How to Keep Bees – A Short Guide to Beekeeping
Article by Mark Daymond
Beekeeping is becoming an increasingly popular pastime, but to those new to this hobby it may feel a little daunting at first. This short guide to how to keep bees looks at the basics of beekeeping and aims to give you an idea as to what you will need to do to ensure that your bees remain healthy and productive.
Before you obtain your bees you will need to make some necessary preparations, so you will need to make sure that you have all the necessary equipment. Your most obvious piece of beekeeping equipment is the bee hive. There are many different types available, but whatever type you choose it is better to ensure that you choose one and keep with it. The reason for this is that at some stage it is likely you will want to extend your beekeeping to more than one hive you will need to be able to interchange the various parts.
The other main items of beekeeping equipment that you will require are the beekeeping suit, gloves and a smoker. If you are buying the suit second hand you should ensure that you check it thoroughly to ensure that there are no gaps for the bees to get into. There are a number of different smokers available with a range of prices. However, you will find that the cheaper ones dent and corrode easily so will probably only last you one season. If you pay more you will find that they will last you longer.
A frequent question amongst those looking to learn how to keep bees is where to obtain your honeybees from. Your main option for this is to obtain them from a specialist supplier who can send them by mail order in a small nucleus hive. Alternatively, you could see if there is a local beekeeping association in your area who may have a member who could supply you will a small starter colony.
Once you are set up it is case of regular maintenance. You should check your beehive regularly for signs of damage, particularly during the winter months. Any broken or rotten boards should be replaced if possible. If this is not feasible then you should fill gaps with a weatherproof filler.
You should check your bees regularly for signs of mites and treat them as soon as any signs are detected. You should also check for any signs of swarming and take steps to prevent this. The key issue for swarming is space; if your bee colony runs out of space then they will swarm in a bid to find a new home. One factor in ensuring that they have sufficient space is regular honey collection.
About the Author
Before embarking on beekeeping you should ensure you have all relevant information. To find out more about choosing and maintaining your bee hive visit How to Keep Bees. Get more information about how to keep bees at The Beekeeper.