I can’t think of any outdoor activity more enjoyable than enjoying and observing the royal and industrious honey bee. I further cannot believe that everybody is not keeping bees. People people who have joined the honorable ranks of being a beekeeper do so for many different reasons. Some maintain bees so that they could harvest their own homegrown honey. Other folks maintain bees to pollinate their fruit trees, crops, and gardens. Many maintain bees because they have heard of the decrease in honey bee colonies and would like to do their part in keeping our honey bees alive and well. There are many other reasons, but deep down all beekeepers enjoy keeping bees because it’s simply enjoyable!
A common thread among first-time beekeepers is that they now have time and a place to keep bees. Many say their dad or grandpa retained a few hives and they were always intrigued with bees and would like to test it for themselves. In case you have ever considered keeping honey bees, great for you. It’s so important that people know the fundamental and important role honey bees perform in our world. Honey bees pollinate 1/3 of all of the food we eat. Apples, almonds, melons, as well as the crops that cows eat to create our milk and beef all tie to the pollination of the honey bee. And this is only scratching the surface.
Nearly anyone can keep bees, from the young to the older, from the University entomologist to the stay at home mom. Even the white house now has a hive. It’s true, you can be a beekeeper. All you will need is a beehive, some protective clothes, a few tools, and a few beers. You don’t have to know everything about bees to get started. In the end, most colonies are pretty forgiving and expertise is still the best teacher.
Allow Me to give you a few recommendations in the checklist below so you can become a successful beekeeper:
1) LEARN ABOUT BEEKEEPING through articles like this one, or have a course. Beekeeping classes are springing up all around the nation. See your local library and increase your comprehension before you keep bees.
2) DECIDE HOW MANY HIVES you wish to begin with. Of course, you can start with only one if you have a small budget. But most everybody would recommend beginning with 2-3 hives. Why? If you simply start with you, and it expires or flies off, then you do not have any bees. However, with two or more hives you always have the option to equalize your hives by sharing frames of brood or bees. If you eliminate a queen or a complete hive, you may produce another hive referred to as a split, or you may even move a frame of eggs over from the strong hive into a queenless hive and allow the colony without a queen increase their own queen. You’ll also have the ability to harvest more products from several hives such as honey, pollen, royal jelly, propolis, and wax. As soon as you put in your suit and light your own smoker, it really doesn’t take much longer to inspect multiple hives.
3) PURCHASE YOUR BEES AND EQUIPMENT at the Ideal time of this year. You need to buy your equipment between September through February. You can purchase your hives later than February, but you might find a longer wait period as this is the busy season for production. Purchase your protective clothing and tools now as well. Purchase your bees between November and March. You may try to find out if packages of bees have been abandoned after March, and it’s possible, but many providers are sold out by March. If you live close enough, you can pick up your bees at local apiaries.
OLD EQUIPMENT VS. NEW EQUIPMENT
Many people attempt to save a few dollars and rise in someone’s old barn loft to resurrect some abandoned beekeeping equipment. This can work, but the danger of disorder can cause you to lose your colony. Some diseases can live and stay dormant in older boxes for almost 80 decades. Why not start with new supplies.
DO NOT WAIT UNTIL APRIL OR MAY TO MAKE YOUR PURCHASES. It might be too late. Every year a lot of people call in May and June once it’s too late.
4) CHOOSE YOUR LOCATION to place your hives. Depending on where you live you might choose to find out if your community has any restrictions to maintaining hives. This is usually only true if you live in a town or city. But most city ordinances allow for beekeeping, but you may check first.
Should you realize that you cannot keep bees where you reside, remember there are lots of locations in the nation where individuals are more than glad that you maintain your bees on their own property. Just remember not to place your bees too far from where you live or even the long-distance commute could keep you from appreciating your bees as often as you’d like.
Hives do well in partial shade, but due to various pests like small hive beetle, ants, and mice, it helps to keep hives in full sun. However, when this isn’t possible, some shade is fine.
