Taking a beekeeping course is an excellent way to get started with the hobby. You’ll learn all the basics & more, with access to mentors if you have questions along the way!
Bees are facing more threats than ever before, so it’s important to understand their biology and how to best support them. Failure to do so can result in colony death, beekeeper frustration and a loss of your investment.
Basics of Beekeeping
Beekeeping is a great way to get involved in the outdoors and support a sustainable, rural lifestyle. But before you dive in, it’s important to learn the basics of beekeeping.
For starters, bees have one queen that is responsible for the entire colony, deciding when to lay drone (unfertilized) eggs, or workers’ (fertilized) eggs. She lays about five eggs a minute, and the worker bees take over nourishing the larvae with royal jelly from a gland on their heads.
Bees are fascinating social creatures that you will soon fall in love with. They are one of the few species on earth that fully contribute to their environment rather than just taking from it.
Whether you are interested in beginning beekeeping as a hobby or as a career, it is important to have the right equipment. Having the proper beekeeping gear helps to protect you and your hives, and will enable you to successfully complete all of the tasks involved in beekeeping.
Beekeeping suits are an essential piece of protective clothing and can be purchased in a variety of styles. Depending on your risk tolerance and comfort level, you may choose to wear a full bee suit that covers your body from head to toe or a partial bee suit with a detachable hood and veil.
A bee smoker is also an essential tool for working bees. This device burns the fuel of your choice, such as dried pine needles or newspaper, to keep the bees calm.
Hive is a project management software that offers many features to help teams collaborate and work more efficiently. It also helps users track and manage their time.
With a variety of visual layout options, including Gantt charts, Kanban boards, and more, Hive can easily organize tasks and projects to suit your team’s needs. It also provides status views to visualize task completion and progress.
Hive’s proofing and approval tool is a great feature for teams that need to quickly receive feedback on their work. It also allows for customization of request forms.
Diseases and Pests
Bees are exposed to a wide variety of diseases and pests that can affect their health. These include diseases caused by viruses, bacteria and fungi.
In addition, a number of parasites can also attack honey bee colonies. One of the most important pests, Varroa destructor, can transmit a range of viruses that can kill a colony.
Keeping bees strong is the best defense against these pests, which can often begin to attack weak colonies long before they are attacked by robber bees. The greater wax moth (Galleria mellonella) is an opportunistic pest that will destroy combs stored in weak hives or on stored bee equipment.
Sacbrood, a stress disease, is superficially similar to foulbrood diseases but is much less serious. A colony can recover from this infection by requeening, maintaining healthy adult bees and replacing infected combs with foundation.
When bees swarm, it’s often a sign of a colony that has reached its limits. This may be a result of crowded conditions or other issues, such as poor ventilation or pests and diseases.
Swarming can be a frustrating event for beekeepers, and sometimes a swarm will end up on neighboring properties instead of in your own hive. Fortunately, beekeepers can take steps to reduce the risk of a swarming event.
Beekeepers will need to monitor their hives for signs of swarming activity in early spring. This is usually around 2-4 weeks before the main nectar flow begins.
A swarm is formed when a queen loses body weight, her egg laying output decreases, and the bees in her colony crowd the brood nest. This is a condition that can be triggered by a number of stimuli, including but not limited to dilution of queen pheromones, increased availability of food and pollen, reduced level of queen mandibular pheromones and lack of room for the queen to lay eggs.