Now that everything is well set and it is time for you to venture into beekeeping, what are some of the things you need? Well, to be a beekeeper you do not need a lot of skills or experience, anyone who can garden can become a beekeeper. You only need to understand all that is required then soak yourself up in all the useful information available for beekeeping. Additionally, it’s very important to choose the right beekeeping supplies.
Apparently, beekeeping is one of the most unexploited opportunities globally. The demand for honey far exceeds its supply and that is precisely why beekeeping is can be a lucrative businesses. If you are not interested in the money and want to do it as a hobby, then you will find tremendous joy doing it. Furthermore, bees help in pollination and this is essential for your flowers, vegetables and garden plants.
Before you begin, you need to understand where you will keep your bees. Check out whether you have enough space in your backyard and also consider your neighbors, backyard, and zoning rules and regulations.
Special considerations in summary:
- Backyard should be big enough – a tenth of an acre can accommodate a single or two colonies depending on how the backyard is used.
- Zoning regulations – it should permit you to keep bees.
- Family members – let them know bees are coming, check out whether anyone is allergic to bee stings and remedies available.
- Neighbors – ensure it does not create problems with your neighbors.
Getting your Bees
You have several options when it comes to getting your bees. One of the best seasons to catch bees is during Spring. Failure to catch them at this time will affect the bees since they may lack sufficient forage for collecting their food, pollen and honey.
You can get the bees from:
- Nucleus Colonies – this is ideal for those who are using Langstroth hives. The nucleus colony simply refers to a fully-established or self-sustaining colony in a 5-frame box. You can transfer this colony into your 8 to 10-frame boxes. It generally takes a shorter time to build up your bees since the nucleus colonies already have combs, honey stores, eggs, and larvae. You can get a nucleus colony from local farmers or even search the internet for foundation less beekeeping, and many others.
- Bait and Trap – you can lure a swarm of bees using bait and traps. Your lure will attract a colony which can then be moved into your hive. This choice is one of the best ways of getting hearty local bees. You can get some plans on how to build bait hives and swarm traps then build your own lure.
- Feral bees/swarms – any local farmer can help you catch a swarm of feral bees but still you can do it yourself. The major advantage with swarm bees is that they are hearty and have adapted to the climate. They are also strong enough since they have moved out from a strong colony. It is easy quite easy to catch swarming bees once you understand how to catch them.
- Packages – you can buy a package form a breeder. The package will be shipped to you and this takes a short time depending on how far you may be from the breeder. There are many suppliers many there and thus this option is an easy one.
Get your Bee Hive
Once you have identified your source of bees, then it is time to procure your bee hive. There are literally dozens of bee hive brands and types out there and therefore you have to choose an option that suits you best. This will be affected by your budget and personal preference. You also have to go for either assembled or unassembled hive.
Some of the places to get a hive include: online stores such as E-Bay, Amazon, or local bee suppliers in your area, and many others.
While purchasing your hive ensure you choose an excellent quality hive since bees are highly sensitive to any slight discomfort.
Beekeeping Supplies – Tools and Equipment
These are the essential tools and equipment for beekeeping:
- Hive Tool – this is essential for inspecting the hives and adding new boxes.
- Bee Smoker – this is used for making the bees docile since they are very sensitive to smoke. The smoker will help make your work easier when you are working on the hive or moving it somewhere else.
- Jacket with Veil and Gloves – these will help keep your face and entire body protected from bee stings. You should get an excellent quality jacket with veil in addition to gloves. Ensure the protective gear is comfortable even during hot weather conditions. A ventilated bee suit would be the best option if you live in a hotter climate.
- Bee Brush – this is a useful tool for gently moving the bees off the comb or any other place you do not want them to be. You should use the brush once in a while since the bees dislike it and tend to sting it mercilessly.
One of the best ways to get a complete package of beekeeping tools and equipment is by buying a beekeeping starter kit. You will get a complete unit that has all you need to get started in beekeeping. Various supplies such as BuildaBeehive , Mann Lake Ltd, and Goodland Bee Supply offer beekeeping starter kits at affordable prices. You can place an order from any of these manufacturers at their website, Amazon or E-Bay.
When to Start your Hive
This depends hugely on your location. It is good to generally start your hive during early spring, that is, late March and early May. Nonetheless, carry out research about the ideal time to start your hive at your specific area.
Once you have your hive fully packed with the bees, your work does not end there. You have to continually learn. Peruse this website for information, join online forums, subscribe to newsletters, subscribe to Youtube Channels, and buy beekeepers handbooks. All these will help you to perfect the art of keeping bees. It is also prudent to have a mentor if you have just started in beekeeping. Look for a local farmer who is experienced in keeping bees and let him or her assist you. You can even volunteer to work alongside the farmer.