Training to be a Beekeeper Training to be a beekeeper is a time consuming skill that many take seriously because you have to share a passion for something that was once declared a simple hobby to which has joined the billion-dollar food market. The beekeeping industry has come a long way from it being a simple hobby to where it's going on tables across the world. Many beekeepers that have not been brought up in a family that practiced this are going to have to really learn fast from an experienced beekeeper that has had years of experience from knowing the biology and study of bees and what to expect when they turn out a good product of honey. What many people aren't aware of is and this may sound kind of gross, but honey is actually regurgitated food because bees not only make honey, but they eat it as food during the winter months since there are no flowers around when it's cold so it's a way for them to sustain food through the cold months. It's amazing that bees have mastered the art of survival during the winter months. Beekeepers also have to keep in mind that certain times of the year there may not be any honey production since bees are most active during the warm months so that's why many of them are actually farmers since they have to have a way to make a living when it gets cold. This is an expensive hobby and it may look cheap because you can make a box put some slides in them and allow the bees to come there, but the thing is that you have to know where to put the boxes for the bees to build their hives in. You have to train yourself to be knowledgeable in the area of entomology because you have to know what insects will be compatible around bees because some insects will feed on bees, yellow jackets, hornets, and wasps which are primarily mites and are one of the most annoying insects because they're so relatively tiny that you need a microscope to see them up close. Science plays a huge part in a beekeeper's training and gaining experience since most people aren't savvy to science and the elements of it which is important and necessary because you have to have some idea of how to manage bees and what to do to keep their habitat healthy and to keep pests from overtaking the hives and killing the bees. There are a lot of steps involving the proper education and training of a beekeeper and what you're looking for is someone who is serious and dedicated to a way of life that's been a tradition in some families for generations. Many people learn through the ranks of great grandparents, grandparents, and parents and it's just a family tradition and way of life that's taught to children. It wasn't even about making money it was actually just one other chore on the farm, but in the years it slowly progressed into a farm staple that was being sold like it was produce, meat and dairy, but it's still a profitable market anyway you look at it and it's one of the sweetest things in the world. The things a beekeeper uses When beekeepers go to work they have essential tools needed to keep themselves safe because having a couple hundred beestings can be fatal. This is why it's important that beekeepers practice and exercise safety. First and foremost beekeepers wear protective suits that are supposed to be puncture and sting proof because there are cases where the bees will swarm and have covered beekeepers from head to toe. They wear a mesh screen face protector to protect their face from the bees when they're flying around. They also use a smoker to calm the bees down. Something about smoking them causes them to be docile and to stay where they are. This is to allow the beekeeper to collect honey or to check the hives to make sure they're where they should be in the honey production process. Beekeepers normally keep their hives in a secluded wooded area so that bees can come and go and not pose a threat to anyone coming and going. Beekeepers also have a crowbar like tool to scrape the honey since it can be tough to remove. Beekeepers have such a lengthy access to the internet that there are hundreds maybe thousands of different companies that provide supplies to beekeepers like comb cutters, grafting tool (used in prying the layers of honey comb apart scraping honey off the comb), cages to capture the Queen, and different types of hive settings that can be from flat, elevated to upright where they slide out. Other items companies such as this also sell containers the honey is packed in the most popular item is the bear bottle since honey is a staple food for grizzly, brown, and black bears primarily the ones that inhabit much of Northern California and up and down the pacific coast through Alaska. Beekeepers also have to watch for things like pests that feed on bees and using certain kinds of feeds to keep them healthy since bees are a constant threat by mites and various kinds of pests that feed on them. Beekeepers also have to purchase stuff to treat hives for things like moths and flies that feed on the honeycomb and flies can carry diseases since they feed on animal manure and compost material. The suits beekeepers wear are fairly inexpensive no more than $50 so it makes it easier for beekeepers to maintain an