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gmonag 

House Bee
Joined
Oct 23, 2017
Messages
260
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68
Location
Nr. Bury St Edmunds, UK
Hive Type
other
Number of Hives
6 Rose Hives
Brought up with WBC and national . Had very long break from bees . Built my own insulated wooden long hives. Oddly enough I am thinking of trying poly langstroth of the honey paw range using a single box size throughout - any thoughts about using mediums?
Great idea - and why not try the Rose Hive Method whilst you are at it? Poly Lang Mediums would be ideal.
 

Kaz 

New Bee
Joined
Jun 7, 2018
Messages
12
Reaction score
9
Location
Devon
Hive Type
none
I've been beekeeping for coming up for 5 years now and don't really regret anything over that time. If I could start again I think I would start with a bigger box than the national, probably with commercial hives as they are so simple to make and about the same size as 14x12. Too late now as I too have lots invested in national boxes.
I have just switched from nationals to commercials, in my third year of beekeeping. Thank the lord for the Thornes sale, commercial boxes just £15 each, new frames needed anyway as would have been doing a bailey comb change this year. Sticking with national supers and all the floors, roofs etc still fit. Reckon it's worth the investment to not have the bees constantly running out of room and wanting to swarm. Fingers crossed... 🙂
 

No Neo Nics 

New Bee
Joined
Jun 22, 2017
Messages
19
Reaction score
28
Location
West Midlands
Hive Type
none
We are emigrating so I'm giving up after about 9 years.
Looking back.
I found collecting swarms really exciting.
I found the 'beginners course' nothing but confusing, and even more confusing once I got some bees.
The most valuable learning I had was attending 3 or 4 course run by 'The Natural Bee keepers', suddenly it all made sense and was a stack easier
I was disappointed for it to be suggested we would get a mentor but it never materialised. I know I should have persisted and asked but I'm a shy retiring kind of person and find that sort of thing difficult.
As time went on I became less and less interventional.
I found our local group a very strong 'clique'.
I end my time with 5 apparently big and healthy colonies.
I figured I wouldn't like having my feet chopped off so I couldn't run, so I never chopped a bees wings off so she couldn't fly.
It's been a lot of fun.
I reckoned it would be unhealthy for me to eat mcdonalds for the winter, and on that basis I gave minimal feed, believing their own yummy honey was probably what they liked best.
It's been interesting to constantly sift confusing information and so in the end I figured I was doing nothing more than providing them with house to live in and what they did inside was largely up to them.; they have after all been doing it for lots and lots of years. Occasionally I would raid their larder, but aim to leave enough for them to get through harder times. That seemed like a nice compromise.
I did discover that bee keeping is a hobby for people who have sufficient money - i.e. it isn't cheap.
 

beeno 

Queen Bee
Joined
Apr 25, 2011
Messages
4,823
Reaction score
108
Location
South East
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
5
11 or 12 years now - everyday spent beekeeping is a lesson. The trick is not to keep repeating the mistakes!
Well said, but that requires a "post-mortem" as if you cannot work out what has gone wrong you cannot put it right!
 

elainemary 

New Bee
Joined
Jun 1, 2019
Messages
89
Reaction score
110
Location
Yorkshire
Hive Type
wbc
Number of Hives
10
As my second winter keeping bees approaches, there are things that with hindsight and
experience that I wish I had done differently.
It would be interesting to know from other members what they would have done differently as beginners now that they have years of experience.
When I started I didn’t know what I didn’t know & if I knew what I didn’t know it would have taken away the worry & frustration, but also the challenge, fun and learning process!

The main things I‘Ve learnt as a hobby beekeeper are:

-National boxes fit in WBCs and with all the deals on national equipment it’s better than buying into Wbc parts. I’d still stick to the Wbc double walled concept though.Wbc and National brood boxes are too small for 50%+ of colonies, work on double brood; you don’t need to fill fully with combs, 14 -16 combs is optimum, fill any spare space with fat dummies

-Keep swarm control simple - queen into a Nuc If short of equipment, or if on double brood a vertical split (Ken Basterfield’s method is best vs Snelgrove or a vertical Pagden)

-Work with the bees rather than trying to over control them. Give them the space they need, don’t mess too much with their brood nest, don’t over inspect. Don’t be greedy, share the crop & prioritise their needs first. Give them a helping hand - clean combs, be aware of & act if there are issues with food and pests / diseases. Don’t crowd your bees into your apiary(ies). Less is more.

Share what you’ve learnt - good thing about this forum!

