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Beekeeping Essentials

Updated on March 16, 2017
clivewilliams profile image

Clive Williams is an internet researcher and writer on many genres. He has a BSc. Degree in Information Systems.

Bee Keeping
Bee Keeping

What You Need To Know Before Starting

So what is all the buzz about these days? Well, it certainly is not the new movie star that got rich making stupid movies or the mermaid they found swimming in John's pool. The only buzz that is really happening is the sound of thousands of bees in their hives from the Beekeeper's bee farm. I always say it takes someone with special abilities to go into the bee business.

There are a lot of people in the honey business but not many know the ins and outs of actually working with that little insect which produces that sweet nectar. Not everyone you see working around bee are really bee lovers, some are more inclined to what the bee makes. With that in mind, I can honestly say that there are two types of Beekeepers; Those who like working around bees and those who like what the bee produces and the money it brings. My grandpa always say "Do something that you love and you will never work a day in your life." If you like bees and like working around them, then the fruits of your labor is just an extra bonus right?

Let us look at what it actually takes to start up your Beekeeping business and what do you really have to know to become a Beekeeper?

Learn as Much about the Bee as Possible

  • Any form of animal that you handle you must know that animal inside and out. You must know the behavior of that animal in its habitat. So what should you know about the bee? Well for one, you should know that the bees are sophisticated well organized animals despite all that buzzing around all day. They have a hierarchy. Heading that hierarchy is the Queen Bee who lays all the eggs. The soldier bee who guards the nest and orders everyone around. Then there is the worker bee who does all the work and ensures that the queen gets real good treatment. This is pretty much how the world government is setup. This leaves me to wonder if the heads of state studied the bee. What do you think?

Bees are Making Honey, so what Do bees eat?

  • Honey bees store honey in the hive to provide food for winter and for other times when there are few or no nectar secreting flowers available for them to feed from. As long as the nest has enough honey, the bees are OK. But if the stored honey is in short supply, many of these honey producing bees may become hungry and starve. Many beekeepers ensure that the area where they raise bees are flourished with nectar producing flowers.

Beekeeping Essentials
Beekeeping Essentials

Beekeeping Essential Tools You Will Need

Beekeeping Essential Tools You Will Need

As much as painful a couple bee stings are, what the bees produce at the end is far sweeter. Whenever you interact with bees, as a bee farmer or as a nature enthusiast. You must always ensure that you are equipped with the proper bee gear which will protect you as well as those little buzzers. You will need to acquire the essential beekeeping supplies first and as you go along and your bee business grows you can upgrade these supplies as you see fit.

Protective Wear

  • I am sure that you would not run out to handle bees in your shorts and under shirt. If you do, you would be heading to the doctor to treat many bee stings. So what do I mean by protective wear? You will need clothing which mitigates against those bee stings. Clothing such as beekeepers veil (No, you don't have to say I do here!), jumper style suite, bee gloves, jackets, pants etc. You must pick clothing which bee is not able to sting through or easily get under. Shirts should be long sleeved of course and gloves should snuggle the cuffs of those shirts.

Bee brush

  • Don't believe that you are venturing into the Honey Bee Hair stylist business with a bee brush. The bee brush is essential because it is the tool you will need to remove bees from the honey supers and frames. These brushes are soft bristle to prevent any damage to bee or frame.

Smoker

  • The easiest way to extract honey from the hives is by using what is called a smoker. What this does is simply to release enough smoke needed to confuse the honey bee’s pheromone alarm mechanism. The smoke dismantles the bees communication system so that they cannot send out a signal to say that some human is here stealing our honey, let's go sting. So you have a specific time frame to remove the honey without mass rebellion be the bees.

Hive tool

  • When people hear the word bee, immediately honey or sting comes to mind. But bees do not just produce honey, they also produce a compound called propolis from the sap on needle leaved trees or evergreens. When they combine the sap with their own discharges and beeswax, they create a sticky, greenish-brown product used as a coating to build their hives. This is propolis. If the hive is left with this substance over time, it will eventually clog the bees’ home and they may just begin looking for a new hive. The Hive tool is essentially used to clean or scrape off propolis to maintain a clean hive. But once you become a seasoned bee keeper, I am sure you will find other usefulness for the bee hive tool.

Extracting equipment

  • If you want the honey from the frames you will need to extract it. This is done with a honey bee extractor. They come in manual or electrical. Depending on the scale of your honey business, you can choose commercial extractors which will definitely cost much more or the small scale honey extractor. There are many brands, model, and sizes available to choose from. Pick the one which best suits the business and can handle future expansion.

