How to keep bees: A successful beekeeper can run his beekeeping project with a good profit. A beginner Beekeeper should learn and study the bee behavior and its lifestyle. Most of the people are not aware of bee facts and its amazing life style. Its only the insect capable to produce honey in all over the world. So, its lifestyle is also different than other insects. Learn more How To Keep Bees & 6 Easy Steps To Start Beekeeping For Beginners.
Remember, Bee Framing or beekeeping is agricultural project but it’s completely scientific, technical and more profitable than usual Agro-Project. You can start it as a hobby or as a small business following the 6 steps I have explained here. But if you wish to start as a large project I recommend you to complete Feasibility study and SWOT analysis prior to take this project at hand. Find here Feasibility study and SWOT Analysis.
6 Easy Steps To Start Beekeeping for beginners:
For Beginner Beekeepers, there are 6 basic and simple steps as I explained below. Stick with these instruction and step by step guidelines, that will help you to be an ideal and successful Beekeeper.
01. Select a Suitable place.
Remember, all the places aren’t suitable for honey beekeeping. A dark area with trees/garden, without any passage of people or animal is the best place for bees.
Far from Electric overhead line and Grocery market is an ideal place for bees. Electric overhead line can kill worker bees while flying for searching flowers.
Grocery shops include many types of sweet that attract bees and they used to move their searching food.
While Queen bee flies for sexual intercourse it can be killed by electric overhead line which is very bad situation for the entire bee colony or beehives.
So, you have to keep your eyes always on Queen bee and take special care as it’s only one in entire hive. Missing of queen be can disrupt Beekeeping seriously.
Without a queen bee, a beehive can be damaged or collapsed. If there’s any local grocery shop in nearest area, female bees or worker bees may run toward sweet shops and can be killed there.
While Queen bee wants to be conceived, she run too-and-fro for mating with Male bee. During this period you have be more careful about queen bee to keep safe from some birds like this picture in the left.
Some small birds always searching for bees to catch and eat. Worker bees or female bees can be attacked by such birds. Keep in mind and Take care about this also.
Take care about the hornets’ attack to your female bees or worker bees. My 4 hives became completely damaged by the attack of hornets. So, I don’t like you to get damage like me. Check if there is any hornets’ nest near to your Beehives.
Hornets are stronger and larger than honey bees and make nest like bees. These are the enemies of honey bees for ever.
Now I hope you learn enough to properly select your place of beekeeping considering all of the above factors. Don’t do mistake to select a suitable place for beekeeping, also consider your affordability and over all circumstances.
02. Collect beehives.
Now if you like to start beekeeping for free, you can catch natural bees from any existing beehive available (if any) in your garden or trees. But for this steps you should have enough knowledge on how to catch natural bees. And you should know what species of bees are in the hive. Remember, all bees are not suitable to keep and not profitable also. So, be ensure before catch the bees. For beginner beekeepers it’s not recommended to collect bees from natural hives. It’s only for experienced beekeepers.
Beginners beekeepers are suggested to Collect bee hives with teen aged queen and sufficient female bees, nectar and pollen storage from a reliable source. Well reputed beekeepers or any Govt. organization on Beekeeping can help you to get productive and useful beehives.
While a queen become old, it’s laying capacity of number of eggs decreased, but mortality remains in the same ratio. So, ultimately number of bees will decreased gradually in the beehives. So, teen aged bee would be more profitable.
If you don’t know any beekeepers you can buy from Amazon online shop. Or You can Buy here Beekeeping Starter Kit with 47% discount: Deluxe Beehive Starter Kit – Premium Bee Hives for Beginners, Professionals and Beekeeping Supplies – Need 8 Frames.
They are reliable supplier world-wide. The beehives should have sufficient number of young worker/Female bees to grow your beekeeping project fast. After collecting beehive you have to install it properly. While you collect and install your bees, keep in mind the following recommendation:
01. Collect at least 2 Hives so that one can back up another and used to interchange between them while necessary during maintenance.
02. Buy a set of basic tools or buy each of them separately. Advanced tools you can buy later on. Basic tools include Smoker, Brush, Hand Gloves, & Scraper.
Also buy beekeeping suits, veil, & shoes to protect yourself from bee sting. Always buy tools and equipment with good quality from any reliable supplier.
Find here to buy: Beekeeping Bee Keeping Suit, Jacket, Gloves, Bee Hive Brush, & J Hook Hive Tool Set by LORJE. Read and learn How to use Tools and Equipment.
