How Do I Get Started?
You have started in the right direction.
Knowledge of what is expected in beekeeping, will help you become successful. Beekeeping is not the type of hobby you just dive into without knowing what is happening.
Is this the year that you become a beekeeper?
This is a fantastic hobby that is enjoyable and has multiple benefits. Now that you know you are ready for this great adventure, you need to ensure you will be able to. First step is to check your local community to see if there are any restrictions or ordinances on having bee hives. It is not a bad idea either to mention your idea to your neighbors. They may find more bees in their garden or come across some drinking from their pool.
Good to Get Started? Here is some more information to consider.
Join a Bee Association!
One of your most valuable resources.
- Find a reputable Company from which to get bees. Brushy Mountain Bee Farm offers beekeeping supplies all year long but bees are only sold for pick up during the spring months.
- Know what to do if you are stung. Have a plan in place because allergies can develop over time. Even for the people that have never shown any reaction it only takes one sting to become allergic.
It is possible to go an entire year or years without being stung; however at some point it will happen.
Through organizations you gain much knowledge on the local honey plants,
your needs as far as equipment in your area,
the availability of bee inspectors, state laws,
and the opportunity to meet a mentor
that will help you with any challenges. The experience of going into a hive with someone that has kept bees for several years is extremely helpful.
Check out our Bee Association Map
for a full list of Bee Associations.
When do I start my bee hives?
You want to have all your equipment ready and your hives built before you order your bees.The best option for anyone just getting started is our Bee-Ginner's Kit. This will include all the essentials you need to start your experience minus the bees. For a list of different equipment, see What You Need!
You want to start your hives as early in the spring as possible. Starting in early spring allows for your bee colony to build in population before summer months(pollen season and nectar flow).
What size Hive do I get?
The traditional 10-frame hive
or you can go with the smaller 8-frame hive
. We offer Bee-Ginner's Kits in both sizes.
The 8-frame is associated as a lighter hive that is easier to manipulate. Because it is smaller in size does not mean the colony will be smaller. 8-frame hives simply expand upwards sooner than 10-frame hives which expand outwards. Some beekeepers like to use nine frames in the 10-frame super to allow for the bees to draw the comb deeper (produces more honey).
How Do I Get Bees?
Make sure that you find a reputable supplier of bees and queens. You can contact us for help on this. We offer the ability to purchase and pick up Packages or NUCs at our two locations. Packaged Bees can be sent through the Post Office, this is not the best way to get them, but if you are in an area too far from a breeder this may be an option. If you are able to buy a NUC (nucleus hive, usually 4-5 frames with bees and brood) locally that would be your best choice. Check our Bee Association Map to find local beekeepers in your area. You may also join a Swarm Watch in order to receive calls about spotted swarms in the area. Swarms will be found on any number of objects and if captured, they can be placed into a hive, establishing a free colony.
Package of Bees
A Package is a shoe box sized container that is screened to provide ventilation for the bees, includes a can of sugar syrup as a food supply during transportation, and has a mated queen inside a queen cage. Queen cage is attached to the inside of the package so the bees may care for and become acclimated with her.
Bees from multiple sources are dumped into the package and a queen is supplied within a queen cage. The bees must become acquainted with the queen before she is released (bees will eat through the candy in order to release her once she is accepted). Once the queen is released, she will begin laying and the colony will grow in population. The current population may decrease before it increases as the supplied bees die off before the new bees are born.
A Nucleus Hive (NUC)
is a small established colony of bees. It differs from a package by including drawn out frames
and a laying queen
. At the start, they may have less bees than a 3 pound package; however, because the queen is already laying, there is brood in all stages (eggs, larvae and capped)
, and most of the frames are drawn out comb,a NUC will grow faster than a package. In addition, having an established queen means there are less queen complications, such as: queen acceptance, absconding, or supercedure with a NUC.
Once you have transfered the frames over into your 8 Frame
or 10 Frame
hive, the NUC will continue to grow in population. Provide the feed
they may need and let them grow. No need to go back in to ensure the queen was released or to remove a queen cage. The next step will be to add on the next story to your hive.