Jump to content

  • Chat
  •  
  •  

Welcome to Formiculture.com!

This is a website for anyone interested in Myrmecology and all aspects of finding, keeping, and studying ants. The site and forum are free to use. Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation points to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!

Photo
* * * * - 3 votes

Beekeeping Noob


  • Please log in to reply
62 replies to this topic

#1 Offline ConcordAntman - Posted March 24 2023 - 10:37 AM

ConcordAntman

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 757 posts
  • LocationMassachusetts

Since they know I’ve had a lifelong interest in social insects, our kids gave me this for Christmas, an 8-frame hive complete with hive managing tools and a full bee-suit!

398F0DF4 6284 4A7F 86B6 D4953016714A

The tin clad outer cover is for insulation, the inner cover encloses the frames.
FD1C3186 F237 4877 9493 EB92F23DD919
 
I’m assembling the frames here. The black foundation material is embossed with a hexagonal pattern for the workers to build out.
B37D01F7 FA55 4111 8A75 D55C99D6C654

Here are the frames in place. 
47288724 919E 4336 B010 C1E3DB7EBF78
 
9A72C3CD CE94 4BD9 A7BF 3ECC3E28D466

I’m 4 weeks into my 5 week beekeeping course and have a 3 lb “package” of bees with a marked queen ordered for delivery April 10th. I’ll keep you posted on how this turns out. 


  • ANTdrew, UtahAnts, rptraut and 3 others like this

#2 Offline Flu1d - Posted April 2 2023 - 12:25 PM

Flu1d

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 454 posts
  • LocationPensacola, Florida
Wow, this is gonna be really cool to watch as it goes along! Was always curious about one of these online buys, can't wait to watch!

#3 Offline ConcordAntman - Posted April 8 2023 - 9:17 PM

ConcordAntman

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 757 posts
  • LocationMassachusetts

So, I’ve completed my beekeeping course and my bees arrive April 10th. We’ve learned about the bee’s life cycle, the bee’s nutritional needs, apiary pathogens, and hive maintenance. Of the 4 ways to start a bee colony (capture a swarm, purchase an established colony, purchase a nuclear colony, purchase a 3-5 lb package of bees and a queen), my instructor recommended a 3 pound package and a marked queen as the most instructive for a new beekeeper. The bee package as opposed to the other options, does not have brood or stored honey so starting from scratch, the colony must be fed. The setup requires a brood box that will eventually house the colony with brood, pollen, and honey and an empty medium box to hold the syrup feeder. The colony will need to be fed until enough is in bloom to support a good nectar flow. Here you see the 8-frame brood box with the empty medium “honey” super on top. 
 

IMG 1046
 

This is with the top feeder installed
IMG 1047
 
 
Here the setup is on its hive stand in our yard
IMG 1048
 
 
With the inner cover
IMG 1049
 
 
And outer cover in place. The stand helps to keep raiding insects or animals out and the rock on top prevents anything from tipping the hive over.
IMG 1050
 
 
All that’s left is for an enterprising beginner to get this project started. Stay tuned!
IMG 7675

 

 


  • ANTdrew, futurebird, m99 and 4 others like this

#4 Offline Ernteameise - Posted April 9 2023 - 12:25 AM

Ernteameise

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 842 posts
  • LocationGermany
This is so exciting!
My granddad was a bee keeper and I was always absolutely fascinated. And loved the honey.
Good luck! I hope there will be plenty of flowers in the spring and I look forward to more updates.
  • ConcordAntman and 100lols like this

#5 Offline Flu1d - Posted April 9 2023 - 4:37 AM

Flu1d

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 454 posts
  • LocationPensacola, Florida
Let's go! I remember when I lived in Oregon, how many bees I would see regularly. The first time I heard the swarm, I was like "That sounds crazy, I'd better get inside!". However, after a while, you get used to it and it's actually kinda peaceful.

I think, if one day I have enough land, that I might do one of these online kits myself.
  • ConcordAntman likes this

#6 Offline Daniel - Posted April 9 2023 - 12:59 PM

Daniel

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 74 posts
  • LocationFort Mohave, Arizona
Excellent! Good luck!
  • ConcordAntman likes this

#7 Offline DRpepper - Posted April 9 2023 - 3:55 PM

DRpepper

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 82 posts

If you have any questions at all ask me. I've been beekeeping for 4 years.


