Beginners Guide To Keeping Bees. If you are considering keeping bees as a hobby or as a sideline business, here’s a quick beginners guide to keeping bees as there are things you will want to keep in mind before making a start. There are many factors involved with making money with the honeybees produce, so you might want to start doing it as a hobby first.
You will have to spend some money in the start-up of beekeeping, before investing any amount of money in your beekeeping project, you might want contact beekeepers in your area, as a rule, they will more than happy to share their experience with you and in most cases point you in the right direction for local beekeeping equipment.
In making the decision of becoming a beekeeper, you will want to consider the safety of family, friends, and neighbours. You wouldn’t want someone to get stung that is allergic to bee stings. You will also want to consider whether or not you have a location that would be conducive to keeping bees.
Clothing and Equipment Needed For Beekeeping
One of the most important pieces of clothing a beekeeper wears is the veil. Bee stings on the face can be very painful and there is the possibility of damage to the eyes and ears.
Wear white or light coloured coveralls. If you are not using boots, do not wear dark socks. Boots that fasten over the coveralls or in the coveralls should be worn, A wind breaker jacket will help you to avoid being stung. Pants, veil, sleeves should be fasten securely to prevent bees from getting into your clothes.
Beginners Guide To Keeping Bees
You will need at least one hive, again a great place to start looking for equipment will be with local beekeepers or beekeeping society’s in and around your area. You can buy this equipment new or used. If it is used you will want to make sure it is in good condition, also have it examined by the Apiary Inspection Service for any possibility of disease. You could build your own hives, which isn’t to difficult, if you have the time, just make sure you have the dimensions correct because bees will build combs where you least want them.
How to Handle Bees
One of the tips you will want to learn is when to manipulate bees, it’s best to open and examine the bee colonies on days that are warm and sunny with no wind Bees will usually tolerate a moderate beekeeper manipulation for 10 to 15 minutes. It is best not to keep the hives open any longer than you have to.
There are several ways to acquire bees, no matter which method you choose spring is thebest time to purchase bees, established colonies will cost you more, but they can be worth the extra money.
Nucleus colonies (nucs)
The nucleus colony is a smaller colony of bees taken from an established colony. Often used to study bees and or to start a new colony.
The package of bees consists of 2 or 3 pounds of bees, and a queen in a separate cage. (Beginners should be able to handle them easily) A package of bees is a group of bees that have left the hive to form a new colony and are easier to handle because they do not have a hive of their own to defend.
Queen Management Techniques
When a colony is not performing well, it is common practice to introduce a new queen into the colony. This may because the queen is old, sick or injured etc. The colony will often change the queen themselves if it is not done by the beekeeper. But it is better that the beekeeper does it to ensure good stock.
Introducing a New Queen
The most common practice of introducing a new queen requires an introductory period of about three days, the queen is placed in a cage and is fed by the colony bees though the wire gauze covering the cage or by the cube of suger in the cage with her. The only way she can be released is by the worker bees eating through the sugar, or the beekeeper can decide to release the queen into the colony manually. This is to protect the queen from the workers in the new hive as they will not be familiar with her scent and will very likely see her as an intruder and kill her.
The success of the colony depends largely on the quality of the queen. As a beekeeper you may notice a difference in the production of honey from one colony to the next. The difference in production can depend on several factors, one of which is the queen.
Obviously this beekeeping guide for beginners is just a quick look at what’s required, my advice is to do your homework before you start buying equipment, get all the information so you can make an informed decision as to whether bee-keeping might be for you.