It might sound like a daunting task, raising thousands of honeybees in your backyard. However, it’s actually quite easy with a bit of practice and understanding of how to properly raise honeybees. It is also tremendously rewarding when caring for honeybees successfully. Therefore, the following are few key guidelines that must be followed if you want to successfully raise honeybees and enjoy some of your very own fresh honey.
Buy Your Bees a Home
It may be tempting to just allow your bees to take refuge in a dead log or hollowed out tree trunk in your backyard, but this may make it much more difficult for you to harvest honey. That’s why it is advised to go out and purchase a sturdy and more accessible home for your bees. Most of these pre-made structures will have a hollow interior with multiple moving parts, allowing you to examine and harvest honey more conveniently and with less disruption to the bees. This also reduces the chances of a honeybee potentially wanting to sting you.
Once you’ve purchased home, you can either place the hive in a large enough backyard to parking lot, but first ensure what your district’s rules are regarding keeping a bee colony on your property.
Purchase Gloves and Other Protective Essentials
Though honeybees will normally not want to sting you unless riled up, it is still important to purchase protective gear such as durable gloves, a hat with a mesh-like veil, as well as a jacket with no holes in them. Gloves should always be worn when attempting to harvest honey or touching the hive, while a hat and veil should be worn whenever you’re near the colony.
A smoker is also essential and helps keep bees calm while you’re checking up on the hive. These cylindrical containers can carry around a lit fire, helping you dispense smoke that can sedate and interfere with the honeybees’ communication.
Gathering Your Honeybees
There’s no point in purchasing a pre-made hive if you have no bees to put in. Luckily for you, there’s a few different ways you can get your hands on some honeybees.
The first method is catching a colony in the wild. However, do note that though this is the least expensive method, it is the most dangerous and only individuals who are experienced enough should attempt to catch wild honeybees. During spring or summer, you can more easily find a colony of bees resting on branches or logs as they try to find a new home; this is a perfect opportunity for you to introduce your hive and have the bees relocate into it. If you notice that there is a swarm resting on a tree branch, make sure you have your protective gear on and a hive set up near the branch. Carefully sawing off the branch will force the bees to relocate and will usually make their way to your hive. Then simply seal it off and transport it to a proper location.
The second method is a bit more expensive; costing upwards of $120, you can purchase a fully stocked hive from local beekeepers. Not only is this easier and less risky, but will also give you access to a professional beekeeper who can offer advice and answer any of your questions.
The last method is a bit surprising but is both efficient and cheap: ordering bees through the mail! These orders can cost around $40 and can include thousands of bees as well as a queen bee. The only downside to this option is that if the box is not stocked with an appropriate amount of food or sugar water, then you might find that many of your bees have died in transit.
Getting access to honeybees isn’t as hard as most people think. You can catch bees yourself or opt to have them mailed or bought from a local beekeeper. Regardless of which you choose, always make sue you have the appropriate gear to handle such bees with little risk of hurting yourself!