effective hold on their supplies cost wise so it's not taking a bite out of the budget for them. The hard thing is that their biggest expense is keeping their hives pest free. It's difficult because the hives are located in high pest areas and in secluded wooded areas that make them prone to birds and other pests. This is the riskiest part of beekeeping is the expense keepers have to go through to maintain healthy hives. Beekeepers have to apply scientific knowledge for them to make what they do work well and to also last them the entire season when they harvest honey and beeswax. The Science and Technology of Beekeeping Modern science has allowed us to cultivate a food product that works much better than sugar and is readily available, but the issue is that the production element is seasonal unfortunately. That's because bees are less active during the cold months and that can slow production down until around late March early April when the flowers officially bloom which makes pollen the plentiful for bees to feed on. Science is a mystery for bees because in some ways they resemble humans by how they sense changes in weather, environment and the organization of how they live resembles a lot like humans. If bees were able to live like humans we would be compatible yet the only thing that separates humans from bees is that the females are not permanently grounded and pregnant where humans only have a gestational period of 9 months and have a choice of how many children they have where bees are constantly reproducing with no break in between since the Queen will mate with 2-3 drones by the temperature of the weather and then she's inseminated for a good 2 or 3 years and she'll keep making babies until the sperm runs out or stops producing eggs. The average queen once she's mated can turn out 2000 eggs a day during the spring run and essentially live for another two years and then a new Queen is reared to take over the colony. Basically Queen bees have the monumental task of keeping the population fresh and all colonies are not the same since different species of bees will live identical to each other, but they may have a different mating pattern and schedule. Humans are about right there, but we have a different way of mating which is done when we feel like it not when the season or weather changes. Queens are identified by their buzzing sound, which is distinct to the sound that drones and worker bees make when they communicate with each other. The Queen's buzz is more high pitched and she's constantly surrounded with drones and workers who give their lives to protect the queen and are known to swarm incessantly which kind of falls in the wayside of how the secret service react when the president's security is compromised and breached they will attack when they feel threatened and their duty is to protect the queen at all costs the way the president has round the clock security from the secret service. That's how close knit a colony of bees are and that's the mystery many beekeepers are trying to learn and match with the nature of humans and their interaction with each other. Bees are like one giant family since the majority of a hive is female, but only one will make it as the Queen who rules over the colony to carry on the next spawn of offspring to carry on the lineage of the colony. This is what makes science and technology interesting for bees and the keepers who maintain their homes to bring forth protecting and nurturing an interesting creature that people are blatantly misunderstanding a lot. Bees are like people except they fly and reproduce enough offspring to keep going non-stop for 2-3 years. Harvesting the Honey Obviously the whole reason to set up, maintain, and stock a beehive is to harvest honey. You will know that it is time to harvest the honey when you look in one of your hives supers and find that the frames are full of honey combs that your bees have covered with wax caps. Now all you have to do is remove the honey combs. Harvesting your honey won't be a problem as long as your put on all your beekeeping gear, wear light colored clothes (beekeepers swear that lighter colored clothes have a soothing affect on bees) and stay calm. When the super is full of capped honey combs you are going to have to remove the bees from that super. There are chemicals available on the market that will make this easier. One popular chemical that beekeepers use to remove bees from the super is Bee-Go. All beekeepers have to do is apply Bee-Go to a fumer board. When the bees smell the Bee-Go they head to the bottom of the hive, leaving the super full of capped honeycombs empty for you to harvest. Another product beekeepers use to clear out supers is one called Fishers Bee Quick. Neither of these products harm the bees, the bees simply find the scent offensive and move away from it. Now that you are in possession of the honey comb you need to prepare it to be extracted. The first step in this preparation is to remove the wax caps the bees have used to seal the honey into the honey comb. Many beekeepers prefer to use nine frames instead of ten in their supers. By using nine frames they give the bees enough room to draw the