Starting a beekeeping career is simultaneously exciting and daunting. As eager as you are to get your hives humming with honey production, you need to prepare yourself for the responsibilities that come with the job. While honeybees are relatively self-sufficient creatures, they rely on you to help them withstand diseases, pests, and the natural elements that may threaten their hives. As you start on your journey, be sure to keep your hives safe and productive with these colony care tips for beginner beekeepers.
Bees Come Before Beekeeping
There are many ways to be a good beekeeper, which means you’re going to see a lot of different opinions about how to keep your hives in good shape. There’s not always a right or wrong answer. The most important thing is to make sure you’re providing a good home for your honeybees. As you research what it takes to be a good beekeeper, make sure you also read up on honeybees themselves. Learning about bee biology and behavior gives you a better understanding of what your hive needs. This will help you make the best decisions possible for your colony.
Start With at Least Two Hives
One of the best colony care tips for beginner beekeepers is to start small. That said, it’s a good idea to keep at least two colonies during your first beekeeping season. This will let you compare your two colonies and give you a better idea of what is and isn’t working for your apiary. Having more than one hive also lets you transfer honey, pollen, or brood from the stronger hive to the weaker hive. This will help you protect the weaker hive from failing if they can’t make enough honey or replace a queen that has died.
Make the Most of Hive Inspections
Hive inspections give you a chance to check in on your honeybees and make sure the colony is running smoothly. These inspections disrupt your bees’ daily activities, so you don’t want to do it too often. Try to inspect your hives every seven to ten days. When inspection day comes around, you want to make the most of the opportunity. Check in on the honey stores and brood and keep an eye out for signs that the hive might be failing. By being attentive and thorough during these inspections, you can catch problems early on and fix them before they seriously harm the colony.