Q:

How do you keep bees?

A:

Quick Answer

To start keeping bees as a hobby or commercial venture, first gather as much information as possible and look up any city restrictions concerning keeping bee hives. Then, collect the necessary equipment and gear before purchasing the bees. Check them periodically for ailments or to see if they need feeding.

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Full Answer

Good sources for information on beekeeping include magazines such as the American Bee Journal and Bee Culture. A local beekeeping association is also a good source of information as well as a place to borrow or hire out equipment. The best time to start keeping bees is in spring so that the first lot of honey is ready by fall. Bees need an open flight path and about 15 feet of space around them. High fences ensure that their flight path is higher up and therefore less troublesome.

Basic equipment purchases for beekeeping includes a bee suit with hood and gloves, a smoker, and bees and beehives, including boxes, covers and bottom boards. The best way to get bees when just starting out is to buy a "nuc," which consists of a queen bee and a few hundred worker bees. Bees need to be given water and sometimes even food if the flowers open up only later in the year. A one to one solution of sugar and water poured into a bottle with holes punched into the lid provides good sustenance. Check the bees occasionally for mites and diseases. Honey can be removed from the hives in the fall or at other times if there are many hives.

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