  • ConcordAntman likes this

#8 Offline ConcordAntman - Posted April 11 2023 - 10:05 AM

ConcordAntman

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 757 posts
  • LocationMassachusetts

If you have any questions at all ask me. I've been beekeeping for 4 years.

I’m fortunate enough to have my beekeeping instructor house his hives about 5 minutes from our house. I expect to be picking his and your brains for timely advice as issues arise. Thanks DRpepper your offer is greatly appreciated! 



#9 Offline ConcordAntman - Posted April 11 2023 - 11:05 AM

ConcordAntman

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 757 posts
  • LocationMassachusetts

Yesterday was the big day, my package arrived! I’d spent the previous week preparing. The hive was positioned with a top feeder in place. After feeding my ant colonies and tending our bird feeders, I spent the morning mixing and cooling a gallon of 1:1 sugar syrup and a quart of Reishi mushroom “tea” (the tea colored liquid).

IMG 1105

 

My beekeeping instructor has experimental evidence that Reishi or Chaga mushroom mixtures in the sugar syrup can actually be mite and virus repellents for A. mellifera.

 

I was so excited to pick up my bees that I forgot to take pictures! I realized I hadn’t brought gloves or any protective gear. When I arrived, there was just a small trailer with a woman in a bee suit. The trailer was filled with bee packages with more packages on the pavement. There was a sparse cloud of bees flying around. She asked my name, checked a roster and promptly handed me my package of 10,000 bees and a queen. I loaded them in the back of my car and headed home with the sound of buzzing bees in the background.

IMG 1108

I commenced to installing the package once I got home. I put the package in a shed and sprayed them with the Reishi/syrup mixture while I prepped the hive. 

IMG 1113

I took off the top feeder and removed some of the frames so I could more easily “pour” the package. 
IMG 1126
 
 
IMG 1130

Then I sprayed the frames with the Reishi/syrup mix to encourage the bees to take residence.
IMG 1134
 
Now for the installation. 
IMG 1135
 

After again spraying down the package, I pried off the top panel, quickly lifted the syrup can, and removed the queen cage. I’d ordered a marked queen. I checked her health and set her aside. 

IMG 1145

 
IMG 1144
 
IMG 1151
 
IMG 1161
 
Another spray and a few bangs on the ground disloged the swarm. I poured them into the brood box, gently replaced the sprayed frames, tucked the unplugged queen cage between the frames, filled the top feeder with a syrup/mushroom tea mixture, and buttoned up the hive. An apparently uncomplicated installation!
IMG 1179
 
IMG 1190
 
IMG 1195
 
IMG 1208
 
IMG 1206
 
IMG 1212

 

I went out this morning to add some mixture to the top feeder and came upon a disturbing unexpected find. The queen had been killed and dragged out!
IMG 1215
 
IMG 1216

 

The vendor suspects there is a second queen in the package and the marked one was killed. I’ll be checking for brood over the next few days. If there’s no brood, they’ll replace the queen. Not the way I hoped to start…
 

 

 


  • OiledOlives, UtahAnts, futurebird and 2 others like this

#10 Offline ANTdrew - Posted April 11 2023 - 12:02 PM

ANTdrew

    Advanced Member

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPip
  • 9,409 posts
  • LocationAlexandria, VA
Oh no! That’s terrible. I hope they replace your queen ASAP.
  • ConcordAntman likes this
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#11 Offline DRpepper - Posted April 11 2023 - 12:02 PM

DRpepper

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 82 posts

 

If you have any questions at all ask me. I've been beekeeping for 4 years.

I’m fortunate enough to have my beekeeping instructor house his hives about 5 minutes from our house. I expect to be picking his and your brains for timely advice as issues arise. Thanks DRpepper your offer is greatly appreciated! 

 

Your welcome sir. I would wait longer then a couple days though. wait like 5-7 to see if there is a queen in the package. The same thing happend to me when i bought bees last year. In any case i would try to get a free queen from the seller for a future split 


Edited by DRpepper, April 11 2023 - 12:15 PM.

