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Beekeeping Advice: Apiculture or the practice of beekeeping has been around from the onset of human existence. Most people are drawn into beekeeping for various reasons – for the sweet honey or other honeybee product, to assist in pollination, as a hobby, for commercial purposes, and many other reasons. Irrespective of your reason of engaging in beekeeping, you mostly have your questions and concerns. The beginner and the professional alike both need some tips and nuggets that will help him or her become a better beekeeper. Here are 50 beekeeping tips that Honey Hive Farms believes to be true. If followed and applied, you may become a successful beekeeper. :)
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Beekeeping requires some knowledge, time, commitment, and practice. If any of this is lacking then forget about beekeeping. Bees are independent creatures by nature but that does not mean they should be neglected. You have to garner some knowledge on bee management and devote your time to the bees for them to stay in a healthy and comfortable environment. Some of the equipment required for beekeeping includes: a hive, smoker, feeders, bee suit, and gloves.I encourage you to take a beginning hands on beekeeping class. Check out hands on beekeeping 101 at Honey Hive Farms which will take you through the very beginning and show you inside the hive, queens and the terms that you will need to know. It is imperative to know as much as you can before get into beekeeping but we believe hands on and just getting started is a way to learn quick. Nothing like learning on the job, I learned a lot this way, just do it.
The law does not make the beekeeper to tell his or her neighbors about their intention to begin beekeeping. However, it is wise to notify them since few people love surprises, especially when they are bee stings. One of the major advantages with bees is that they are docile in nature. They only become aggressive when provoked. All they need is nectar and pollen from flowers. Most people will have no problem when you tell them about this.Since bees become aggressive when provoked, it is wise to conduct bee hive inspections when your neighbors are not around. Agree with your neighbors on a specific day of the week to check the hive. During such times, children and pets should be kept indoors so as to prevent bee attacks. Honey Hive Farms is a huge fan of working bees at dusk. I you work your bees late in the afternoon the bees have less time to cause trouble.
Beekeeping clubs are available in almost every state. They provide a common ground where professionals and beginners alike come together to share their beekeeping knowledge. If you are serious about beekeeping then you should join one. They organize regular meetings where the benefits, challenges and experiences of beekeeping are discussed. You will also get some beekeeping resources in these organizations such as books, videos, and magazines. There are also some organizations that provide some short courses in beekeeping. You will get accurate and up-to-date information on beekeeping when you enroll for these courses.
You need protective clothing during hive inspection, feeding, hive relocation and honey harvesting. Bees react favorably to protective clothing that is smooth and light in color. Avoid dark and wooly clothing since bees react aggressively. The beekeeper’s hat should also be chosen wisely. Buy a hat that is firm and strong for maximum support to the veil. During hot months be sure to use ventilated veils. When it comes to the beekeeper’s veil, choose folding wire veils since they keep the shape and offer sufficient space between the face and the bees. The gloves should be strong, pliable, and allows free movement of your fingers. You should also choose a pair of boots that cover your ankles well. Go for elastic sided boots since they work best.
Every beekeeper is required by law to maintain the bees. The laws and regulations might vary from state to state and therefore one has to be acquainted with laws that apply to their specific area. Generally, every beekeeper is required to keep the bees in a healthy and comfortable environment. The bees should also be kept in such a way that they do not attack your neighbors. Some states require the beekeeper to register as a beekeeper. Some charges may apply if you own a number of hives. You are also required to adhere to apiary code of conduct that varies as well depending on your state.
The bees should be provided with a good supply of clean water in a partially shaded area. This should be near the hive for easy access. The beekeeper should never make the assumption that the bees will satisfy their water requirements own their own. Strong colonies on average require a liter of water during warm days. The water should be availed in the location before the bees are introduced to an area. Failure to do this will force the bees to seek other sources of water, and once they are accustomed to another location it will be extremely difficult to divert them. You should also provide floating material on the water so as to prevent the bees from drowning. Honey Hive Farms puts either buckets out with lemon for the bees to smell to know where the water is and or water inside their hives.
Bees are territorial insects and they become aggressive only when they feel they have been attacked or invaded. It is therefore not true to make the assumption that all bee colonies are aggressive. Bees are hospitable in nature but various factors may force them to be aggressive. These include: the skill level of the beekeeper, seasonal condition, quantity of smoke applied, the way the combs are handled, time of day, and type of clothing worn. If you realize that a colony is aggressive by nature then you have to replace the colony with a quiet strain of bee through re-queening. Honey Hive Farms has the calmest bee packages and queens around.
