Finding your Bee’s and Setting Up Your Hives
Acquiring Your Bees
As long as you aren’t allergic to bee stings, beekeeping is a way for someone who doesn’t have a great deal of money and acres of land to take an active role in agriculture. Once you have purchased a hive, it can be kept in a remote corner of your yard.
Uban and yard beekeeping is very popular; you’ll be doing the bees a favor.
If you are considering starting a beehive, the first thing you should do is call your local Agricultural Office. They will be able to tell you if you live in an area that restricts keeping bees.
- Start with Two Hives
If you can afford the second hive from the start, you and your bees will be ahead, and you’ll learn faster since no two colonies are the same.
Depending on where you got your bees – whether, from a package, nucleus (nuc), or swarm – one hive might be stronger than another. And having two can help you keep the strongest, thus building a much stronger eco-system of colonies.
- Start New Hives in the Spring
New hives should be started in the spring during the heaviest blooming time because that is when the most nutrition is available.
Leave enough honey for all your hives all the time, so that you don’t have to feed them anything that’s bad for them such as corn syrup. Feeding healthy bees sugar water is not good nutrition and will produce poor quality honey and low productivity.
- Buy Bees That Are Native to Your Area
When you buy bees, buy them from local producers rather than through the mail from far away. Locally produced nucs will be healthier and more accustomed to the environment.
The next thing you need to do is select a site for your potential honey bee hive. Once you have selected a site for your beehive, you will need to go about acquiring the equipment.
- Ordering Your Bees and Transportation
Once your hive is in place, and you are confident that everything is in working order it’s time to order your honey bees. The easiest way is to order bees from an established Apiary. You should plan on placing your bee order early in the winter, and the order is typically shipped in autumn.
Most Apiary’s ship their bees through the postal service. When the bees arrive at the post office your mail carrier will call and ask that you pick up the bees.
Very few mail carriers are comfortable driving all over the county with a car full of young angry bees in their car, and most bees are healthier if they don’t have to spend several hours in a hot car.
When you pick up your bees, they should have been packaged in a special carrying case that is designed just for bees. The packaging allows air to circulate to the traveling bees and keeps handlers, such as post office employees, from getting stung.
When you get your bees, do not be surprised if you see a few dead bees laying in the bottom of the package. Traveling is hard on bees, and they can’t all be expected to live through the trip. The rest of the bees should be clutching the sides of the container.
You will notice that one bee in the container has been separated from the rest of the hive. This is your queen bee. The rest of the bees in the container will make up the rest of your bee colony.
Some Apiaries ship the queen with a couple of nurse bees. The top of the queen’s container will be covered with sugar candy.
You should also see a container that is filled with a sugar solution. This sugar solution is what the bees feed on while they are traveling. Once you get your bees home, offer them something to drink. You do this by taking a spray bottle and covering the container with a very fine covering of water.
Transferring Your Bees to Their New Home
Now all you have to do is transfer the new bees from the screen container they were shipped to the hive you have set up for them.
Bees like to be transferred from their shipping container to the hive either early in the morning or late evening.
Have your smoker handy when you are ready to transfer your new bees from their shipping container to the hive. Also, make sure you have your beehive gear on.
The small container is where your new queen is being kept. The top of her shipping container is often covered with a cork. Remove the cork, and you will see a second cap that is made out of sugar.
Hang the queen’s container in your hive. Put it in between the two frames in the center of your hive. Pierce the top of the candy top with a nail.
The worker bees will have an easier time freeing the queen if there is already a small hole in the sugar barrier. When using the nail be very careful that you do not inadvertently stab the queen. You won’t be able to purchase a replacement queen after the winter months. Once the workers have chewed through the sugar barrier the queen will be able to escape into the hive.
Once you have the queen in the hive use your smoker and place a puff of smoke into the shipping package. Gently shake the bee’s shipping container, gently allowing the bees to spill out of the container and into the hive. When you are no longer able to coax any bees out of the container, set the container down near the hive, any bees that are still in it will eventually find their way out of the container and into the hive. Make sure you insert a feeder filled with a simple sugar recipe into the hive.
Leave your new bees alone for a week. During this week the bees will become acclimated with their new home. The queen will start laying eggs, and the bees will start to make honey.
Setting Up Your Hives
Congratulations, you’ve done your beekeeping homework. You’ve chosen a site for your beehive where it won’t be knocked down in a strong wind, or be bothered by pets and humans.
You’ve tried on all your beekeeping gear and are comfortable that it fits you properly and are confident that you are reasonably protected from bee stings.
During the cold winter months, you placed an order for your bees and were notified that your bees were successfully shipped.
You’ve picked up your bees and noted that other then a few dead ones at the bottom of the container and were prepared for a few to not survive the journey. You have transferred your bees and the queen to the hive.
You are a beekeeper, a rewarding hobby for many reasons. The culinary delights of honey, caring for the environment and making a home for a few bees who will build for you a colony of thousands of bees. That’s just one or two hives. You have set them up well done.
Are you suited to a beekeeping hobby? Check to see if you are here “BEE your own boss and create a new sweet income stream”. And, learn about the equipment you need to get started here, “Start your own sweet Beekeeping income stream,” or look at some of the most popular “Best Bee Books” or perhaps you are curious about the “Social Life of Bees.”
Bees are essential to the world’s food supply and life itself. Plantings in your garden provide food for bees, the more you plant across all seasons, the happier the bees will be. All Year Gardening provides inspiration for the garden in spring, summer, autumn and even winter.