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Beekeeping Facts

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Bee Keeping FAQ's

What are the benefits of beekeeping?

 We're glad you asked! Beekeeping is a simple hobby with sweet rewards! Besides the obvious reward of honey, beekeeping has countless personal benefits for you, your family and the bees!

Save the bees! In many areas, millions of colonies of honey bees have been wiped out by urbanization, pesticides, and parasitic mites. When gardeners wonder why they now see fewer and fewer honey bees in their gardens, it's because of the dramatic decrease in our wild honey bee population. Backyard beekeeping has become vital in our efforts to reestablish lost colonies of bees and offset the natural decrease in pollination by wild bees.  

 

Have a garden? Pollination is critical to fruit and vegetable production and many areas are severely lacking in pollinators. Having your own beehive will give you your very own work force of pollinators. Imagine having 20,000 plus bees working hard in your garden. The honeybee accounts for 80% of pollination done by insects and the honeybee pollinates 90 crops and one-third of our the food we eat. In short, get a hive and watch your garden thrive!

 

Where should I place the hive?

• Look for a place in the yard where you can position the hive entrance so it is pointed away from where people walk. There will be a path, or a spray of bees emitting from the hive entrance. Usually this is about ten feet in front of the landing board. This path is the main visual part of the hive that is noticeable. The stream or path of the bees disperse in many directions about ten feet away. In the hot summer sometimes the bees are outside the hive in big lumps keeping the interior of the hive cool. (Source: http://www.backyardhive.com/)

Where do I get bees?

• Contact your local beekeepers' association. They will be able to connect you with a reputable supplier that is best for your region.

How often should I visit the hive?

• About once per week at first. In mid-summer, maybe once every 10 days to 2 weeks. In the winter, not at all. In general, the less you disturb your hive the better. It is best to visit the hive during the middle of a sunny day. The worst times are early in the morning and on rainy or cloudy days

What material can a beehive be made of?

The bees don’t care what the hives are made of! Wood is their natural environment (trees) but they can live anywhere. However, the interior should not be very smooth because it would be hard for the bees to walk on and propolize the walls.

How much does one frame with both sides full of honey weigh?

About 10 lbs. A full 10-frame Deep Brood Box full of honey weighs about 90 lbs. A full 10-frame Medium Super full of honey weighs about 40 lbs. Two 10-frame medium supers full of honey will make about a 5-gallon bucket of honey.

How often should I replace my frames?

Every 5 years

If my hive dies, do I need to start fresh with all new equipment?

As long as the colony did not die from American Foulbrood, you can keep the frames and just replace the foundation. If American Foulbrood was the cause, it would be best to replace the entire hive. Even in healthy hives, the University of Minnesota Bee Lab recommends that you replace brood combs (frames) at least every 5 years.

Do I need to use a smoker?

It is better for the bees to work them with a smoker. It helps calm them.

What if I don’t want to harvest the honey?

You can just leave it in the hive for the bees to eat. Or you can bring the frames to a local honey processor and donate it to someone who does want to harvest it.

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