If you are just starting out in beekeeping, then you may not know where to get the bees for your hive. You have two options when deciding where to get the bees: honeybee swarms or a package bees with a mated queen are the best to begin with since these are already with a mated queen, though still small. Order your package of bees from November to March you place your order in advance and the bee packages and queens will be delivered in April or May. A reputed beekeepers like Honey Hive Farms has been offering, selling and delivering in eight states for over 12 years. Honey Hive Farms delivers around 3000 bee packages and several hundred queens to over 2500 customers in eight states including Arizona. Alternatively, you can collect bee swarms in the wild but this is quite risky. It requires some skill and experience to collect bee swarms as several will be high up and not worth breaking your neck to save $145. Bee packages with a queen are around $145 free delivery with Honey Hive Farms. The bee packages wont be Africanized and the queens have been laying for over 15 days with good, strong genetics and calm.
One of the best ways to start off as a beekeeper is by buying bee packages with a mated queen and procuring used beekeeping equipment. However, you need to be careful when choosing who and where to buy these from. Previously used equipment and ready colonies may harbor diseases and that is why you should buy bee packages. When buying say a nuc or a complete hive, you are buying any problems or choices good and bad they may have made. Chemicals get stored in wax foundation and many of these frames are very old with a lot of chemicals. The chemicals in turn will show up in your honey and is wearing on the bees over time. Bee packages are cleaner with no stored mites or chemicals.
The bee hives should be located in areas where the bees can get an easy and continual supply of nectar and pollen. You can also grow bee friendly plants within close proximity to where the hive is located. During low nectar flows, bees should be fed with sugar syrup even though this is not clean enough for converting into honey, this would be taught in Honey Hive Farms beekeeping class. The hive should be located away from the wind and it should get the morning sun and a shade in the afternoon. The hive should also be out of public view and noisy places since most people fear bees. Bees also become aggressive when provoked and thus it is better to keep them out of reach. Honey Hive Farms camouflages most of the hives and hides them in greenery.
Spring is the best season to start your beekeeping journey. It is also the best time to grow your perennial flower garden. During spring the bee hives are setup and suppliers ship the beekeeping equipment and queens. The bees begin storing their stock of honey during summer. This is meant to sustain the colony during winter, depending on your location. The beekeeper should provide some extra feed for the bees before winter so as to complement their stock. During spring monitor the food supply since food fluctuation is experienced during this time. Where necessary provide the bees with syrup. That is the only way to protect the bees from starving. Sometimes you can use honey that you have left over to feed the bees, again this is something you would learn in the hands on bee class at Honey Hive Farm.
As a beekeeper it is important to learn all about the bees. In this information age, there are dozens of learning materials on bees and beekeeping, especially here on Honey Hive Farms. You should therefore have your own books detailing all that entail bees and beekeeping. Honey Hive Farms is hoping to teach you in the beekeeping 101 or have information on YouTub. The bees come first before anything else and therefore you need to learn how they survive so that you can manage the bees well. You can buy bee textbooks from your local bookstore or borrow one from local libraries. Some of the books recommended will be talked about at the beginners beekeeping class.
Different models and designs of frames are available on the market. The hive designs are numerous as well. For the best convenience, choose a hive that has movable frames. Such frames ensure the bee combs stay secure and well supported within the frame. Furthermore, the movable frames allows you to inspect the hive easier. You can swap frames easily between boxes or hives, and even use an extractor. Some of the bee hives that have movable frames are those in Langstroth hives. You can also check out other manufacturers as well and buy those with this kind of frames. Different manufacturers offer their own unique designs. Note in Arizona the top bar hive, we wont get into here, the wax can melt and fall due to the heat / weight and lack of support.
It is common for conventional hives to use deep boxes for brood and shallow and medium boxes for honey supers. To make your beekeeping easy and hassle-free, choose one size box for everything. When you have one size of box for all that allows you to use one size of frame as well. You will find this to be helpful when the need to split colonies arise. It also comes in handy when making nucleus colonies. Standardizing the box for the brood and honey supers makes it easier. The only difference in reality is the content of the boxes. Medium boxes in particular are ideal since the queen thrive best in them. They are also easy to carry. NOTE; Very few beekeepers sell shallow or medium nucs, this is another reason that bee packages are the best to start with.
