13 Apr Beekeeping 101
Beekeeping is an art, one that requires attention to detail and a lot of care. Many beginning beekeepers lose their hives within the first few months of beginning. However, with the right instruction and practices keeping bees can be rewarding, especially when a surplus of honey is produced.
The key to beekeeping successfully is to start small. Typically, two to five beehives are best in the beginning. This way, the beginning beekeeper will be able to recoup winter losses. If your hives are successful, look to expand within a couple of years. The goal is to establish a colony. A typical colony of honey bees consists of roughly 20,000 to 80,000 bees, which will produce 50 to 100 pounds of honey each year.
Before you begin your beekeeping journey, it is best to attend beekeeping classes or to purchase books on beekeeping. Also, you will need to understand how varroa mites affect honey bees, as well as Colony Collapse Disorder. Keeping your bees healthy is the number one priority when beginning your beekeeping journey.
Of course with any endeavor, the proper equipment is needed. New equipment is necessary in order to protect against infected or dirty hives. Moreover, frames and foundation should be replaced every three to five years. Below is a list of equipment for a basic hive (Taken from http://extension.missouri.edu/p/g7600):
- Two brood boxes, called “deeps,” for the brood
- Two super boxes, called “mediums” or “supers,” for excess honey stores
- Bottom board, either screened or solid reversible
- Entrance reducer
- Queen excluder (optional)
- Inner cover
- Telescoping lid
Once you have your equipment and are trained in how to care for your hive, the next step is to place your hive in an ideal location. Location is key to a successful hive. Be sure that your hive is placed in an area with a good floral source. No flowers means no honey. Also, you need to make sure that there is a water source for your bees.
The following information was taken from Moneen M. Jones from The University of Missouri. For more detailed information on beekeeping, click here to read the information.
Jones, M. M. (n.d.). Beekeeping Tips for Beginners. Retrieved April 13, 2017, from http://extension.missouri.edu/p/g7600