Basic beekeeping questions
1.How much does a beehive with a colony of bees inside cost?There is no doubt that prices vary from one country to another and according to other factors like the quality of the building material, its age and construction. However, the most expensive hives cost between 200 and 300 US Dollars. If you are not willingly to spend so much you can either buy various hive parts separately and assembly them together or you can built the hives entirely by yourself.
If you want to purchase the honeybees as well, than you should better buy a nucleus colony or a swarm, whose price is around 200 US dollars or less.
2.Which is the best beekeeping hive to purchase?There are different types of beekeeping hives available on the market and for this reason it is very difficult for beginners to choose the one that best suits their needs. One of the most popular hives is The Top Bar Hive. It is quite cheap and not very difficult to be put together. However, if your purpose is to become a honey producer this hive is not for you, because honeybees living in it usually produce less honey (the storage space is not very wide).
The best thing to do is to choose a type of hive that is popular in the area you live. Moreover, it has to be adapted to climate conditions in your country. It is advisable to ask for the advice of professional beekeepers before purchasing your first beehives.
In Western Europe and in the USA, the majority of people keeping bees prefer the hives that have movable frames, since it is easier to work with them. In many USA states it is against the law to keep honeybees on fixed frames. Movable frames are preferred because they allow the state inspectors to easily check bees from any disease. The most wide spread beekeeping hives types are the Langstroth, the National, the Commercial and The WBC Hive.
The Langstroth hive has a simple construction and therefore is the first option for many beginners. It has several boxes that are do not have a cap neither at the top not at the bottom. The boxes are usually positioned one on top of the other, the result being a multi-level hive. The moveable frames are placed within the boxes. At the bottom is located the brood nest and towards the top the honey is stored. It has also got a water-proof roof and a floor. Usually the beekeepers do not fix together the boxes, the floor and the upper part (the roof).
The frames of the Langstroth Hive are provided with a fixed, thin sheet of beeswax in order to provide the honeybees a foundation for their future combs. The frame usually has stretched wires across it in order to ease the fastening of the wax sheet.
If your aim is to become a honey producer, than you should purchase the Commercial Beehive. Its frames are bigger, allowing more honey to be stored within. Their main disadvantage is that they are very heavy when filled with honey and therefore it is difficult to handle them.
Another popular hive especially in France and Eastern Europe is the Dadant. Its frames are bigger, this being its most distinctive feature.
3. What is a beekeeping hive made of?The bee hive boxes are usually made of fir tree wood, but it can be made of other wood and other materials as well. The roof is usually made of stainless steel or galvanized steel.
4. Do I need a big garden to keep my hives in?Not necessarily. It is true that if you live in a rural area and have a house with a big garden, you are truly blessed since you have the ideal space for an apiary. However, in cities you can put the hives even on top of your apartment block as long as your neighbors will not be bothered by the honey bees.
5. Do the hive entrances have to face the same direction?The hive entrance must be headed towards south, south-east or south-west, at a ground level. Pay attention not to head the entrance towards a path or circulated way, because the passers-by might get stung.
6. Will the honeybees have any influence upon the plants I grow?The answer to this question is "Yes". The honeybees will pollinate the plants you grow, thus allowing you to have a richer harvest.
7.Will the honeybees bother my neighbors?There are high chances for your neighbors to be disturbed by the bees you keep. In order to prevent any unpleasant situation, it is better to put the bee hives in such a way so as to prevent them from flying directly into your neighbor's garden.
8. Is there any way I can learn more about apiculture?The best method is to attend some beginner beekeeper classes organized by the Beekeepers' Association in your country. The courses are usually authorized and you will receive a beekeeper diploma to certify your skills in the domain. The courses are usually held in winter and their last for about 3 to 4 months.
There are also books and magazines that beginner beekeepers can read in order to find out the information they need. However, the books cannot answer all your question and therefore it is better to ask an experienced beekeeper for advice.
9. What kind of bee equipment do I need in order to start beekeeping?The most important item of your equipment is the beekeeper's costume, which you have to wear while working in your apiary. You also need a smoker, a frame lifter, a frame grip, a claw hive tool, capping scratcher, smoker, division board feeder, a frame cleaner tool, hive net, hive carrier, frames, uncapping knife, board beetle trap, bee brush, extractor, a strainer for filtering honey and others.
10. Will the honeybees sting me?You cannot call yourself a genuine beekeeper if you have not been stung by a honeybee. You have to be calm when you are around bees; do not wave your hands and arms when you are in their vicinity, if the weather is rainy or stormy, you shouldn't work in your apiary. If you follow these rules you reduce to a minimum the chances to get severely stung.
Although, it has not been scientifically proved, it is said that the bee venom has therapeutic effects. However, there are people who are allergic to bee venom and a simple stung can trigger in them an anaphylactic shock. Thus, before getting into apiculture it is advisable to do an allergy test to see whether you are allergic or not to the bee venom.
11. Is it necessary to spend a lot of time caring for the honeybees?You will be pleased to find out that you do not have to work from nine to five in your apiary. During summer you have to inspect each hive once a week. In winter you can inspect the hives once a moth to see if they have enough food, although this is not absolutely necessary. But if you are stressed after a long working day, you can stay in hives' vicinity and watch the bees coming and going, in order to relax yourself. The therapeutic effect is absolutely extraordinary.
12. How is honey harvested and stored into jars?The first step is to carefully remove the honeybee from the frames using either a bee brush or a device called "the cleansers". However, the best option is to use an air blower. After that the frames are removed from the hive and the honeycomb cells are uncapped. The next step is to put the frames in the honey extractor. After the honey is harvested it is strained and poured into jars.
13. Is honey the only useful hive productHoney is not the only useful substance produced by honeybees. The list of hive product also contains honeybees' wax which is used to produce candles and in the manufacturing of various cosmetic products, royal jelly, pollen, propolis and bee venom. All these are highly appreciated for their therapeutically properties, at the same time being largely used in the cosmetics industry.
14. Is it necessary to feed the honeybees during winter?Yes. The beekeeping hives have to be checked once a month in winter. If the bee hives are lighter, than it is better to prepare some sugar and honey cakes and put them on top of the frames.
15. Do honeybees have many diseases?Like all the other living creatures on Earth, the honeybees suffer from various diseases. In order to protect them from getting ill, you have to keep clean the interior of the beehive and give them twice a year a preventive treatment against the disease named The Honeybees' Varo.
16. Which is the best honeybee type?The best honeybee type for you is the one that is specific for the area you live in.
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