Benefits of Beekeeping
There is a wide variety of reasons why you might want to become a beekeeper and raise honey bees. First of all, think of all the delicious things you can make with honey. Then there is beeswax which can be made into candles, lip balm and cosmetics.
If you want healthy plants, bees will help pollinate the plants. Bees are untiring workers and subsequent to the original start up costs, the bees will provide the free labor to produce the honey and beeswax that will be yours to use. Bees will pretty much take care of themselves and require a minimum of your time.
Costs Associated With Beekeeping
Don’t expect to get a lot of honey the first year, but thereafter you should see a bountiful increase. To begin with you will have to spent several hundred dollars for your first hive, smoker, clothing and other equipment. It may take several years to recoup your investment and for you to learn what beekeeping is all about.
Before undertaking this enterprise, you should have yourself checked to see if you are allergic to bee stings.
You are sure to be stung from time to time, and although it may be painful you will likely develop an immunity to the stings over time.
If you are allergic to bee stings, which sometimes may even cause a fatal reaction, you should not attempt to be a beekeeper.
What about Laws, Ordinances and Restrictions?
Many areas have laws regarding beekeeping, so you should check with your local officials to see whether you can keep bees. Check and see if there are any restrictions or ordinances in you location that would be applicable.
Another consideration should be where the bees are located in order for them to be healthy and not be a nuisance to your neighbors.
Where You Should Locate Your Beehive
Your beehives should be placed in an area that is not too windy, or too cold, or in an area that is prone to flooding. Bees can survive in maximum temperatures of 120 degrees F. if water is available and can survive in temperatures as low as -50 degrees F. for a couple of weeks.
The opening should be facing an open area and receive adequate sunlight. Your bees will need sunshine and accessible water and nectar and pollen from plants. Therefore you must make certain that flowers and trees that produce pollen are nearby.
It is also imperative that you make sure the bees food source is not contaminated by pesticides.
A colony of bees usually consists of one queen bee which may lay several thousand eggs daily and as many as 60 thousand underdeveloped females which are the worker bees. These worker bees do all of the work for the colony.
There may be also be up to a thousand male bees or drones whose only duty is to mate with the queen. The worker bees have a lifespan of about six weeks, whereas the drones usually only live for a few weeks and if there is any adversity in the colony they are driven out to perish.