Hopeing to become a new beekeeper in the spring.

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sandyjet62 

New Bee
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South Wales
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Hi all,

After lots of reading on this forum and others, I have decided to have a go at beekeeping next year. I have bought a flat pack hive and intend to copy it for a second. Up to lesson 6 at the local association meetings. Got permission to keep bees on my allotment and ordered a nuc for when they are ready next year.

Probably due to info overload (though I know all will be covered by association meetings) I am confused as to how many colonies I should start with. I have read loads where the advice has been to start with one, so knowledge grows with colony development but also, that it is better to start with 2 in case 1 fails. Also, I have read that it is easy to increase your bee colonies by using the natural swarming instinct of bees, yet others say it is best to prevent swarming. As these questions seems to be at the front of my mind at the moment and I can't seem to find the answers elsewhere, I am hoping someone could enlighten me.

Thanks in advance.
 

RoseCottage 

Field Bee
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Dec 29, 2009
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Near Andover, UK
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wbc
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From 5 to 2 and hopefully a better year
The answer in my mind depends on you...how much time do you think you can give to your bees, how much money, what are your goals, etc.

For me I started with my wife and our goal was to just enjoy the romance of bees together. We don't want to focus on honey production, although having said that we got 165lbs from our two hives this year!
In our first year we had 1 wbc and the basic toolkit and a 2 frame extractor. Our first year was a great learning curve and also we unconsciously gained confidence that we could manage without harming the welfare if the bees.
In our second year we learnt a lot more and got a second hive. We are going to try and stick with 2 colonies (which means kit for 4 hives as we probably will need to temporarily split the colonies before uniting them at the end of the year) . With our lifestyle this is as much as we can manage.
Splitting will be our preferred initial method of swarm control...we have to see what the bees do and may need to split again as they expand.
Year 3 is going to be fun and another big learning curve.

All the best,
Sam
 

Black Comb 

Queen Bee
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In your first year one hive will suffice but 2 will give you a lot of added experience and also you have some insurance for the winter - if your one and only hive dies off over the winter you have to start again.

Yes you can use the swarming instinct to increase colonies but this is done with you in control. What you do not want is for the bees to swarm of their own accord because they will do this when it suits them not you and you may end up losing half of the colony which sets you back for the rest of the year.
 

Hombre 

Queen Bee
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West Midlands
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Welcome to the forum sandyjet62.

Ensure that you have support from a local beek that you can turn to should you need assistance or advice.

Might I suggest that you edit your forum profile location so that members close by are able to identify themselves as being able to assist if needed.
 

MuswellMetro 

Queen Bee
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London N10
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Welcome to the forum sandyjet62.

Ensure that you have support from a local beek that you can turn to should you need assistance or advice.

Might I suggest that you edit your forum profile location so that members close by are able to identify themselves as being able to assist if needed.
agree, the uk is a big area, i talked to members on here with uk as their location only to find they live local to me and we could have talked over a pint in the pub

as you are on an allotment i would suggest one first year just to convince the alloytemnets holders you can do it

swarm prevention/splits, if you split you trade bees for honey, so no split second year you get 40-60 llbs but only 15-20lbs plus 5lbs from two if you split
 

nonstandard 

Field Bee
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North Derbyshire UK
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14x12
Number of Hives
9 colonies & 2 nucs
Yes welcome to the forum, I started out last year and have found the forum to be very supportive.

Do join and get involved in your local association, ask around with any questions you may have, don't just listen to one person.

If you like books, I'd recommend a little reading through the winter, I subscribe to Bee Craft and would recommend the following books:

Bees at the bottom of the garden A nice simple guide

Practical Beekeeping A good down to earth practical guide

Ted Hooper's Guide to bees and honey the classic text but may be a little dry and technical for some.

And at the moment I am reading Keeping Healthy Honey Bees again quite deep but very good.

Your local library will probably have most of these so you can 'try before you buy' and if you like them shop around for the best prices.

Oh and another great little book I found on eb*y for about £3 was Bees and Beekeeping by Irmgard Diemer.
 

sandyjet62 

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Thanks for all replies.
I have edited location as sugested. Our intention would be more to gain knowlege initially as we hav'nt a clue as yet and so being able to split/increase colonys as an insurance against losing our investment would be more benificial to us than honey production. At the mo, association meetings covering theory, with practical sessions through next year. I know its a learning curve and all will become clear eventually but everything you read seems to put a silghtly different slant on things.
 

Monsieur Abeille 

Queen Bee
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Exmoor
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Welcome. The first few weeks can be a bit overwhelming as you get to know your new charges, but once you gain confidence, a 2nd colony is a real benefit in many ways. What worked for me this year was to start off with one, which (to cut a long story short) I ended up splitting and now have two colonies to hopefully carry through to next year. Got some honey as well though I started off with a pretty healthy colony rather than a nuc.
 

Russel 

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Panteg, Gwent
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Welcome from a fellow south waleian(sp) new bee.

Although there are many experienced and knowledgeable people on the forum, I too would recommend you join your local association it'll be one of the better £25/30's you'll spend regardless of what some may say about the BBKA.

In the short time I've been with the Gwent BKA I have attended two talks 1st by Prof R. Pickard and 2nd Mike Brown head of the National Bee Unit. Very interesting and both approachable afterward. Next talk by Marc Carlton 9/12, where else will new beeks get to meet people of there standing/caliber in the bk's community?

Regards Russ
 
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