comb out, placing the cap right on the very edge of the comb. This makes it easier to remove the wax caps. Beekeepers use a metal knife to remove the caps, the knife works best if the knife blade is warmed, after all its easier to cut warm wax then it is to cut cold wax. You can keep the knife blade warm with frequent dunking in a basin that is full of hot water. Many beekeepers like to use their bread knife to remove the wax caps from the honey comb while others prefer an electrical knife that is designed just for beekeepers. What do you think bee's wax candles are made out of. Removing the caps from the dripping honey is easy, just use a piece of cheese cloth to empty the contents into a second pot, the honey will drain through the cheesecloth and the bee's wax caps will collect on the top. Once the caps are removed from the honey comb the honey is ready to be extracted. As you remove the caps, let them fall into a pot, do not just through them away. You will notice that there is a surprising amount of honey attached to these caps, honey that can be processed and used. Also there is a market for the wax caps. Once the caps have been removed from the honeycombs the honey combs are ready to have the honey extracted. Transferring Your Bees to Their New Home You've done your beekeeping homework. You've chosen a site for your beehive where it won't be knocked down in a strong wind, or be bothered by pets and humans. You've purchased all the right equipment and are comfortable using it. You've tried on all your beekeeping gear and are comfortable that it fits you properly and are confident that you are reasonably protected from bee stings. During the cold winter months you placed an order for your bees and were notified that your bees were successfully shipped. Now you have gotten the call from the post office where a frazzled postal worker has politely asked you to please come and remove your package of angry stinging insects from their work environment. You've picked up your bees and noted that other then a few dead ones at the bottom of the container (you should really be prepared for a few to not survive the stressful travel routine they have been asked to endure) the bees look healthy. Now all you have to do is transfer the new bees from the screen container they were shipped in to the hive you have set up for them. Have your smoker handy when you are ready to transfer your new bees from their shipping container to the hive. Also make sure you have your beehive gear on. You should notice a small container within the bee's shipping container. This small container is where your new queen is being kept. The top of her personal shipping container is covered with a cork. Remove the cork and you will see a second cap that is made out of sugar. Hang the queen's container in your hive. Your going to want to put it in between the two frames that are in the center of your newly constructed hive. Pierce the top of the candy top with a nail. The worker bees will have an easier time freeing the queen if there is already a small hole in the sugar barrier. When using the nail be very careful that you do not inadvertently stab the queen. You won't be able to purchase a replacement queen after the winter months. Once the workers have chewed through the sugar barrier the queen will be able to escape into the hive. Once you have the queen in the hive use your smoker and place a puff of smoke into the shipping package. Gently shake the bee's shipping container, gently allowing the bees to spill out of the container and into the hive. When you are no longer able to coax any bees out of the container, set the container down near the hive, any bees that are still in it will eventually find their way out of the container and into the hive. Make sure you inset a feeder filled with a simple sugar recipe into the hive. Leave your new bees alone for a week. During this week the bees will become acclimated with their new home. The queen will start laying eggs and the bees will start to make honey. Bees like to be transferred from their shipping container to the hive either early in the morning or late evening. The Queen Bee The survival of a colony of bees living in a bee hive depends on the queen bee. Without a queen bee the hive will eventually die. The hives queen is the only female bee in the hive that has fully developed reproductive organs. The queen is not in control of the hive. Her soul purpose is to lay eggs that will develop into bees that will fill other roles in the hive. The queen bee is determined when the bee is still in its larval stage. The larval that has been set aside as potential queens are fed extra royal jelly. Royal jelly is a secretion that the worker bees store in their heads. Larvae that the hive feels will make potential queens are also kept in Queen cells. Queen cells differ from cells used in the rest of the hive because they are larger and are designed vertically instead of vertically, the queen hangs, head down, during her development. Potential queen larvae must be determined within four days of the time the larvae is laid. When it is time for the queen to leave her cell, she chews through the cap. As she chews