The A, Bee, and C’s of Beekeeping!

09
January

Homeowners can cultivate a hobby that benefits the environment and the community while also adding a delicious treat to their dining room table. Beekeeping is an increasingly popular pastime because of its relative ease and beneficial effects. Though it may seem like a mysterious process to the beginner, people who take up beekeeping discover how rewarding and fun it can be.

The novice beekeeper should perform some research. Read a few books, try some searching on the Internet, and make a connection with an experienced local beekeeper. All of these resources will prove indispensable as the new beekeeper embarks on their adventure.

Beekeepers should then prepare a space in their yard where the hive can be placed. Try to locate it a sufficient distance from any gathering place frequented by people. It may also be a good idea to place the hive near a fence that is at least six feet in height. This will encourage the bees to fly up as they leave the hive, keeping them well clear of entanglements with humans. A water source should be located no farther than 40 feet from the hives. If no lake or stream is that close, then the beekeeper will need to provide a birdbath, pool, or other water source for the hive. A hive will prosper most if it is placed where it can be warmed by the morning sun and kept cooler in the evening.

Now it is time to buy some supplies. One of the nice things about starting out as a beekeeper is that there are not a lot of items to acquire. The boxes that will be the hives, frames constructed with a wax foundation, a bee suit, and a smoker are the essential equipment any beekeeper should have. Hives can be ordered online or the beekeeper may find plans for constructing a beehive and build it themselves.

The most important supply is the bees. Worker bees and the queen bee can be ordered by mail. A typical hive will require three pounds of bees, which works out to be approximately 12,000 bees.

Beekeepers need to look inside their hive on a regular basis to perform maintenance and harvest honey. They may also need to supply their bees with sugar water when nectar is scarce. These may seem like daunting tasks to the novice, but with proper safety equipment, beekeepers quickly become comfortable with these routine chores. The smoker helps calm the bees, making it easier for the beekeeper to reach into the hive and perform tasks. Beekeepers should work at making slow, fluid movements which will not startle the bees.

Ideally hives should be set up off the ground using bricks or concrete blocks. A new hive probably will not produce much honey the first year. Most of it should be reserved for the bees themselves as they work to become an established colony. However, even in the early stages it may be possible to harvest some honey from the hive. Beekeepers can accomplish this by harvesting comb honey which leaves the beeswax comb entirely intact or by slicing the caps off the comb to allow the honey to flow for collection. The empty comb is then returned to the hive. This method is the one that is least traumatic for the bees, though either method is acceptable.

Most beekeepers find that the hive’s frames need to be replaced regularly, which also gives them the opportunity to harvest beeswax from the old frames. The beeswax can be fashioned into soaps, candles, lotions, and other products, boosting the productivity of the hive.

The queen bee is generally replaced each year. Most beekeepers favor doing this in August, allowing time for a new queen to establish herself before the next busy spring and summer season. Once a hive is established it does not require a great deal of maintenance, making beekeeping a fun and easy hobby.

This post was written by

jasonjason – who has written posts on Home Tips Plus.
I'm a father of three, married and a home owner since 2006. I've worked in fixing up homes and rental properties.

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