How To Get Started with Beekeeping [Beginners Guide]
Before moving into the deep end of the beekeeping pool, consider whether Beekeeping is the correct profession for you. This procedure has already begun because you are reading this article. Although keeping honeybees can be rewarding, there are drawbacks as well. There are costs to consider, deadlines to meet, and perhaps tricky jobs to complete.
For those new to Beekeeping, many excellent educational tools are available. Remember that the data you find is probably a combination of fact and opinion. Obtain advice from several sources while remaining open-minded. The finest resources for learning beekeeping include Beekeeping books, and classes are the best places to learn the fundamental requirements and methods of Beekeeping.
Locate a Good Beehive Location
It would be best to have a good area for your beehives before you can begin Beekeeping. A small amount of land is sufficient for a few beehives. Although having access to food sources is necessary, they do not necessarily need to be on your ground. Honeybees fly long distances to find food. However, providing supplemental water is beneficial during drought or extreme heat.
The optimum locations for beehives are those that face east or southeast, is level from side to side, and are close to sources of nectar and pollen. They should also be easily reachable and have enough space to operate. The afternoon shade, winter windbreaks, privacy from neighbors, efficient airflow, and water drainage are other factors to consider.
The quantity of space you require, and the location of a beehive may be influenced by local beekeeping laws and ordinances, particularly in urban and suburban regions where neighbors are close.
Establish Your Budget
Beekeeping can be somewhat expensive to start. Your first year's expenses will vary depending on the decisions you make. Your costs will change depending on your situation and some decisions you make. Beginners find it discouraging to incur unforeseen charges.
Pick A Type of Hive and Order It
There are three primary hive kinds available:
- Hives Langstroth,
- Warre hives, or
- A horizontal hive that is a Top Bar Hive
- a Langstroth Long Hive
- and Layen's Hive.
We advise novice beekeepers to start with Langstroth hives. They are the most accessible hives in terms of supplies and advice.
Place Your Honey Bee Order
Both respected local beekeepers and online vendors sell bees. Bee vendors often accept orders for the following spring starting in December and January. Limited supplies are made available by suppliers on or around particular dates. Get your bees as soon as your schedule allows. Your colony can gather supplies in time for the winter by getting an early start on your hives. The thing you can do in your first year of Beekeeping is to ensure your colony survives the winter. You have two main choices while purchasing honeybees, which are "race" of bees to buy or want them in a "bee package" or a “ Nuc.”
We divide honeybees into different "races" based on their genetic heritage. Common varieties of bees include Italian, Carniolan, Caucasian, and Russian bees. Also, hybrid bees like Saskatraz develop particular characteristics like Varroa resistance. For newbies, choosing a type of bee can be challenging. We advise you to buy your first bees from a local beekeeper. Local bees genetically modify to thrive in your region. Italian bees are an excellent option for beginners if local bees are unavailable.
Honeybees are available in two primary forms:
A box of around 3 lbs. of bees constitutes a bee package (approximately 10,000 bees). The caged -queen bee with a can of sugar syrup is best to eat while traveling and includes in the bundle.
A nucleus colony, or nuc (pronounced "newk"), typically consists of a tiny hive box with five deep frames. The hives have been housing the bees for some time. The frames most likely contain drawn comb, brood, pollen, and nectar, and the queen is accepted. Despite costing more than packages, a nuc is simpler to deploy in a hive.
Buy beekeeping equipment
For beginners, there are three "must-have" beekeeping tools:
When we inspect a hive, bees benefit from a smoker. By blowing cool smoke at the bees, you can get them out of the path, eat honey (which calms them), and stop the alarm pheromones that may otherwise make them aggressive.
Manageable bees are calmer and less aggressive. Bring a lit cigarette with you on every inspection, so you have it available. On every hive visit, you might not require a smoker, but you always need a hive tool.
Hand-held instruments known as "hive tools" have a variety of uses. Boxes or propolis-glued frames can be lifted and separated using hive equipment. A sharp edge can scrape off wax, propolis, or even a stinger buried in your flesh.
