Before knowing how to get into beekeeping you must be familiar with what beekeeping actually is.
Beekeeping is the art of rearing bees for the production of honey, wax, pollen, bee venom, etc for producing medicines and generating income. It is also known as apiculture.
The place where bees are reared is called an Apiary or Bee yard.
Beekeeping is one of those interesting and rewarding things which requires hard work. Although it can be fun too.
It doesn’t only provide fresh honey but it also helps in generating side income. Many people consider beekeeping as a difficult task but it is not that difficult.
It is hard unless you don’t have the required knowledge about it. But if you follow some simple steps given in this article you can easily succeed in beekeeping.
1- Get proper Knowledge
It requires a good amount of knowledge before you start beekeeping. If you start it with knowing about it you will end up creating a mess around you.
You have to know about the biology of bees. You must be familiar with the behavior of bees. You must learn about the lifecycle of bees. There are many ways through which you can get knowledge about beekeeping such as:
- Books – Books are always a great source of knowledge. There are many books available in the market to learn beekeeping. We recommend reading the Beekeeper’s Bible and The Backyard Beekeeper
- Blogs and research – There are many research papers and blog posts available on the internet regarding beekeeping. You can also refer to them.
- Youtube Videos – There are thousands of videos present in Youtube from which you can learn beekeeping. Many people have uploaded beekeeping tutorials over there. You can use such platforms.
- Facebook groups and forums – You can share and get information from other people through Facebook groups and other forums such as quora etc.
- Experienced Beekeepers – It would be best if you can find a local experienced beekeeper. He can provide you with immense knowledge through his experience. Nothing can be more beneficial than having a mentor who can teach you beekeeping. He can give you practical lessons and can advise you whenever you want.
It is an art that involves constant learning so you must be willing to learn on a daily basis. If you are willing to learn and improve yourself in your journey you can become a successful beekeeper.
2- Location and Local Laws
Find a suitable place to start beekeeping. The amount of land depends on how many colonies you want to grow.
It would be beneficial if the selected place is surrounded by flowering plants like mustard, sunflower, etc, as it would become easier for bees to collect pollen and nectar from them.
The chosen area should have free space for the flight of bees through the area in search of nectar and pollen.
The place should be away from your house or your neighbors to prevent them from the sting of bees.
After you, you can meet the local beekeeping association of your area and ask them about the laws of beekeeping in your area.
Some questions you can ask them are like how many colonies you can have or what is the minimum space to have between them or any other question which comes to your mind.
3- Buy a Hive
Hive is a man-made or artificial house of honeybees. You need to buy a hive from local beekeeping suppliers. There are various types of hives such as:
- Top Bar Hive- It weighs less than 18 kg. It can have 1 or 2 hives and needs regular maintenance.
- Warre Hive- It weighs more than 18 kg. It can have 1 or 2 hives and needs occasional maintenance.
- Langstroth Hive- It weighs more than 18 kg. It has many hives and needs occasional maintenance. It doesn’t allow you to check your bees.
You can check out different Bee Hive Kits here on Amazon, according to your choice and requirements.
4- Make a Hive Stand
To secure your hive you need to buy a hive stand. Hive stand helps to lift your hive up from the ground. Either you can make it yourself with concrete.
It is required to ensure the safety of hives from animals like rats, raccoons, skunks, etc. Hive stand can make it easier for you to lift a hive which can help your back as a long give stand can prevent back pain.
Make sure to buy one with study feet and frame holder, like this Beekeeping Hive Support Tool (BEE-HVST) from VIVO
5- Arrange Hive Tools
You are required to buy various tools and equipment to make your work easier.
Protective clothing is necessary while working on a hive to protect yourself from bees. Although bees are harmless unless you tease them. But you can prevent it easily. Other protective gear includes:
- Bee suit.
Some hive tools are:
- Smoker- It is used to calm the bees.
- Brushes- Brushes are used to brush bees off the comb as you don’t want them to come out.
6- Placing Hives
Hives should be exposed to the morning sun so that bees can easily get out early in search of pollen. It is necessary, especially in colder climates. Place the hives in shades in warmer climates to protect them from the excess warmth of the sun.
It should be kept away from the direct wind to protect your hives and bees. Make sure that these hives have proper space among them so that it will allow you to walk between them. Enough space between them will ensure that you can work easily.
7- Putting Bees into Hives
Make sure to purchase bees in January or February from local suppliers. This is because during the spring season a lot of flower buds appear which helps bees to get nectar and pollen from them. Don’t buy them from too far places as they may not be handled with care while transporting them to your place.
Buy a Nuc from your supplier. A Nuc contains queen bees along with other worker bees. You can buy queen bee and workers individually but buying a Nuc would be more beneficial.
Put on your protective clothing and fill the hive with cool smoke from the smoker. Now introduce Nuc into hive carefully.
8- Protection and feeding of Bees
The safety of bees is also an important factor to be considered. Ensure to protect the bees from predators like bears, skunks, rodents etc. As mentioned above, always use a hive stand to lift your hive from the ground. You can use an electric barrier and fence to prevent the animals from entering your land.
If there is time (one or two weeks) in between introducing bees into hives and plants producing nectar, you can personally feed your bees. You can provide them with a mixture of sugar and water in a 1-1 ratio.
9- Regular checking of Hives
Introducing bees in the hives is not enough for you. You need to inspect them on a regular basis. You can inspect them according to your convenience.
If you want you can check daily, maybe on every other day, every two days, or maybe weekly it is totally up to you.
Check for any sort of diseases, pest infestation, and various other problems. Check the presence of other creatures over there. Some other signs of a problem include:
- Lack of larvae.
- Misplaced bar.
- Weakening if colonies.
- Presence of hive beetles in comb etc.
10- Harvesting Honey
After endless efforts of many days, it is time to get the results. Your reward is ready. You can now harvest your money. With the help of a hot knife, scoop off the honey and wax into a container. Allow the honey to settle down to the bottom of the container.
Then you can separate wax easily. You honey us ready to be processed in the processing units. Filter wax cappings to seize every drop of honey from it. Remaining wax cappings can be used to make various things such as candles etc.
Beekeeping is amazing work. Even if you start with a single hive you can easily earn some extra money for you.
The only thing required is your will to learn. Read as much as you can. Learn about beekeeping. Keep working hard once you get involved in it. You are going to become a successful beekeeper.