oz more)
                    > > 2 oz Honey
                    > > 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
                    > > Pinch of aromatic spice mixture (Cinnamon, Allspice, etc)
                    > > For 10% Protein Candy add 6.75 lb Mega Bee to enough water to make thick paste
                    > > For 4% Protein Candy add 2.25 lb Mega Bee to enough water to make thick paste
                    > >
                    > > Heat water to about 200F
                    > > Add granulated sugar; stir to mix
                    > > Heat to 210F
                    > > Cool
                    > > Add powdered sugar
                    > > Add honey, lemon juice and incorporate
                    > > Add Mega Bee paste and incorporate (add in extra water if too thick)
                    > >
                    > > When mix has cooled to 200, begin stirring
                    > > Put into cold water bath and continue stirring
                    > > As soon as mix "clouds up" and thickens, pour onto cookie sheets covered with wax paper to facilitate separation when they're cool. break of large chunks of the candy and place against the walls of your hives.
                    > >
                    > > 4% is good for this time of year. 10% is to keep your queen healthy in the early spring and get the queen ready to lay brood. Watch the temperatures when heating using a candy thermometer. Mega Bee you get from Megabee.com.
                    > >
                    > > If you need any more info, holler
                    > >
                    > > Raf
                    > >
                    > > --- 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.
                    > > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    >
                    >
                    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    >
                  • Rafael Montag
                    To answer your question - what Tom Warren said.  I don t have bottom boards on my hives.  My hives are solid throughout.  I ll have to create a small gap
                    Message 9 of 10 , Dec 1, 2011
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                      To answer your question - what Tom Warren said.  I don't have bottom boards on my hives.  My hives are solid throughout.  I'll have to create a small gap where the follower board meets the last bar for a vapor vent in each of my hives as the weather gets colder.  As Tom alluded, condensation in the hive is a bad thing.  As I see it, we must somehow strike a ballance between good air circulation for water vapor removal, and the risk of having the hive too cold to allow the bees to have free movement within the hive as winter progresses, this to permit the bees to reach their winter stores - it is not anusual for bees to basically starve to death because it was too cold in the hive for them to move and reach their honey stores.  I am relying on the two 7/8" openings that I have in the front of the hive and a 1/8" gap that I will create by removal of a bar spacer at the end of the hive next to the follower board.  Good luck, and if you have any
                      additional questions, don't hesitate to ask.  
                       
                      Raf
                      Hyattstown, MD

                      From: madlongdogs <madlongdogs@...>
                      To: "TopHive@yahoogroups.com" <TopHive@yahoogroups.com>
                      Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 5:33 PM
                      Subject: Re: [TopHive] Re: New to Beekeeping Starting with top bars.


                       
                      Great info. Thanks.

                      One question- how tight should the bottom board fit? Mine is not very tight and there is a fair amount of air that can get in. Should I wedge it tight? Or leave as is?

                      Thanks again.

                      On Nov 30, 2011, at 8:11 PM, "Rafael Montag" <rmontag48@...> wrote:

                      > Hi Cindy:
                      >
                      > Sorry for the late reply. First don't worry about the placement of the bars. The bees are a lot smarter than we are and they will sort it out as far what they need to build up and when they need to do it. Suffice it to say that depending on the size of the colony at each hive you should have a follower board in there to enclose the colony itself and keep the bees from maintaining the appropriate hive temperature in too large a space. Also depending on where (geographically speaking) you're located, it may be too late to feed sugar syrup. If you have not gotten your first frost yet, then feed the bees a 2:1 solution of sugar water: heat the water, and dissolve twice the volume in the water, stirring occasionally. When solution reaches just the boiling point (keep a watch on it 'till it just starts to buble) turn off the heat, let it cool (I do a fast cool, by placing the solution in 2 liter soda bottles and immersing in a bath-tub full of cold water),
                      and give it to the bees. If you have had your first frost, then it's too late to give them sugar syrup. CAUTION: if you do give them sugar syrup after the first frost you risk the chance of your bees contracting dysintery (diarrhea) and they will surely die from it. Instead give them "candy". not you everyday store-bought candy, but one made from the recipe below, which we, at the Frederick County Beekeeping Association (Maryland) made for the entire membership for overwintering our bee colonies:
                      >
                      > Candy Recipe for 10% Protein and 4% Protein
                      >
                      > 20 pounds granulated sugar
                      > 1 Pound Powdered Sugar
                      > 46 oz Water (plus 4-8 oz more)
                      > 2 oz Honey
                      > 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
                      > Pinch of aromatic spice mixture (Cinnamon, Allspice, etc)
                      > For 10% Protein Candy add 6.75 lb Mega Bee to enough water to make thick paste
                      > For 4% Protein Candy add 2.25 lb Mega Bee to enough water to make thick paste
                      >
                      > Heat water to about 200F
                      > Add granulated sugar; stir to mix
                      > Heat to 210F
                      > Cool
                      > Add powdered sugar
                      > Add honey, lemon juice and incorporate
                      > Add Mega Bee paste and incorporate (add in extra water if too thick)
                      >
                      > When mix has cooled to 200, begin stirring
                      > Put into cold water bath and continue stirring
                      > As soon as mix "clouds up" and thickens, pour onto cookie sheets covered with wax paper to facilitate separation when they're cool. break of large chunks of the candy and place against the walls of your hives.
                      >
                      > 4% is good for this time of year. 10% is to keep your queen healthy in the early spring and get the queen ready to lay brood. Watch the temperatures when heating using a candy thermometer. Mega Bee you get from Megabee.com.
                      >
                      > If you need any more info, holler
                      >
                      > Raf
                      >
                      > --- 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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                    • elegans@aol.com
                      In a message dated 1/6/2012 10:49:05 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, jorg@bnl.gov writes: Cindy, welcome to the most exciting hobby. You can open your hive when
                      Message 10 of 10 , Jan 6, 2012
                      • 0 Attachment
                        In a message dated 1/6/2012 10:49:05 A.M. Pacific Standard Time,
                        jorg@... writes:



                        Cindy,

                        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?

                        Jorg



                        Here, here!

                        George Mcrae

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