Having Fun With Nature

Keeping Bees

Bees are stinging insects. If you raise bees, no matter how careful you are,  you will get stung. The common reaction to stings is swelling and itchiness. However, in rare instances, an anaphylactic allergic reaction can occur that is life threatening. In these cases immediate medical attention is required.

If the warning didn't scare you off, you're ready to move on.

The next thing you'll want to do is check with your local zoning codes to see if you can raise bees in your location. And, it's always a good idea to check with neighbors.

Finally, bees require water and food. You'll be supplying the water and shelter, but you can't supply enough food. If there're fields with clover, blooming crops or flowers nearby, anything that provides nectar and pollen, then you're OK. Bees forage up to 3 miles, but closer is better.

A 3# Package of Bees

Before you do any thing with bees, you'll want to find out as much as possible about them. To that end, there are suggested books, a forum, and a list of suppliers (no recommendations) on this page to help you in your quest. Suppliers' catalogs are a great education source. With the specialized language of Supers, Nucs, Bodies, Frames and Foundation, It is to their advantage that you know what you're doing.

 You'll either get a 3# package of bees with a queen (as above) or a 4 or 5 frame "Nuc". Nuc is short for "nucleus". It is 4 or 5 frames of bees with a queen, nurse bees, polen, and brood. All you do is transfer it to a larger box.

On the right is a wonderful video from The Essex County Beekeepers on putting a package of bees into a hive.

Suggested Reading

Beekeeping for Dummies
Howland Blackiston

The Backyard Beekeeper
Kim Flottum

ABC-XYZ of Beekeeping
A.I. Root
Encyclopedia Reference

Working with bees demands concentration: you, at all times, must know what you are about and what you want to accomplish. You may want to accomplish nothing more than observing the workings of the colony. That's OK. You need to get familiar with the colony: the Queen, Workers, and Drones. That's what you want to accomplish.

The video below shows our friends from Essex County examining a hive.

A Hive or Colony of Bees

Cutting Comb Caps

Of course, when you keep bees you want honey. But don't forget about what the girls do to make the honey: they pollinate your flowers and vegetables.

Yes, you didn't imagine a better crop of vegetables and more flowers: the girls did it for you. And, they even provide you with the best tasting honey in the world - your own!

Uncapped Frame of Honey

Bottling Honey

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