Beekeeping and Understanding the Bee Hive
The main aspect of beekeeping has to do with the hives in which the bees are kept. Over the years beekeepers have improved upon the hives for the bees in order to make honey gathering easier. The Langstroth hive is the most commonly used in the United States by beekeepers today. It is what is called a movable frame beehive. The support structure of the Langstroth hive is a rectangular wooden frame which holds the combs within it. There are typically nine or ten of these combs inside the frame. Amazingly, there is no top or bottom of the frame. The combs hang freely within the frame. The combs are made of a sheet of wax or plastic foundation. The bees are able to produce wax and build honeycomb by using the wax sheets as a starting point. They are then able to deposit honey and pollen into the cells of the comb. The box is designed to easily be able to remove the frames full of honey to be extracted.
Some hobby beekeepers within the United States are using top-bar hives that are commonly found in Africa. A top-bar hive has bars across the top of the structure which allows the honey bees attach and hang wax combs from. Different from the frames that are used in a Langstroth hive, the combs on bars cannot be reused after the honey extraction. This type of design results in a lower production of honey. But the honey from the clear yellow combs Produced in a top-bar hive is of the highest quality. It can be sold as an in-comb honey product.
Regardless of which hive design the beekeeper decides to use, certain aspects of keeping these hives on the property must be considered. First off, before the beekeeper decides to keep bees on their property they must research the local restrictions to keeping bees found in some areas. They should also consider the amount of room that is available on their property and the placement of the hive. The bee hives should not be placed near homes or areas that are used for recreation. Bees can be bothersome to some people especially those who suffer from bee sting allergies. The bee hives also needs to be placed near nectar and pollen sources in order to give the bees easy access to a food source. Some beekeepers use bees solely to pollinate their crops. The hive should also be placed near a fresh water source. This can be a natural water source or something that is supplied by the beekeeper. Another important aspect that should be considered when placing a bee hive on one’s property is predators and vandals. The hive needs to be protected from natural predators like bears and skunks and from human vandals that might be interested in gathering some free honey. The hive also needs to be protected from severe weather conditions and it needs to be accessible throughout the year. Although bees are most active during certain times of the year, beekeeping is a job that lasts throughout every season of the year.
Beekeeping is the controlled raising of bees in hive in order to gather honey. It has a long history and is a wonderful hobby.