she emits a sound that is believed to warn other hatching queens of her arrival. Music aficionados will recognize the sound as a G sharp. It is not unusual to find that after the first queen bee has hatched that the rest of the queen cells have a slit in them where the young queen has chewed through, effectively killing the developing larvae inside the cells. Beekeepers call the destroyed larvae, virgin queens. Worker bees will try to keep several young queens alive at a time in order to have a backup Queen available if the first queen is unable to find a mate or does not survive her nuptial flight. When the new queen is old enough to fly she leaves the hive. While she is away from the hive she must find several drone bees from a different hive to mate with. It is important that the queen mate with at least twelve drones during this nuptial flight. The sperm that she collects during this flight will be the sperm that she uses for the rest of her life. If the queen is unable to make the nuptial flight the survival of the rest of the hive is in peril. Most hives try to keep several virgin queens alive to help prevent that from happening. Most hives allow the old queen to continue to lay eggs, however when it is time for the rest of the hive to swarm, she leaves the hive. Once they have mated with a queen the drone bees die. It is normally easy to see which bee is the queen bee when she is surrounded by other bees. She has a abdomen that is considerably longer then her fellow hive mates. To make identifying the queen faster many beekeepers mark their queen with a tiny bit of paint. The average life span of the queen bee is two to three years. The Life Cycle of the Honey Bee A beekeeper, whether a casual hobbyist or a large commercial producer, can not be successful unless they fully understand the life cycle of the honey bee. The honey bees life cycle is a unique and fascinating process. It all starts with the egg. The hives queen bee lays an egg in one of the cells constructed for the soul purpose of laying eggs. Once queen has laid the egg and moved on to lay another (during the spring months the queen can lay an average of 1900 eggs daily) the egg is attached to the cell with a mucus strand. When the egg hatches a larvae emerges. Nurse bees are in charge of caring for the young larvae. They feed the eggs bee bread. Bee bread is a strange mixture of gland secretions and honey. The larvae will go through five distinct growth stages. After each of these stages the larvae sheds its outer skin. When the larvae is six days old, a worker bee comes along and caps the larvae, caccooning the larvae in its cell. The larvae stays the in the cocoon for for eight to ten days, when it emerges from the cocoon it is a fully formed young bee. The average length of life average honey bee depends on what purpose the bee fulfills in the hive. A queen bee can live for two years providing that she was able to get herself inseminated with enough sperm during her nuptial flight. A good strong queen bee can lay as many as 2000 eggs a day. She is in charge of killing her sisters and mothers. The queen bee doesn't have to worry about taking care of herself, she is always surrounded by an entourage of worker bees who feed her and remove her waste. It is not uncommon for the elderly queen bee to leave the nest in the springtime when the rest of the hive is getting ready to swarm. Experts believe that the queen produces some sort of pheromone that prevents the hives workers bees from becoming interested in sex. A queen bee who has not made her nuptial flight is called a virgin queen. Drone bees are male bees that live only to impregnate queen bees during the queens nuptial flight. After mating with a queen the drone dies. During the winter months, a worker bee can live up to one hundred and forty days old. During the summer months the worker bee is lucky to live for forty days, the short summer life span is because the worker bees are literally worked to death. The worker bee's duties are wide and varied. Worker bees called nurse bees are in charge of caring for the young larvae, other workers are sent out to gather pollen to be made into honey. Some workers spend their time capping off honey combs, other workers are responsible for taking care of the queen. Worker bees are in charge of starving the unwanted drone bees and cleaning the hive. There can be any were from twenty thousand to two hundred thousand worker bees in a single hive. Worker bees are always sterile. If a worker bee lays an egg it becomes a drone bee. Workers bees are the bees that people see defending the hive. The survival of the bee hive depends on the hive having a healthy queen that is laying eggs. If something happens to the queen the hive will die. The History of Beekeeping No one really knows when the first time someone thought about collecting the honey from hives. We do know that the art of beekeeping has been around for a long time. Archaeologist have discovered cave drawings depicting collecting honey. These caves were found in Africa and Spain's eastern regions. Archaeologist believe that the cave drawings were created in 7000BC. Most of these pictures show people