Beginner's Pages

Where do I start?

You want to start keeping bees, but where do you start? I suggest a couple good books such as Storey’s Guide to Beekeeping or Beekeeping For Dummies . You can order these from Amazon or any other book store. I have noticed another good guide at Lowe’s and Tractor Supply called Backyard Beekeeper .  Find a mentor, or a local bee club. The Empire State Honey Producers website has a list of local clubs.

Your best bet is get your bee equipment prior to getting your bees. You need to have your hive set up in its permanent location before adding your bees. It is also very important that you have a plan for how you are going to feed your bees, and have the feeder and sugar syrup ready.  Sure, you don’t HAVE to feed your bees, but after shelling out the money for a hive and the bees, I am assuming you would like them to live!  A new hive means there is a lot of comb that needs to be drawn out. They need the comb for their brood and to store pollen and honey in for the winter.

The bees have a built in GPS. Once they come to your property and are installed in their hive they will always know exactly where the hive is located. If they have orientated to one location and you change it on them, they will not find their hive and will die. Ideally you will pick up your bees and will drive onto you property and immediately get out of your vehicle and set your nuc directly on top of their hive. Then get your equipment together,  get your bee jacket and veil on, and install your bees in their new home.

is a monthly magazine that I highly recommend, as is Bee Culture.

Some good learning resources on the web:

  • Scientific Beekeeping by Randy Oliver   Start with his beginner pages. He does scientific research and his beekeeping methods reflect this.
  • NY Bee Wellness   Their information is pertinent for NY, and they have some great educational offerings right here in NY. They have online tools related to the health of your bees.
  • Bee Source  is a forum and has many sections of various beekeeping topics.
  •  Has a variety of education offerings including a pod cast and 4 hours of beekeeping videos that start with the basics, including how to hive your new bees.

Pests: Have you seen a beetle or two walking around your hive? Wondering if  it is a small hive beetle?  The easiest way to tell is to get yourself a magnifying glass or a dissecting microscope. Look at the antennae: SHB look like they have round balls on the end of their antennae. Pretty easy, right?

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