A bee brush can help you clear the path for certain bees or remove them from frames so you can inspect them. Although we still consider the bee brush to be a "must-have" tool, we now hardly ever use it; however, we advise newcomers to buy one.
As we grew more accustomed to working with bees, we mastered shaking bees off frames without freaking out. As a novice beekeeper, you'll feel more at ease using a brush. Always use a soft upward stroke while cleaning frames.
Purchase protective beekeeping clothing:
There are videos online showing beekeepers with scant or no protection. However, most of these beekeepers have a lot of expertise and are used to stings. Additionally, they maintain their composure and avoid actions that would provoke the bees to become unduly protective.
When you begin working with bees, you can feel a bit anxious as a beginning beekeeper. So, when you start, put on protective gear. When you have more experience, you will be able to decide how cautious you want to be in this area.
Bees respond negatively to dark or fuzzy materials. Therefore, it's crucial to wear protective gear that is smooth and light-colored at all times.
Beekeeper's hat : The hat must be sturdy and stiff to support the veil. In the summer, ventilated helmets are the best option. Don't wear dark felt hats.
Beekeeper's veil, : A mounted hat with a folding wire veil maintains its shape and creates a suitable separation between the beekeeper's face and the insects. While less expensive than veils made with folding wire, black cotton veils quickly blow against the skin.
A set of coveralls with wristbands and elastic cuffs — After purchasing the coveralls, it might be necessary to insert the cuffs and bands. Due to their numerous safeguards, bee suits are also a viable option. The majority of beekeepers don white or khaki coveralls.
Beekeeping gloves must be sturdy yet flexible to allow finger movement when lifting boxes and frames. Bees won't be able to enter the gloves' interior if textile sleeves attach at the elbow. To make the fabric sleeve bee-proof, stitch an elastic band into the elbow end of the sleeve. Gloves covered in vinyl or plastic are essential to use.
A set of boots covering the ankles:
Wear boots with elastic sides. You may decide to wear less protective gear as you build self-assurance and feel more at ease with the bees (though we recommend you always wear a veil).
No matter what you do regarding protective equipment, anticipate getting stung.
Create Your Beehive
Before your bees arrive, set up your hive, especially if you ordered a bee package, your bees shouldn't be left idle for several days while you put things in order. You may have more flexibility depending on how many frames a nuc has filled. They might be close to capacity with only five frames in a nuc, so you'll need to offer them more space immediately.
Depending on your purchase, the time required to set up your hive will vary. It takes little time to assemble the frames, foundation, and fully painted and built boxes. However, if you purchased unassembled equipment, you will need time to assemble it.
Install your hives with bees
If you followed our advice, you ordered your bees early enough to get them after setting up your hive in the spring.
Whether you purchased a bee package or a nuc will affect how you put honey bees in the hive. We advise you to get a nuc because installing it is more manageable. Lift the bee-filled frames with your hive tool and put them inside your hive. Shake any remaining bees in the nuc into the hive if there are any.
Alternatively, you could set up the nuc box in front of the hive, and the bees would know where to go. A bee package requires a little more work to install. When using a bee package, you must first let the colony accept the caged queen a few days before releasing her. Shake the box to let more bees into the hive once the queen cage is inside.
A novice beekeeper may find it extremely scary to shake a box of bees into a hive. Keep calm and put on your safety gear.
Keep Learning About Beekeeping
Manage Your Bee Colonies
Your beekeeper is responsible for looking after and maintaining your honey bee animals. As a novice beekeeper, getting your colonies through their first year should be your priority. It will help if you actively manage hives to achieve that objective.
The secret to beginning a backyard beekeeping hobby is planning. If you take the advice heartedly, you can lessen the likelihood of unpleasant surprises that often discourage novice beekeepers. You will not have to wait long to begin enjoying your own freshly harvested honey if you can only get your bees through the first year!
Beekeeping is a highly fulfilling hobby and profession. Inquiring minds are fascinated by the lively animals known as honey bees. Beekeepers enjoy working with honey bees because they give services and generate goods that make Beekeeping a respectable and successful profession.