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Beginner's Guide to Beekeeping

Updated on December 21, 2018
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Srikanth is passionate about helping people improve their quality of life.

Bees Are Needed for a Healthy Ecosystem

Bees are necessary for a healthy ecosystem. They play a major role in pollination and improve the productivity of your garden. Many species of plants and animals are surviving because of these wonderful creatures.

Since 1991, climate change, habitat loss and increased use of pesticides and various other factors has adversely affected the bee population.

Beekeeping Is a Profitable Business

Beekeeping can be a fulfilling hobby. For many people beekeeping is a profitable business. Many beekeepers see beekeeping as meaningful work. It also trains you to be gentle and calm.

Bees are good indicators of the health of the landscape as a whole.

— Nathalie Steinhauer, a graduate student in the UMD Department of Entomology

Are you a beekeeper?

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Honey Is a High Demand Product

There is a huge demand for honey and its by-products. More than 300 million pounds of honey is consumed in the United States of America every year.

"Bees are absolutely fascinating, and beekeeping is a great hobby which can provide hours of interest, but like any hobby if you are unprepared when you start out, it can get difficult" said Paul Martin, ApiNZ Non-Commercial Board member.

Here are a few things that you need to remember before you venture into beekeeping.

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Choose a Species Suitable for Your Location

There are thousands of species of bees. The first step in beekeeping is to choose the species suitable for your location. It is a good idea to consult other beekeepers in your area. You may buy the bees from a local beekeeper.

Package Of Bees

A typical package of bees contains a queen and thousands of other bees. There are many reputed bee suppliers in the United States of America. It is advisable to start beekeeping during the spring season.

Start Beekeeping During Spring Season

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Materials and Equipment You Will Need for Beekeeping

 
A bee suit, complete with hood and gloves
Beehives. This consists of deep boxes for the brood chamber, supers, bottom boards, covers, and frames with patterned wax foundations
A smoker
A hive tool (which is a mini pry bar specifically for beekeeping)

Beekeeping Equipment

The next step is to choose the right hive. Usually beehives are made of pine wood or cedar wood. Experts recommend cedar wood as it adds to the aroma of the honey. It is advisable to choose a hive that would need less maintenance. The hive should keep the bees comfortable. It should also be easy for you to harvest the honey.

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Langstroth and Top-Bar Beehives Are Popular Among Beekeepers

Langstroth (ten-frame and eight-frame) and top-bar beehives are popular among beekeepers. Before placing the bees in the hive, it is advisable to ensure that the frames are clean. It is important to cover the hive with a jacket during winter.

Choose the Right Location

It is very important to choose the right location for beekeeping. Bees collect nectar from flowers. This nectar becomes honey in the hive. The beehive should be in an open area near a garden. The bees should be protected from pesticides and strong winds. Honey is usually harvested in the autumn.

Be Sensitive to Your Neighbors

Ensure that the beehive is at a safe distance from neighbouring homes. Otherwise they may complain to authorities. Be aware of restrictions on beekeeping in your state. It is a good idea to give neighboring property owners a larger buffer from bee hives.

Protect Yourself From Bee Stings

It is advisable to protect yourself from bee stings while working with the bees. A veiled hat or helmet is a must. It is advisable to buy a full bee suit. It is a good idea to use a pair of latex dish-washing gloves. Beekeepers use a bee smoker to keep the insects calm while harvesting the honey.

Beekeeping Is a Wonderful Experience

It is not advisable to take up beekeeping if you or anyone in your family are highly allergic to bee stings. Beekeeping is a wonderful experience, but it needs your time and dedication. Learning about bees is a lifelong process. There are many good books on beekeeping. The above mentioned information will help you to make the right start.

If you don't want to be addicted to them for the rest of your life, don't start.

— Dr. Tim Heard, an entomologist

Types of Bee Hives

Sl No
Bee Hive
 
1
Ten-Frame Langstroth Hive
 
2
Eight-Frame Landstroth Hive
 
3
Top-Bar Hive
 
4
Warré Hive
 

If we lose bees, we may be looking at losing apples and oranges. We may be looking at losing a great deal of other crops, as well, and other animals that depend on those crops.

— Annalee Newitz

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