Raising bees should be considered as something beneficial to a number of aspects. First, it could be a very good choice for a hobby which can be developed to a profitable small to medium business. Producing quality honey and sell them to a targeted market is something very feasible to accomplish.
Bees are wonderful creatures that play an important role in the pollination of crops. Thus bees are indispensable to ensure a successful harvesting of a farm crops. It is the fact that bee population in some region is declining, hence threatening the supply of crops. Playing this role, bees are also useful to many other plants. Raising bees could be a form of social responsibility as a contribution from your side that aims to keeping nature balance.
Honey and bees have been proven by the medical profession to possess therapeutic values. Honey has been known since ancient time as a remedy for many diseases and to strengthen body immunity. Many natural therapists use bee stings as a cure for some specific illness.
If you find yourself interested in raising bees, here are 5 tips on how to raise bees in a proper and right way.
#1 – Get your beekeeping supplies. Get the things you need to start with, especially those to protect yourself against bee stings. You need a beekeeper suit to cover your whole body while working with your bees. This suit includes a full length jumper, a hat with a veil that can be zipped onto the jumper, gloves and boots. To manage the honey combs in the beehives you may need a hive tool.
A beekeeping smoker is also needed to calm the bees. Smoke creates a feeding effect to the bees, which then overfeed themselves making it hard for them to sting. Smoke also masks the smell of alarming venoms produced by the guard bees, avoiding the bees to go wild.
#2 – Prepare your hives. Hives are the homes of your bees, so prepare it thoroughly. These are actually your ‘honey plants’ where the bees store honey in combs. The number of hives to start with will depend on your purpose. You may need only one or two hives if you decide beekeeping for a hobby. But as a small business you may need at least 10 hives to start with.
What you need to set up your hive is a brood chamber which is the place where the queen bee lays eggs and about five frames which are the place where the bee workers build honeycombs to keep their honey. It is good if you buy one or two extra frames just to anticipate the bees swarming.
Place the hives at the right location. This should be a spot with a study ground where people will not obstruct the ‘traffic’ of the bees into the hives to store honey. It should be kept away from matters that might agitate the bees to sting such us vibrations and loud noises.
It would not be necessary to place the hives near pollinating crops since the bees are able to fly miles away to collect nectar and pollen. Remember to face the hive opening to the east or south, so that it could be warmed by the morning sunlight.
#3 – Get your bees. Make sure that you get them from a reputable breeding source. Buy the European bees strain and avoid the African bees which are known to be highly aggressive and are easily agitated. Buy a colony starter that includes a queen, workers and drones.
The main task of a queen is laying eggs as long as she could, while the poor drone has only one thing to do, mating the queen. The queen will then kill the drone as soon after the mating. Other things such us collecting nectar, guarding the hive, cleaning and feeding the larvae is done by the diligent worker bee.
There will be a necessity to replace the queen bee if she dies. A queen can also leave the hive with a swarm and need to be replaced. This swarming could happen 2 – 3 times during summer. You have two options in getting a new queen. Buy one or you can create one by starting a new colony. In the later case you need to take a frame that contains workers and larvae, and then the workers will eventually feed a selected larva with nutrient-rich food to create their new queen.
#4 – Get your bees start working. To get the bees on working you need to feed them with bees supplement in springtime. You can feed them with pollen supplements as well as sugar and water. The objective is to give them strength prior to the blooming of trees and flowers.
Feeding them with sugar and water also allows them to start building up honey in their honeycombs. As soon as they go out of the hives, they will be able to find the way of their routes of pollen within several days.
You should make a frequent check whether your bees are in good shape and well established in their hive. Remember that during the first year of honey production, the bees need the honey for their own requirement. Hence you should harvest only a little amount of honey and leave a sufficient amount as storage for winter.
#5 – Harvest the honey. Very little could be harvested in the first year, but afterward you can start harvesting substantial amount of honey. Harvesting is indeed the best part of beekeeping.
Check all the honey-filled supers and remove them from the hive at any time to get the honey extracted from the combs. Remove the rubbish or dead bees from the honey comb, and then put back empty frames as replacements.
You will be able to sell the honey in two forms; the liquid honey and the pieces of honey comb. The liquid honey is produced by the mean of a centrifuge to extract honey from the honey combs. While the second form is the original honey comb pieces made by the bees. This form provides some enjoyment to some people who are after the natural honey flavor.
One thing I forgot to mention earlier, which I should address to beginners, is to get a handbook or guide or introductory book. This will provide you with the necessary information on how to manage your hive properly prior to purchasing your bee colony. Happy beekeeping!