Keeping Bees For Beginners: Guide From Ozdingo
Gardening is fun, but if you’re planning to bring your outdoor hobby to the next level, beekeeping might be right for you. Not only will you have a steady supply of fresh backyard-to-table honey, but you will also have the little critters helping you out pollinating your garden plants.
Before you buzz straight into your first beehive, read our guide below for the best tips on how to start keeping bees:
An average bee colony has around 30 000 to 50 000 bees, with the queen laying around 1500 eggs daily, the worker bees that keep the hive running well, and the drones that mate with the queens of other colonies.
Understanding all the basic bee biology information from a class, an organization, or talking to experts is crucial for you to learn the proper terminologies to use; and for you to purchase the right equipment where your bee colonies will thrive properly. Besides, every beekeeper keeps bees a little differently than others, so it is best to get expert opinions from various sources before you start your own.
Keeping Bees for Beginners: Things You Need
- Beehive box. Experts recommend starting out with at least two hives or colonies; that way, you can compare which one is working and which one isn’t. that is why a 10 Frame Double Beehive is so perfect for keeping bees for beginners.
- Protective gear. Beginners or novices should avoid stings at all costs, and wearing protective gear and a veil could ensure that.
- Smoker. The smoker has a lulling effect on the little critters, so they get distracted while you’re working on the hive.
- Hive tool. This allows you to move the frames inside the hive efficiently; it is also used to maintain and inspect the hives easily.
- Bees. As mentioned previously, experts suggest starting out with at least two colonies, so make sure to order bees enough for two.
How to Get Your Bees?
- Purchase a bee package. The wooden frame has a screen on two sides- one side contains around 10 000 bees, and the other side, separated from the rest, is the queen bee with a few worker bees attending to her. The bees on one side are not necessarily related to the queen bee on the other side.
- Nuc or nucleus colony. This one is a mini colony that already has an actively-laying queen. All the bees in the mini colony are related to each other and to the queen.
Although the bee package is less expensive and easier to find, the nucleus colony is already established and is developmentally six weeks ahead than the bee package. Plus, there isn’t a need to feed the nucs as they come with honey frames that can sustain them while they continue expanding. So, if you can find a local beekeeper who is willing to sell a nuc, go for it!
On the other hand, as a learning experience, you will see how the colony starts from the very beginning on a bee package. You get to see how the bees draw out fresh comb, how the hive is built, and how the queen lays her first brood. Plus, the bee package doesn’t come with frames, so the bees can be deposited in any style of hive you want.
How Much Time Do I Spend Keeping Bees As a Hobby?
If you start with two hives/colonies as we suggested, it won’t take this hobby more than an hour each week to check and manage your hives. Some seasons will be busier, though, like the spring and fall.
Where Do I Place the Hive?
Besides being an accessible location for your beekeeping, make sure to place the hive with its opening facing the east (to get them up and moving in the morning), southeast, or south (to cool them down in the afternoon) direction.
What Is The Best Season To Start Beekeeping?
According to experts, if you’ve ordered your bees and equipment, you can start during springtime. This way, you can install the hive and feed the bees with a combination of water and sugar to help them draw the wax comb and for the queen to start laying eggs.
Always, always be ready for failure during your first beekeeping try. Aside from a possible beekeeper error, factors like pests in the hives could cause your first backyard beekeeping to fail. Don’t get discouraged! Instead, continue to learn and educate yourself, join beekeeping clubs, and attend seminars to learn how to be a proper beekeeper. Having the right equipment in beekeeping also helps. You can head on to Ozdingo’s beekeeping supply collection for any of your needs. Remember, success at keeping bees for beginners can’t be achieved overnight. It comes with patience, dedication, and commitment before you become a successful beekeeper and, of course, harvest your own honey.