Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Understanding the Beekeeping Suit

Although the first part of preparing yourself to work with bees is understanding the bee’s first line of defense. Even with an understanding of bee behavior, most beekeepers also wear some protective clothing. Many people are allergic to bee stings. But, sometimes the only way that someone discovers that they are allergic to bee stings to the first time that they get stung. If you are considering keeping bees, you should first determine whether or not you are allergic to bee stings. Even very experienced beekeepers get stung. In fact, some beekeepers believe that the more stings a beekeeper receives, the less irritation each one will cause to the body in the future. They believe that it is important for the beekeeper to be stung a few times during the season. With frequent bee stings the beekeepers develop higher levels of antibodies due to the reaction of the bee venom which offers them a resistant to stings in the future.
But, to minimize the amount that they are stung, even very experienced beekeepers usually wears gloves and a hooded suit or hat and veil. Although, some experienced beekeepers sometimes choose not to use gloves because they inhibit some of the delicate work of working with bees. Plus, a bee sting that is received on a bare hand can usually be quickly removed by scraping it with a fingernail in order to reduce the amount of venom that is injected. A person’s face and neck are the most important areas to protect because defensive bees are attracted to the a person’s breath. There can be much more pain and swelling on the face than a sting received elsewhere on the body. Plus, it is difficult for the beekeeper to remove the bee sting from their face without looking at a mirror. It is important to learn how to approach the bees calmly in order to avoid an aggressive assault from a large group of bees that is targeting the face.
Beekeeping suits are full length jumpsuits that are worn by the beekeeper when they are tending to the bee hive. The protective suit that beekeepers wear is usually light in color, typically white, and made out of a smooth material. A bee suit that is light in color provides the largest difference from a bee colony's natural predators like bears and skunks which tend to be dark-colored and furry. The beekeeping suit also gives the beekeeper a way to remove stings and venom sacs simply with a tug on the clothing. Protective clothing may also hinder or reduce the venom from the bee-stings from entering into the body. The stings that are left in the fabric of the suit will continue to pump out an alarm pheromone that attracts aggressive action and further stinging attacks from the bees. In order to reduce the risk of the bees picking up the sent the next time that the beekeeper visits the hive, the suit should be washed regularly. They can also rinse their hands in vinegar to minimize the bee’s attraction.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Honeybees During the Winter

 The most inactive season for honeybees is winter, they will gather tightly together to preserve heat this causes a rise in temperature for the entire hive. The queen bee will remain at the center of the hive to stay warm and lay very few eggs if any at all.

 The queen bee is cared for by the worker bees because the hive contains mainly female bees at this time of year. All the drones have either been killed or driven out of the colony in autumn.

 Ivy is one of the last plants to give in to the cold, so if you live in an area with lots of ivy don't be surprised to see your bees forging on the not so colder days on the ivy to store some extra needed food for the winter.

 The cluster of the bees can be loose or tight, if the temperature is consistently around 68 degrees Fahrenheit the cluster will be loose and the food consumption will increase a little. During the coldest days the cluster will be at its tightest and the food consumption drops as all activity slows down in the hive.

Winter Time Reference

  • 57 degrees F to 110 degrees F- All activity in in the colony such as the gathering of food and the laying of eggs is ongoing.
  • 95 degrees F- Brood nesting still possible.
  • 57 degrees F- Clustering of the hive commences and activity starts to be limited.
  • 50 degrees F- Honeybees are unable to fly outside the hive and the clustering is tight.
  • 45 degrees F- Most species of honeybees become immoble.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Beekeeping Bee Hive

 The first thing that you invest in when you want start beekeeping is the Langstroth hive. You can build it or buy it, it dose not matter how you acquire it as long as it well built from strong wooden material.

Parts of Langstroth Hive include:
  • Hive Stand
  • Bottom board
  • Slatted rack
  • Lower deep or brood chamber
  • Upper deep or food chamber
  • Queen excluder
  • Shallow honey super
  • Inner cover
  • Outer cover
To protect your hive fro the elements you should apply paint to the outside of the hive only, do not paint the following:
  • Feeder ( the one located at the top of the hive)
  • Cover ( the whole cover should not be painted or stained)
  • Hive bodies
  • Frames
 The reason for not painting these is it may cause the bees to swarm from the smell of the paint and also not allowing the paint chemicals to get in the honey.

 When your are planning on moving the hives be sure to strap it together to insure the hive stays together. It is very possible for the to come apart when transporting them.

Understanding the Langstroth Hive

 The hives that are mainly used around the world: the straw or basket hives, top bar hives, and the Langstroth hive. We are going to look at Langstroth hive which is the most popular in the United states.

 Let's look at the parts of the Langstroth hive and how they come together. The hive is going to be exposed to the elements most hive makers use cypress for the base because it resists water and rotting better than other woods.

 Another important part of the hive is the stand. It keeps the hive up away from the moist ground and aids in the ventilation of the hive by not having grass or any other structures blocking the hive entrance and slowing down the bees.

 In the winter months the hive has a entrance reducer that helps keep the cool out of the hive, in the warmer months the entrance reducer should only be used for colonies that are newly introduced to the hive.

