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A Beeginning Beekeeper
I am what you call a newbie beekeeper. I got into beekeeping just because I found them interesting. I used to raise Homing Pigeons, and White King Pigeons when i was young, just because we found them interesting. I guess you can say...it doesn't take much to keep this guy happy!
I searched on the internet, and read everything I could get my hands on about the subject, and I am still reading and learning. I searched and found the Beekeeping Association in my area and attended their monthly meeting. What a wonderful group of knowledgeable people! They are very quick to help a "newbee" just getting started. They also offer services for the surrounding communities such as removal of swarms that have landed on their property and teaching school children the important role the Honeybee plays in our lives.
It really doesn't take a lot of equipment to get your first hive going. You will have to purchase a hive, or build one. For the newbie, purchasing a hive is the best way due to the fact that bees require just the right amount of space. Of course, you will want to acquire a bee suit. The little buggers can leave a nasty sting so it is best to protect yourself. The most important thing to me is the smoker. The smoker is a device that burns either a small disk of cotton or pine needles, and that has bellows attached to the burn can. When you pump the bellows, it pushes the smoke out of the top of the smoker. The smoker is used to calm the bees down so that you can work the frames that the bees are on. When the bees smell smoke they think that the woods are on fire, and that their home is being threatened. They start to gather the honey so that if they have to leave their home and move to a new home, the queen and the young bees will have something to eat until they can get another home established.
It is amazing that a hive containing 60 to 80 thousand bees can work together so smoothly. They work as a huge team, all going seperate ways, and doing seperate things for the hive. If only people could do the same thing, the world would be a better place. Most people that are not beekeepers, are not aware of the benefits of the honeybee. They pollenate over 90% of the food crops we consume. Without these "little friends" we would be lost. Last year it is estimated that the U.S. lost about 46% of the bee population. The life of a honeybee is roughly 31 days, so, when you start thinking about losing 46% of the population, it can be very devastating.
I encourage all of you out there to become a beekeeper. It is a very interesting hobby, that can turn into a small business. Honey can be sold or just kept for yourself. One hive can give off a lot of honey for the owner. The benefits of honey is that it will lower your sensitivity to pollen allergies. If you take a tablespoon of honey each day, it will help you fight pollen and other allergies. Children under the age of two should not eat honey because it will lower their immune system. Also, honey can be used as a natural sweeter for coffee or for baking. It also has an unlimited shelf life if kept cool and out of the light.
So, in closing get yourself a hive, join a beekeeping club, make friends, help our food sources, make yourself some money, help your flowers and garden grow with pollenation, and enjoy your new hobby.
Bee seeing ya!