Beekeeping Essentials
Beekeeping Essentials

Moving Your Bees

For the record, bees tend to get comfortable pretty quickly when they get settled in a particular area. They don't take likely to moving here and there and everywhere. Pretty much the same with us humans when we get settled somewhere nice, we live out our entire lives there. So before you lift up those bee boxes and dump them in your raggedy old pickup with that enormous mileage, you should first understand how bee see movement and what are the essentials of bee movement. Bees are prone to get used to their surroundings rather quickly; and the fact that they adapt visually in no time and learn their surrounding areas, beekeepers have to place this understanding under consideration when planning to move their bees.

So what are the factors we have to look at when moving bee hives?

  1. What is the best practice in moving bee hives?
  2. How far do you plan to transport these hives?
  3. When is the right time to move hives?

Distances

  • If you plan on moving the hive more than 3 feet, then it should be moved at least 3 miles away, left for three weeks, then returned to its new location. By moving 3 miles, the flying bees will not attempt to find their old site, but will relocate to the new one.

How to Move the Hive

  • You will definitely need the right boxes to facilitate this bee movement. The appropriate boxes/crates are essential to make the transition a smooth one. Block the box entrance and carefully lift and move the boxes.

What Time to Move Bees.

  • Best practice dictates that the right time to move your hive is when the bees are mostly dormant. Bees tend to cozy up in their hives during the winter season and this makes it the best time to relocate the hives. If you cannot wait till winter and the movement needs to take place in any other season. You must ensure that the bees are not too agitated by blocking the entrance of the box and wait until dark to remove. When the bees have been relocated, allow the little honey makers at least 20-30 minutes to settle down and then remove the blockage.

Bee Keeping Essentials
Bee Keeping Essentials

What To Do If You Get Swarmed and Stung

The point of the matter is that if you handle be badly, you may end up getting multiple stings. Or if someone who does not wear the protective bee clothing decide to nosy in the bee hives affair, they could find themselves getting multiple stings. If you find yourself in a situation where bees are sting you, the best thing to do is run for indoors and slam shut the door behind you. If you decide to jump in a lake, just make sure you aren't volunteering your flesh as Crocodile feed first. The next thing to do is seek a doctor’s advice on what you can take which may be available at home to sooth, the pain, swelling and itching. Most homes would probably have some type of antihistamine which can be used to treat those regular symptoms.

If someone is stung by bee which is allergic to the insect, seek medical assistance immediately as this may be much more serious and life threatening.

Keep Bee Predators Away

When you have setup your beehives, you have to also protect your interest. Bees are fairly small and have a lot of known predators. Birds, small mammals, reptiles and other insects are known to prey on the honey bees. but out of all the honeybees natural predators, the hornet and bear may be the worst. Bears will destroy bee hives completely to get to honey. just a few hornets of less than 10 is enough to destroy an entire bee hive colony.

  • If possible, it may be essential to put up a perimeter fencing around your hive to deter bears, and other small animals.
  • Don't allow large insects to setup nest near your bee colony
  • Ensure that bright light is setup near the hive which can be activated from a remote switch at nights.

Bee Keeping Tools Needed

Remember before you even acquire the first bee you must remember to have the right tools available to manage your beekeeping business.

Comments

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    • clivewilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Williams 

      20 months ago from Jamaica

      @patchofearth....dreams do come true

    • patchofearth profile image

      Rebecca Long 

      20 months ago from somewhere in the appalachian foothills

      At the moment keeping bees is a pipe dream for me. I would like to keep bees eventually. I think they are fascinating. Thank you for the article.

    • clivewilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Williams 

      20 months ago from Jamaica

      Bees are very good to study. They are community based and quite industrious.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      20 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Great. I love those little critters. Maybe strange but I think they are cute.

    • clivewilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Williams 

      20 months ago from Jamaica

      Hey ruby, Yes, bee and other venom are used to fight many diseases. This has been known a long time but the world of Medical Profits call the shots.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      20 months ago from Southern Illinois

      Clive, this was really interesting. I read somewhere that they are now using bee stings to help Multiple Sclerosis patients. One woman was in a wheel chair, couldn't walk, They held a bee to her leg and let it sting her several times, she then got up and walked, something about the bee venom. Amazing I think! Well researched article...

    • clivewilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Williams 

      20 months ago from Jamaica

      MsDora, Thanks much hun. Yeah, if you get swarmed and stung a whol lot and allergic to any form of insect sting, it is best to see a doctor.

    • clivewilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Williams 

      20 months ago from Jamaica

      Billy, let me know when you start. Love the bees

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Good presentation on beekeeping. Was not aware that the stings were that serious to warrant medical assistance. Thanks for the details you share.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      This is actually something we're going to do once we come up with the money for the equipment. Nice summary of what is needed....maybe next spring we'll be ready to go.

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