Article by Kala Thornton
Bees exist in a collective. Think borg. They are a collective that does the bidding of the queen. Most of the bees in the collective are female workers. They do most of the labor, collecting nectar, water, and other items needed for the survival of the colony. Then, there are drones, and finally the queen. There is only a single queen per collective, and she can lay up to 2,000 eggs per day. If another queen is hatched, she can begin her very own colony.
A colony of bees can have anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 members. The majority of these members will be female workers. The life span of these little workers is a tad over a month, as they work until they just can’t work any longer. Tragic, I know, but it is the grand scheme of things. There will also be a few hundred male drones. The female workers will go out of the hive and hunt for supplies to bring back, so in most cases, when you see bees buzzing around, they are most times female workers.
Your initial step is going to be studying bees, if you don’t already know about the topic. It’s called the science of entomology. Google and review some of the information. Perhaps even get a good book on the subject. It will be well worth it. You’ll learn about the assorted varieties of honeybees, how bees deal with different times of year, and how honey is harvested from the hive.
Beekeeping can be fun and rewarding, if done correctly. If you are going to keep bees, make certain you get your initial supply of bees locally, as they are very susceptible to climate changes, and bees from other areas may not fare as well as local ones. A dramatically different environment, can be the death knell of your hive, so be careful with your selection of bees. Picking the right breeder is fundamental. You want to make certain the bees you acquire are healthy and free from disease. Think in terms of spring as the best time to begin your colony. Spring is also the time when harvesting happens.
For a beginner setup, start with six combs, a fertile queen, and some workers and drones. A moveable frame hive is really important to good beekeeping, and don’t get a previously owned one. You never know what’s been in it, and there is a possibility that it is disease-ridden. Buy new. For yourself, you’ll require protective clothing, including a veil, boiler suit, and gloves. A few more things will be needed, including a smoker, hive tool, and a feeder. This is the essential kit you will need to start your own colony. To see where you can get best equipment, there are many different sites on the Internet where you can read reviews. Once you find a local supplier, look through the products they offer and see what other folks are saying.
Harvesting honey is by far one of the joyous parts of keeping a beehive. There are few things that can compare to raw, unadultered honey straight from the hive. You want to make sure that enough honey has been produced during the season so there is extra. You only want to take the surplus, leaving enough for the hive to survive. Depending on the local flora, the honey will have a distinctive taste and aroma. If you are lucky, the honey produced will not only be tasty, but also unique. This uniqueness will help to sell it, if that is your desire.
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For more information on setting up beekeeping, check out Beekeeping Secrets