How to Set Up Your First Beehive
Small Time Beekeeping
Why would you want to set up a Beehive? It helps your garden by pollinating your crops. Beekeeping, once set up, takes little time to maintain. And the by-product is Honey, it doesn't get any sweeter than that... pun intended :) .
You can set up your beehive on as little as a tenth of an acre. Be aware of your placement of the hive. If you have pets and children you will need to consider fencing so the hives don't get disturbed or cause any harm. If you or a family member is allergic to bee stings you may want to opt out of beekeeping. And one last note... Check with zoning, some areas or neighborhoods don't allow beekeeping.
Your hives will need to be off the ground about 12 to 18 inches. You can construct a simple cinder block shelf to set your hive on or purchase a premade stand.
When putting the components of your hive together you need to follow the general rules of where the bees will naturally want each area to be in the beehive. In nature the bees will store the honey towards the top of the hive. This makes it naturally convenient for you at harvest time. They put the pollen surrounding the brood and the Brood towards the bottom of the beehive. You will purchase or construct the different areas to put the beehive together and make it feel like a safe secure place for a swarm to live.
Your beekeeping attire can be basic or very protective. A simple hat and veil is recommended whenever you are disturbing the bees. The veil keeps the bees from getting tangled in your hair and the hat holds the veil off your face and shades your eyes from the sun. A full suit is recommended if you are getting into the hive. Using a bee smoker will help calm the bees before you open the hive.
Choosing your bees. Do your homework on choosing. There are several varieties of honey bees to choose from and depending on where you live you will determine what variety you get. Some winter better, some are calmer and some are better at staving off pests such as mites. Do your research and talk to experienced beekeepers in the area and see what they recommend.
Where to get your bees? Get your hands on a beekeeping magazine and you will find many ads for bees and queens and bee hive packages. If you have gotten as far as setting up your hive I am sure you have seen a few magazines and journals with these ads. It is also recommended that you join a beekeeping club or group in your area to help gain information. You may even find another beekeeper that is selling bees.
Congratulations you have your first beehive up and running.