Firstly, decide if its for you
Check out the law
Most cities in the United States have strict rules around beekeeping—if they allow it at all. So your first step is determining what laws will govern your apiary(that’s the technical term for a bee condo). For example, your lot may need to be a certain size, there could be a cap on how many hives are permissible, and certain species, such as Africanized bees or other non-native bees, may be illegal.
Check if anyone in your family has an allergy to bee stings-you might be stung
Tell your neighbors and explain to them how bees are actually beneficial and don’t sting unless provoked.Try to take steps to ensure they wont get stung too and tell them.Promise and provide a jar of honey to neighbors when you collect your honey, they will appreciate it. On the other hand if you already aren’t getting on well with your neighbor, its probably not a good idea to get bees.
Always provide a water source-or they might swarm your neighbor’s swimming pool.Oops!
Get a gentle queen bee as it will produce gentle offspring.
Don’t Buy used supplies from someone else. They can contain diseases that might be passed on to your bees. Always buy new
Do Get your bees from an approved dealer. This ensures your bees will arrive healthy and strong, and that they were raised under humane and responsible circumstances.
Don’t Neglect your bees. During the spring and summer, when the temperature is consistently above 70°F, it’s important to inspect your hives each week. Parasites, such as wax moths, can decimate the hive in days when left unchecked.
Do Start with at least two colonies. While it might seem overwhelming to care for and keep two hives, multiple colonies will allow you to compare their progress and make adjustments as needed. There’s also the simple fact that beekeeping has a steep learning curve, and increasing your odds is never a bad thing.
Beehives require management and good stewardship, which take both time and knowledge.
General maintenance requires periodic inspections during the warm months to make sure your queen is laying eggs, your workers are building up honey stores, and your colony has enough space to expand. In the cold months, the colony clusters and eats through their honey stores, only emerging when the temperature is above freezing to eliminate waste. Inspections are discouraged during this time to keep from releasing precious heat from the hive. Management time and style will depend on your climate, your hive style, and your particular bees. All colonies are unique, and each beekeeper will have a different experience.
Connect With Your Local Beekeeping Organizations
In beekeeping, some details can be specific to your local area. And the nature of beekeeping means that you’ll be most successful if you have strong local resources to draw on.
DO your research and read up on books or material online.
Pick the right spot
Once you understand the ordinances related to urban beekeeping and are able to satisfy them, it’s time to choose a spot for your hives. The ideal location is one that’s easily accessible so you can inspect them regularly, not too windy, with constant temperatures and far out of reach of predators. Pointing the hives toward the southeast will get the bees buzzing earlier in the day, and a spot with dappled sunlight rather than full sun will help keep the hive cool during hot summer days.
A beekeeping jacket ($40)
While some experienced beekeepers eschew protection, beginners will want to make this investment.
Leather gloves ($15)
Inspecting the hives requires lifting frames from the boxes, which angers the bees. Keep the vulnerable skin of your hands safe with long gloves, usually made from supple goat skin.
A smoker ($40)
Short and squat, a bee smoker emits cool, white smoke, which masks the bees’ pheromones and keeps them calm as you work the hive.
Note: If you are very daring and your hive is small, you can try getting a gentle bee queen and go without protection.But approach the hives and take the frames out slowly.A gentle bee queen is the most important so get one from a reputable source!
Langstroth hives are basically stacked boxes. As the hive grows, the beekeeper simply adds another box to the tower. Each box contains ten frames, which hang in the box like files in a cabinet.
Building vs. buying beehives
If you’re brand new to beekeeping, it’s best to buy your hives rather than go the DIY route. While buying will be more expensive (a Langstroth hive averages about $100)
Building requires a level of understanding that only comes with time and experience, so if built improperly, a beehive can hinder a bee’s growth and honey production.But if you want to, there are many tutorials to check out on the internet.
A smoker is essential for this process so you can work in peace.
You can either buy smoker fuel commercially or use things like pine needles or some types of untreated wood.
It is important to remember that you should not harvest the dark honey found in the brood area. You should also leave enough honey for your bees to use to feed the hive, especially during the winter months.