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.
Before spending a lot of money on honey bees and beekeeping equipment, make sure you have a suitable location beekeeping. Here’s are some things you should consider when deciding where to place a beehive.
The minimum cost to start beekeeping with one beehive is about $725 for the first year. Choices you make can have a large impact. Check out our cost calculator to help you budget.
As a beekeeper you will get stung. Prepare yourself with protective gear and know what to do when you are stung.