Giovanna Trabasso  /   07/19/2021

Beekeeping Basics: How To Start Your Own Hive

Beekeeping sounds like the perfect sustainable hobby if you don’t have a whole lot of extra time in your hands. It’s cost-effective and doesn’t take too much time. Having a hive in your backyard can provide you with honey, beeswax, and extra income. It seems like the best hobby to quickly jump into, But there are some steps to consider before starting. If you have beekeeping on your mind, consider these beekeeping basics to save you time and guarantee a great experience.

1. Consider the Advantages and Disadvantages of Beekeeping

The most basic beekeeping basics is considering why you should do it in the first place. Last week we wrote a detailed post on all of the advantages and few disadvantages of beekeeping. In that article, we explain that beekeeping comes with many advantages, some you might not have even thought of before! Most people think only of honey when they decide to be a beekeeper. However, even when just considering byproducts, you also get beeswax. Other than just keeping all of your byproducts yourself, you can also sell them. This way you maintain your hobby with your hobby itself.

Arguably, the greatest advantage to beekeeping is that it’s not time or money-consuming. However, one of the biggest disadvantages is the initial costs. If you’d like to really dive into all the great stuff you can get from beekeeping, be sure to check out our first post!  

2. Guarantee Everyone’s Safety

Bees are bees, everyone knows what that can mean. A sting bee on its own can already be very painful and a nuisance to deal with. But it becomes a bigger problem for those who are allergic to bees. Before starting your hive, make sure no one from your family is allergic to bees. Don’t forget to think about pollen! Keeping bees in your backyard will encourage pollination. For folks who already have a hard time during the Spring with pollen allergies, maybe beekeeping is not the way to go.

Don’t forget about your neighbors! A hobby such as beekeeping can also affect those beyond your household for the same reasons mentioned above. You should always feel free to do with your home as you wish. However, beekeeping affects your surroundings beyond your own backyard. The advantages of pollination go beyond your home and can promote growth in your entire community. Be sure to check in with your neighbors first. Let them know your plans and if they would severely endanger anyone around you. 

3. Get the Proper Equipment

This is where the beekeeping basics get a bit more detailed. Like we’ve said before, most of the money you’ll be spending with beekeeping will be with equipment. Because there isn’t much that you will need, be sure to get the best you can. Luckily, it’s all very straightforward. First, you have to build your hive. The most common backyard beekeeping hive is the Langstroth. A Langstroth hive is made up of boxes and frames. It can be purchased altogether as a beekeeping kit. You can also take a stab at building your own with boxes, frames, and a foundation.

Protective suits and gear are as important as any other tool. You will need a one-piece bee suit covering your entire body, gloves, and a veil. This way you can protect yourself from head to toe. 

There are also a few tools your will need when beekeeping. Get yourself a scraper so that you can remove wax and propolis. To release honey, you will need an uncapping scratcher to uncap your comb. Lastly, a hive tool to help you break apart the boxes. The hive often gets stuck together due to the wax and propolis so don’t forget your hive tool!

A smoker is also a key piece of equipment to beekeeping. Smoking your hive while you’re working makes your life as a beekeeper infinitely easier. When confronted with smoke, bees will instantly try to escape leaving the hive free for you to work on.

4. Choose Your Bees!

Last but certainly not least, the bees! When it comes to getting your bees, you have a few options to consider. There are three main types of bees common to beginners. The Italians are very busy bees. They are productive but gentle and easy to manage. The Russians are also gentle like Italians, but a bit more erratic. They’re not as easy to manage but are quick builders, once they get to it, and very tolerant to mites. 

Lastly, there’s the Carniolans. These bees are very gentle but take a bit more work than Italians and Russians. Carniolan bees are better for colder places with harsh winters and build fast during the Spring.

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