scooping honey out of rocks and trees but a few of them depict images of humans standing, unstung, in the midst of a swarms of bees. Scientist believe that these early cave dwellers somehow learned that smoke had an interesting affect on bees. The earliest artificial bee hives were made out of pottery, clay vases and bowls, and straw baskets resembled the trees and rock crevices that the bees were drawn to in nature. Early beekeepers learned how to capture swarms of bees in these containers. Once trapped the bees proceeded to turn the containers into a bee hive. Evidence that many ancient civilizations, such as the Myans, raised bees and collected their honey. Aficionados of Roman history know that bees and honey played a role in the Roman culture. The Goddess Mellona, was the protector of the bees. The Greeks also had a great deal of respect for the honey bees. On Mt. Olympus, the home of Zeus, they sipped the nectar provided by the gods (experts believe that the nectar that the Greeks referred to was honey). Greek mythology claims that bees were responsible for building Apollo's second temple. When he wrote his book, The History of Animals, Aristotle wrote about how bees were able to locate flowers. In the period of time between the 1500's and 1851 was an evolutionary time for beekeeping. The first critical change in beekeeping happened late in the 1500's. It was during this time that information was learned about the life cycle of the honey bee. Once beekeepers understood the way that bees lived they were better able to take care of the winged insects. Adaptations to artificial hives started taking place. As beekeepers, agricultural enthusiast, and scientists, yearned to learn more about the life cycle of bees, beekeepers look for ways to design a hive that would allow them to easily see inside the hive. An American, Lorenzo Langstroth, designed the first mobile bee hive. By the time the 1850's got here the European honey bee was introduced to California. After California the honey bees were introduced to Oregon and Canada. It is believed that there are over 210,000 beekeepers currently in the United States. Collectively these beekeepers keep and maintain over three million active bee hives. The Biology of Bees There's approximately 20,000 species of bees throughout the world making them the interest of beekeepers who rely on them to cross pollinate because when bees do that it changes not only the flowers they collect pollen from creating new species of flowers, but it also changes the consistency of the honey the produce. Beekeepers also track bees when they cross breed with other species of bees and that's how they track their habits from mating to origin of where they come from. Beekeepers will also track their honey production since different species of bees will also produce different consistencies of honey. Most bees were originated from places in Europe, Africa and some parts of Asia, but with the fact that many bees were brought over by immigrants to the United States over the centuries. Bees are found on all continents except Antarctica. The evolutions of bees are derived from wasps since they're cousins with the exception that wasps aren't pollinating insects and their ability to be organized rivals wasps, beetles, flies, and butterflies. Bees are also categorized in two social classes that are ideal for beekeepers to adapt their system of managing bees and hives. Most bees born are usually female you have few males, and females will fight each other for control of the hive and colony. Now most people when they hear about the African bee they think killer bees when in fact the Africanized honeybee is in fact not dangerous as people make them out to be. It is this species of bee that is the most popular with beekeepers and the beekeeping industry alike. The African honeybee are the most readily used when they produce clover honey which is the most used and produced honey. One reason that the African bee is so popular is because they're not an aggressive species that will readily attack someone, but they will attack when they're defending the hive and the Queen-who will go into permanent residence inside the hive after she becomes pregnant and isn't seen ever again. Usually most beekeepers remove portions of the hive, but leave the one that contains the queen where it's. Bees are generally docile, but they do get annoying when they fly around you during picnics because of the fact that their sense of smell will direct them since they don't have very good eyesight. Their sense of smell is what helps them find flowers they pollinate and sometimes with the food people eat in this world the smell can mimic flowers which can result in them getting their scents mixed up. This is why you'll likely find bees swarming around trash because debris on food wrappers can attract them because sweet scents resemble flowers and plants. Beekeepers should be careful about dispensing their trash because bees can smell sweet scents for long distances and what can be harmless such as disposing trash can turn into a huge pest problem when they start gathering in places that isn't their normal habitat. Swarming The springtime is