There have been lots of concerns regarding the queen excluder. Most beekeepers use queen excluders as a matter of following the majority, and Honey Hive Farms uses them too. But do you know that queen excluders in reality do not add value to your bee colony? In fact when you exclude the queen you suppress the brood size and this in most cases leads to swarming, Honey Hive Farms uses this also to control the bee production some as we have to many bees and hives. The bees do not require a queen excluder but this is a choice you will need to make over time. This will only be necessary in situations where you are using different sizes of boxes for the honey and the brood. But as explained earlier, use the same size of box for everything and this will eliminate the need to exclude the queen, ya bees will do what they want and one hive will not go up and another will. Dont worry about this to much starting out. There also plastic and metal, they both work fine.
Foundations are essential in beekeeping since it helps straighten the bee combs. However, it is at times good to have foundationless frames. This allows the bees to build the combs according to their own need. The combs are normally built using glands located on the bee’s abdomens. The bees prefer building their own combs and therefore when given the freedom to do so they will be able to build more versatile combs – they tend to build smaller cells. To allow the bees to do so, use drawn-out frames or simply start with foundation then eventually move to foundationless frames as the bee colony grows. Honey Hive Farms only really does this to have comb honey. Our comb honey is in circles to help the bees keep the size and form the same, very easy. Ross rounds is the system Honey Hive Farms uses.
For bees swarming is just but a part of their existence. A bee colony that has split into two will swarm leaving behind half of the colony. This happens so that the other half can find a new home. This is part of reproduction and it is a natural phenomenon in bees. Therefore do not be surprised when the bees swarm for whatever reason. However, to avoid losing half of the bee colony to swarming, watch out for signs of swarming and split the colonies into nucleus colonies. You can also keep smaller hives so as to avoid swarming. The best time to split colonies is early in the year or during spring. This also will be talked about in Honey Hive Farms beekeeping 101 class.
Bees consume pollen and it is a source of nutrients, protein, and carbs. You can use dry pollen substitute to feed the bees. This can placed in a feeder or bucket near the beehive. This should be protected from rain though. The bees will pack the pollen on their rear legs and take it to the hive. A large percentage of the pollen is collected by the bees mostly in the morning. As the day wears on other forages seek nectar instead. Nonetheless, pollen collection should be regulated so as to avoid collecting too much of it. The way to do it is to collect every other day for some time.
It is at times quite tempting to setup your beehives away from residences, in areas where space is not limiting. However, you can never manage the bee colony if the hives are out of easy reach. The best way to manage the bees is by placing the hives within a close proximity to where you reside. More so, keep the hives within a location where you can see them. Where possible, place them within your backyard so that you can see them every day. Bees require due care and maintenance and therefore the closer they are the better. You will also better manage pests and diseases when you get an easy access to the bees. Also it is a joy to watch them come and go.
Bees are extremely responsive. An active hive can run out of space, re-queen, and move out within 2 weeks. You should therefore inspect your hives regularly, preferably every 7 to 10 days, Honey Hive Farms has so many that we inspect every 15 days. Inspection should be comprehensive and this includes: opening up the hive, checking space utilization and availability and the removal and inspection of the each frame of brood. You should check out any signs of swarming and diseases. Allocate sufficient amount of time for inspection of each hive and do this regularly. In the beginning you will take more time inspecting the hive but as you gain more experience you become more efficient.
When you are just starting out as a beekeeper, it is tempting to keep staring at the bees. You may be tempted to go around checking the hive or hives for up to 10 times in a day. This is not bad at all since everyone loves their bees. However, avoid this since frequently opening the hive exposes the bees to heat or cold and wind which stresses the bees. Avoid this as much as possible especially when the bees are trying to get established. You should also avoid too much insulation on the hive during winter. Hives that are wrapped tightly result in moisture buildup which kills the bees. Honey Hive Farms vents the hives to help moisture escape, yes even in the winter. Honey Hive Farms stops feeding sugar syrup in September in the colder climates so that we are not putting more moisture in the hive for the bees to deal with before it gets to cold. Arizona is easier and different on how you will approach this..
