Beekeeping 101: Week Two

Week two of Beekeeping 101 was about equipment and location, location, location.

In the United States, honey bees must be on removable frames. This allows for the frames to be easily checked for diseases. The most common style of hive is the Langstroth style hive. We have Langstroth hives. Top Bar Hives are hives that are shaped like trapezoids and have wood pieces for the bees to build comb off of. The Warre hive is a mixture between the Langstroth hive and the Top Bar Hive. It uses multiple boxes, but uses bars instead of frames. A flow hive is a hive that honey can be extracted directly out of. Observation hives are hives that hold only a few frames and have windows that allow observation. Observation hives are often used as visual aids during presentations. A beekeeper can use any of these hive styles. The most common styles are Langstroth and Top Bar Hives. Googling any of these types of hives will lead to more information on them.

A beekeeper needs a hive tool or five, a smoker, smoker fuel, maybe rubbing alcohol to clean hive tools, and a suit and gloves. All sorts of other gadgets can be bought. We really like our frame perch and our frame grip tool. A beekeeper may choose to buy extraction equipment right away. Sometimes there are ways to rent out extraction equipment.

Another choice a beekeeper must make is what type of feeder the beekeeper will use. A Boardman feeder is an entrance feeder that uses a canning jar to hold feed. These feeders can cause robbing and require lots of refills. A division board feeder is a feeder that replaces one or two frames. These feeders need to be watched carefully when the bees are hungry. We use division board feeders. A top feeder goes on top of the broad box. A top feeder holds a lot of sugar syrup. Plastic bags, pails, and jars can be made into custom feeders.

Three main options for foundation is Duragilt foundation, wired frames, and foundationless. Duragilt foundation is a brand of foundation that is plastic with a beeswax coating. Wired frames have foundation that has wire running through it. Foundationless is either an empty frame or a frame with just a small strip of foundation on it.

An apiary is any number of bee hives or nucs.

A beekeeper should first look into their local bee laws before placing any hives on any location.

A beekeeper should take into account what is growing nearby when choosing an apiary location. A beekeeper will want to know if there is monoculture or prairie nearby. If a farm is nearby, a beekeeper should think about the pesticides that their bees may be exposed to.

An apiary location should be sunny. The sun encourages the bees to get to work. Damp, humid environments should be avoided because moisture can easily kill a hive. The apiary should be flat and accessible. A beekeeper will often put out a water source for their bees so that the bees do not get their water from a nearby pool. A windbreak is important for the bees in the winter. Sometimes a beekeeper will use a temporary windbreak for just the winter. Bee Hives should not sit directly on the ground to prevent rotting.

Hives should be assembled well in advance before the bees are scheduled to arrive. Wood glue should be used when assembling boxes and frames. Kiddy corner nails are important on frames because they increase the strength of the frames. Used equipment should be checked by the state apiarist to prevent the spread of diseases.

It is important to have goals before getting bees. Goals help when making decisions about splitting, extracting, and treating.


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