the time when honeybees reproduce. The natural means of reproduction for honey bees is called swarming. The springtime swarming period typically last about three weeks. Normally a single swarm of honey bees divide and becomes two during the swarming period. Because swarming typically means a loss of production so beekeepers try to discourage the behavior. One way that beekeepers eliminate swarming in their hives is by purchasing new bees each spring to replace their previous bees that they turned out of the hives the previous fall. Another method commonly used by beekeepers to discourage swarming is the creation of a starter colony. Creating a starter hive and then splitting it encourages bees to stay in their hives. Some beekeepers believe that bees only swarm when they have an abundance of food in the hive. Beekeepers who subscribe to this theory use a method called checker boarding to discourage their bees from swarming. When a beekeeper checkerboards their hives they remove some of the full frames of honey, giving the bees the illusion that they don't have any honey in reserve, and therefore discouraging the bees from swarming. It is unusual for a bees to swarm when there is a new queen in the bee hive. As time passes and the Queen ages is when the hive typically prepares to swarm, generally the elderly queen leaves with the primary swarm, leaving a virgin queen in her place. When the elderly queen is getting ready to swarm with the primary swarm she stops laying eggs. She concentrates on getting fit enough to fly when she leaves the hive (the only other time the queen has flown is when she went out on her nuptial flight). When smaller swarms leave the hive they are commonly accompanied by the virgin queen. When they first leave the hive in a swarm, bees don't typically go far from the hive they have always known. After fleeing the nest the bees settle on a nearby tree branch or under an eave. The worker bees cluster around the queen, protecting her. Once they have the queen protected, some bees, scouts, look around until they find a suitable hive to turn into their new home. Some beekeepers see swarming as a way to restock their hives. An experienced bee keeper has no problem capturing a group of swarming bees. Beekeepers use a device to called a Nasrove Pheromone to lure swarming honey bees. When they swarm, honey bees carry no additional food with them. The only honey they are allowed to take from the parent hive is the honey they consumed. Although honey bees normally swarm only during the spring the same is not true of Africanized Bees, also called Killer Bees. The Africanized Bees swarm whenever they have a difficult time finding food. Although they typically don't go after people when they are swarming, their is something about the site of a swarm of bees that scares people. It is not unusual for a beekeeper to be called out to capture a colony of swarming bees. Starting your own beekeeping business Starting a beekeeping business may sound exciting and fun, but in all reality it's a lot of work and is time consuming. Most people who are in this are actually doing this as a hobby. Having a hobby and a livelihood are two entirely different areas since one is something you invest time and in some cases money and one is when you're trying to make a living at. Beekeeping is like farming you have to stay on top of the market demands and be technologically savvy because much of the business is going to depend on how fast you can produce a single product. Yet this is where you're going to learn that beekeeping isn't even like that because if you expect to make a profit you would have had to have been in the business for a long time and following the trends on what the market demanded of the time. Today if you don't even have a website consider yourself a fossil in the area of business because that's your only link to the rest of the world by having a website or even a page. Most of the companies today are commercialized because the small businesses today are just not equipped to handle the mass production of honey and small businesses won't make a lot giving the fact you are paid by the pound and the average amount after weighing the whole season isn't a whole lot. Commercial beekeepers average a couple thousand pounds, but farmers have to really push production if they want to average at least $15-30 a year. This is a competitive field to be selling honey and producing beeswax products since the beekeeping industry doesn't function as a co-op like many organic farmers do in this day and age where they work together beekeeping is sub-contract work and many of these small businesses are sub-contracted by these major corporations to produce honey under their label and their food line. Sub-contracting may sound good and all, but you are also competing for these contracts as well with other small businesses and the high risk is that you can lose your contracts if the companies who hire you aren't happy with something for whatever reason it could be the quality of the product to anything. That's why this is a risky business to get into because you never know what the outcome is and how the market will fair during the