Beekeeping is a recreational and environmental hobby that is quickly growing in popularity. In fact, the USDA reports that as of 2014, the number of colonies managed by beekeepers was at the highest it has been in 20 years. It's relatively simple to get started with beekeeping, but it's also important to know what to expect from your first hives.
Want to learn more about this highly rewarding hobby? Here are just a few dos and don'ts about beekeeping for beginners.
DO: Suit up with protective beekeeping equipment
Many of the more advanced beekeepers choose to forego their beekeeping equipment in lieu of experience. However, protective beekeeping equipment is an absolutely must for beginners because they don't quite know how to properly handle the bees and hives with care. Beekeeping gloves help protect your hands from bee stings, as can a beekeeper hat and other protective beekeeping tools. Again, as your skill and comfort level working with bees grows, you can choose to wear only the protective beekeeping equipment you feel is necessary.
DON'T: Forget to check zoning laws
One critical step of the beekeeping process involves checking zoning laws. You want to make sure you're legally allowed to keep beehives on your property and that your property has adequate space to manage the hives. You should also know that typically, two hives per one tenth of an acre is what's allowed. While urban beekeeping is growing in popularity, make sure you follow all relevant local laws and regulations first.
DO: Obtain bees from a reputable source
It's very disheartening, but purchasing bees from the wrong seller can result in getting essentially a 'bad batch' of bees that are infected with a contagious disease. This unfortunate situation can only be solved by stopping the spread of the disease. This involves destroying not only the hive, but any beekeeping equipment that has been used on, and starting over from scratch. Avoid the trouble and purchase state-inspected hives only! Do a quick Google search to find quality sources in your area.
DON'T: Attempt to build new equipment
When first starting off with beekeeping, you want to purchase new or used beekeeping supplies as opposed to building them yourself. The equipment isn't expensive, and it's best to be a buyer until you truly understand how every piece of equipment works.
Ultimately, knowing these dos and don'ts can help you maintain happy hives as a beekeeping beginner. For more information about new and used beekeeping supplies, contact GloryBee.