Beekeeping 101

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Would you like to raise honeybees in your backyard? Here is our free Beekeeping 101 series—a beginner’s guide in 7 chapters. We’ll talk about how to get started raising bees, the clothing and equipment needed, building a hive, collecting honey, and common bee diseases. After this "taste" of honeymaking, you can decide if you're ready to enter the world of beekeeping!

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May 3, 2012

If you got your bees, you’ve now got honey: The last step is learning to harvest it. Read this Old Farmer’s Almanac beginner’s guide to collecting honey from your bees.  “The only reason for being a bee that I know of is making honey… . And the only reason for making honey is so as I can eat it.” –Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) by A. A. Milne Honey is indeed delicious—and can be dangerous to get! Be sure you have the proper clothing and equipment before handling bees. Go out with an expert a few... more

May 3, 2012

This is the last installment of our Beekeeping 101 series. Your hives should be humming along now.  But did you know that bees can get sick? “Bee kind” to your bees. Learn about common bee diseases and how to prevent them in your apiary. Varroa Mites These parasites attack both adult and larvae bees. They suck the blood of honeybees, weakening them and shortening their lifespan. If your bees display signs such as missing legs or wings, it is possible you that have varroa mites. The mites seem... more

May 2, 2012

Thinking of becoming a beekeeper? After you’ve built the hive, read this beginner’s guide on ways to obtain bees for your apiary. Social System Bees are social creatures. You can’t expect a queen to produce a whole colony by herself. Therefore, it’s important to know the basics of bee society. There are three levels in the bee community: the worker, the drone, and the queen. Worker bees are females and are responsible for a variety of activities, such as tending the queen, building comb,... more

May 1, 2012

This is the fourth installment of our Beekeeping 101 series. Before you get bees, you should consider how they are going to live—and build a hive! The most common hive uses the Langstroth method. This beginner’s guide to beekeeping explores the parts of the hive. Below is a picture of the Langstroth hive as well as a listing of the basic parts of the hive and what they are used for. Langstroth Hive   Credit (illustration): Sonoma Bees Hive Parts Outer/Telescoping Cover—Keeps the whole... more

April 30, 2012

What supplies will you need to raise bees? Here is a beginner’s guide to the items that will help you be a successful beekeeper. By now, you’ve learned some tips on where to place your apiary. Here are some tips on interacting with your bees and the equipment that you’ll need to handle them. Clothing There are key items to wear when interacting with bees. Always have a veil for your face and wear clothing that will protect you from stings. Full suits are available for purchase from some... more

April 28, 2012

When it comes to raising honeybees, there’s plenty of buzz out there. Before you get started, be sure that you are ready to handle the task. Read up on the pros and cons, including costs. Once you’ve done that, get started! Here are some preliminary planning considerations regarding where to place your apiary and what your bees will need. Know The Laws Be sure to check with your local laws. Your county or municipality may have restrictions on beekeeping, such as how many hives you may have (... more

April 27, 2012

Thinking of raising honeybees? Here is a beginner’s guide to beekeeping , starting with the pros and cons of having your own apiary! Starting an apiary is relatively easy; however, there are some things you should consider: Pros There are many reasons why you would want to raise honeybees. Honey is probably the obvious answer. Who wouldn’t love their own fresh batch of honey to use in recipes. A single bee can produce 1/12 teaspoon of honey in her lifetime (about 6 weeks), and with a colony... more
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