season since this is what a beekeeper bases their financial output by which is how much they anticipate to make on a seasonal basis. Beekeepers almost have to base their financial gain through good weather and season with the market demand, but you can't always predict good weather, which is what many worry about. They have more to worry about than crop farmers since they can make the difference when they get rain and lower climate suitable to the food they're growing. Beekeeping is dependent on the activity of the bees and how well they produce honey since bees produce in certain climates and temperatures. If you're expecting to thrive in this business understand that it's a lot of work and a lot of time invested into making this work for the long run. Selling Honey to a Local Market One of the reasons people become involved with beekeeping is so that they can market the honey. Many beekeepers chose to sell their honey to a local market. Beekeepers who choose a local market for their honey typically sell their product to friends, family members, and neighbors. They typically set up a roadside stand to display their product, selling the honey produced in their hives along side berries, apples, and vegetables that they have grown in their gardens. If they produce a quality product their honey may start to appear in stalls at farmers markets. Some small honey producers will gain enough local credit to sell their honey at local grocery stores. Beekeepers that sell their products locally typically only a few active bee hives. The key to a successful local marketing technique is to provide the customers with a quality product and good customer relation skills. Beekeepers that market their honey typically enjoy face to face contact with their customers. Often the sale of the honey has as much to do with friendship as it does with the product. Beekeepers that sell their honey locally should take an active interest in their product. They should make sure that their display is kept clean. They should spend a significant amount of time designing the package. Bottles that are filled with honey should be made of clear plastic and glass. The bottle should be attractive, something that will catch a customer's eye. Glued on the bottle should be a label. The label be clear an easy to read. Clearly printed on the label should be the type of product, honey, and the name of the beekeeper who produced the honey. The bottle of honey should be something that the customer will want to display on the their kitchen counter or table. If you are a beekeeper that is planning on marketing your honey at a roadside stand you should make sure that they have a sign that can be easily read by drivers. In large letters the sign should read Honey for Sale. The sign should be eye catching, but simple. If the sign is to complex, drivers won't be able to read it. Try to keep shade over your road side stand, a comfortable customer is one who is more likely to take their time and spend some their money purchasing your product. Keep an eye on the honey you are selling. If you notice that one of the bottles on honey is stating to crystallize immediately replace it with a fresh bottle. Many beekeepers claim that setting up a hive near their roadside stand helps attract customer interest. Successful beekeepers pass out literature that gives customers insight to the art of beekeeping seems to increase sales. Handing out cards that have recipes that use honey gives customers an idea about how they can use the honey they are purchasing. Many beekeepers encourage handing out free samples and promote spending time getting to know potential customers. When you are pricing your honey make sure you consider the demands on your time and the cost of all the products you are using to turn your honey into a marketable commodity. Processing Raw Honey After the beekeeper collects the honey it's processed immediately after harvesting because it crystallizes when it's allowed to sit. It has to be heated up between 150-170 degrees because it carries the bacterium that causes botulism, which can be dangerous since this is the very bacterium that causes food poisoning. Honey is actually sweeter than table sugar, but the problem with table sugar is that it's bleached white since actual unprocessed raw sugar is brown. Honey is pasteurized to kill off the bacteria like botulism to make it safe to eat and to put in food. Honey actually doesn't have that golden color it's actually white and pasty looking before it's cooked down to the point that it caramelizes. Honey also serves a purpose in medicine and in many vitamin supplements since raw unprocessed honey carries a high level of antioxidants and enzymes and aids in digestion and other health properties. What is great about honey is that it's slowly taking the place of corn syrup being used in a lot of the food that we eat today because it's been linked to cause diabetes because people eat it in such an increased amount. Honey is being used because it's produced naturally since corn syrup is mechanically processed. Honey is also being used in beer and other beverage like teas and is readily becoming a hugely useful product that puts a