Monday, February 6, 2017

What to be Doing Right Now if You Want to Keep Bees This Year

If you have been thinking about beekeeping in your yard or garden, this is the time to get started in the Northern Hemisphere. In a few short weeks, it will be time for your bees to arrive and for you to hive them and begin your journey as a beekeeper.

First, check to see if your community has rules about beekeeping. See if there are laws pertaining to the keeping of bees in your city or state.

If you have not done so already, then you should order your equipment. Once it arrives you can assemble and paint it to get it ready for your bees to make it their new home. But before you do anything else you need to call an apiary and order your bees. Often they run out of bees and you will have to delay your new hobby for a year unless you can catch a swarm. This happened to me and I had to wait until the next year to begin beekeeping. Do not procrastinate on this step.

While you wait for your beekeeping equipment and first bees to arrive, read everything you can about keeping bees, bee behavior, and good management practices. Attend local beekeeper meetings and find a more experienced beekeeper to mentor you. Youtube videos are also a handy means of learning from other beekeepers. 

When you order your beehives it's a good time to order a few other things you'll need like a bee suit, smoker and hive tool. Ordering more things at once will save on shipping and these are three things you cannot do without.

Determine where you are going to place your hives. Bees seem to be healthier in areas of full sun. Many pests like the small hive beetle love shady beehives. Make sure the site is not prone to flooding. Facing the entrance to the hive toward the east allows the bees to catch the first rays of light and get an early start every morning.

If you are living in a crowded location with lots of buildings and people it's a good idea to have the entrance to the hive face something like a wall or fence. This is to force the bees to immediately come out and fly up high, out of the pathways of people. In my garden, they face an apple tree with low branches. You don't want your neighbors to complain about your bees before you have a chance to charm them with a jar of honey.

Bees can be kept anywhere from farms to rooftops. They'll benefit your urban garden and provide you with a fascinating hobby, increase your fruit and vegetable yield, and sweet rewards for your efforts.

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