Things You Should Know About Raising Bees, Whether for Hobby or Business

There are many advantages of raising bees. In fact, it won’t be wrong to say that it is a highly enjoyable activity. One of the biggest misconceptions regarding raising bees is that not everybody can do it. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, if you are really serious about this activity, you can always turn this hobby into a profitable business venture depending on your passion and business acumen. If you do not want to turn it into a business venture, you can keep bees just to get fresh honey.

People keep bees for a variety of reasons. Some people want to keep bees in order to get homegrown honey, whereas others want to pollinate their gardens, crops and fruit trees. On the other hand, some people have heard about the declining population of honey bees and want to play their part in arresting this steady decline in the population of honey bees. After all, honey bees play a very important role in the environment and their declining population is a cause of concern. It won’t be wrong to say that almost all the beekeepers enjoy keeping bees as it’s an enjoyable activity and the results are simply fabulous.

It has been observed that most people who want to keep bees do so as they had seen some of their family indulge in this enjoyable activity and learned beekeeping through that experience. However, it is also important for you to understand the significance of honey bees in our world. You should know that honey bees are responsible for pollination of almost 1/3 of all the food consumed by human beings. In fact, the pollination is so important that almost everything including the crops that are fed to animals along with a wide variety of fruits is dependent on this pollination.

However, pollination is not the only benefit of keeping honey bees as they play several other important roles in the overall food cycle. As far as keeping bees is concerned, anybody who is interested and willing to take the time to learn can do it. It doesn’t matter whether you are young or old, or a stay-at-home mom, or someone who wants to invest in an enjoyable business. Anybody can be a beekeeper, provided you have the passion and the energy to raise bees.

Learn All That You Can About the Bees (Before Beekeeping, During Raising the Bees, and Forever…)

If you do not know anything about beekeeping, it is time to start learning. Read as many articles as you can about various aspects of raising bees. There are a number of online resources, free as well as paid, that will help you in learning everything you should know about raising bees. If you are not satisfied with the online resources, you can always take a local class.

There is no dearth of such beekeeping classes as almost all the cities offer such classes due to increased interest in beekeeping. Go to your local library and read books about beekeeping. In other words, try to read as much as you can about various aspects of beekeeping in order to be ready before you start spending money on equipment and bees.

Number of Hives You Want to Keep

In addition to learning about raising bees, you will also need to decide on the number of hives when you start your activity. If you have a really tight budget or you want to raise bees just as a hobby, you may start with only one or two hives. It is recommended to start with at least two or three hives. One of the reasons is that one of the hives may fail due to an error or some other issues which means you can always apply your learning from the failure to other hives that have survived.

If one of your hives flies away or dies, you always have another hive to raise your bees. Needless to say, more hives also mean more product in terms of royal jelly, pollen, honey and wax. As far as the effort involved in raising a single hive or multiple hives is concerned, there isn’t much difference. So, the choice always comes down to your budget. If you have the budget and beekeeping isn’t a costly hobby, it is always better to start with multiple hives simultaneously as it will help you in learning quickly.

Purchasing Your Beekeeping Equipment

You are going to need equipment if you want to raise bees. However, there is a particular time when experts recommend buying all your equipment. It is recommended to buy all the needed equipment from September through February. Keep in mind that you always have the flexibility to buy hives later than February but you also need to keep in mind that there will be a longer wait time due to it being busy season for production.

In addition to buying the hives, it is also recommended to buy protective clothing as well as other tools. As far as buying bees is concerned, it is recommended to buy bees between the months of November and March. This is due to the reason that most providers will have sold out their stock by March and there won’t be anything left to buy. It is recommended to buy locally as much as possible.

One of the most common issues faced by people who are new to beekeeping is whether they should invest in completely new equipment or they should try to save some money and make do with old used equipment. Keep in mind that you should start with old equipment only if you are sure that nothing is wrong with the old equipment.

Some diseases can remain dormant for several decades. If this is the case with the equipment you have just recovered from an abandoned beekeeping operation, it is likely that your effort will go waste as the bees will die and you will be left with nothing after many months.

Location Matters, Not Everywhere is Bee-Friendly

When it comes to choosing location, there are several important factors you need to take into account in order to make the right choice. First and foremost, location of your hives. You need to find out whether there are any restrictions on keeping bees in your community.

Usually, people face such restrictions if they live in a city or town, though most city ordinances have some kind of allowance for raising bees. You can usually find out with a quick search or phone call what’s allowed and not allowed in your local area.

In case you cannot raise bees at the place where you live, you should do some research and find a place where you should be able to keep your bees and reach them easily.

As far as the direction of hives is concerned, you can place them in any direction, but keep in mind that the hives should not be placed near a walkway or near the clothes line. They should be given an open field to get their food.

It is also important for you to make sure that everything bees need is easily available. For instance, it is recommended to keep plenty of water around. If your bees are not able to find water near the hives, they will start going to your neighbor’s pool or bird bath, and your neighbors may not like that.

Join an Organization to Support the Bees

You’ll find that there are thousands of beekeeping clubs spread all across the country. In fact, you should be able to find such a club locally when you perform a search on your favorite search engine.

There are many advantages of joining a local beekeeping club. One of the biggest advantages is that these clubs offer excellent opportunities to learn more about beekeeping and it also helps in building up your confidence. Some clubs have tool share programs or extra equipment for rent to help you get going.

You also get to meet other beekeepers and exchange information. Once you join a beekeeping club, you will find that most of the beekeepers are independent and are happy to share information with other beekeepers.

Protective Beekeeper Tools

When it comes to protective clothing and tools, you should know that protective clothing has three levels. There is a complete suit that covers every part of the body and there is also the option of buying a jacket that comes with built-in hood protecting the wearer from the waist up. There is also the option of wearing a hat and veil when dealing with the bees for protecting your face and head.

Most of the experienced beekeepers rarely have to wear a complete suit in order to deal with the bees but there are times when even experienced beekeepers have to wear a full suit. In case you want to be fully protected, invest in a complete suit and always wear your suit as well as gloves when you are handling bees. Once you gain some confidence, you will find that you won’t need the whole suit.

You will also need to invest in a smoker as well as a hive tool. There are many types of smokers and hive tools available in the market at a variety of price points. However, it is not important to invest in expensive tools as even the most inexpensive ones work just as well. So, do not buy a tool without first learning about its uses as you might end up spending a lot more money than necessary on bells and whistles.

Take Some Time to Think About It…

Overall, beekeeping is an enjoyable hobby that can be turned into an amazing business provided you take the time to learn everything you should know about beekeeping. You should start slow and keep a few hives at first in order to learn the various aspects of beekeeping, from setting up to raising the bees to harvesting honey, before you expand your activity and add more hives.

One of the most enjoyable parts of beekeeping is harvesting of honey. It is important that you harvest the honey at the right time. You should also learn about selling honey. Typically, honey can be sold in two forms, including the liquid honey as well as honey combs. Some people buy honey combs as they want to experience the natural honey flavor.

Read as much as you can about beekeeping before buy your equipment, bees, and decide on your location in order to start this enjoyable activity. There are several online resources, including ebooks, blogs, podcasts, and even video courses that can teach you everything you need to know in time if you’re truly interested in pursuing a life of raising bees and being a beekeeper.