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Thread: First bees

  1. #1

    Default First bees

    Hi, I ordered my first nuc in spring, it was supposed to be here in june and I've just emailed to enquire when ready. I was on the Scottish beekeepers page on fb, where it's being said that now is too late for bees to survive this winter already. That they should be fed 1.1 and must have at least 4 solid frames of brood and stores if taken on now.

  2. #2
    Administrator gavin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BethPotters View Post
    Hi, I ordered my first nuc in spring, it was supposed to be here in june and I've just emailed to enquire when ready. I was on the Scottish beekeepers page on fb, where it's being said that now is too late for bees to survive this winter already. That they should be fed 1.1 and must have at least 4 solid frames of brood and stores if taken on now.
    I've been responsible for our association's nuclei for several years and ours are usually not ready until July although the first on the list may get theirs at the end of June. Last year it was a late year and some weren't ready until late July. One of our new beekeepers took delivery on 25th July last year (3-4 frames of brood, just over 5 frames of bees), fed as instructed to build it to a full brood box and then was delighted to obtain half a super of honey (Himalayan balsam I think) in September. Those in less favoured spots missed out on the honey.

    I'm hoping to make up nuclei myself sometime next month and I'm expecting them to build from two frames to full six frame nucs or bigger by the end of the season - as long as they are fed and able to find pollen.

    Four solid frames of brood now will become 8 frames of bees within 2-3 weeks. Feed them and you'll have another 4 frames of brood which will, 3 weeks later, fill a brood box.

    Getting them through the winter depends on:

    - Varroa being well controlled in advance of the last rounds of brood rearing. Treat anyway in August unless you are certain numbers are low.
    - Enough young, healthy bees raised in September and October to keep the strength of the colony up well into spring
    - Around 40lbs or more of honey/syrup stores either gathered themselves or by feeding in late September or October. If you skimp they can still be saved by fondant over their heads at any time in winter
    - Making sure that mice don't get in.

    If you get that right then the only other thing (usually!) that can go wrong is the queen failing overwinter. Happens, but not that often.
    Last edited by gavin; 03-07-2016 at 04:50 PM.

  3. #3

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    Thank you so Much! A lovely lady on fb has just emailed me a care schedule they've received in front of their picking up nucs on the 16th. I'm beginning to relax again and be excited, we're building the frames now. I was so heart broken earlier. I'm going to print this out to keep me right.😊

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    Quote Originally Posted by BethPotters View Post
    Thank you so Much! A lovely lady on fb has just emailed me a care schedule they've received in front of their picking up nucs on the 16th. I'm beginning to relax again and be excited, we're building the frames now. I was so heart broken earlier. I'm going to print this out to keep me right.��

    Sent from my SM-T550 using Tapatalk
    Hi Beth,
    I'm in Aberdeenshire, let me know if you need help getting ready for winter I will be very happy to show you what I do with my lot. The guy who taught me was never afraid to feed bees at any time of year and a lot at the end of the year (the bees will tell you what they want, if you listen!).
    Get hold of Practical Beekeeping by Clive De Bruyn it is in either the shire or city library (or maybe even both) and take his advice on how much honey you want to see (as a minimum) at any particular time of year, so if during your inspections you don't see what he says then feed, it is that easy.
    Good luck when your bees get to you, don't open them too often (everyone does when they first start).
    Roger

  5. #5

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    Thanks ever so much Roger. I'll look for that book, there's so much to learn that simple straight forward advice is great😊

  6. #6

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    Beth, the person who posted that comment has liked a further post by another supplier with bees for sale in that time frame. Take from that what you will.

    As Gavin has said appropriate care will get them built up before winter. I picked up a small swarm at the end of July last year. They were in a full size box by September and early prudent feeding and treatment got them through the winter.

    You may or may not get a super of honey. I made the decision not to take any as I wanted them to have the best chance in the winter. This hive was the strongest coming out of winter and at the beginning of May was ridiculously strong.

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  7. #7
    Senior Member prakel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BethPotters View Post
    Hi, I ordered my first nuc in spring, it was supposed to be here in june and I've just emailed to enquire when ready. I was on the Scottish beekeepers page on fb, where it's being said that now is too late for bees to survive this winter already. That they should be fed 1.1 and must have at least 4 solid frames of brood and stores if taken on now.
    *IF* the fb poster was who I think it may have been I wouldn't worry too much because he'll probably come along next year with some totally contradictory advice!

  8. #8

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    Lol +1

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