Beekeeping is a great hobby and is getting more popular every year. In fact, the USDA reports that as of 2014, the number of colonies managed by beekeepers was the highest it has ever been in a full 20 years.

But there are a few things every new beekeeper should know before they embark on this wonderful world. Here we explain.

  1. Make a plan and be prepared
    Before you start harvesting your bee colonies, you need to make a plan. Questions to ask yourself include how many bees you want to have, how big the colony will be, and will you need beekeeping tools such as a bee hive smoker? You also need to be prepared to invest in beekeeping equipment such as a beekeeper hat and gloves. These are specialty products meant to allow you functionality while tending the hive.
  2. Don't forget the front door
    While a bee colony is generally self-sufficient, it does need to be regularly monitored. You will need to look for healthy activity, such as a lot of bee pollen coming in the springtime. This means that there is a lot of protein feeding the colony, and things are going swimmingly. However, you do need to check for signs of yellow jackets or skunks as they can compromise the colony in a matter of a couple days.
  3. Know where to stand
    Make sure you are standing with the wind coming from behind you as to not get in the way of the bees flying in and out. Try your best to shade the sun and to move slowly -- and only enter the hive during the middle of the day when the majority of the bees are out foraging.
  4. Know your ratio
    One of the best beekeeping tools anyone can have in the hive is the queen bee. She must be protected at all times and in perfect health, so make sure to know your ratios for when she is laying eggs. A queen can lay about 2,000 eggs a day, and to make sure that they are developing properly the ratio should be 1:2:4. This means the ratio of eggs, to larvae, to sealed brood are all developing at healthy rates and the hive is flourishing.

Simply follow these tips and you will be ready to establish the best hive out there!