The Information You Need When Starting Beekeeping
Article by Ben Field
Beekeeping can be seen as the farming of bees for their honey and other supplies. It has been in existence for thousands of years, but only in the last one hundred and fifty years has it been treated as a hobby and the honey harvested without either killing or driving the bees from the hive. It has proved to be a fascinating and rewarding hobby that also provides some excellent products.
Today it is even more important that beekeeping is encouraged as in recent years there has been decline in bee numbers and it is feared that this will have a devastating effect on the pollination of plants with the subsequent decline in food growth and plant life in general.
In order to reap the full rewards of beekeeping it is necessary to have the correct equipment and to be well read on the subject.
To start the beekeeper must have the basic components of the hive. These can be sourced from any reputable supplier complete or in flat pack form. They will also supply plans to build your own wooden hive. Ensure that the hive is properly fitted out. The most popular hive is of the Langstroth design. Also, required will be the honey frames and the wax foundations. Make sure the hive is protected against the elements by painting or polyurethane the outside only. Do not paint the inner fitments bees don’t like the smell of paint and the honey can be tainted.
You will also need protective clothing, the beekeeper suit, hat and veil and gloves. Also needed is equipment to handle the bees central to this is the smoker which emits smoke into the hide confusing the bees into preparing to leave thinking the hive is in danger from fire and confuses the pheromones emitted by the guards to inform the whole colony of intruders.
Honey bees are very social insects living in large colonies of up to 50,000 bees. All the bees work together to build the nest, gather food and to rear the young. The colony will consist of one queen who lays all the eggs, drones who fertilise the eggs and worker bees who build the nest and tend to the young. All except the queen will stand guard and collect food. When the queen flies a large part of the colony will fly with her, this is called swarming, and find a new nesting site. Normally they will leave a new queen in ‘charge’ of the existing colony.
Harvesting the honey at the right time is an important part of the beekeepers skill. Gather the honey too early and it will contain an excess of water which could lead to the honey spoiling or fermenting. Leave the harvesting to long and the honey will be of a dark less attractive colour. The colour of the honey does not affect the taste but people much prefer the light colour. The bees run out of room and stop producing honey thus the overall harvest will be much decreased.
Bees dominating an area do wonders for pollination and also discourage more aggressive insects like wasps and hornets settling in the area.
It is essential before starting to keep bees to fully investigate the view of local government to ensure there are no by-laws prohibiting beekeeping in the area. You should fully discuss your intentions with your neighbours who may have misguided prejudices against bees. There are many arguments you can use to convince them that it is a good thing and it is amazing what the promise of a jar of honey can achieve.
About the Author
Ben Field is a beekeeping expert. For more great information on beekeeping,visit href=”http://www.beekeepingcenter.com”> http://www.thebeekeepingcenter.com.