If you love bees consider getting started with beekeeping. Keeping bees not only helps the environment but also produces beeswax and honey. Depending on the type of hive a jar of honey can be worth PS6 or more! Beekeeping is also an excellent hobby for families and individuals who are interested in biodiversity and helping the environment. The good news is that beekeeping is a fun and rewarding hobby that can keep you occupied for years. To get started you should contact your local Beekeeping association. It can provide you with mentors who can help you with beekeeping.
Be 'one' with the bees
Before you get started be sure to ask permission from your neighbors. Beekeeping can disrupt the lives of your neighbors and may require additional feeding during colder winter months and periods of drought. As for bees they make honey from the nectar of flowers. Common flower nectar sources include dandelions asters and white clover. If you plan to raise your bees near a car make sure to take appropriate precautions to avoid staining your vehicle.
When you're first starting out your most valuable time will be spent reading attending classes and researching. It will take two to three years to learn the ins and outs of beekeeping. To be 'one' with the bees take the time to learn as much as you can about the subject. Taking classes and reading about beekeeping will greatly increase your knowledge base and help you make the most of your time.
Once you have a good handle on bee behavior and how to manage them you can get started with beekeeping. The best beekeepers are those who understand bee biology and behavior and know what goes on inside the hive before they start applying techniques. If you can do this you'll be 'one' with the bees and will have more success with your beekeeping venture.
When getting started with beekeeping make sure to choose an appropriate location for the hives. Bees can live in any location so choose a location that is not too shady or far from your home. Bees can be found in most locations but they prefer to face the rising sun. You can make sure they receive an optimal amount of warmth in the morning by placing your hives towards the east or south-facing window.
A hive tool is a must for beekeeping. A smoker is essential for the bees as well as a veil. The latter type of hive tool is more costly and provides more protection. A bee suit is also helpful. Beekeepers who choose to wear bee suits will feel safer when working with bees. This way the beekeeper can stay 'one' with the bees and make honey.
Be a good neighbor
Be a good neighbor when getting started with your beekeeping hobby. Bees are generally gentle creatures and they will not sting you unless threatened. That is in stark contrast to the behavior of yellow jackets hornets and other kinds of bees. These are important pollinators in urban ecosystems and they tend to stay away from wild bees. But your neighbors may have some reservations about having bees in their yard and that's completely understandable. So while installing your hives on your lawn make sure you communicate your intentions to your neighbors and be open and transparent about it.
It's vital to be a good neighbor when getting started with beakeeping. It's easy to become overly aggressive if you're not careful. You also don't want your neighbors to use pesticides on their lawns as it may affect your bees. So be sure to talk with your neighbors about the best way to deal with their concerns before you start beekeeping.
Make sure your neighbors don't mind your hobby. While they may not mind your honey production they may not want you bringing them into their yard. Moreover if you're a new beekeeper check with your local government to see if they allow beekeeping. Some cities require that you register your apiary in order to prevent bee diseases and nuisances. You should also talk with homeowners' associations to find out whether they allow beekeeping.
You should choose an area where you can place your hives without disturbing your neighbors. Ideally you should place your hives away from footpaths and public access. Bees are very picky when it comes to water and you should have an attractive spot in your yard that is not easily accessible to other residents. A good location should be sheltered from strong winds. And finally you should be a good neighbor.
While bees are gentle creatures you should consider their needs and your neighbors' concerns. Bees are also wonderful pets and can benefit your neighborhood. Having a colony in your backyard can produce up to 40 pounds of honey a year so being a good neighbor will ensure a happy and healthy beekeeping experience for everyone. In the long run you'll be able to share the honey you produce with your neighbors.
Buying beekeeping equipment
If you're new to beekeeping you'll need some beekeeping equipment to start building your hives and raising your bees. While buying new equipment is usually more expensive than used equipment it's still a good idea to purchase some pre-assembled pieces in order to save money. However be sure to avoid buying used foundations or combs as they may contain diseases and chemical residues. If you do opt for used equipment you can ask a more experienced beekeeper to show you how to assemble it properly. It's also best to purchase unassembled equipment to save money. Purchasing premium grade hives is a great idea because these are guaranteed to avoid defects.
While starting out with beekeeping will be the most expensive part of the hobby there are a few other items you'll need. A smoker will help keep the bees calm and mask the pheromones. To make it easier to maintain your hives add wood chips small twigs and leaves or pine needles to the smoker. Additionally you'll need a hive tool to remove the hive's top or loosen its frames. You can purchase these tools from many sources including online stores. A painter's scraper can be substituted for a mini crowbar.
When you're ready to buy your first beekeeping equipment make sure to consider all the details involved. You'll need to account for timing weather and hive mortality issues. In addition to the price of your beekeeping equipment you'll also need to consider your budget. As long as you're not afraid of being outdoors beekeeping is one of the most enjoyable hobbies you can indulge in.
While new beekeeping equipment can be pricey you can save money by purchasing 'almost-new' or used beehives. You can also purchase beekeeping equipment from retired beekeepers. Used beehives can be a great deal but remember that buying used equipment involves some risk. If you don't want to spend money on brand-new equipment buy used beehives and equipment from a reputable seller. You'll get great value and save money at the same time.
Setting up a hive
Bees need several things in order to be happy. Bees prefer flowering plants such as lavender and purple and need a water source. Standing water with natural minerals is best and they need a platform to stand on in the water. Setting up a hive is easy and can be done in an hour or less but be sure to research the best location first.
The body of the hive is made up of boxes. The biggest box is called the deep super and it should have grooves on the sides to serve as handles. The bottom board should stick out a few inches from the ground which serves as the landing board for the bees. You should also have a hive frame for each box. After assembling the hive you can add an inner cover.
The hive should face south. Bees do not store water in their hives but they will need a water source near their hives. A birdbath or a 2-gallon dog waterer can serve as an easy water source. For the best results place the hive in an area that receives two to four hours of sunlight daily. During the summer a shady spot is beneficial for the bees so it's best to place it somewhere where it is shaded.
To begin beekeeping it's crucial to carefully observe the hives and learn everything they need. Set aside some time each day to sit in the hive yard and observe the bees. Wear a bee veil bee brushes and leather gloves while observing the hive. Set the bottom board of the hive on concrete blocks or bricks. You should also invest in an extractor which can be expensive. Consider getting a few other beekeepers together and renting a unit from someone who can use it.
If you're planning on installing your beehive soon you should first install a queen-less nucleus colony. When the queen has settled into the hive you can remove the queen cage and the nucleus box. The nucleus colony will then start circling the air above the hive. It will then follow the sun and find the honeycomb.