03. Transport bee hives in cold weather and preferable at night to keep death rate at minimum. Remember, during transportation if a huge number of bees die you’ll be unable to recover it and finally may be the colony collapse.
04. Collect strong Bee Hives that include a teen aged Queen, sufficient Female/worker bees, Pupa, Larva, nectar & Pollen Stock in the hive.
03. Maintain Beehives.
You may think what’s bee management or is it really necessary? Once I was General Manager of a Group of Companies as well as owner of Beehives. So I can assure you that beehives management is far more difficult than human management, specially if you are a new in this field.
You need at least 2/3 years of experience in this field to be aware of bee behavior. During this period you may loose few beehives. But don’t worry, I shall tell you how to recover this situation and make your project more profitable.
01. If you have spare time in hand, try to get at least few days training from any Beekeeping Training Center or Beekeepers project. This will help you enough to maintain your bees profitably.
But if you don’t have enough time to attend physically, there are several online training available, choose any one and start learning. Search using the phrase Beekeeping Training online. You’ll find many websites are providing online training.
02. Keep notes of important things suggested from Training center to apply in your project. Also I suggest you read more to learn details on How the Bee Hives Management in different seasons.
04. Harvest Honey/Extract Honey.
You’ll feed honey bees all the year round but harvest honey only few (3/4) months. But still now its profitable if you follow my instructions and be patient. Apis Cerana is the most popular species of honey bees came from South Africa and practiced in Asia zone and Indonesia.
This is the most productive and profitable species. From each beehive you can get 50 Kg honey per year where from indigenous honey bees you’ll get only 5 Kg. Apis Mellifera is European honey bee. It’s scientific name is Apis mellifera Linnaeus, and subspecies is Insecta: Hymenoptera: Apidae.
For economic benefits related to pollination and honey production, this species become popular and spread extensively in America.
Honey can be extracted either manually or Automatic Machine. For large amount of extraction, Automatic machine is recommended. Only for few beehives it’s not feasible and manual is recommended.
Find here a manual extractor: New Large Two 2 Frame, Stainless Steel Bee Honey Extractor, SS Honeycomb Spinner: VIVO Model BEE-V002.
05. Process Honey.
Taste, quality and flavor of honey depends on the type of flowers. There is one kind of honey called Padha Madhu which is very expensive and rarely available. Usual honey price is $4-$10 per Kg but Padha Madhu if you found somewhere, they’ll ask $50 per Kg. Some honey are specially produced to use for treatment of specific diseases.
Honey processing Machine is the most expensive in Honey bees project. You can start a project of 10 beehives with only 1000 dollar but one Automated Processing machine cost is Min. $20,000 and it’s only recommended for commercial beekeepers.
So, I suggest you to either process by yourself manually or process from a Machine owner paying on quantity basis like per kg. You might find some Machine owner near to you. Another option is to buy a Power Blanket Lite for your small project and its price is less than $100.
You can buy it online from amazon and get it at home. Find here to buy: Powerblanket Lite, Model PBL05, 5-Gallon Insulated Pail Heater – Bucket Heater (5 Gallon = 19 Liter).
06. Packaging and Sale.
If you start Honey beekeeping as a hobby or in a small scale, packaging may not very important. But while do it as big project, nice packaging and marketing aspects are necessary.
Glass or ceramic bottle is the best for long lasting packaging. Plastic container may be used only for short time. If you keep honey in plastic container long time, you’ll get bad smell from honey.
For packaging, you have to comply with local and central Government Laws and policies. Such as – your product should be tested and approved by Govt. Authority or Testing Institutions.
Also regarding the Monogram used in the label of packaging, quantity & date of production, date of expiry, batch #, MRP with VAT etc. are required & must be registered and approved. Without prior approval from Govt. authority you can’t use any label in product for sale.
If you are not likely to sell honey, keep your honey and store in Glass or Ceramic pot. It’s better not to keep in Plastic container as few month later plastic smell will affect your honey. And you should not keep your Raw honey for a long time. Process/evaporate it as soon as possible and keep it in a safe place.
Sources of information
- National Honey Board.
- American Honey Producers Association.
- American Bee Journal.
- The Pollination Home Page.
- Photo Credit – Picasa.
- Photo Credit – Google images – unrestricted.
- Experience of my own beekeeping project.