NZBF: New beekeeper, a few questions

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Josh

Gold
1,006
731
Christchurch
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Hobbyist
Hey,

Trev's Bees has some great videos on how to inspect. Well worth looking at on youtube. There are hundreds of other channels but he's local & really good.

Take out the old strips. One treatment at a time which you alternate spring & autumn so as to avoid breeding resistance. Follow the instructions on the treatment. Don't leave too long, that also breeds resistance.

Don't stress about finding the queen, but look for eggs (small rice standing on end) that means queen is around (at least in the last 3 days). But I get a kick every time I do find the queen.

Be gentle, take your time, have your smoker going.

Read the inspection chapter in Practical Bee Keeping book.

Watch Trev's videos, I've picked a few that should refresh what you may have read or been told already

 
12
13
Kapiti Coast
Experience
Beginner
Awesome thanks for that Josh. Just finished watching them all, good walk through of what to do and what to expect. Good knowing to clean up any propolis and I didn't know cornmeal kills ants either, that's a handy tip!

I'll give a read through that chapter tomorrow before I commence work.

Cheers
 
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Hamilton
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Hobbyist
I'm a new beekeeper as of Sunday, located in the Kapiti Coast. I have always held interest in beekeeping but never got around to it. I even had some boxes, frames, bases and a beesuit (cheapo) sitting around for a few years. But finally I decided to bite the bullet and get into it. I met with a registered beekeeper and bought a hive (3/4 frames, 2 boxes with bees, queen and brood) which had been treated a few days earlier. I've set the hive in the garden and will take a look inside it once my smoker and new better quality suit that I've ordered arrives this week. I've registered on afb.org.nz and also bought the Practical beekeeping NZ 5th edition book to go along with this hobby and started to go through Trevs bees videos on youtube.

It's an exciting new hobby and I'm always going down to the hive to watch them do their thing. But what I've observed so far has raised some questions:

First morning (Monday) a couple dead bees, due to cleaning I assume.

This morning I found these bodies out the front:
Are these drones, why are they dead outside the hive and unmature looking?


What is this they're fighting over, some kind of white translucent crumb of some sorts, do they bring other things in other than pollen?


Behaviors:
A bee standing at the front, rearing up on its hind legs and pushing incoming bees that are landing with its front lets, as if it's trying to push them away? (evening)
A few bees with their butts up, fanning their wings. (evening)




Also location. When I got them home I had an area prepared. I was told it was probably a good idea to point the entrance north, but I had wind whipping in that direction (wind mostly comes through in this direction), so I rotated it 180 away from it towards an opening.


Does this look alright? (evening sun pictured)


I've noticed they start first flight in the morning around 9am. Is this too late due to the sun not hitting it directly? They finish their flight around 7:30pm and start to settle in.
Wind vs Sun, what do I go for and if I was to move the hive, is that ok, or should I wait sometime before I do that. Another area of interest is here:
Up against this side of the barn pictured where the southerly's are mostly absorbed by the barn. The barn also receives very early sunlight all the way till the evening.

Other things, the place they are now has some trees that attract wasps 25m away and the paddock location I'm thinking about has magpies that hang around in the trees nearby.

Sorry for the plethora of questions and they may be dumb, but I'm hoping my hive is off to a good start or what action I should take next.
Put wind shade cloth on the north side in front of the hive works well
 
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maungaturoto
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Commercial
Cool. Thanks Tristan. I just checked out my hive now and saw a dead drone outside which I took inside to look at, and found on the underside a mite.
all that means is there is mites in the hive, which you already know (as all hives have mites) so it means nothing.
good beekeepers do not make decisions based on nothing.
normally you might investigate further but thats not needed as you need strips in anyway due to other reasons.

. Also you said "be careful", why is that, is there some risk with leaving old strips in or is that because they're just an obstruction?
old strips block the brood so need to be removed, but there is a risk they may still contain acid (and burn your hands etc)
remember those oxalic acid strips are home made by person unknown, have no idea on how well they work or if they are safe to handle etc. so be careful handling them, where correct PPE. its somewhat poor to sell a hive with them still in it to a beginner.

Come those 10 months to pass, I then place the Bayvarol strips in?
10 weeks, take old strips out.
new ones go in during spring. that gives you winter to check when other beeks around you are doing it. plenty of writeups on here about it.

Sounds good, I'll swap the boxes and base after I mount some feet on it. And I must ask, are Hivedoctor bases overrated or underrated, or are they just an alternative for those who choose?
my humble apologises, i forgot to mention box swaps should really be done in spring in case you accidently squash the queen.

hive doctor bases are overrated for hobbyists.
they are designed for commercial beeks using pallets.
wooden ones work fine like they always have. with single hives you can do a lot more with a wooden base than what you can with a HD bases screwed to a pallet.
 
12
13
Kapiti Coast
Experience
Beginner
So that was more work than expected. I guess with time I'll be more speedy. One mistake did happen, but that was on the most outer frame with only honey, it slipped from the tips of my gloves as the baggy ends rolled around and the frame slipped out and landed on the grass. I think I'll ditch the thick beekeeping gloves and go for the thin laxtex/nitrile gloves. I also 3d printed some frame hooks to help, but looks like I'll find a better model thats more sturdy as these were flimsy.

