If you’re interested in beekeeping, you may be asking yourself, “What is beekeeping?” You might be considering buying your own bees or joining a beekeeping club. Regardless of your reasons, it’s important to know what you need to know before you purchase or join a beekeeping club.
Keeping bees in an urban area
Keeping bees in an urban area is a bit different than keeping bees in a rural setting. But, it’s a good idea to check with your local government first.
Bees are considered pollinators and a growing concern is that their numbers are declining. This may be a result of Colony Collapse Disorder. It’s not clear what causes the disease, but it has been linked to neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides.
The health of bees in cities is a growing concern. One solution is to add rooftop gardens on new structures.
Overwintering or established colonies cost most
When it comes to beekeeping, one of the biggest expenses is overwintering or establishing colonies. For migratory beekeepers, this can be a financially daunting task. Fortunately, there are many resources to help. In addition to the tips found below, there are also several beekeeping associations in the United States.
Erin Forbes, master beekeeper and SARE farmer grantee, tends 70 hives in Cumberland County. She is also a faculty member at the Cumberland County Cooperative Extension. Her articles on beekeeping can be found in The Bee Line.
Fall management is important for overwintering. It is best to start before the end of the nectar flow. This ensures that colonies will have enough food to sustain themselves through the winter.
Overwintering or established colonies create a home for the bees
The winter months can be stressful for bee colonies. The simplest way to avoid this is to make sure the bees have enough food to survive. A colony that is well-stocked with honey is more likely to survive.
The bees can survive the cold by staying in a thermoregulatory cluster around the queen. These clusters are a combination of older worker bees and younger worker bees. When the weather gets cold, the bees in this cluster vibrate their flight muscles to generate heat. This helps them maintain a temperature of 95 degrees.
In-house hives create a home for the bees
In-house hives are a great way to create a home for your bees. They are also useful for pollinating crops. These honey bee hives are made up of a series of vertical frames and horizontal sections, and are topped off by a roof and inner cover.
To start, you need to choose a location for your hive. This will depend on where you live. It should be sheltered, warm, and dry. Ideally, your hive should be at least 20 feet off the ground.
Besides the hive, you will need to equip it with other beekeeping tools. For example, you will need a hive tool, smoker, and smoker kit. You can purchase these items separately, or you can buy a beekeeping equipment kit that includes all of them.
Brood diseases can be harmful
It is important to identify and treat brood diseases before they become harmful to your bees. Diseases can spread rapidly to colonies, threatening the survival of your bees and your beekeeping business.
There are two types of brood diseases. They are American Foulbrood (AFB) and European Foulbrood (EFB).
In AFB, the disease develops in larvae. It is transmitted by spores of bacteria. The bacteria can be dormant for years before re-infecting a bee. If an adult bee picks up the spore, it is able to pass the infection on to other bees.
Marketing honey and bee products
Marketing honey and bee products for beekeeping is a multi-faceted process. The industry requires a well-functioning government-sponsored marketing program, dependable by-laws, a standardization of products and appropriate infrastructure. Among the most important are capacity building of producers and an enforcement mechanism on the part of the government.
As an industry, the beekeeping practice has been facing several challenges. One is the lack of credit access. This is contributing to the decline in bee production.
A survey carried out on the topic compiled several findings. One was the presence of several medium players in the Indian honey market. Another is the existence of several specialist shops, selling honey at cheaper prices than those sold in a regular grocery store.
Joining a beekeeping club
Joining a beekeeping club is a great way to meet other beekeepers and learn more about beekeeping. It is also a good opportunity to make friends who share a common interest. You may even be able to find a mentor or two.
Beekeeping clubs are typically made up of a group of beekeepers who meet on a regular basis. They have access to resources such as books, equipment, vendors, and parties. The club usually meets a couple times a month and includes a meeting schedule.
When you join a beekeeping club, you can expect to receive the latest information on bees, as well as beekeeping supplies. Most beekeeping clubs are run by a board of directors.