Average Weight Of Honey Produced By A Hive A Year How to Start Beekeeping For Free

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How to Start Beekeeping For Free

After more than half a century of decline, beekeeping has suddenly become popular again.

Bees have been in the news for all the wrong reasons: collapsing colonies, pesticide poisoning and parasites – and all this bad news seems to have created an almost primal desire in people to help and nurture them. It’s a very important bug, though. all our scientific advances are still not fully understood, but know that we cannot live without them.

For as long as I can remember, beekeepers have been considered by the media as harmless, doddery old people (mostly), who do silly things with strange wooden boxes of honey, but wear suspicious clothes. However, this picture is beginning to change, with more and more women and young people attracted to the idea of ​​learning this ancient craft and a new urgency in the air about saving our bees in their vital role. by polluting it, as well as for them. because of himself.

When people think about keeping bees, their first port of call is their local Bee Keepers Association. Here they are likely to find friendly cooperation and a lot of technical communication between ‘old hands’, most of which will seem like a foreign language at first. When the word is translated, it turns out that you have to part with an insignificant amount of money to buy a ticket to this arcane world: the glossy catalogs full of shiny equipment are deceiving, but the accompanying price list can come as the surprise.

Many are dismissing the idea now.

But it doesn’t have to be. It is possible to become a good beekeeper – even a good hive keeper – without blowing a good portion of one’s savings. In fact, as I’ll show you, you can even do it for free!

The next obstacle that beekeepers face is the heavy weight they are expected to carry and transport. Using standard equipment, you’ll need to be able to lift at least 50 pounds (about 25 pounds) off the ground – not something to attempt if you’re light and not used to moving boxes. in that class.

Again, it doesn’t have to be this way: I’m going to show you how unhealthy people can become beekeepers. In fact, using my system, you can even work a wheelchair.

Another obstacle that can kill newbee enthusiasm is storage space. Using a conventional beehive, it is impossible to collect all the ‘extras’ – odd-shaped boxes, combs, roofs, thieves – all the things that the ‘old hands’ forgot to mention at that exciting meeting. It’s the first po – and you need it. a place to store it. We’re talking garage space, folks. I have good news again: follow your system and you don’t need additional storage space, because everything can be stored inside the hive.

So what does it take to become a beekeeper?

The essentials are simple: a comb, a hat and a veil, an old white shirt and – to begin with at least – some gloves – and the agreement of the people who share your place. It doesn’t matter if you are a city dweller or a country dweller, as long as there is an abundant and varied supply of flowers from early spring. In fact, bees often do better in urban areas with well-kept gardens than in the ‘green wastelands’ of modern industrial agriculture.

Like many beekeepers, I started with a standard hive – the kind of slanted outer box familiar from children’s books. Soon I got another couple and started to realize that if I was going to continue on this path, I would have to make a big shed to house all the firewood and other materials that were accumulating quickly – and I would have it. to find a way to pay for all the ‘extras’ I will soon need.

At this point I asked myself – is it really necessary? – and this innocent question led me on a mission of reading, studying and experimenting that showed me for sure that, no – it doesn’t have to be like that: it doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive or dependent the mechanized part of beekeeping. and equipment.

My search for alternatives led me to the top beehive – one of the oldest and simplest types of beehive – which requires little skill and few tools to build. It’s a good start on the road to sustainable simplicity, but is it a viable foundation for modern beekeeping?

After a few years of experimenting and testing different designs, I believe we have a superior hive design that is easy to build, practical and productive, and comfortable and user-friendly for bees and beekeepers alike.

So what are the hives above the bar?

The rules are simple: a box with a piece of wood on top, where the bees build their comb. Mine has a center entry, a side entry, a slanted edge and two ‘following boards’ to enclose the colony. There are many variants of this theme and all have the essential concept of simplicity of construction and management. No frames, no queen excluders, no ekes, no mouse protectors, no supers, no foundations and no need for thieves, tank clamps, filters, de-capping knives … in fact, no other tools are needed or storage space, other than that provided in the hive. And if you just spent an hour going through the supplier’s catalog, wondering how you can save honey, it will be a relief!

Building a loft is no more difficult than building a shelf and can be done with hand tools and reclaimed wood. The best beekeeping is ‘beekeeping for everyone’ – including people with disabilities, bad backs, or reluctance to lift boxes: there’s no burden once your hive is set up, because you harvest the one honey at a time. From the bee’s point of view, high-rise beehives offer shelter from the weather, the ability to design a hive of their own – without the constraints of a man-made wax foundation – and the minimal disruption, thanks to a ‘leave it alone’ management style. .

So where does honey come from?

You can buy them or catch them, or if you’re lucky they’ll raise you! Catching or luring swarms is the most fun – and a lot easier than you think. Bees are in full swing in response to their reproductive rush – mostly in the spring and early summer – and the sight of swarms is sure to be impressive. However, contrary to popular belief, this is the least likely time for them to sting you: their only concern at this point is finding a new place to live. So, if you offer the right type of housing at the right time – like a nice smelling beehive – they will likely move in. Many people become beekeepers by attracting a passing swarm of bees using a few drops of citronella oil or lemon oil, or better yet, smearing the inside of the hive with pure beeswax.

Catching swarms is not difficult either – hold a basket or cardboard box under a football-sized cluster of them on a tree branch and shake well! It’s not always that easy, but it’s rarely as difficult as pulling a cat out of a tree.

If you think you want to keep bees, I recommend that you first get to know a beekeeper who is willing to let you visit and take care of the bees. Most beekeeping organizations hold ‘meet the bees’ in the spring, giving newcomers the chance to look inside a hive and experience how they react when surrounded by bees.

And sting? Yes, you will get stung from time to time, even if you are careful. Local swelling, redness and itching are common symptoms: fainting, difficulty breathing and convulsions are very common symptoms of an allergic reaction and can be fatal. Most people who keep bees become less sensitive to stings over time, but sometimes it goes the other way around and sometimes experienced beekeepers can suddenly become allergic. So, if you have any reason to think you might be susceptible to bee venom (about one in 200 people are), make sure you carry Benadryl or an Epipen (adrenaline injection) or ensure that anyone whoever is with you is well equipped to deal with an emergency.

Whether you approach it from the perspective of conservation, entomology, crop pollination or simply the love of bees, beekeeping is a fascinating pursuit and a fascinating window into the natural world.

Bees are in trouble today – from pesticides, industrial farming, pollution, parasitic insects and viruses – and we need all the ‘natural’ beekeepers we can get to increase their numbers and give them a chance solve their own problems. So, if you want to keep bees, build a hive before the swarm season, and you can taste your honey by the end of summer!

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