I did change the frames and boxes. I hope I haven't screwed up. I cleaned the propolis off the frames before sticking them into the new boxes. The bees were well behaved, only a few stings on the glove tips but nothing that got me. My dog got stung as I didn't know she was hanging around as she had escaped the house, lesson learnt for her.

Apivar strips are placed in, so I guess I'll rotate them. I didn't spot the queen from any of the observation of frames, but then again there's a ton of bees in there. Hopefully I didn't squash her, but I did look at the frames over top of the hive so if she fell she'd fall into the box below.

I think I may have used a bit too much smoke, some bees were stubborn to go down or they'd go down and come back up within seconds. Perhaps I bit off more than I could chew at the moment, but I achieved what I wanted.. just not sure they were wise moves or not.

Hope it's ok and ok for the winter and that the queen is still there or was there from the beginning. It's making me anxious now o_O
let me know if anything looks wrong or if it's all ok. The top hive had a lot of honey, didn't realize how heavy it made a frame.


Album of photos here:
 
8,666
5,138
maungaturoto
Experience
Commercial
good job done.
hive looks good, plenty of bees and stores.

i didn't realize they still made the old hive doctor bases. i'm not a fan of those ones, i much prefer the 3 entrance ones.
but then again its a tad colder down there.

strips i would have placed more central and keep them apart ie one of the left side and one on the right side. tho with that amount of bees it won't be an issue. 2 strips per box.
 
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12
13
Kapiti Coast
Experience
Beginner
good job done.
hive looks good, plenty of bees and stores.

i didn't realize they still made the old hive doctor bases. i'm not a fan of those ones, i much prefer the 3 entrance ones.
but then again its a tad colder down there.

strips i would have placed more central and keep them apart ie one of the left side and one on the right side. tho with that amount of bees it won't be an issue. 2 strips per box.

The two hivedoctors I have is one from 3 years ago and the other from a year ago. Also you're right about the pallet, I'm thinking I'll ditch it, not really an idea platform to work on lol.

Thanks for the words guys, reassuring. I'll rotate the strips to the opposite ends come 2 weeks.
 

Alastair

Founder Member
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I'll rotate the strips to the opposite ends come 2 weeks.

If you are talking about the oxalic strips, yes. If you are talking about the synthetic strips you will be putting in, no. They should be smack in the middle of the brood. Not together though, seperated by a comb or two depending how many combs of brood there are.
 

frazzledfozzle

Founder Member
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Nelson/Tasman District
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If you are talking about the oxalic strips, yes. If you are talking about the synthetic strips you will be putting in, no. They should be smack in the middle of the brood. Not together though, seperated by a comb or two depending how many combs of brood there are.

agree that was the one thing I was going to comment on.
Apivar is too far to the outside of the brood probably sitting on honey and pollen going by the photos of brood you put up. As @Alastair Said they need to be right in the middle of the frames, I like to put them between frames 4&5 and 6&7.

Even though you have oxalis staples in their I hope you have two Apivar in the top and bottom Box.
 
12
13
Kapiti Coast
Experience
Beginner
OK I'll swap them into the middle around the majority of brood this week. I also have two strips in the bottom box also (2 Apivar per box).

The bees are seemingly used to the new base already, bringing in pollen on their legs. It does look busier but I'm guessing because the entrance is a bit smaller. Also there does seem to be some bees occasionally scrapping outside, not sure if it's rouge bees that noticed me working yesterday with the hive open and now they're trying to rob, or something else?
 
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Alastair

Founder Member
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Auckland
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James to figure out how to place the synthetic strips, realise that although there are mites all over the hive, they all gravitate to the brood so they can breed, and that's the best place to kill them.

So you see where the brood is and then place the strips in amongst it but apart from each other, in such a way that if you imagine the chemicals radiating out from the strips, it is radiating through the brood area. Not out to one side of it.
 
12
13
Kapiti Coast
Experience
Beginner
Makes sense, I'll do so. Also when placing a strip, do you guys have the same spacing per frame or do you slightly give the frames where the strips are hanging a tad more of a gap for the bees to maneuver pass?
 

NZDan

Silver
55
45
Te Horo
Experience
Hobbyist
Hi James, fellow KC beek, can I suggest the Level 3 Beekeeping Course run by Land Based Training, look for them on the web, they are still operating a zero fees course courtesy of MPI. There is one based in Te Horo/Otaki.
I think ot may have already started last weekend but get on the blower, you never know.
I did this last year and it was fantastic with a lot of support from the trainer.

 
1
1
USA Manassas
Experience
International
I've always liked beekeeping. I was never afraid of bee stings when I was little, unlike other children. Also, I've never harmed any cute bees, even if they prevented me from eating ice cream or candy. It happens. So after graduating from high school, I had a choice: go straight to beekeeping or college for another profession. Learning how to raise honeybees isn't difficult for me. My grandfather has engaged in beekeeping all his life. Maybe that's why I'm not afraid of being bitten by bees. But I'm wearing a bee suit. I learned many secrets of beekeeping from my grandfather. But even he didn't know some modern methods until I showed him a website for beekeepers.
 
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