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Re: [TopHive] New to Beekeeping Starting with top bars.

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  • 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 1 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 2 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.
        >
      • 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 3 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 4 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.
            > >
            >
            >

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • 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 5 of 10 , Jan 6, 2012
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              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

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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