Frequently Asked Questions About Beekeeping, i.e. Beeekeeping FAQ.
- What is the best way to start Beekeeping? Far and away the best way to start is by joining a beekeeping club. They are not hard to find and every country has several. You will get all the help and advice that you can handle there.
- What do I need to get started? Apart from the beehive and all its parts, you will need:
- A hive tool
- A smoker
- A Hat and veil
The hive tool is used to pry the frames apart after the bees have glued them together with propolis and wax. The smoker is used to settle the bees if they are overly interested in you. The hat and veil is the very minimum protection you need. It is highly recommended that you wear the complete beekeeping suit which will provide full body protection. You will see some old hands working a hive with no protection, but they know their bees and know what they are doing. It is certainly not recommended that beginners try this.
- Where can I get this stuff? These days it is easy to get all the equipment you need online. Buy if you join a beekeeping club, you will very likely have many sources locally.
- How much will it cost me? That depends on where you are and what you are buying. But you should be able to get a good start with about $200 or so.
- What are the running costs? There is very little expense involved in the running of a beehive. You will have to get some insecticides for Hive Beetle and Varroa and fungicides etc. But they are not a problem everywhere. Always get local advice and use any chemicals carefully.
- Where can I get my first colony of bees? If you join a club, it is likely that one of the members will either sell or give you your first swarm. If not, you can order them in the mail in some countries. But, this option is not available everywhere.
- I live in a city. Can I keep bees? Living in the city should not be a problem for most people as long as you have a little open space that is secure enough that the hive will not be interfered with. It might be a good idea to talk to your immediate neighbours about it first because some people are afraid of them. But, the promise of generous helpings of the honey usually softens their resistance. Try to keep your bees watered so that they do not have to hunt in people’s kitchens for it. Also try to keep them away from footpaths etc. to minimise their contact with human traffic.
- Do the bees not sting the beekeeper? Yes. It is impossible to avoid getting stung at some point in your beekeeping career. But, don’t be discouraged. It is not a real issue for most beekeepers. However, if you have never been stung by a bee or wasp etc. it would be wise to get tested in case you are allergic to bee venom. If you are, you could be in danger and should take your doctor’s advice on how to proceed.
- What do I do if I get stung? Assuming that you are not allergic, you should get the back of a knife and run it across the skin where the sting is, in order to remove the sting. This is necessary because the stinger breaks off the bee and keeps pumping the venom into the wound long after you have killed the bee. Also it is a good idea to smoke the area with your smoker to disguise the scents that attract other angry bees. If you are worried, look here.
- My honey seems to be a different colour than normal. Is it ok? There are several things that will change the colour of your honey. The main one is the type of nectar that the bees have been collecting. That will depend on what is in bloom at that time of year.
- Is there any money in beekeeping? Well, you won’t make your first million with beekeeping. But it could be a self-sustaining hobby, if you sell some of the products of the hive to friends and family. Just make sure that you do not leave your bees short or they will starve and freeze to death in the winter.