Beekeeping offers suddenly become popular again and have been in decline for more than a century.
Honeybees have been in what is this great for all the wrong reasons: falling apart colonies, pesticide poisoning along with parasitic mites – and all sorts of this bad news seem to have activated an almost primitive desire in persons to want to help along with nurture this vitally-important insect pest that, despite all each of our scientific advances we can still do not fully understand, but be aware that we cannot live without.
From the time I can remember, the media regarded beekeepers as harmless, doddery old men (mostly) who do arcane issues with strange wooden packing containers of bees while put on sartorially suspect garb. Nonetheless, this image is starting to change, with more and more ladies and young people being attracted to thinking about learning this ancient create and a new urgency upward about preserving our honeybees for their essential role as pollinators, as well as for their own sake.
Men and women consider keeping bees; their most likely first slot of call is their own local Bee Keepers Organization. Here they will almost always look for a friendly welcome and a lot of technical chat among the ‘old hands, most of which will seem like a foreign language at first. Once the jargon is translated, one will be required to spend a not-inconsiderable amount of money to buy one’s ticket into this arcane globe: the glossy catalogs rich in shiny equipment are elegant, but the accompanying price details can come as quite a distress.
Many are put off the idea now.
But it need not be, and so. It is possible to become a beekeeper – even a fantastic good beekeeper – without blowing a good chunk of your hard-earned savings. The website shall show you; you can even undertake it virtually for free!
The next hindrance to confronting the would-be keeper is the hefty dumbbells that one is expected to elevate and carry. Using regular equipment, you need to be able to elevate at least 50 pounds (about 25 kilos) of dead fat from ground level – not necessarily something to try if you are softly built and not used to box-shifting in that class.
Again, that does not have to be the case: I will teach you how the least fit man or woman can become a beekeeper. Using my system, you may even work a beehive from a wheelchair.
Another barrier that may kill off the newbie’s enthusiasm is storage space. Utilizing conventional hives, you can are not able to accumulate all kinds of ‘extras’ — odd-shaped boxes, frames, roofing, extractors – all kinds of things the ‘old hands’ did not remember to mention at that first, fascinating meeting – and you will require space to store it. We have been talking about garage space, people. Once more, I have good news: stick to my system, and you will not require any extra storage space because everything can be stored within the hives themselves.
So what will it take to become a beekeeper?
The essentials are simple enough: some kind of hive, a hat along with a veil, old, white clothing, and – to start with a minimum of – some gloves — and the agreement of the people who share your living space. Whether you are a town or perhaps a country dweller, so long as it has an abundant and varied flow of flowering plants from springtime onwards. Bees generally do better in well-gardened towns and cities than in the ‘green desert’ of modern, industrial farm territory.
Like many beekeeping newbies, I began with a regular, framed hive – the sort with sloped-sided outer packing containers familiar from children’s textbooks. Soon, I acquired some more and began to realize that only to continue along this kind of road, I would have to construct myself a big shed that had to house all the spare woodwork and other paraphernalia that was speedily accumulating – and I will have to find a way to pay for all the ‘extras’ I would soon be waiting.
At this point, I asked myself, ” Does it need to be that way? That innocent problem led me on a discovery mission of reading, analysis, and experimentation that confirmed conclusively that zero – it does not need to be like that: beekeeping does not need to be challenging, expensive, or dependent on machine-made parts and equipment.
This search for an alternative approach directed me to the top pub hive – one of the earliest and simplest beehive types- requiring little ability and few tools to create. A good start on the road to sustainable simpleness, but is it a practical beehive for modern beekeeping?
Right after some years of experimenting as well as testing various designs, In my opinion, I now have a top pub hive design that is simple to build, practical, and rewarding while being comfortable and easy to apply for both the bees and the beekeeper.
So what are top nightclub hives?
The principle is simple: a new box with sticks through the top, to which bees fix their comb. Mine include central, side entrances, sloping sides, and a pair of ‘follower boards’ to enclose the place. There are many variations of this motif, and all have the essential specifications of the simplicity of design and management. There are simply no frames, no queen excluders, no ekes, no mouse button guards, no supers, simply no foundation, and there is no need for extractors, settling tanks, filters, de-capping knives… no need for some other equipment or storage space, apart from that provided within the hive alone. And if you have just expended an hour leafing through suppliers’ catalogs, wondering how you can probably afford to keep bees, that may come as some relief!
Creating a top bar hive is not more difficult than putting up shelving and can be done using palm tools and recycled timber. Top bar beekeeping is ‘beekeeping for everyone: including people with disabilities, negative backs, or a reluctance to be able to lift boxes: there is no large lifting once your hives are in place, as sweetie is harvested one hair comb at a time. From the bees’ perspective, top bar hives offer you weatherproof shelter, the opportunity to create comb to their design and style – without the constraints of artificial wax foundation – and also minimal disturbance, thanks to any ‘leave well alone’ design of management.
So, where do you acquire bees from?
You can buy these or catch them, or perhaps if you are lucky, they will embrace you! Catching or tempting a swarm is one of the most fun – and much less difficult than you might think. Bees swarm in response to their behavioral instinct to reproduce – generally in spring and early summer – and the perception of a swarm in flight is undoubtedly impressive. However, contrary to popular belief, it is now the time when they are least likely to tingle you: their only worry at that moment is to find a new
location to live. So if you offer them the proper accommodation at the most fortunate time – such as a pleasant-smelling, comfortable beehive – they are more than likely to move out of their own contract. Many become beekeepers simply by enticing a passing swarm using a few drops of citronella or lemon, your lawn oil, or better still, clearing away the inside of the hive with pure beeswax.
Capturing a new swarm is not tricky; hold a carrier or cardboard box within their football-sized cluster for a tree branch and give a superb shake! It is not always as fundamental as that, but it is not usually as complicated as buying a cat out of a sapling.
If you think you want to keep bees, I suggest you first get to know your beekeeper, who is willing to help you visit and handle all their bees. Most beekeepers’ links have ‘meet the bees’ days during the spring, presenting newcomers a chance to see incredible hives and test all their responses to being between bees.
And stings? You will undoubtedly get stung from time to time; even so, be careful you are. Local bloating, redness, and itching are often normal reactions: faintness, breathing difficulties, and usually collapse actual allergic symptoms, potentially life-threatening. Most people who also keep bees become less sensitive to stings as time passes, but sometimes it goes one other way, and occasionally, an experienced beekeeper may suddenly become hypersensitive. So if you have any purpose to suppose you may be very sensitive to bee venom (only about one in 200 folks are), be sure to carry Benadryl or an EpiPen (adrenaline injection) or ensure that whomever you are with is effectively equipped to deal with an emergency.
Whether you approach it as seen by conservation, entomology, harvest pollination, or simply a adore of honey; beekeeping is an engaging pursuit and an intriguing window into the natural planet.
Bees are in trouble right now – from pesticides, professional farming, pollution, parasitic bugs, and viruses – and need all the ‘natural’ beekeepers we can get to build up their amounts and give them a chance to fix their problems. So, if you would like to keep bees, build your hive before the swarm period, and you could be tasting your honey by the end of the summer season!
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