Getting into beekeeping
Honey bees can be kept nearly anywhere, and acreage owners may find the hobby of beekeeping also makes good business sense. For obvious reasons, beekeeping isn't the type of activity one should get into without doing plenty of research first. Working with bees requires a gentle touch and calm disposition. You also need an understanding of the honey bees' behavior during handling and moving. And probably most importantly, know what your reaction is to bee stings.
Lee Heine is a honey producer, and says you’d be surprised how many little stingers you can stuff into one hive. "There are people that operate as few as 10 or 20 hives, you know, just for their own locale. Depending on the strength of the hive, a normal hive would run somewhere from 30 to 50 thousand bees."
In the U.S., beekeepers work primarily with the Western honey bee, otherwise known as Apis mellifera. Within this species, the most commonly used breeds include the Golden Italian, the
Carniolan, the Caucasian, the New Minnesota Hygenics, the Russian, and the Buckfast. Each breed has specific characteristics that you need to know based on your location and goals.
It’s wise to start out small and expand the beekeeping operation as time, experience, and finances permit. Initially, expect to spend about $200 per hive. Other equipment such as a smoker, protective clothing, feeding equipment, and a honey extractor will add to the expense.
Click on our video below to learn how to build a bee hive and get started with beekeeping.
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