Are you fond of gardening? Love to spend time with flowers?
Here we brings you a hobby which can be fascinating & profitable sideline i.e. Beekeeping.
“Gardens..can be mini bee sanctuaries: providing nest sides and food, while linking habitats to help prevent problems such as in breeding”
Yes you may be able to produce your own honey without any fear of pesticides or other harmful substances. And yes it is very easy & interesting.
This can be your part time hobby, full time occupation or an exploration in your kitchen garden. But with bees, you may be horrified about their stings. But you will be happy to know that Honey bees normally only sting to defend themselves or their colony; when colonies are handled properly and precautions are taken, stinging is not a major problem.
Before we start our bee keeping we must know about these social beautiful creatures of nature. A honey bee colony typically consists of three kinds of adult bees: workers, drones, and a queen
- Queen: Each colony has only one queen, except during and a varying period following swarming preparations or supersedure. Because she is the only sexually developed female, her primary function is reproduction. She produces both fertilized and unfertilized eggs. A queen is easily distinguished from other members of the colony. Her body is normally much longer than either the drone’s or worker’s, especially during the egg-laying period when her abdomen is greatly elongated. Her wings cover only about two-thirds of the abdomen, whereas the wings of both workers and drones nearly reach the tip of the abdomen when folded.
- Drones: Drones (male bees) are the largest bees in the colony. The drone’s head is much larger than that of either the queen or worker, and its compound eyes meet at the top of its head. Drones have no stinger, pollen baskets, or wax glands. Their main function is to fertilize the virgin queen during her mating flight, but only a small number of drones perform this function.
- Workers: Workers are the smallest bodied adults and constitute the majority of bees occupying the colony. They are sexually undeveloped females and under normal hive conditions do not lay eggs. Workers have specialized structures, such as brood food glands, scent glands, wax glands, and pollen baskets, which allow them to perform all the labors of the hive. They clean and polish the cells, feed the brood, care for the queen, remove debris, handle incoming nectar, build beeswax combs, guard the entrance, and air-condition and ventilate the hive during their initial few weeks as adults. Later as field bees they forage for nectar, pollen, water, and propolis (plant sap).
- Laying Workers: When a colony becomes queenless, the ovaries of several workers develop and workers begin to lay unfertilized eggs
Steps for Backyard Beekeeping
Related to natural beekeeping, urban beekeeping is an attempt to revert to a less industrialized way of obtaining honey by utilizing small scale colonies that pollinate urban gardens. Some have found that “city bees” are actually healthier than “rural bees” because there are fewer pesticides and greater biodiversity. Homeowners can use their landscapes to help feed local bee populations by planting flowers that provide nectar and pollen.
Bees require very little intervention from you to get their work done. They need a dry place to live that is protected from the elements, a decent source of water, and some food.
Step 1- Get a hive stand
You can get hive components from local suppliers. You will need two deep-hive bodies, two honey supers, a bottom board, a queen excluder (optional), an inner cover, a top cover, twenty deep frames, twenty shallow frames, foundation for all the frames, and an entrance reducer. These will come to you in pieces and you will have to build them. This saves money on shipping, and it makes for a fun winter project. What could brighten your spirits more on a cold January day than building a beehive and thinking of fresh honey?
Step 2- Protect Yourself- Get some clothing.
- A lightweight jacket with attached veil is a good chose then doing regular beework
- A full bee suit and gloves are needed, starters may start their bee work with this
- It just depends on how comfortable you are around bees. Will this equipment prevent you from getting stung? Usually. Tenacious bees can still get you from time to time, but this equipment will prevent them from flying in your ears, eyes, nostrils, and other fun places. If you are the nervous type, go for a full-length suit, gloves, and a veil.
Step 3- Get a smoker and a hive tool.
A smoker is simply a cylinder with a bellows attached. In the cylinder you build a slow burning fire, using pine needles, old burlap, rotten wood or even commercially prepared smoker fuel. When smoke enters the beehive when you are working in the hive bees got distracted- smoke to react as forest fire (natural home), break their chemical signal communication
The smoker will calm the bees, making it easier to work with them. The hive tool will help you pry apart the pieces of your hive when it’s time to open it up. Bees will use a sticky substance called propolis to stick everything together. You’ll need a hive tool to get through it.
Step 4- Now build your hive.
You have to imagine a honey bee colony as a sphere in this space rather than a collection of combs hanging from the top. Your bees in your beehive will construct their nest in very much the same way. Honey on top, pollen surrounding the brood nest & brood near the bottom.
- The bottom board goes down first.
- Build the deep hive bodies. These are going to be where the bees will store their supply of honey and pollen and the queen will lay her eggs. You won’t take any honey from this part of the hive. The bees will need it all to get through the winter
- Build the deep frames and put the foundation in them. Hang ten of these in each deep hive body. The bees will fill these with honey, pollen, and brood (baby bees).
- Lay the queen excluder on top of the second deep hive body. This will prevent the queen from being able to get up into your honey supply to lay eggs. Since you will be filtering the honey when you extract it, it isn’t really a problem if she does, but it’s a waste of her effort and doesn’t help your bees at all.
- Next come the honey supers. These will not be stacked on the hive until the honey starts to flow in May and the bees have filled both deep supers. Add honey supers as the bees are ready and they will continue to fill them for you as long as the nectar flows.
- Build your shallow frames and hang them in the supers.
- Finally, put the inner cover and the top cover on top. I usually put something heavy on top of that like a brick or a rock to prevent the wind or a skunk from taking the lid off and rummaging through the hive.
- Paint all the exposed outsides of the wood to keep the wood protected. Use white or a light color to prevent the hive from absorbing the sunlight and getting too hot.
Step 5- Now you are ready for bees. Find a local supplier and order a package of bees.
- Italiand are gentle very productive, pretty & easy to manage. Good for beginners & for urban garden
- These usually include a queen and 3 lbs of bees. This is enough to get a hive started. When your bees arrive, they will have a little can with sugar water in it and the queen will be in her own little cage.
- Open the top of your hive and pull the can out of your bee package. You now have a big hole and bees are starting to climb out of it.
- Turn the package upside-down and shake once of twice. Big clumps of bees will fall out into the hive.
- Now hang the queen cage between two frames in your hive and let everyone get settled in.
- After the bees have worked their way down in between the frames, you can place the inner cover and the top cover on the hive and let them get to work.
And always remember If you can garden, you can be a beekeeper. “Happy Beekeeping”
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