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Beekeeping For Beginners
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Beekeeping For Beginners

Beekeeping as a hobby is becoming more popular. Beekeeping, for beginners, is a way to save our honey bees and of course have your own honey. Did you know that the honey bees of this world are in trouble? With all of our pesticides, industrial farming, pollution parasitic mites and diseases, honeybees are not surviving. Some of our top ice cream makers use honey in their products, not to mention other producers of many other products. Bees pollinate some of our plants and trees.  For more pictures of honey bees, see our honey bee pictures and posters page.

It's not as hard as it sounds. Beekeepers love to share their expertise with others. It is agreed by the beekeeper experts that a beginner should handle another keepers bees before deciding to become a beginner beekeeper. It is inexpensive, easy to do and you don't have a lot of heavy lifting. 

Beekeeping for beginners is inexpensive to start. You can build your own hive. Beekeeping for beginners - supplies are inexpensive. You will need a hive, personal protective equipment (hat, veil, old white shirt and gloves) and an abundant supply of flowering plants close by. Sometimes beekeeping in an urban area is better than in rural areas depending on your plants. Please make sure to alert your close neighbors that you are keeping bees. Remember, you will get stung from time to time even if you are very careful. Please find out if you are allergic to bee stings. If you think you might be or that you are, please take precautions and have the necessary remedies on hand before you get your bees. Usually a person will become less sensitive to bee stings over time unless they are allergic to them. If you are allergic, be aware that your reaction to bee stings may worsen over time.
Beekeeper opening his homemade Langsroth style hive.

Beekeeping For Beginners: Types of Honey Bee Hives

There are two main types of modern bee hives:

  • Langsroth Hives have several removable frames, this way you can pull out one frame at a time to inspect the hive for sanitation and disease. The rectangle frames contain wax already placed in them and reinforced by wire. Honey can be extracted without killing any bees and these hives are reusable. These hives are a good choice and are very "green".
  • Top Bar Hives are very inexpensive and can be built by the beginner beekeeper. There are several sites that show you how to build your own top bar hive. They also have removable frames. The bee hives hang from the top bars or slats. The slats hang freely in the hive. When the honey is harvested, the bees have to rebuild their combs. Top bar hives tend to produce more beeswax than honey due to the bees building their own combs. This hive is easy for disabled persons to keep bees also.
The hives are inexpensive to build at home. There are many websites and books with homemade hive plans.

Homemade Langsroth bee hive. Langsroth honey bee hive frame.
Langsroth hive view from the top. Langsroth hive removable frame with honey bees.

Spring is the swarm season, and a great time for a beginner to get honey bees. Beginner beekeepers should build their hives before the swarm season.

Beekeeping For Beginners: Getting Honey Bees

Honey bees can be obtained by a beekeeper three different ways: buy, catch or lure.

Beginning beekeeping will help save the honey bees. Honey Bees can be bought over the net or from a store that provides supplies for beekeeping. You could find a natural hive and catch your wild bees off of that hive, or you could lure them into your newly built hive. A good way to lure bees into your hive is to use a few drops of citronella or lemon grass oil, or to rub the inside of your new hive with pure beeswax.

Honey bee colonies can have up to tens of thousands of individuals. The life span of bees vary from type of bee: queens last for 3-4 years, workers live for a few weeks during the summer season and drones die upon mating or they are expelled from the hive at the end of the season.

Above: Beekeeper putting frame back into the hive after the honey has been harvested.

Beekeeping For Beginners: Homegrown Honey

Home grown honey from a backyard bee hive. Honey is used in our everyday lives in many things from medicine, food, to health and beauty aids. Beeswax that is produced is also used in about a million products in every day life: candles, polishes, reed making, candy making, bullet casting, bronze preservation, oil spill control, painting restoration, wood finish, lipstick, lubricants and dental floss just to name a very few.

The honey bees need our help. By beginning beekeeping, we can pass this natural, green, self sustaining, earth friendly, rewarding hobby on to the next generation.


 

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