The Facts Required By The Novice Beekeeper

To enjoy beekeeping to the full you need, before you start, to learn the essential priciples. Outlined here are some basic thoughts that will form a basis for more detailed investigations

Honey Bees are sociable insects that gather together in colonies as big as 50,000. The queen whose main job is to produce eggs rules the hive. The worker bees toil endlessly collecting the nectar, storing the honey and guarding the colony. The male, drone, bees do nothing for the colony except wait for the instance every two years or so when a new queen bee needs fertilizing. A number of queen larvae are laid and the bees will raise these into new queens who will then take half the colony to discover a new home. During the swarm the queen will couple with several males and when the swarm locate a new nest is ready to start laying eggs and thus produce a new hive.

It is the instint of honey bees to create honey in beeswax combs by exploiting this instinct the beekeeper makes his harvest. To maximize the honey crop the beekeeper supplies a hive for a colony of bees to employ. In order to expand the quantities of honey the beekeeper will deter the development of queen bees and always crop the honey at the right time. To increase his stock of bees the beekeeper will allow queen bees to deveop and split the larvae from the hive on hatching. A new queen is placed with a selection of bees from an existing hive into a new hive they will found a new colony and the beekeeper has a new hive.


Grearious, well mannered, non aggresive honey bees will defend their colony vigorously if they feel threatened. Handle bees carefully and they will rarely sting. Belligerent wasps and hornets rarely share an region with honey bees.

The Langsthroth is the most popular design of the central piece of beekeeping equipment – the hive. The smoker developedldesigned in the early days of beekeeping is still used to subdue the bees due to be handled and inspected. Beekeeping suppliers have catalogues full of tools to aid the beekeeper.

The bee sting resistant quality is essential in the light colored overall which is the first item of protective gear. The bees attracted by the breath of the beekeeper will predominantly attack the face and neck this makes the hat and veil the most important piece of protective gear. Experienced beekeepers rarely wear gloves, but always start by wearing them.

Reaping the first crop of honey can be overwhelming but is not problematic if you stick to the rules. It is essential that the honey is removed at the correct time. There is a peril that the honey will spoil if gathered too early as the water content will be high. The longer the honey is left the darker it becomes and people choose the light ‘honey’ color.

It is important that you check the local by laws regarding beekeeping in your district. Your neighbors must be considered and you should talk your intentions fully before starting. There are so many advantages to having honey bees in the neighbourhood it is easy to persuade people to your view.


Ben Field is a beekeeping expert. For more great information and a FREE email course on  beginning beekeeping, visit

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