Beekeeping is a rapidly growing hobby, and it’s easy to find beekeeping classes and clubs nearby. But to be successful at it, you need a little planning and knowledge.
You also need to be mindful of how your hives might affect your neighbors. This is especially true in urban areas where bees have few options for food and water.
Honey is a natural, organic sugar alternative with no additives that can be used in baking, beverages, and marinades. It has an indefinite shelf life and is easy on the stomach.
Bees make honey by collecting nectar from flowering plants. The nectar’s main ingredients are natural sugars – sucrose, glucose and fructose – which is what makes honey sweet.
The honey itself is then filtered to remove pollen grains and other fine particles that may be suspended in the honey. The resulting product is a clear liquid.
When choosing a location for your beehive, consider the microclimate around your property. Is there an area that receives minimal wind? If so, you can direct your bees to that location.
In addition, you’ll want to be sure that your beehives are near a water source that will supply them with clean, fresh water. Ideally, this water source should be nearby so your bees can spend less time flying to get it and more time collecting nectar and pollen.
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced beekeeper, it is important to have the right equipment. This includes a hive, protective clothing and gear, a smoker and a hive tool.
If you live in a suburbia setting, it is also important to check your local beekeeping laws before getting started. Some communities and countries have strict regulations about where you can keep bees and how far away from your property line you can place hives.
Beekeeping equipment needs vary by the size of your operation, number of colonies and type of honey you plan to produce. The bare minimum is listed below, but the actual costs may vary slightly from this estimate.
Before selling bees or used equipment, you must have a Selling Permit from the Ontario Beekeepers Association (OMAFRA). Apply for your permit online through the ONe-key portal with OMAFRA. The application deadline is August 15 for the current season.
Bees are a very diverse group of insects. They belong to the superfamily Apoidea, which also includes ants and wasps. These insects are herbivores, consuming pollen and nectar from flowers to support their lives.
They are divided into three castes: workers, drones and queens. The workers are the most common type of bee and are able to perform many functions in a hive, including producing honey, building and maintaining combs, and tending young larvae and queens.
In a colony with no queen, workers will begin to lay eggs to produce the next generation of bees. They also help to defend the hive, clean up debris and remove dead bees.
The worker bee has a small, expandable pouch (the honey crop) where it stores the nectar and pollen it collects on the trip back to the hive. A muscular valve called the proventriculus keeps the crop closed so the nectar doesn’t pass into the bee’s stomach.
Beekeeping is an exciting, rewarding hobby that can bring you closer to nature. The good news is that it’s fairly inexpensive to get started and can help you earn a modest income in the future.
There are many resources to learn more about beekeeping, including books, online videos and classes. However, it’s important to be sure that any reading material is adequate and covers the basics of honey bee biology.
First, look for a local beekeeping group or association in your area. These people are a great source of local knowledge and often have swarm-call lists for locating bee swarms in their areas.
Second, you can try contacting a beekeeper who will come and collect the bees from your location and re-locate them to their hives. Some beekeepers charge for this service, and others will do it for free.
Another option is to capture a wild swarm that has escaped from an established hive. You can contact your local beekeeper group or association to see if they have any swarm-call lists in your area, or ask for recommendations on the Internet.