Maybe you’ve been itching to make your own delicious honey for your delicious culinary creations, or maybe your want to start selling some honey to make a bit of side income. Regardless of what your reason, raising honeybees is both a fruitful and enjoyable task but only if you know what you’re doing. Many beginners who want to start off are usually afraid of one thing: getting stung. And even those who aren’t allergic or afraid of getting hurt a bit from time to time still don’t know exactly how to properly care for their honeybees. Therefore, the following is a quick guide in effectively raising a colony.
Get Your Protective Gear and Honeybees
The first two things you need to take care of honeybees are protective gear and the bees themselves. Luckily for you, there are numerous ways to get honeybees as you can purchase an entire hive from a local beekeeper or even have a bunch shipped to you in the mail.
In terms of protective gear, it is essential to have a hat with a veil, durable gloves, and a jacket that protects your entire body. Other equipment like a smoker and honey collectors are also great to make the process of maintaining your bees easier.
Find a Proper Place to Put Your Bees
Not only will this help keep your bees comfortable, but also make it easier for you when it’s time to collect honey. Prebuilt hives can be purchased in many local stores, and once bought should be placed off the ground. A hive stand or other durable structure can do just the trick.
Once you have a hive box, you have to place bees inside this hive. Unlike what most people think, this process is extremely easy as bees without a hive are pretty non threatening. If you received bees through the mail, first place the separately caged queen bee in the hive first and then pour the rest of the bees over the queen. You’ll notice in the coming weeks and months that the number of bees is steadily increasing; during this initial period you won’t notice any honey. However, once the colony has a great enough number (which usually occurs in the second year), you’ll start noticing honey that can be harvested.
Checking Up On Your Bees
To ensure everything is going smoothly, you will most likely be checking up on your bees frequently. During this phase, it is advised to be a bit more careful, and to try to check up on the bees on warmer, sunnier days as more of the bees will be away from the hive. When checking up on the bees, make sure to wear your protective gear, optionally using the smoker if there are a great number of bees still present in the hive. Once most of the bees are incapacitated by the smoker, you can use a knife to cut apart honeycombs for consumption later on.
Make Sure There are Flowers Near By
Bees like most insects require nectar as a source of nutrients. As such, ensure that you live in an area that has a good number of flowers nearby. Otherwise, the bees may not stay around and try to leave your hive to find another.
Honeybees are most active during warmer days and less mobile during the winter months; so expect to get most of your honey during the summer. In the end, once you have a hive established, the colony will self-maintain themselves long as there are flowers nearby.