There is no limit to the number of hives one should have if he or she is a professional. However, you should adhere to the state laws and regulations when establishing your apiaries. The beginner should start small and scale up over time. The ideal number for the beginner is 2 or 5 hives at the start. This number is easily manageable and will still provide an ideal number of bees to allow winter loses. You can increase this number once you gain confidence and experience. A well-established hive is capable of generating 50 to 100 pounds of surplus honey annually depending where you are located. This is sufficient for household and commercial purposes. Honey Hive Farms honeys vary from types to the areas to the time of the year to the size of the hive. We harvest Cactus Honey, Wildflower Honey, Orange Blossom Honey, Mesquite Honey, Cats Claw Honey and we offer a Suicide Honey all grade A and only the best quality that has been learned over time.
A strong population is required to build a good bee colony. The main role of the queen is to propagate the bee colony. It lays a full brood pattern and will skip a few cells. It covers up to 8 to 10 frames. A healthy colony has more worker brood than drone brood and the bee population can go up to 75000 bees during the summer. This will be composed of the field bees that make up about 30,000 of the bee population. All the frames in two hive bodies and one or more frames in supers should be fully covered by the bees. A good colony is also docile when well managed and there is little tendency to swarm.
A healthy colony can produce between 40 to 80 pounds of honey before winter depending on the availability of nectar. On average it produces 50 to 100 pounds of surplus honey every season which can be harvested. Excess honey should be harvested from the honey supers and the honey in brood boxes left to be winter food for the bees. Most bees die as a result of food shortage during winter. For the colony to survive all through summer, leave a minimum of 40 to 80 pounds of honey for every brood box and provide supplement food as well, sugar to water in a 2/1 ratio. You do not feed sugar water after September in could climates, this makes the hive have moisture and the bees can not fan the moisture out before balling up for winter, not a good thing. Also note, you do not feed sugar water when trying to harvest honey as they will store the sugar syrup / sugar water where the honey is to be harvested, again not good.
The beehive should be well positioned in order to provide a comfortable and healthy environment for the bees. It should be level from side to side but positioned such that it is slightly tilted toward the entrance. This will help prevent water from accumulating inside the hive when it rains. Bees dislike moist environments and therefore keep the hive dry. Moist environments are conducive for diseases. In addition to this, ensure the hive is well ventilated through the upper side. The telescopic lid should be raised a little so as to reduce the humidity within the hive. Honey Hive Farms uses a small paint stick at the back of the lid of the hive to draw air from the entrance out the back of the hive where the paint stick is. You should also raise the hive at least 18 inches from the ground and it should have weed/rodent barriers.
Given a choice between new or used bee equipment, buy new bee equipment. Most of the used bee equipment has been inherited by non-beekeeping families and therefore they might be acting unknowingly as agents of spreading viruses and diseases. Furthermore, it is recommended that frames and foundations are replaced after every 3 to 5 years. Overused bee hive equipment collects contaminants and chemicals which eventually poison the larvae and the young bees. The wax in particular absorbs these chemicals and harmful substances. This is what we spoke about above, why not to buy nucs or working hives, you just do not know how much chemicals are in foundation of the frames, buy bee packages. The new equipment may cost more on initial purchase but in the long run they give more benefits. Do not buy cheap used equipment then later lose an entire bee colony and if you ever want to sell it, no one will want worthless used bee equipment.
The best way to place the bees from a package into the hive is by removing half your frames. Then shaking out the bees gently into the hive. Any bees that remain should be left on the ground near the hive in the package. That way they will find their own way into the bee hive, smelling the queen. Carefully put the frames back in and push them tightly together. The queen is usually kept in a cage that is corked on both ends. The cork on the end that has candy should be removed around seven days. Make sure the queen cage screen is facing front to back so that the bees can feed here while shes in the cage. Once this is done, place the cage with its candy side facing down in-between two center frames of the bee hive. This will allow the bees to eat the candy within a few days thus releasing the queen into the hive. If you put the queen cage opening up it could get blocked.ANOTHER Option if you do not want to shake the bee package into the hive is, remove half your frames (not a 5 frame hive) and take the queen out, put her between two frames and set the packages in the hive with the sugar can removed. The bees will most likely come out to the queen. Check to make sure this has happened the next day, if not shake them in.
Some of the spring honey plants that bees forage in Missouri or in the Mid West include: maple trees, clover, basswood trees, legumes, willow trees, tulip poplar trees, berry plants, sweet clover, locust trees, trees, grasses, and sorghum. Arizona we find has grade A premium honey but less of it as the plants / nectar changes quickly. Arizona local raw honeys includes Cactus Honey, Wildflower Honey, Orange Blossom Honey, Mesquite Honey, Cats Claw Honey and we offer a Suicide Honey all grade A and only the best quality. All these provide bees with nectar and or pollen. During summer and fall in Missouri area bees forage plants such as soybeans, milkweed, cotton, goldenrod, smartweed, garden plants, sumac, asters, sunflowers, and morning glory. Most of these grow naturally whereas others should be planted within close proximity to the hives. These plants bloom at different times and therefore plant a combination of two or more varieties of the plants so as to ensure uninterrupted supply of nectar and pollen to the bees. View more on bee friendly plants. Arizona honeys are dependent on the rains, this changes a lot quickly but mostly Honey Hive Farms chases / moves hives onto Cactus Honey, Wildflower Honey, Orange Blossom Honey, Mesquite Honey, Cats Claw Honey NOT COTTON they spray it to much, we stay around the desert type plants or places like Organic Farm that do not spray. You do not want your bees to die from spray or have them harvest nectar / pollen from the sprayed plants / flowers.
Bees are highly susceptible to diseases. Any contaminated bee hive equipment can results in widespread disease among the brood. The situation is further aggravated by the fact that bees live as a colony and maintain continuous contact. This can spread a disease within a short time. Some of the most common bee diseases include: European Foulbrood, American Foulbrood, Nosema disease, and many others. Mostly you will have to deal with are mites (like little ticks on the bees) or if your do not keep the space correct with in the hive (not enough bees for the amount of space), you will get wax moths. The best way to prevent bee diseases is by buying new bee equipment. Again as we spoke about above, buy bee packages not working hives or nucs. The frames and foundations should also be replaced every 3 to 5 years. You should also have enough hive tools so that you can rotate them while cleaning the others (dip/soak in alcohol) between bee yards or burn it off with a torch that is what we do.
Bee colonies should be well protected from insecticide drift. If you use chemicals to treat parasites and pests that attack the bees, then ensure you familiarize yourself with best practices in chemical application and spraying. The bees should be confined for 3 days with a ventilated cloth when heavy insecticide spraying is in progress. Once the three days are over, allow the bees to fly. Bee hives should be located in areas that are away from frequently sprayed fields. If these areas are unavoidable then the hives should never be in a downwind location. Put them in an upward location instead so that the chemicals blow away from the hives. Never use Seven Dust on flower in bloom as the bees will get on the flowers and take back the Seven Dust to their hive and kill it off, not pretty. If you ever see your bees outside the hive doing circles, confused on the ground or just not a normal behavior, they probably have been sprayed or got into spray. Honey Hive Farms always burns their equipment, for sure the foundation where everything has been stored. If you keep the foundation and install new bee package or swarm, they most likely will eat what the dead bees stored and will die too.
Beekeeping is just like any other venture you can think of. It takes time, effort, dedication, money and experience to be a successful beekeeper. As a matter of fact, this old adage still remains true, “if you want to learn about beekeeping speak to a beekeeper that is in the second or third year in beekeeping”. Every beekeeper is at the peak of his or her career on the second and third year and by this time they have built enough confidence to share their knowledge about the venture. If you are looking for a mentor then look for a beekeeper who has engaged in beekeeping for many years within your area. Find one who can freely share about the mistakes they have made and how they managed to overcome them. It’s good to have a local teacher like Honey Hive Farms and go to beekeeping 101 hands on beekeeping class. NOTE: A lot of people never talk about this, I had to learn the hard way my first year. There is a huge difference from listing to someone that says they have kept bees for 50 years (but only had 2 hives off and on) OR someone that has kept bees for say 12 years, like us, and keeps 5000 plus hives. I am just saying amount of hives is way better than time spent in a few hives. Also note: All beekeepers have different opinions and all or none could be good. What I am saying there is more than one way to keep bees. You should find one person to listen to and stick with them or you may become confused or frustrated.
There are so many varieties of plants that produce nectar and pollen in nature. One might think that every kind of flower you see is good for the bees. Contrarily, some plants are toxic and might even wipe out an entire colony under some conditions. Furthermore, if you are based in the US then it is important to note the fact that honeybees did not evolve in America. Therefore, they may not be able to recognize poisonous plants. In addition to this, not all plant pollens are nutritionally sufficient for the honeybees. Others may even be insufficient for winter. Honey Hive Farms has tested a lot of pollen, dirt and soil, etc. Our farm in Missouri is totally different than in Arizona. Missouri if your bees choose to get onto Corn, it is like the bees are eating cardboard. In Arizona same thing but not as much corn pollen, but Cotton is very bad for bees, so we keep all our bees away from Corn and Cotton.
Bees are generally subject to nature that plays no favorites. Even in the absence of human intervention, bees will still be subjected to other elements of nature that can wipe out colonies, for instance: viruses, parasites, overpopulated colonies, or diseases. All these will still lead to the loss of entire colonies. On average, a bee colony will produce at least one swarm and that results in double the number of the colony. The survival rate of such a colony is minimal and only the original number will manage to survive through following spring. Statistically speaking half the colonies in a stable population survives every year. Therefore do not punish yourself when you lose a colony(ies).
Many have raised concerns as to whether it is wise or not to use organic acids and essential oils to treat bee diseases and pests such as the varroa mite among others. Well, bees have been found to have extraordinary capabilities to bear with certain chemicals. They can detoxify chemicals and other natural toxins found in nectar and pollen. As a matter of fact, propolis is an odorous resin exuded by plants and is one of the products used by bees to kill parasites and microorganisms. Therefore these organic chemicals have no effect on the bees. Nonetheless, our main concern should be the man-made chemicals and pollutants – especially the synthetic miticides used by beekeepers. These are deadly to the bees. Of course, certain beekeepers would prefer a treatment free approach. This will be another choice you will have to make. There is more propolis in Missouri than in Arizona, FYI
The type of bee hive or box used for keeping the bees does not really matter much. Bees can thrive in almost any type of hive for as long as it is healthy and comfortable. Therefore, it will never matter if you are using a traditional top bar hive or a sophisticated modern beehive. Another factor to note is that the color of the equipment used also is not a big deal to bees. Furthermore, the style of equipment is just but a reflection of the beekeeper’s preference and is by no means and indication of successful beekeeping. Choose whichever hive type that pleases you and meets your needs. Honey Hive Farms keeps it very simple and use the standard bee hives.
Bees are by nature independent and self-sustaining creatures. Their body’s immune response is quite outstanding and they are capable of resisting pathogens and some common viruses. However, the bee immunity largely depends on the availability of protein. A recent research done by Tucson Bee Lab (they do not work an 8 hour day, wont ever test anything for anyone we have met?) revealed that bees that get sufficient amounts of pollen have greater immune responses. They can overcome diseases such as Deformed Wing Virus, a common disease in bees. Healthy bees are not only able to overcome diseases but they are also capable of defending the brood from invasion. Therefore ensure the bees get an access to nutritious pollen.
There has been a lot of buzz with some beekeepers saying “treatment-free” bee management is the best way to go, as they view treatment of diseases and parasites as going against nature. While this may work for some, it may not work for others. Every hive is different and avoiding essential treatment should never be an excuse to leave your bees to die, even if the method works at times.We as humans take medicine when we become ill and so it is that sometimes the animals and insects in our care need medicinal help in order to get better. Good management of bees is all about keeping the bee colony alive and healthy, and sometimes going treatment-free cannot achieve this. Furthermore, beehives left to fight against diseases and parasites on their own are not only prone to death, but there is a high risk they will infect neighboring hives and bee colonies. Honey Hive Farms is very careful with any and all treatment. NOTE: When a responsible beekeeper treats the bees there should not be any honey on the hive that will be for human consumption.
The honeybee originated from the tropics and thus thrives best in sunny and warm environments. Cold temperatures reduce the lifespan of bees and they become susceptible to diseases. That explains why most beekeepers lose bee colonies during winter. The bees need honey in order to generate heat required for warming themselves. The honey accumulated by the bees in preparation of winter is used as stored fuel for the cold months. To help the bees thrive, ensure the hive gets sufficient infiltration of sunlight. However, it should not exceed the brood nest required temperature. Some diseases or parasites such as the varroa, chalkboard, tracheal mites, and small hive beetle are least common in hives with better exposure to the sun. Hive beetles love shaded areas with grass and good soil. In Missouri there is a hive beetle problem but in Arizona you would be pressed to find a hive beetle at all.
