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Now is the perfect time to start your beekeeping journey. Use the winter months to learn about beekeeping, the necessary expenses, pests and diseases, and the time you should plan to invest.
Attend local bee club meetings and use this opportunity to get to know beekeepers in your area. Developing relationships with local beekeepers will help you become a better beekeeper. Many club members have years of experience and would be happy to mentor you. Local bee clubs also offer educational opportunities including guest speakers and educational discussions. Some clubs, including The Rock County Beekeepers Association also have club hives so you can gain hands on experience throughout the year.
Read books and take classes to learn about beekeeping in your area. Beekeeping practices are different depending on the weather patterns for a particular location. Learn about pests and diseases. Learn about bee biology and seasonal cycles of bees
Listen to podcasts and watch documentaries
Learn about the pros and cons of the different types of hives and the technology that has become available in recent years.
Remember that not everything you see or read on the internet is true. Always confirm your sources are credible.
More and more cities across the country are adopting "No Mow May"
Mowing your lawn less creates habitat and can increase the abundance and diversity of wildlife including bees and other pollinators. One way to reduce mowing is by participating in Now Mhttps://websites.godaddy.com/en-CA/editor/7e2b3630-32ef-4486-866a-c4eb0e8b6157/492923e4-3d36-41c3-9191-62577ac66408/edit#ow May. No Mow May is a conservation initiative first popularized by Plantlife, an organization based in the United Kingdom, but which is gaining traction across North America. The goal of No Mow May is to allow grass to grow for the month of May, creating habitat and forage for early season pollinators. This is particularly important in urban areas where floral resources are often limited.
Why do Hive Inspections?
The hive inspection is a chance for the beekeeper to dig deeper beyond the external signs when observing the hive. Watching the bees come and go from the hive can convey important clues about the colony. But for a real understanding, it is important that the beekeeper open up the hive.
As the early spring weather starts to get warmer, it is important to make sure your bees have enough food. They will be starting to raise brood and need extra food as they become more active until the pollen starts to flow.
With the arrival of your new bees soon, be careful adding honey frames.
If you have honey left over, put 4 empty frames in the middle of your hive for the bees to use for brood. Put 1 or 2 honey frames outside of the brood frames. Add empty frames in the outermost spots.
The bees will need the stimulation from a liquid feed to prompt them to raise brood. Add a pollen patty for the protein needed in the hive too.
The bees need the space in the middle for brood. They need food on the edge of the brood and most of all they need space to expand. This is why we want middle out empty, food, and empty.
If you place too much left over honey, the hive can become bound up quickly and possibly start to swarm. You could also cause swarming by feeding too much feed with full frames of honey. Be careful and watch your spacing in the hive when adding leftover honey frames.
Packages are generally available in time for the plums and apples.
Are you thinking of buying a nuc? What makes a good nuc and who is a good supplier? This can depend on the person selling them. There are many ways of building nucs.
1. new queen, local raised wouldn't be ready till June or later. Commercial raised queen can come from anywhere and added days prior to selling the nuc.
2. overwintered nuc. This should have a queen made last year. The hive made it through the winter and should be available anytime in the spring as it is simply an active hive. This is a risky hive for the seller as it needs to make it through the winter. Most nucs aren't in this category.
3. Spring made warm climate nucs. These are the most common. Many suppliers make these up around valentine's day elsewhere. Many use as few as 1 frame of brood and a commercially raised queen cell. They grow till May and are 4-5 frames.
It does help to get some references on how the supplier and stock has done. A good supplier will treat for mites. A poor one will put the bees and queen together as late as the day of the sale to you.
How do you know? Ask others you meet in the industry for a good supplier. You can find these people in a local club. Do your homework as the costs have skyrocketed.
It is also important to know that you are buying from a reputable seller to make sure you aren't getting an old queen or old frames that should have been disposed of a few years prior.
Nucs are generally available after the orchard trees have bloomed.
These quick facts were taken from "History of Beekeeping in the United States" by Everett Oertel
In 1852, L.L.Langstroth patented a hive with moveable frames that is still used today.
Waxcomb foundation was invented in 1857.
The centrifugal honey extractor was invented in 1865.
Queen bees have been sent through the mail since 1886.