Beekeeping for Beginners

image_pdfimage_print

People are asking questions about how to keep bees. Since bees pollinate our food and give us honey, what could be more logical than caring for them and providing them a place to live and thrive?

Actually, there is a lot involved with beekeeping. Before you decide if beekeeping is for you, answer the following questions.

  1. Since you will occasionally be stung, are you allergic to bees?
  2. Are any family members or neighbors allergic to bees?
  3. How will your family or neighbors feel about increasing the numbers of bees in the area?
  4. Are there laws prohibiting bees in your neighborhood?
  5. Are you physically capable of doing the heavy lifting involved with keeping bee hives?
  6. Where will you keep your bees?
  7. How will you keep your queen safe and protect your hive from the weather, predators (such as bears), diseases and insects?

One of the biggest mistakes a beginning beekeeper can make is not researching ahead of time all that goes into successful beekeeping.

  1. Will you build hives or buy them ready-made?
  2. Do you know the costs involved?
  3. How many hives will you start with?
  4. Where will you get your bees?
  5. What protective equipment do you need?
  6. Do you want to keep bees for a hobby or a business?
  7. Will you do all the work or have help?
  8. What will you do with your finished product?
Photo by Leslie Allen
Photo by Leslie Allen

Let’s assume you have done your homework on beekeeping. You have your hooded suit, gloves, boots and smoker. You have found a reputable supplier for bees. Now it’s time to set up the hive and take care of the heart of your beekeeping operation, the queen bee. According to University of Missouri Extension (http://extension.missouri.edu/p/g7600), two bee colonies are a good number for beginners. One productive hive can produce 50 to 100 pounds of honey each year.

Assemble your hive box and the hive compartments for storing the frames to support the honeycomb (supers). The requirements are very specific and there is a lot of information online on how to build equipment correctly. Order your bees in the fall for an April arrival. Be sure to have your hives ready before the bees come.

You bee colony will need an abundant source of nectar and pollen. In town, most ornamental trees and plants can provide this. One caution, bees are extremely sensitive to pesticides, so know the spraying habits of people around you. They will need a supply of clean water within a quarter mile of the hive. If one isn’t available naturally, provide a shallow pan with water and rocks for the bees to rest on. Keeping water available near the hive will help keep bees out of neighbors’ yards. Face the hive southwest or south with a windbreak behind it. Use deciduous trees (those that lose their leaves in winter) to provide shade in the summer afternoons.

Keeping bees can be very rewarding, but it is also a lot of work.

image_pdfimage_print

Latest posts by JoAnne Skelly (see all)

7 thoughts on “Beekeeping for Beginners

  • September 13, 2015 at 8:36 pm
    Permalink

    question:
    what are the laws regarding the number of hives one can have at their personal residence in reno ?
    thanks,
    mike

    Reply
  • March 29, 2016 at 11:30 am
    Permalink

    We collect honeybee swarms and provide a free service to help others locate beekeepers to remove swarms. Can you list our site? htttp://www.honeybeeswarmremoval.com?

    Thank you

    Reply
  • April 11, 2016 at 7:19 am
    Permalink

    Good Morning,

    I have had bees for nearly 5 years with a very healthy and thriving hive. A month ago the bees started getting out and busy and it looked like the hive was going to do well. I was worried since I had heard of several hives not making it through the winter. Then this week we checked on them again (my hive has a viewing window so we don’t disturb them) and it apears that the bees moved on. Very sad indeed.

    We initially purchased bees to start the hive years ago. It is too late in the season to do the same thing as they are all sold out already. We are very interested on being on a list for swarms or if there is someone local who would be interested in selling or locating a hive on our property.

    Any suggestions welcome

    Tami

    Reply
  • April 14, 2017 at 4:46 pm
    Permalink

    a trailer with a small heater a put a few hives in it for the winter and make sure u put a place for the bees to get in by making a door and put the door on the bottom of the trailer so all ur heaT from the heaters rise, then once the heat heats up the place it will slowly leak out the door but if door is on the bottom think it will stay very warm. and put sugar in the trail to get them to go in it and then they see its cold then see a couple of hives in there they will last the winter the move them back out when weather gets nice and but a small solar panel for 400 to 500$ to run the small heater. getting ready to do this in a few years planning very carefully, and I will have to do this cause it will be in Nevada mountains, in the farming land.

    Reply
  • April 14, 2017 at 5:00 pm
    Permalink

    sorry for bad spelling. like a empty large rv that can be insulated with spray foam insulation. that way a heater would keep it nice and suitable for them to succeed through the winter. Put ur hives boxes into the rv that is insulated and with the heater. It will keep that empty old insulated rv warm. like I said buy a solar panel for 500$ that can run it for the winter. u could even do this in summer time if u get a AC unit in the rv and that way animals don’t eat ur bee hives and a floods our drought don’t hurt them. some people even take there rv with the hives inside of the rvs and place them on a farms where farmers pay people for there bee hive for part of the year and u still making honey in the rv on there land that’s pollonating their crops. u can buy old rv homes our 5th wheelers that a gutted out and then spray, spray foam insulation inside and out for like 600$ and the rv our 5 wheel was only 1000.00$ then u get this all for under 2000$ and will last every winter and u still need a cheap solar panel to power the rv our 5th wheel heater so lets say for 3,000 Dollars u can save ur bees every winter. for winter after winter that spray foam insulation last for a hundered years or more. Our build a green house with a heater and solar panel for the winter. thanks for sharing ur story it made me think of this

    Reply
  • September 8, 2017 at 5:26 am
    Permalink

    I live on 42 acres in Reno. I am interested in having a bee keeper locate a hive(s) on my property. The property has plenty of sage and several other blossoming varieties of plants. Is anyone interested?

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 3:43 pm
    Permalink

    Hi
    I am interested in being a bee keeper, but I most definitely would like to be educated an informed about everything or almost everything that requires to be a bee keeper. Any information where, who to contact for such.
    Thank you

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *