Answers to Common Beekeeping Questions
Mankind (and woman-kind) have been managing honey bees for thousands of years. Yet even today, beekeeping for beginners involves a lot of new terminology and questions. The experiences of many beekeepers combined has given us the answers to many common beekeeping questions. We know a lot about the art of keeping honey bees but still have more to learn.
You don’t know – what you don’t know. If you are new to the world of beekeeping or just interesting in learning more, you may feel that your questions are dumb. Not so!
Managing thousands of wild honeybees in a man-made box is a journey into the unknown. Bees do not always do what we expect them to. They do not read the same beekeeping books as you and I.
Thankfully, our beekeeping experiences do give some good guidance on finding basic answers to many beekeeping questions.
Yes, most beekeepers do indeed experience a bee sting on occasion. However, by wearing the proper beekeeper protective wear you can avoid most stings.
Also, once a new beekeeper learns how to properly inspect a beehive – the frequency of being stung by honey bees decreases.
Most resources estimate that 20-30 hours per year are needed to care for each beehive.
More important than the number of hours per hive is knowing what your bees need and when. Of course, the more hives you have – the more time is required for beekeeping.
In considering how much is costs to get started in beekeeping, know that initial startup costs are the largest expenditure.
Many tools, protective wear and wooden hive components last for years. Still, you can count on an average of $250 per hive for the hive and bees.
Protective wear for yourself ranges from $50 for a simple hat and veil to over $200 for a quality beekeeping suit.
It is not hard to keep a couple of hives of bees to make honey for your family. You will be required to invest some time and money in the project.
Keeping bees in a hive is not the same as putting out a birdhouse. Bee colonies require inspections and maintenance in order to become good honey producers.
The best time to start beekeeping with a new hive is in early Spring. This timeline gives the new colony all of the long warm months to prepare for Winter.
For the beekeeper however, bee preparation should begin in Fall/Winter. Take classes, read beekeeping books and learn everything you can before the bees arrive.
Yes, many people keep a few beehives without every harvesting honey for themselves.
Honey bees are great pollinators for home garden and small orchards. Having a hive is a good way to learn more about nature in general and a good family project.
However, even hives not intended for honey production will require beekeeper maintenance.
There are several ways to purchase bees for your hives. Check with local beekeeping clubs for members with bees to sell.
Honey bees can be ordered through the mail and shipped directly to your door. Your region may have a local beekeeping supply within driving distance.
There are many factors to consider when buying honey bees. Consider the reputation of the seller before putting down a deposit.
Honey bee packages are sold from Fall/late Winter into early Spring for April/May deliver. Don’t wait until the last minute to order your bees.
Beehives can be kept almost anywhere. Following the guidelines of finding the best place for a hive, you can choose the best spot on your property.
The hive should be away from areas of the yard used by humans and pets. A quite corner of a large backyard is a good location.
And of course, check to insure that you are not breaking any local laws or homeowners association rules by having bees.
Deciding on the best type of honey bees to purchase is a difficult task. A lot of beekeeper opinion is involved in extolling the merits of any particular breed.
In most regions, you are limited in bee selection when buying bee packages. Early bee packages come from the southern states. They are mostly Italian or Carni-Italian mixes.
This is a good type of honey bee for beginners. If you later decide to experiment with another breed of bee, it is relatively easy to order a new queen bee.
One of the most fascinating aspects of beekeeping? The questions never stop. As you learn more about honey bees, you realize that there is still even more to know.
The bees guard some of their secrets very carefully my friend. That is part of the mystery of beekeeping.