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To Bee or Not to Bee - Beekeeping for Beginners
Feb 17, 2022

To Bee or Not to Bee - Beekeeping for Beginners

To Bee or Not to Bee - Beekeeping for Beginners

Without nature’s pollinators, the fruits, veggies, and flowers we enjoy would not be able to grow. Unfortunately, bees are becoming endangered at an alarmingly rapid rate due to habitat loss as well as other factors. The good news is, bee keeping is on the rise as people seek ways to lead more sustainable and environmentally friendly lives. Contrary to what many might think, bee keeping is a hobby you can enjoy in urban and unconventional environments as well as rural areas! In addition to helping maintain your neighborhood flora and fauna, you will be able to enjoy unpasteurized honey far better than anything you’ll find at the grocery store, and beeswax for your do-it-yourself projects!

Before you Start

You will want to do plenty of research before purchasing your first home apiary. Check your city’s laws and regulations on beekeeping to make sure you don’t need a permit or permission from your home owner's association before getting started. Once you have the green light, make sure that you are ready for the commitment of starting an apiary. You will also need to set aside about an hour per week of tending to your bees. Beekeeping is rewarding in many ways such as honey, wax, a flourishing garden, and stress reduction.

Choosing the Location

It is a good idea to have about 6-8’ of space around your hive so your bees have plenty of space to buzz around without bumping into one another. If this is a constraint, you can place the opening in front of a screen or tall shrub to encourage bees to fly upward. Place your hive where the bees can get sun in the morning and shade toward the evening, this will help encourage them to get moving early in the day. The hive should be away from frequently used areas, protected from direct winds and within clear access to foraging spaces. In addition, it is important to make sure that your bees have a clean water source, otherwise your bees might begin swarming your neighbor's birdbath or consuming water from dubious sources such as chlorinated pool water.

Tools to Help you get Started

Hive - The most common and beginner-friendly type of hive is the Langstroth hive which is comprised of a series of stackable boxes. Inside the boxes are square frames for bees to build a comb. With proper care, your hive can last 10-20 years.

Starter Bees - Worker bees and a queen to populate your hive.

Hive Tool & Scraper -This crowbar and scraper combo will separate hive boxes or lids stuck together by beeswax and scrape away built-up beeswax in the hive.

Smoker - A device that puffs smoke into the hive to relax the bees and allow you to extract the honeycomb and do maintenance.

Uncapping Scratching Fork - Uncaps the honeycomb in order to release honey.

Honey Extractor - Device that uses centrifugal force to extract honey from the comb without causing damage.

Beekeeping Suit - A one-piece suit is a good idea, but a long-sleeve jacket and pants can work as well.

Veil - Protects your face and neck from bee stings

Long gloves - Protects your hands from bee stings while you handle bee equipment