How to Start a Beehive in Your Backyard?
Bees are small but very important insects due to their effectiveness at pollinating our food crops. However, their population has been decreasing constantly due to a phenomenon is known as the colony collapse disorder.
This has led to an increase in popularity of the art of beekeeping as a means to restore our food pollinators.
More and more people are building bee farms on rooftops, backyards and on any extra space they can get. Apart from saving our food resources, beekeeping is also a fun and rewarding hobby.
While it might take quite some work to set up, bee farming will give you pure and natural honey as well as wax for making candles and some skin care products.
Beekeeping might require some work to start but the following steps will guide you smoothly as you undertake that project:
After deciding to undertake a beekeeping project, it is important to begin it at the perfect time. This is usually around spring when the weather starts warming up. This weather is conducive for flowers to blossom, which then provides bees with their main food source, nectar.
A combination of warm weather, plenty of food and a nesting location will make the bees increase rapidly in number, therefore growing your hive in a very short time.
Beehives need to be located on an open flight path so that the bees can access their home without colliding with other objects. An ideal location would be on an open backyard, with at least 15 feet of space all-round the hive. High fences might also be required so that the bees fly high above to avoid contact with neighbors, then descend on your backyard.
3.Get Your Gear
After identifying the right spot to place your hive, it is time to get the beekeeping gear. You will need ventilated beekeeping suits, which are protective attires to keep the bees from stinging you. You will also need a smoker, a hive tool and lastly, the beehive(s).
Beehives are basically boxes that have patterned frames for wax foundations. Some people prefer building their own hives but for the ones who are not handy, a good hive will set you back $50 – $100.
4.Buy the Bees
With everything in place, you do not wait for the bees to come by themselves. Sometimes it might happen, but very rarely. It would be much easier to buy a nucleus colony of bees, which basically consists of a queen (the nucleus) and a couple of worker bees. Simply stick this nucleus into the hive and watch them grow.
5.Maintain Your Bees
Just like with farming other animals such as cows and goats, bees need feeding. In warmer countries, this might not be necessary because of the availability of flowers all-round the year.
However, in colder countries, a bee colony will need some food when nectar is hidden in tucked flowers. A quick solution would be to pour a little 1:1 water and sugar solution on the hive’s lid daily.
Apart from food, bees need a constant supply of water. To avoid contact with them as they search for water, place a water trough close to the hive and ensure it is always full.
Bees might also require being treated in case of disease or parasite infestations (such as mites).
With such a set-up, you can be sure to harvest a lot of honey from your backyard, as well as provide a safe haven for these important insects.
However, ensure you check your local city codes first in order to know some of the basic beekeeping rules such as the number of hives you are allowed to keep. You need to be on the right side of the law in case the bees go wild on your neighbors.