How To Raise Bees

For many reasons, the number of bees around the globe is on the decline. Through the impact of disease or the use of pesticides and parasites, you will discover unhealthy hives and soon die.

For this, and because it can be a profitable venture, several individuals are taking up local beekeeping. Raising bees by beginners doesn’t take a lot of work, so you can learn how to start raising bees on your property in our guide.

By the end of our guide, you can find out how to raise honey bees that will deliver honey and countless benefits to your neighbors and your garden. (Learn How Do You Get Rid of Sweat Bees)

bees with beehive

How Many Acres Do You Need to Raise Bees?

One hive can forage in areas of up to 8000 acres. However, that doesn’t mean you require so much land before you can have a hive. For an average-sized forest area or land, you can keep up to 20 hives in one area.

Much of the number will be based on the amount of pollination that can take place and how far bees can search for flowers and trees, etc. Any person has the potential to have at least one hive so long as it won’t be threatened or a threat to neighbors.

Can You Raise Bees in a Residential Area?

You will find it is legal to keep bees in certain residential areas. However, some cities don’t allow beekeeping in a certain area.

There are locations you only have to get a permit or license for beekeeping at your home.

Bees are essential thanks to their pollination, and it’s one reason people would like to keep bees at home. It is safer than you think to have a beehive in your backyard, and many beekeepers have beehives in backyards or on roof-tops for anyone living in the city.

Honey bees need to collect water, particularly in the spring and summer. Bee’s love collecting water from ponds and creeks.

Since these are not available in a residential area, you are advised to install a small water garden with floating plants, so they don’t go to search in your neighbor’s garden.

Besides this, bees don’t like water too close to their hive, so make your water feature at least 20 feet away.

You may not be aware that bees travel in a straight line when heading to the hive. Your fence ought to be six feet high or more because it stops bees from hitting passersby as they head back to the hive.

It isn’t possible to prevent swarms, so when keeping bees, it is good to know swarms are gentle as bees eat lots of honey before they swarm. When you see bees swarm, they cluster within 100 feet from their old hive.

To combat this, you can have a “bait hive” that can help stop swarms going to your neighbor’s garden. You can easily make this from an old hive body, which is at least one cubic foot in the volume containing an opening about one- or two-inches square.

Finally, you will need to check if you need a permit as this can change based on the local beekeeping area. Some communities do prohibit beekeeping, while others limit the number of hives you can have. (Learn How to Get Rid of Carpenter Bees Naturally)

How Much Does it Cost to Raise Bees?

To get started keeping bees, there is a cost, as you’d expect. Here is a rough breakdown of what new beekeepers could expect to pay when keeping bees in your backyard.

Bees

You can’t keep bees unless you have bees, and you’ll find it a challenge. You have options for how you can get your bees.

Bee Package: Each year in the late winter or early spring, in California and Georgia, you can find large-scale beekeeping operations that make ready-made packages of bees to sell to the country’s beekeepers.

In these, you’ll get around 3 pounds of bees in a box. The bees arrive together, yet a young, mated queen will be hanging inside a second box inside.

Packages are available around April and can be obtained by local pickup from the provider, pickup from a local bee club who will purchase several packs for members to buy. You can also purchase online and shipped to your home. Bee packages cost $100 to $135.

Nucleus Hive: You can get a nucleus hive or Nuc as they are also known. A Nuc is a mini-colony of bees and usually arrives in a box with five bee frames, brood, pollen, nectar/honey, and a fertile, laying queen bee.

You’ll find these available around April unless obtained from a local beekeeper, where they may be ready in May or June. The cost of a Nuc will be from $125 to $175.

Split or Full Hive: A split hive is several frames taken from an existing colony and placed into a new hive box.

The old queen will be included, and the bees are free to make a new queen, or there can be a newly mated queen added. Beekeepers can often sell an entire hive and existing colony. Costs for this would be $150 to $350.

man with beehive

Bee Hives

A beehive isn’t stacked boxes, yet the most common is the Langstroth hive, which comprises a bottom board, two deep boxes, including frames and foundation. Further, there is an inner cover, outer cover, an entrance reducer, and something for the hive to stand on.

Besides this, you’ll need honey supers in case you have a significant nectar flow. New beekeepers should have one medium super and a feeding device for their new colony to deliver supplemental sugar-water. The cost for hives can be $150 to $300

Accessories

At the very least, you’ll need protective equipment such as your veil, suit, and gloves, so you don’t get stung. Besides this are:

  • A hive tool
  • A bee brush
  • Possibly a smoker.

Costs here can range from $100 to $300

You’ll discover the cost of beekeeping equipment varies for reasons more than if you have your hive painted or unfinished.

A rough guide for one hive could be around $500 minimum because of your additional gear. Once you have two hives or more, the costs will drop to around $300 for each additional hive.

How Do I Start Raising Bees?

Here is an overview of how to start raising honey bees in your area.

Choose your location

A honeybee needs four things such as the sun (afternoon shade if hot), access to freshwater, wind protection, and privacy. Hives shouldn’t be near high-traffic areas of your yard.

Prepare your location

Hives need to face south and lifted from the ground to avoid damp.

Install your honeybees

Put bees in your hives during spring when flowers are blooming and offer a good food supply.

Here, you’ll get the first taste of your hive tool and the smoker. You will be able to handle bees, check for eggs, brood (larvae), and your queen bee.

You will get a good sign of the health of your hive. You could have a couple of bee stings like every other bee keeper.

Feed your bees

Young colonies and worker bees have lots of work to store pollen and nectar in the first year. They are busy taking care of plugging all the cracks and seams inside their new hives.

They will also focus on caring for the queen and her new brood. If you need to help them adjust, you can feed them a “nectar.”

Dissolve equal parts granulated sugar and water and fill quart jars. You can cover these with feeder lids and invert the jars into the holes. Lids shouldn’t and are barely moist, where the bees drink all they want from the lids.

Workers will drink three-fourths of a quart jar each day, where it can taper off over three weeks. Once it does this, bees are finding their own nutrition in flowers.

Inspect inside and outside of your hives

Beekeeping is mostly observation and reaction, and a new beekeeper should inspect the hive once a week for two months to help them learn. When comfortable, adjust times to every fortnight.

All you need to do is make sure your hive is clean and free from bee poop.

Check the landing board is free of litter and you don’t have any ant issues. Open the hives and check frames for larvae and eggs. If the queen is healthy, you’ll see lots of larvae in various stages of growth.

It is better for the health of the hive to open them less often as it can take a day for the hive to recover.

Check for pests and disease

Varroa mites can be found in hives, and if not treated, they can kill your hive. Drone frames can help catch these mites.

Just before drones hatch, you have to destroy this drone comb. A 24-hour count of mite fall fives a good idea of hive health.

Other pests to watch for include small hive beetle and wax moth. Early intervention means the difference between a healthy hive or a dead one.

Expand hive when required

Start using one deep hive body-brood box, and as the honeybees are laying eggs, and have filled it with 7 or 8 frames of baby bees and brood.

Top this with your second brood box. Here, you will let your bees build up brood cells in the second, and as these fills with 7 or 8 frames of bees, you then top it with a queen excluder, should you use one.

Read more: Companion Planting Garden Layout

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