Acquiring Your First Honey Bees. Beekeeping is a great way for someone who doesn’t have loads of money and acres of land to take up a hobby that is both rewarding and that you can make some money from. The start up expense of the average hive can be from 0 to 0 per hive. To start I would only recommend the one.You can locate your hive at the bottom of your garden or a remote corner of your back yard, it is now becoming more common to see suburban homes with a bee hive at the back of their house.
Before you rush out and buy your first bee hive it is worth checking with the local authorities or Cooperative Extension office. They will to tell you if you live in an area that beekeeping is allowed. Remember to ask them for the contact information of your local areas beekeeping organization where you can become a registered beekeeper.
Select a site for your honey bee hive.Now that you have selected your site you will need to buy the basic equipment. I would recommend searching on the internet to find your local beekeepers association or use eBay and if all that fails try the local yellow pages. If you are struggling to find a hive you could always build one.
Now that your hive is in place and you are happy and confident that everything is in 100% it’s time to order your honey bees. The easiest and best way is to order Honey Bees is from an established Apiary. Honey Bees should be ordered early in the winter, the average beekeeper orders their bees in January and February. The order is then shipped in March and April but depending on your country this may vary, ask before you bye. Bees can be either, sent by post / shipped or collected, although a lot of couriers do not like to transport bees. Again check with the Apiary for the best way to transport your bees to their new bee hive.
When your bees arrive they should have been packaged in a special carrying case that is designed just for bees. The package should be a wooden framed “house” that has a screen covering the outside. This packaging allows air to circulate to the traveling bees.
On unpacking your bees, do not be surprised if you see a few dead bees at the bottom of the package, this is normal. Bees do not like traveling and they find it hard, so unfortunately you will loose a few. You will find the rest of the bees clutching the sides of the container.
You should also notice that one bee in the container has been separated from the rest of the hive. This is your queen bee. The rest of the bees in the container will make up the rest of your bee hives hierarchy. Good Apiaries will ship the queen with a couple of nurse bees and some times the top of the queen’s container will be covered with piece of sugar candy.
With the bees there should also be a container that is filled with a sugar solution. This sugar solution is food for the bees. As soon as you get the bees home offer them something to drink, do this by taking a spray bottle and covering the container with a very fine covering of water.
Article by Rick Newman, an active enthusiast on beekeeping