Beekeeping is a rewarding enterprise which requires patience, skill, hard work and a willingness to invest. Today, many individuals are beginning to take interest in beekeeping as they want to harvest natural, delicious honey. However, those who do not come from a rural or agricultural background have a lot to learn before they can master the art of keeping bees. Here’s some useful beekeeping information for beginners who are considering stepping into the field.
Firstly, there is a wealth of knowledge you will need to acquire before considering starting beekeeping as a hobby. You need to understand the biological cycles of bees. Bees survive off flowers which normally die during winter, so honey production is a bee’s method of winter food storage. You will need to learn what keeps a bee’s habitat healthy and what pests destroy bees in order to care for your bees effectively. This is a sophisticated branch of scientific knowledge, and if it puts you off, then you should reconsider starting beekeeping as a hobby.
Next, you will need to invest in good beekeeping equipment in order for your beekeeping endeavour to be successful. Specialized equipment needed for beekeeping include beehives with supers, a spacer, a smoker, a metal hive tool, and a fumer board. Without these equipment, it would be impossible to start beekeeping.
- Beehive: Your beehive should have five supers where honey is stored and young bees are raised. You can either go for shallow or deep supers. Make sure that the beehive bottom is beneath the five supers when you set them up.
- Spacer: A spacer is used to maintain equal distances between frames in a beehive.
- Smoker: A smoker is used to drive bees out of their hives when you are ready to harvest the delicious honey! Consisting of a funnel, a combustion chamber and bellows, a smoker produces fumes using ignition material such as burlap or dried corn cobs.
- Metal hive tool: A beehive can be prised open with a versatile tool called a metal hive tool. You will need to do this from time to time to divide compartments and maintain hygiene.
- Fumer board: A fumer board attracts the bees to leave the honeycomb so that you can collect the honey.
Undaunted by the prospect of acquiring so much equipment? Congratulations! This means you are ready to start learning beekeeping techniques as the next leg of your beekeeping journey. You will need to learn to set up your hives, and arrange them in a manner which makes them safe from strong winds, harsh elements, pests, and crowds. Learning how to manage your bees is also of absolute importance to keep the hive healthy. Queen bee management techniques, proper feeding methods, ways to introduce your bees to a new hive, ways to process honey, and what nectar and pollen substitutes to use are all very important information you need before you can start handling a hive of bees successfully. Come winter, you will also need to be prepared with skills to winter your bees to prevent them from dying off!
As you can see, there are many unique aspects in beekeeping which makes it an attractive challenge for many individuals. If you have the interest and dedication, it is a very rewarding task to do, and it will definitely keep you busy as a bee!