Recent studies have led to the introduction bee stocks that are capable of resisting parasites like Honey Hive Farms bee packages and queens. These latest colonies are capable of resisting parasites such as the varroa mite and other viruses. These parasite resistant bees have marked the beginning of cost-effective and hardy stocks. Most small-scale beekeepers can keep this strain of bees at a low cost since they require no treatments. You can also use some natural treatments in addition to keeping these resistant bees. More so, it is prudent to keep a constant check on the bees and offer a helping hand if they cannot keep off the mites on their own. Honey Hive Farms rotates its stock to make sure the bees do not get weaker over time from cross breading.
Most beekeepers especially the novice think that the professional beekeeper knows everything. Truth be told, no one alive knows everything even if it is their area of specialization. You should therefore venture into beekeeping with an open mind. In fact, you can ask any professional beekeeper about some aspects of apiculture and you will be surprised to learn that they have never heard of it. Even the master beekeeper never stops learning because every day and every season comes with its share of challenges. Even diseases and parasites become resistant to chemicals. If you stop learning you will not be in a position to counter new challenges.
Successful beekeeping requires strong colonies. It is always better to have a number of hives instead of just one since this helps better manage the bee colonies. When you have several hives you expand your options. You can easily transfer pollen, brood, or honey from one hive to the other when need arises. It is also a good way of strengthening weaker bee colonies. Furthermore, two or more hives make it easier to re-queen hives that are queenless. You can use the healthy hive to supplement your eggless or queenless hive. The extra hives act as a backup for each other when the need arises to boost a hive. Although the above is true, re-queening a hive with eggs takes a lot of time, the queen could go out on her mating flight and get eaten by a bird or blown away in the wind. The worst part to us, and for sure in Arizona, you never know what kind of genetics you may get OR in Arizona most likely will become Africanized too. We do not chance an unmated queen of any sort, we feel that this is irresponsible.
Purchase beekeeping equipment early. It is wise to get your beekeeping equipment early before bee arrival. Those that wait until the last minute will experience shortages as the spring season gets here. You should also expect some delays in shipping since most companies take 2 to 3 weeks to deliver. This can bring a lot of problems if the bees arrive and their home is not yet setup. Always have your equipment ready if possible at least a month before the bees arrive. This being said, bee packages are usually listed on our website around October. Bee Packages and Queens sell out very quickly, around end of March they are usually sold out with a 300 person waiting list by April 15th, dont wait. NOTE: Bee packages come with a mated queen, dont buy an extra queen if not needed.
It is good to know the options you have when it comes to hive styles available in the market. If you are beginner beekeeper then it is wise that you carry out your research in advance. You can choose a 10-frame or 8-frame Langstroth hive. Alternatively, you can go for a Top Bar hive, but Honey Hive Farms would disagree for Arizona area (the Valley). Each of these has its pros and drawbacks and you need to know what you buying before you commit your finances. One of the best ways to ensure you get an ideal style is to take beekeeping 101 with a Master beekeeper. Once you have first-hand experience from Honey Hive Farms hands on beekeeping class then you will know the types of hive available, you can try out the style of your choice.
For as much as one hive is better than one, it is much better to go for quality over quantity. A beekeeper that has a few well-maintained hives with healthy bees is much better than one with many hives but with poorly-maintained bees. The beekeeper that can devote enough time for the management of his few hives can be deemed successful unlike one where many hives are in poor condition. Always choose quality over quantity. However, if you have the capacity and capability of handling many hives never hesitate to have more, there is a balance from a hobby to a job, you would have to fine this number. Honey Hive Farms thinks after 300 hives it became a job / business and just grew and grew out of control, so here we are. Do this as long as the bees are well managed and are healthy.