 The deep hive body is the main part of the Langstroth hive, this is where the waxed frames are installed and honey is made. The honey is stored and cured in lower deep, while the upper deep is used by the queen to lay eggs and the larva is taken care of by nursing bees.

 The queen excluder is a screen used to prevent the queen from entering the honey supers. The excluder should only be used active honey production, it is designed so that the worker bees can pass through it but not the queen due to her size.

 Bees do better with the use of wooden wax foundations than plastic foundations. The bees work faster with the wooden frame with wax foundation, although some beekeepers argue that in the long run the plastic is a better investment because it want rot. That's true, but bees a slower to accept plastic and are ready to start making honey with the wax foundation.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Beekeeping and Honey Bees

The benefits of beekeeping can be a very rewarding hobby. Beekeepers not only get the local surrounding gardens pollinated but they get to enjoy the honey.

The honey bees are very hard working. Have you ever heard the term “ busy as a bee” ? It's true. Bees work so hard during there short life gathering nectar for the hive to feed the themselves and the baby bee larva, that they actually wear out there wings in about 35 days and are no longer useful to the colony and die. Bees store honey to feed themselves when the flowers are not in bloom. They store way more honey than they will ever eat that's where the beekeeper comes in to collect the honey allowing more room in the hive to store more honey.

There is two types of honey that the beekeeper can sell for profit. The first is the liquid honey that is extracted from the comb. The second is selling the honey still in the wax comb which has a different taste that some folks enjoy more.

Not known to a lot of people, but honey comes in different colors and flavors. Seeing as how different flowers have different scents it will cause the nectar to smell and taste different than another honey. Depending on the soil that the flowers are growing in can determine the color and the taste of the honey. Lastly the quality of the comb itself can effect the color and taste of the honey. Honey usually appears red, golden, and even green hues.

The hobby of beekeeping for some is a business that is taken very serious. If you are considering this hobby you need to at your local laws for keeping bees in your area. Also take into consideration if you are planning on selling the honey, there is government guidelines you have to follow for handling food product and the bee products being sold. There is also the strategy of marketing your honey and bee products to the consumer that you are targeting. So your hobby can be a very profitable business if you take care of your bees properly and consider it a business.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Beekeeping Supplies

Beekeeping can be a dangerous hobby, so using the right supplies is critical to reduce your chances of being stung. Collecting the honey and maintaining the colony calls for different types of supplies.

The suit is the first line of safety equipment when tending to the bees. The gear used is a bee suit, hat with a veil and gloves. Its important to protect you head, face and neck from bee stings with a hat and a veil. The suit will protect your body, it is made so that the stinger of the bees cant penetrate the suit saving your body from the venom of the bee stings. Although some beekeepers want wear gloves due to some of the delicate work involved, its important to protect your hands while working with the bees.

A smoker is used to calm the bees, so that the beekeeper can work with the colony. A smoker uses different types of fuels and emits smoke. Some of the fuels used is wood, pine needles, burlap, twine, paper,and cotton. Some beekeepers use an aerosol can of smoke that can be purchased. The smoke confuses the bees. They seem to they need to leave the hide for food due to a fire and also masks the pheromones produced by the guard bees in the event of an intruder.

Some beekeepers feed there bees a sugar syrup when times are rough to prevent starvation, although the bees are more than capable of finding food on there on. There are different kinds of feeders used and in the winter the best is the hive top or pail division boards used inside the feeders. In the summertime bees are more active so an entrance feeder can be used.

The main part of beekeeping is the house in which you put them in. A wax foundation is used to encourage the bees to build a comb. The wax foundation is a thin sheet of wax with a hexagonal pattern on both sides of it and it assists the bees with the construction of the comb.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Beekeeping Information

In order to reap the benefits of a profitable beekeeping business you must first gain the knowledge of how to control the raising of the bees. This can be a very rewarding hobby.

For someone wanting to start beekeeping they must have the right equipment. You will need the components for the hive, first. A beginner should should purchase packaged bees which is a already established sworm of bees rather than trying to capture a sworm in the wild. You will also need protective gear and the tools for gathering the honey and the bee source. The protected gear used is a bee suit, glove, and veil. The honey bee usually only stings when it is protecting the hive so beekeepers use a smoker to sudue the bees. Smoke will make the bees want to leave the hive thinking there is a fire and it also distorts the pheromone produced by the guard bees when an intruder is detected at the hive.

The honey bee is a social insect that live in a colony containing thousands of bees that work together in building a hive, collecting food, and taking care of the young bee larva. Honey is the main reason that beekeepers keep bees to sell for a profit. Gathering the honey from the hive can be a bit tricky, but it is important not to leave the honey in the hive for to long a period. The honey will get darker the longer it stays in the hive which does not effect the taste but most people prefer a lighter color honey and it gives the bees more room to store more honey by removing the honey from the hive. When the beekeeper sees wax caps over the honey cells it is time to collect the honey. If you collect the honey to soon it will contain to water and spoil or ferment. So it is important to collect the honey at the right time. The best time to get the honey is in the morning when the bees are busy out of the hive collecting food.

You also need to check your local laws for beekeeping in the area in which you want start keeping bees to see if any restrictions apply. Also try to keep the hive away from recreational areas and houses to protect the public from bee stings.