Elaine
 

StephenT 

House Bee
Joined
Aug 6, 2019
Messages
101
Reaction score
25
Location
West London
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
3
Wished I had taken it up long before I did. I didn't start by choice but by the wife who said one day I have enrolled us in to a beekeeping course.
Ditto about wishing I had taken it up earlier. My wife enrolled us on the winter course at Twickenham in Jan 2019. She then took the initiative to hive a swarm a fellow beginner had collected in May that year whilst I was umming and arring about whether we were ready. Best just to take the plunge and go for it. One thing I won’t do again is put fondant to store for winter whilst it’s still quite warm. It melts and coats some of the bees wings in sugar which well and truly buggers them up. We took the fondant off but that had the effect of turning the garden into a human no-go zone for the rest of the day. Got stung on my nose and ear 😢😂
 

madasafish 

Queen Bee
Joined
Apr 10, 2010
Messages
8,958
Reaction score
214
Location
Stoke on Trent
Hive Type
langstroth
Number of Hives
8x Langstroth, a few Lang nucs,1x TBH, and about 17 mating mini nucs
We are emigrating so I'm giving up after about 9 years.
Looking back.
I found collecting swarms really exciting.
I found the 'beginners course' nothing but confusing, and even more confusing once I got some bees.
The most valuable learning I had was attending 3 or 4 course run by 'The Natural Bee keepers', suddenly it all made sense and was a stack easier
I was disappointed for it to be suggested we would get a mentor but it never materialised. I know I should have persisted and asked but I'm a shy retiring kind of person and find that sort of thing difficult.
As time went on I became less and less interventional.
I found our local group a very strong 'clique'.
I end my time with 5 apparently big and healthy colonies.
I figured I wouldn't like having my feet chopped off so I couldn't run, so I never chopped a bees wings off so she couldn't fly.
It's been a lot of fun.
I reckoned it would be unhealthy for me to eat mcdonalds for the winter, and on that basis I gave minimal feed, believing their own yummy honey was probably what they liked best.
It's been interesting to constantly sift confusing information and so in the end I figured I was doing nothing more than providing them with house to live in and what they did inside was largely up to them.; they have after all been doing it for lots and lots of years. Occasionally I would raid their larder, but aim to leave enough for them to get through harder times. That seemed like a nice compromise.
I did discover that bee keeping is a hobby for people who have sufficient money - i.e. it isn't cheap.

Once you get to around 5 hives and run them properly, it is more than self financing.
 

oxnatbees 

House Bee
Joined
Apr 15, 2012
Messages
116
Reaction score
11
Location
Oxfordshire UK
Hive Type
warre
Number of Hives
6
I wish I had not bought commercial bees and started with local swarms right away. Much tougher, don't need constant feeding because they overbreed, don't turn nasty in year 2 when they cross with the local landrace.
 

elainemary 

New Bee
Joined
Jun 1, 2019
Messages
89
Reaction score
110
Location
Yorkshire
Hive Type
wbc
Number of Hives
10
Ditto about wishing I had taken it up earlier. My wife enrolled us on the winter course at Twickenham in Jan 2019. She then took the initiative to hive a swarm a fellow beginner had collected in May that year whilst I was umming and arring about whether we were ready. Best just to take the plunge and go for it. One thing I won’t do again is put fondant to store for winter whilst it’s still quite warm. It melts and coats some of the bees wings in sugar which well and truly buggers them up. We took the fondant off but that had the effect of turning the garden into a human no-go zone for the rest of the day. Got stung on my nose and ear 😢😂
Try putting your fondant on top of a wire queen excluder, this stops it dripping down the frames :)
 

StephenT 

House Bee
Joined
Aug 6, 2019
Messages
101
Reaction score
25
Location
West London
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
3
Try putting your fondant on top of a wire queen excluder, this stops it dripping down the frames :)
Did that and it was still dripping down too much. I was thinking as to whether the outside temp would have that much of an effect given the bees regulate the temperature inside but it’s not been an issue since the outside temperature has dropped.
 

GuyNir 

Field Bee
Joined
Sep 17, 2017
Messages
558
Reaction score
77
Location
Dumfries and Galloway
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
More than what the wife knows
Did that and it was still dripping down too much. I was thinking as to whether the outside temp would have that much of an effect given the bees regulate the temperature inside but it’s not been an issue since the outside temperature has dropped.
I used fondabee in the past and it dripped. For the last couple winters I’m using apipasta and it’s not dripping.
 
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