Honey Beekeeping Information
Welcome to HoneyBeekeepingCenter.com,
My name is Richard Winters. I’ve been involved in beekeeping for most of my Life. I grew up on a fruit ranch in eastern Washington state, where every spring we had bee hives brought in to the orchard to pollinate the fruit trees. I became fascinated by honey bees at an early age, and continue to be fascinated by them still.
Since you are at this web site, I assume you are looking for information about beekeeping, so lets get started.
Honey beekeeping is nothing more than keeping a colony of bees in a hive, and harvesting the honey that they produce. Beekeeping is also known as, apiculture. Honey bees are not domesticated, and they can not be domesticated. But by gaining an understanding of how they behave, you can learn to control them to the point that you can have all the honey you want, and more.
Some people want to go into beekeeping as a business, and make no mistake, there is a lot of profit to be made, for those who are willing to put in the time and effort. Whether you are looking to start beekeeping as a hobby, or as a business, or a combination of the two, first there is a great deal of knowledge that must be learned.
First, before getting started, you will need to have the the proper equipment. You will need to have the basic components of the hive. You can either make your own hive, or buy a hive already made. For the beginner, I recommend you buy your first hive, and then if you want, you can build the rest of your hives based on the dimensions of the pre-made hive. If you don’t have any woodworking tools, or you don’t have any diy skills, you should just stick with buying your hives. The most common type of hive is called a, Langstroth hive, and is sometimes known as the modern ten-frame hive.
You will also need to have the right protective gear, and equipment. Most people will want a full beekeeping suit, gloves, hat and veil. After you get used to working with bees, you might just wear a hat and veil. Other equipment you will need is a smoker, and a hive tool. A smoker is just a device that’s creates smoke. The smoke will help subdue the bees so you can safely open the hive, with the hive tool, to get to the honey. The manner in which the smoke effect the bees is a subject for another article.
Honeybees, being very social in nature, live in groups known as a colony. A bee colony typically has anywhere from 15,000 bees, up to as many as 60,000 bees, although, an average beehive has approximately 50,000 bees. All the bees of a colony work together as a group for the benefit of the whole colony.
Its a good idea, even for the beginner, that you start with at least two colonies/hives, and preferably three. This will make it possible to compare the growth and production of each colony. If, after the first season you decide you want more colonies, you can do so with ease, and very little expense.
There are a number of ways to get started with beekeeping. The most recommended method, is to buy a established colony from a local beekeeper. You should be able to get all the equipment from local beekeeper or apiary.
The next method is to buy, or build your own hive and have a local beekeeper install a swarm, or nucleus, in it for you. You could aslo capture a swarm yourself, and install it in your hive.
You could also buy the equipment, and buy a package of bees with a queen, and install the package of bees yourself.
Only by buying an established colony will you be able get a harvest of honey the first year. Starting a new colony will not produce any surplus honey for you to harvest.
The best time to start a colony is early, to mid spring, when there is an abundance of plants in bloom for the bees to collect pollen and nectar from. You should never start a colony in summer, or fall, because the bees won’t be able to collect and store enough food for the winter, and therefor probably won’t survive the winter. Winter starvation is no doubt the greatest cause of a colony demise. Ideally, your hive should be full, or very close to full of honey, to overwinter.
When choosing a location for your hives, make sure you place them near a good source of pollen, and nectar. You will also need to make sure there is a good source of good clean water nearby. The front of the hive should be facing south, or southeast, and should have some type of wind break behind it. Its best to have some shade for the hives in the afternoon, so it doesn’t overheat.
This basic beekeeping information is not enough information to start beekeeping. Its highly recommended that beginners buy a complete beekeeping course to study before getting started.