Beekeeping is not only an excellent hobby but also a way to earn money. Bee-lieve it or not, beekeeping is booming in the U. S. right now. North Dakota produced 33 million pounds of honey in 2013, after all! That is a lot of great product that goes for a great price.
If you're interested in learning how to beekeep, but don't know where to start, fear not! We'll go over everything you need to know about, including ordering beekeeping hives to how to set up your beekeeping equipment.
Ordering the Bees
Many people find it counter-intuitive to order bees before the beekeeping kit has arrived, but there is a method to the madness. One of the reasons why you should order the bees early is because by the time spring rolls around, it will be difficult to find an apiary that is still taking orders. Therefore, the best time to order bees is in January. If you order the bees in January, you can expect your bees to arrive at around April or May.
One of the best places you can start looking for bees are in your local beekeeping groups. People who keep bees in your area can point you in the right direction. There are also other facts to consider, such as whether you want nucs, package bees, buying a hive that is already working or catching a swarm. Each one of those options has its merits and demerits.
Selecting the Hive
A beehive is one of the most important pieces of beekeeping equipment in a beekeeping kit. There are two types of hives that you can use in beekeeping: the top-bar hive and the Langstroth hive. In the top-bar hive, the bees’ frames stay in a horizontal manner instead of a vertical manner. In this hive, the bees create the comb without foundation. When harvesting the raw honey, every bar that has a comb and honey is removed from the hive from the top side.
The Langstroth hive is the other type of hive used in beekeeping. This hive is made up of boxes placed on top of each other. Each box has frames where the bees make their combs and store honey. When you want to do something like harvesting honey, doing maintenance or access the bees, the boxes are pulled up like files in a cabinet. If you feel that the hive needs more space, you can vertically add more boxes, as this is the most common hive with many beekeepers.
Collect Beekeeping Tools
Beekeeping is an investment that requires you to gather supplies before you start the project. At this point, you should have already decided on which beehive to buy. There are a few supplies you should also get.
Some of these may be included in your beekeeping kit, or you can source separately. Some of those supplies include protective gear such as beekeeping gloves and a beekeeper hat. You will also need feeding supplies. Finally, you should brush up on your beekeeping knowledge by reading some books on beekeeping.
Place the Bees in the Hive
This is the best part. The bees have arrived and it is time to introduce them to the beehive. As much as this is an exciting part, it is also a dangerous undertaking. A wrong step can leave you in a lot of trouble. You should introduce the bees to the hive per our beekeeping 101 series here. Within a short while, the bees will start to get used to the new home.
Keeping the Bees Happy and Healthy
Bees need care just like other farm animals. Bees require care on a monthly basis and on a seasonal basis. One great thing about keeping bees is that you do not require investing a lot of time taking care of them. However, you should check them frequently. Constant observation is one of the ways of keeping the bees happy.
It is also beneficial to you because you will learn new things about bees every time you go to check them. Because of the changing seasons, you should organize beekeeping errands by season. For instance, help your hive build itself up in the spring, keep it healthy in the early summer, and treat for mites and extract in the late summer so your bees can succeed overwinter.
Beekeeping is an exciting prospect. Although it can be expensive to start beekeeping, the costs go down after the initial investment in supplies. A beekeeping kit is available at an affordable cost and it is also readily available.