Most people never understand the amount of effort it takes to get the clean honey they see in bottles. It extremely hard to even think that beekeeping requires some hard work and can at times involve handling dirt. Well, summer months involves plenty of dirt and sweat. The boxes filled with honey are very heavy and requires some physical effort. Luckily, various methods of handling honey have been developed to make this easier. For instance, the use of ATV has gained popularity with many beekeepers globally. The use of trucks makes it easy to transport honey from the farm to storage areas. You could take five frames of honey at a time, not the 10 frames. Half the weight and the other five are still stored until you need them. The bees will take care of the five frames you left. I love the hobby times, easier than the business times :)
Someone once said, if you have not failed in anything then you have never tried something new. This holds true for beekeepers. Every beekeeper, even the professionals experience have some failure at one point. Those who are sincere enough will tell you they have failed at one time. If you are starting out in beekeeping then you may have some high expectations. Never think failure is impossible even when everything is done right. It is possible to do everything in the right way and still lose an entire colony. Be willing to accept loss, draw some lessons from it and move on. Do not dwell on mistakes and most importantly never give up the beekeeping. Example: Honey Hive Farms had a great very nice hive with such nice bees for three years. The bees were there on Friday and had mites and left on Sunday. I believe it is take the bad with the good. NOTE: I still had the equipment, frames and honey. So we froze the honey (for the bees to consume not us) and cleaned everything up. We installed another great packages of bees, yes you guessed it from Honey Hive Farms and now that hive is five years old.
Beekeeping is one of those industries where advice is limitless and given for free. You should learn to listen to all but decide and work with what works best for you. Most importantly, seek advice from those within your region and are professionals in the field. It is also better to begin small and grow drastically since that is the only sure way of gaining experience on the field. As a matter of fact, you will realize with time that you have knowingly or unknowingly developed your own management plan that works best with yours schedule, budget, location, and climate. Honey Hive Farms has had its ups and downs. We could not figure out how to know what was going on in the hive or what day we worked it last, etc. SO are you ready for this? We wrote on the metal lid of the hive with a marker. The marker over about a three month time would start fading so then we would start all over again, easy right? Lastly we had around 300 hives in one yard, yes we had to feed them, to know what hives were needing something, ready for this? We stood bricks up on the lid if they needed something and kept the other bricks laying down. Easy, we have been very lucky. :)
Most beekeepers, especially those in the venture for the first time expect to get surplus honey on their first year. Well, do not rush to get the honey even if you committed a lot of your time and effort to the project. The first year is not only tough for you as a beginner but it is also tough for the new bee colony. If you consume all the surplus honey during this time, you risk losing your entire bee colony to starvation since nectar may not be sufficient to replace it. However, this will depend on the climate and conditions of the region you are based. Took Honey Hive Farms a couple of years to figure out honey types and to have enough to pull any off to sell Cactus Honey, Wildflower Honey, Orange Blossom Honey, Mesquite Honey, Cats Claw Honey NOT COTTON they spray it to much, all these had a learning curve.
To the novice, the dozens of information available about beekeeping may seem overwhelming. It is even more confusing when you get several contradicting information on the same matter. Fortunately, it is important to remember it takes time. Once you have entered the world of beekeeping, remember this is one of the most opinionated industries. Almost anyone is ready to give his or her view about it. Never be deceived, it takes a lifetime learning to be a beekeeper. Be willing to commit all it takes to succeed and you will succeed in beekeeping. Work with a company like Honey Hive Farms with great bees and 12 years working with great people. Start small and grow your stock with time, watch what you wish for, look at us, we wished to get larger and now its just gotten out of hand :) thanks to our amazing customers and bee stock.
Beekeeping has its fair share of challenges. It also offers tremendous dividends to the beekeeper that is patient and resilient in the venture. Every beekeeper will experience highs and lows. During the abundant seasons, almost anyone can succeed in beekeeping. However, the true measure of successful beekeeping does not lie in these seasons of plenty. What truly defines a successful beekeeper is his or her ability to overcome even the most challenging seasons like winter. A well maintained stock and proper husbandry define your success in beekeeping. Healthy bees all through the year proves you are successful. It is not all about the equipment, philosophy, or treatments employed. Honey Hive Farms makes some odd choices to many as low on good help, space, equipment and all the hives we have is overwhelming, swarms are ok for us. Just do your best and that is all you can do.
To be successful in beekeeping, take our hands on beekeeping class, beekeeping 101. Many new beekeepers travel a long ways to take the hands on beekeeping class we offer, your welcome to come too Secondly buy great bees and queens from Honey Hive Farms. Third ask question and get advice from bee farms like Honey Hive Farms. Its just advice, you can take or leave the advice you get, do some, dont do the other, pick and choose what you believe will work. Do the best you can to follow these beekeeping tips and you will not only get a healthy and productive bee colony but will also get a sense of fulfillment for doing the right thing. Keep in touch and follow us and hope our information will help you out.www.HoneyHiveFarms.comThank you to bee keep help with website.