WHICH DIRECTION TO FACE THE HIVE? Hives can actually face any direction. Generally, facing the East or Southeast allows for early morning sunshine to acquire the hive out functioning early. Another consideration is the bees’ flight route. Consider what could be in the hive’s flight path since they leave the hive. Don’t place them near your clothesline or alongside a walkway. They will stain your clothes and bump into people if they are too close to common walkways.
5) WHAT ABOUT YOUR NEIGHBOURS? There are lots of actions you can take so that your bees are liked by your neighbors. If your neighbors are near, keep plenty of water around your bees to prevent them from looking for water in your neighbor’s kiddy pool. Birdbaths create good bee waterers. If your neighbors are real close, you might consider giving your neighbors a jar of honey each year so they can see first hand how sweet bees are.
Try to not operate your bees when your neighbors are having an outing or outdoor party. Always keep a gentle line of bees.
6) JOIN A LOCAL BEE CLUB AND STATE ORGANIZATION. Most regions have state institutions that are made up of smaller beekeeping clubs throughout the state. These are great opportunities to learn, build up your beekeeping assurance, and fulfill other beekeepers. I realize that many beekeepers are extremely independent or are so busy we do not have time to join a club. But recently a neighborhood park district is known as a pest management company to kill a massive hive in a tree. The hive was filled with honey, therefore when the colony was lifeless and full of toxin, nearby hives quickly robbed the honey and took it back to local beekeepers’ hives, murdering those hives as a result. Our team immediately became involved by educating how bad this was, and how beekeepers are more than willing to eliminate hives. And our club was instrumental in assisting one beekeeper receive compensation for his dead hives from the pest control firm. For more details, read about safe bee removal.
Our state association (Illinois) recently studies and had bottling honey removed from the supervision of the public health department. Today beekeepers are free to bottle and sell their own honey without the very same limitations imposed upon restaurants. This was difficult work and required the”muscle” of a state association of beekeepers to get the attention of politicians.
7) PROTECTIVE CLOTHING & TOOLS. There are basically 3 levels of protective garments: A complete suite with a built-in hood which covers every part of your body, a jacket with a built-in hood that protects you from the waist upward, and a hat and veil that just protects your face and mind. Rarely do I have to put on a suit. Mostly I have learned to work my bees with a hat and veil and at times no protective clothing at all.
If you’re really worried about being stung, begin with an entire suit and gloves. As you build your assurance you can slowly reduce the amount of protective clothing until you finally are wearing a hat and veil and no gloves.
Smoker fuel can be whatever you have convenient that produces non-toxic cool smoke, including clean cotton rags, burlap, some types of twine, pine needles, dry grass cuttings, mulch, tree bark, and cardboard. All these fuels burn differently, so find the one which you prefer. I have a comprehensive lesson about using your smoker correctly. Click Here
There are numerous types of hive tools however, the conventional hive tool will probably be all you actually need. I favor having a stainless steel hive tool because if you drop it in the grass and can’t find it until next spring, it will still look the same. A regular steel hive instrument will rust quickly, even when painted. Stainless steel stair tools are hard to find, but we market them. Click here
What about gloves? I admire those who need to wear gloves. But, I think if you keep the right hardened bees, which you need to, you should develop your skills to the point at which you don’t wear gloves. I do not wear gloves and revel in working with my bees with my hands. My bees seem to honor that and that I kill bees.
TOOLS. Two tools are needed to keep bees. A hive tool and also a smoker. Don’t get caught up in specially designed smokers and hive tools. An inexpensive smoker functions as well, and generally as long as a costly one.
Like any hobby, there’s a ton of various gadgets to buy and a few are fun and enjoyable, and beneficial. However, your basic tools would be the smoker and hive tool.
These are some of the basics you need to know to begin keeping bees in 6 or 7 weeks. So today is the time to start learning, purchasing your equipment and bees, and determining your location. Maybe you’re searching for something to occupy your time throughout the winter. Now you can study beekeeping and be prepared when spring arrives. Maybe you require a hobby, something to keep your mind alert, or perhaps you would gain from joining a bunch of people and interacting more with other folks. Beekeeping is just right.