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Bees are an important part of the ecosystem; they pollinate 80% of of the world’s plants. That means bees are to thank for a lot of the food we eat! From fresh honey to plant pollination, not to mention a fun, new hobby, there are tons of reasons to begin a beekeeping endeavor of your own. To get started, you’ll first need to prepare an outdoor space, which is surprisingly easy to do.
Designate and Level Your Space
Your space doesn’t need to be a farmland to begin your own hive, but there are some spatial considerations to make. Once up and running, there will be hundreds of bees coming and going from the hive. Try to allow about a 10 foot range around the apiary. Pay careful attention to the entrance to the hive. It’s important to clear the entrance of debris, as if it’s blocked this can make it difficult for bees to find their way back in (and result in them leaving). It’s also a good idea to choose a level space (or level it manually) . You’ll need a clear, flat area with enough space to move in between hive when you’re tending to them.
Provide a Food Source
Keeping in mind the 10-foot range, you should provide a nearby food source if you want to give them the best chance to thrive. Bees will travel pretty far for their food at a typical range of up to 2 miles, sometimes as far as 6. Even so, why not help the little guys out if you can? Having flowers nearby will mean more time feeding, less time traveling. That means that your hive will grow much more quickly, and be less likely to take up residence in a different area. In addition to a source of food, you may also need to consider some larger plants as a source of shade for the hive. While they don’t need total shade, the summer sun can be rough without some shelter from it. If you already have trees or other shade-providing features that has it covered, lucky you!
And Water Too
Bees don’t just travel for food, they will also travel up to 6 miles for a water source. They require water to drink and cool the hive. In fact, they can use up over a gallon a day, depending on the size of the hive. Of course, they don’t mind if that water source is the neighbor’s pool, but the neighbor sure would! If you don’t have a body of water on your property, don’t fret. Simply providing several large buckets of water in your yard will work just fine. You don’t have to change the water too often, either. Actually, bees prefer it a bit slimy- yuck! But to each their own. Just make sure it doesn’t run dry, and you’re all set.
If the rows of fresh, local honey at the farmer’s market aren’t quite enough incentive to start beekeeping, perhaps how easy it can be to set up your hive will put you over the top on your decision. Plus, once it’s all set up, you’re ready for quite a long run of beekeeping without having to repeat the set up year after year.
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