Season 2: Introduction to Beekeeping
Why Keep Bees
Increase pollination for fruit and vegetable crops, contribute to the honeybee population, production benefits of honey, pollen and wax
The Members of a Hive
Queen (only hive member capable of laying eggs)
Workers (female, worker bees who play the roles of guardians, nurses, foragers, comb builders, honey creators, undertakers, etc.)
Drones (male, sole job is to mate with the queen)
Common Honeybee Breeds in the US (not exhaustive list)
Nuc vs Package
Sourcing local is best. They will be successfully overwinter stock (if that applies to your region) and a local beekeeper can assist with treatment and behavioral questions.
Nuc: A 5-frame working colony with a queen, workers and drones. Frames often include capped brood (eggs and larvae) and honey/pollen.
Package: A package is a collection of bees including one queen, workers and drones compiled into a box or shipping container. They are not a working colony and do not come with frames or food stores. Typically shipped from warmer climates to cooler areas where bees have no experience with overwintering.
Place orders for bees in December-February. Usually nuc pick-up and package shipment is in early spring.
Langstroth Hive for Beginners
Hive Site Selection
A dry, flat location with morning sunlight and afternoon shade is ideal. Avoid slopes where the hive could fall, floodplains, high traffic locations and areas where the bees will often be disturbed.
Bees will travel up to five miles in search of forage. They will travel ¼ mile for water.
The Role of the Beekeeper