  • ConcordAntman likes this

#12 Offline Ernteameise - Posted April 11 2023 - 12:55 PM

Ernteameise

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 842 posts
  • LocationGermany

Oh no. What a bummer.

Hope you have a second queen, and if not, that you get a free replacement.


  • ConcordAntman likes this

#13 Offline Flu1d - Posted April 11 2023 - 1:45 PM

Flu1d

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 454 posts
  • LocationPensacola, Florida
Very cool process, thank you for all of the great pictures and detailed explanations! I am sorry to hear about your queen, I am hoping that it turns out they accidently had an extra queen in there and that's all it is. I look forward to the updates.
  • ConcordAntman likes this

#14 Offline dspdrew - Posted April 11 2023 - 6:54 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Interesting read. They can just swap out a queen in a colony that big?


  • ConcordAntman likes this

#15 Offline DRpepper - Posted April 12 2023 - 3:56 PM

DRpepper

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 82 posts

Interesting read. They can just swap out a queen in a colony that big?

yes with proper methods.



#16 Offline ConcordAntman - Posted April 13 2023 - 3:48 AM

ConcordAntman

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 757 posts
  • LocationMassachusetts

Interesting read. They can just swap out a queen in a colony that big?

Sorry just seeing this, between my ants, our bird feeders, and now my bees, I’m pretty busy! As DRpepper said, queen exchanges do occur. In a fully functioning colony, an unexpected death causes the workers to create an “emergency queen” by increased feeding of royal jelly to an early instar larva. In the case of a queen in poor health, the colony can supersede the queen in the same fashion while killing the reigning queen once the new queen ecloses. Finally, in an overcrowded hive, workers create queen cells (larger irregularly oriented cells usually at the bottom of frames) in preparation for the reigning queen to swarm taking a significant fraction of the hive. 
 

In my case, I don’t yet have a fully functioning hive. Going back to the ways to start a colony, catching a swarm, getting someone else’s functioning hive, or buying a nuclear hive, all have the components of a full hive; a mated, laying queen, workers, brood, stored honey, and pollen (or in the case of the swarm, bees full stomachs with knowledge of the resources in the area). A 3 lb package of bees (what I purchased) is 10,000-12,000 workers from a colony bred for sale paired with a random mated queen (not their founder) also batch bred for sale. There’s no brood, no stored honey, or pollen. In theory, from the time the package is assembled until it’s installed, the workers “forget” their original hives’ smell and accept the new queen. Sometimes they don’t. With no brood to make an emergency queen and no fertilized worker, no eggs or colony unless you get another queen. 


  • DRpepper likes this

#17 Offline ConcordAntman - Posted April 13 2023 - 5:45 AM

ConcordAntman

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 757 posts
  • LocationMassachusetts

A New Hope (with apologies to George Lucas :D )!

Once I’d noted the demise of the queen, at the vendor’s instruction I planned to inspect the hive in a day or two for brood. I emailed my beekeeping course instructor Mel, and he generously offered to come over to help since he keeps his hives nearby. As a retired physician, I saw it as a house call and final exam combined. Considering I’d managed to get the queen killed in less than a day, I hope he’d give me a gentleman’ s Bee at least!

 

At about 10 am yesterday, Mel came over and we inspected the hive. 

IMG 7717
 
We found no brood but I was surprised that in less than 24 hours they’d started to build out comb. 
IMG 1224

 
IMG 1226
 
After a quick call to my vendor, New England Beekeeping, I headed off to pick up my replacement queen, this time with pictures! The Colony, AKA New England Beekeeping is about 35 minutes from my house. It has a full complement of beekeeping equipment. They also carry a variety of honey and even brew their own mead!
IMG 1238
 
 
IMG 1229
 
 
IMG 1233
 
 
IMG 1230
 
 
IMG 1234
 
 
Now to get milady and her attendants back home and in the hive.
IMG 1235
 
 
Time to unbutton the hive again. Mel advised me that my bees are quite docile. Since I thought this would be a quick peek I didn’t wear the pants to my bee suit or gloves. I find the gloves make it tough to handle the tools and it was a tad too cumbersome to pull on the pants for a quick peek (note, elastic at the ankles keeps bees from finding access to pant legs!). Considering I’ve only been at this 2 days, I haven’t been stung yet but common sense argues to wear protective gloves and pants to prevent stung fingers or at worst, inflamed private parts :o
IMG 1247
 
