"I’VE GOT MY HIVE, WHAT’S NEXT?”
WHAT ELSE DO I NEED?
Accessories you will want when starting out in beekeeping:
You can get all the items you need conveniently bundled together in our beekeeping starter kit
Or get each item individually:
Bird bath or gently sloping dish filled with water (Bees need water and providing a water source in your yard prevents your bees from heading over to the neighbor’s pool!)
Finally, there are many wonderful books about Top Bar, Warré, and foundationless beekeeping that will aid both novice and veteran beekeepers. We have a wide selection of books on our website that will help you on your journey.
WHERE SHOULD I PUT MY HIVE?
We recommend: An accessible spot in your yard to place your hive with enough space to comfortably move and walk around the hive. South-eastern exposure is ideal, but if you don’t have that, don’t sweat it! Just try and get the hive early sun, long sun, and maybe a little shade in the afternoon, especially in warmer climates. Learn more about hive placement
WHAT DOES THE TERM “FOUNDATIONLESS” MEAN?
Both Top Bar Hives and the Warré hives are foundationless. That means that the bees build their own wax comb as they would in nature, versus giving them machine-pressed foundation comb that is installed by the beekeeper.
What’s a swarm, you ask? Swarming is a natural way for bee colonies to propagate, producing new colonies for the world. It is a totally natural process that occurs in all colonies. Think of it as a means of reproduction, but on a colony-wide scale! There are scores of videos on our youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/beethinking showing what bee swarms look like and how to catch them. For more on swarming, please refer to: How to Catch a Swarm of Bees. For further questions please contact us directly.
2. Bait & Trap – Swarm traps and bait hives. This can sound intimidating, but we know many brand new beekeepers that tried to lure a swarm and found that no sooner had they built a lure, then they had a colony move in all on their own! Swarm traps and bait hives can be built following simple plans found on the internet. There is also a book called: Swarm Traps and Bait Hives, by McCartney Taylor that we sell. A benefit is that again you would likely be attracting hearty, local bees from your area.
3. Packages - Alternately, you can obtain bees by purchasing a package from a breeder. Generally, packages will be coming from a warm climate such as Arizona, California or Texas and will be shipped to you via the USPS, who will call you quickly once they arrive! Packages generally contain one queen that has been open mated or artificially inseminated, along with 10,000 bees from a few different colonies. The bees are put together in a box containing sugar water syrup in a can (their food supply during travel), and the queen which hangs in a small cage at the center of the box, while the bees around her get used to her scent. A simple internet search for “package bees” will yield many results and providers. If you use this method of obtaining bees, contact us for instructions on how to release the queen, which will be a bit different than in a commercial style of hive.
Beekeeping is considered agriculture; you will find as many opinions about beekeeping as you will about how to grow the best carrots. Most beekeepers in the United States use commercial hives, called Langstroth hives. Langstroth hives can be quickly stacked one on top of the other easily and loaded on trucks to drive to mono-crop sites in need of mass pollination, such as the almonds in California. For the purposes of backyard and hobby beekeeping, various types of hives are suitable for the job and can offer different interaction with the bees.