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Beekeeping Supplies

Beekeeping is not just a hobby but an ongoing obligation. The first step to any successful beekeeping operation is education. Before you start ordering supplies, make sure you understand what supplies you need to keep a successful hive going.

How many hives should you start with?

You should start with at least two hives. If one has a problem, you can use the other to help it survive.

  • If the first loses a queen, you can carry eggs from the second so that they can replace her.
  • If one seems to be losing bees, brood from the second can be carried over to help replace them.
  • Where should you place your hives?

    Placement is generally up to the beekeeper. In larger operations, they are placed four per pallet. You want to place them close enough together that you are comfortable working them and do not have long distances to walk. They should be approximately 10 feet away from people. This way, the bees can rise into the air before encountering people.

    Should you plant flowers to help the bees get started?

    Flowers and flowering plants such as clover would be welcome. Bees will commonly fly 2 to 3 miles in search of nectar. Placing them near large amounts of flowering plants will accelerate the production of honey. You can buy seeds or flowering plants to plant near your hives.

    How much honey can one hive produce in one year?

    This would depend on the strength of the swarm, the skill of the beekeeper, and local weather conditions. A brand-new hive will not make much honey because the bees are busy making wax. An established hive can be expected to produce 50 to 100 pounds of honey per year. Supplies like jars can keep the honey safe once harvested.

    What are the different wood grades used to build a hive?
    • The top grade used for beekeeping is select. Select lumber has a minimal amount of imperfections and is the highest grade of wood available.
    • The next grade is commercial. This is excellent wood but does have a small number of imperfections. It is also the most common grade chosen by beekeepers.
    • The lowest grade is budget. Budget grade wood has the largest number of imperfections but is still fully functional.
    What other supplies should you have to start?

    You may want to purchase a guide or two to beekeeping. More education means maximizing production and minimizing loss. You'll also want to ensure that you have adequate safety gear to protect you from bee stings.

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