 
IMG 1249
 
 
Here you can see the top feeder in action. There’s openings under the screen in the center bar that allows the bees to fly up from the frames. They can walk down the screen to the syrup, drink, and fly back down to the hive frames. No escapes, no drowned bees!
IMG 1251
 
 
Ok, a confession is due here. It was my nubie error. I had inadvertently unplugged the wrong side of my first queen’s queen cage resulting in her immediate release to the hive and killing by 10,000 workers that hadn’t forgotten the “smell” of their founding queen. In retrospect, I sure wished the original cage had been labeled like this one…
IMG 1263
 
 
IMG 1269
 
 
After hanging the new queen cage on a center frame, again I got things buttoned up. Let me add a word of thanks to my wife who in addition to taking most of these shots from a safe distance, allows me to feed ants at the kitchen table and keep cricket and Dubia roaches in our freezer. Thanks for letting me indulge my hobbies for the past 44 years!
IMG 1275
 
 
IMG 1284

 
IMG 1289
 
 
IMG 1293

Edited by ConcordAntman, April 13 2023 - 5:48 AM.

  • ANTdrew, Somethinghmm, UtahAnts and 3 others like this

#18 Offline DRpepper - Posted April 13 2023 - 7:21 AM

DRpepper

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 82 posts

 

Interesting read. They can just swap out a queen in a colony that big?

Sorry just seeing this, between my ants, our bird feeders, and now my bees, I’m pretty busy! As DRpepper said, queen exchanges do occur. In a fully functioning colony, an unexpected death causes the workers to create an “emergency queen” by increased feeding of royal jelly to an early instar larva. In the case of a queen in poor health, the colony can supersede the queen in the same fashion while killing the reigning queen once the new queen ecloses. Finally, in an overcrowded hive, workers create queen cells (larger irregularly oriented cells usually at the bottom of frames) in preparation for the reigning queen to swarm taking a significant fraction of the hive. 
 

In my case, I don’t yet have a fully functioning hive. Going back to the ways to start a colony, catching a swarm, getting someone else’s functioning hive, or buying a nuclear hive, all have the components of a full hive; a mated, laying queen, workers, brood, stored honey, and pollen (or in the case of the swarm, bees full stomachs with knowledge of the resources in the area). A 3 lb package of bees (what I purchased) is 10,000-12,000 workers from a colony bred for sale paired with a random mated queen (not their founder) also batch bred for sale. There’s no brood, no stored honey, or pollen. In theory, from the time the package is assembled until it’s installed, the workers “forget” their original hives’ smell and accept the new queen. Sometimes they don’t. With no brood to make an emergency queen and no fertilized worker, no eggs or colony unless you get another queen. 

 

i count say it better myself. 


  • ConcordAntman likes this

#19 Offline Ernteameise - Posted April 13 2023 - 9:47 AM

Ernteameise

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 842 posts
  • LocationGermany

How exciting, love reading about your progress. And thank you for sharing all these pictures.

Hope the new queen quickly takes over!

 

And what a neat bee keeping store you have there!


  • ConcordAntman likes this

#20 Offline ConcordAntman - Posted April 19 2023 - 7:14 PM

ConcordAntman

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 757 posts
  • LocationMassachusetts

I did a queen inspection April 15. It had been 3 days since I’d installed the new queen and I wanted to check to see if she had been released. From here, it didn’t seem she’d been released!

IMG 1302
 
IMG 1303
 
It’s been a week since she was installed and it doesn’t look like the sugar candy has been eaten away yet. The bees are filling 2-3 frames and building out comb on 1-2. There’s honey in some of the cells near the top bar. You can even see some bee bread in the comb on the backside of the frame with the queen cage.
 

IMG 1311

 
IMG 1306
 
The queen is still in her cage. Since we’re having a string of cooler days coming up, I’ll plan a re-check later in the week. If she hasn’t been released by then, I’ll release her. 
IMG 1308

 


Edited by ConcordAntman, April 19 2023 - 7:14 PM.

  • ANTdrew likes this




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users