Begin your beekeeping education with various sources: beekeeping books, courses (in-person or online), beekeeping associations, beekeeping blogs and forums, and YouTube videos. Books and courses are the best places to start as they present information in an organized, orderly fashion.
Essential beekeeping starter kits should include a deep hive box with a bottom board, covers, frames, foundation, essential tools, and some protective gear. As your colonies grow, you will need additional hive components and supplies available in a more expensive beginning beekeeping kit.
It’s spring and your new bees are ordered. Now you need to know how to install bees in a new hive. Here’s what to do with a nuc or bee package.
Propolis is a sticky substance produced by honey bees using resins collected from trees and plants. To make propolis, bees mix the resins with wax and other material. Bees use propolis, or “bee glue”, to seal cracks and gaps in the hive, as well as to protect the hive from pests and diseases (hence, “bee penicillin”).
Essential beginning beekeeping supplies include reference books, a hive, protective clothing, a bee smoker, hive tools, and bee feeding supplies. And, of course, bees. Beekeeping supplies that are optional or not immediately needed include a bee brush, mite treatments, and honey extraction equipment.
Honey bees produce more than just honey – they also make nectar, propolis, beeswax, bee brood, bee venom, royal jelly, and pollen, which all have unique uses for humans. Beekeepers harvest the hive products for a variety of uses including in food and drinks, natural remedies, cosmetics, and dietary supplements.
Honey bee pests and predators pose a problem for beekeepers. Common pests include parasitic bee mites, small hive beetles, wax moths, mice, and ants. Predators include birds, bears, wasps, and skunks. Beekeepers need to learn how to identify and protect against these threats to ensure the health of their bee colonies.
Honeycomb (or comb honey) is more expensive to buy than liquid honey due to its higher production costs and factors of supply and demand.
Creamed honey is honey crystallized by a process that assures a lot of tiny sugar crystals. Small crystals give creamed honey a smoother, creamier consistency than naturally occurring large crystals. This spreadable form of crystallized honey may or may not be raw honey, depending on its processing.
When buying bees you will most likely come across certain subspecies. Each of these has traits and characteristics that are either advantages or drawbacks.