lot of beekeepers back in the spotlight to produce high quality honey. For the past 2700 years according to history honey was used in medicine to provide topical relief for rashes and skin irritation like the condition called MRSA (pronounced mersa-a type of resistant staph infection). Honey is also good for mixing it with a little lemon to treat laryngitis and was used to treat contagious conjunctivitis (pink eye). There are 7 different ways honey can be processed the most common are comb honey that's heated and treated through pasteurization and then you got the raw honey which is the base for pasteurized honey you see mostly in the stores today. Parents are advised to be careful in giving infant honey products because of the acid levels and potential exposure to the botulism bacteria. That's why it is wise to eat honey that's been pasteurized since you don't know what kind of exposure the bees who produced the honey has been around so it's better to eat honey that's been pasteurized or produced by an organic farmer that does raw honey because that's probably the safest kind of honey you can eat that isn't going to expose you to harmful bacteria. Many beekeepers are trying to take the honey they produce to the organic level because they don't believe in producing a product using harmful pesticides and chemicals. If anything organic is your best bet because these farmers only produce a product on land that's not treated with chemicals. Organic farming also have standards they adhere to in terms of what the market expects of the product and beekeepers are usually about the natural way of things especially when it comes to the honey they produce.
California's Almond Orchards The California almond industry is attracting the interest of beekeepers all over the country. The almond orchard's demands for honey bees is so strong that many beekeepers in Florida have actually defaulted on their contracts with local watermelon producers to bring their bees to the west coast where they lease their hives and bees to the almond growers. Almonds were first found growing a long way from California's sunny landscape. The first almonds were found in China and central Asia. Franciscan Padres first brought almonds to California in the middle of the 1700's, before the American revolution. Sadly Padres efforts were unsuccessful. It wasn't until the early 1900's that almond lovers discovered that California's Central Valley had perfect growing conditions for genetically improved almond orchards. Nearly a half million Californian acres are devoted to growing almonds. It is estimated that there are six thousand almond growers in the state. Today, California is the only place in North America where almonds are successfully grown for commercial use. The reason that California is so successful for almond producers is the climate. Almond trees love hot summers and cool winters. Almonds don't like sub-zero temperatures. Because almond trees are not self-pollinating they require the use of bees in order to produce almonds. Every February, when the almond trees are in bloom, beekeepers set up hives in the orchard so that the growers can enjoy a lucrative harvest. The inability to self-pollinate force almond producers to plant multiple variety's of almond trees. Almonds are harvested when the split in the shell widens enough for the nut to dry. This typically happens between the middle of August and early October.When the hull is completely open its time for the almond harvest to begin. When its time to harvest the almond crops, orchard owners have the orchards swept so that they are completely free of debris. Once the orchards are debris free, the mechanical tree shakers are brought in . The mechanical tree shakers gently shake the trees. The almonds fall from the trees. The almonds are left on the ground to finish drying. When the almonds are dry they are swept into rows where they are gathered by a machine and deposited in the huller. Nutritionally almonds have a lot going for them. There are only seven grams of fat in one ounce (a single serving of almonds is one ounce). Almonds do not have sodium and cholesterol free. Almonds are an excellent way to get magnesium and vitamin E. Almonds are also a source of Riboflavin, Phosphorus and copper. Seventy-five percent of California's almond crop is exported. How to Make a Honey Extractor In order to get honey from your beehive you have to be able to extract the honey from the honey comb. In order to do this you have to have to have a honey extractor. There are manufactured honey extractors available on the market, they typically cost approximately $200 to $300, the average cost of starting a new hive of honey bees. If there is a group of beekeepers in an area they will sometimes pool their money together to purchase a honey extractor that they share. If you are not in a large beekeeping environment and do not want to spend a few hundred dollars on a manufactured honey extractor you might want to make your own. The materials you will need to build a honey extractor include; a metal rod that is at least one meter long and is thickly threaded, two bicycle wheel rims, two pieces of wood, one meter of 2-3mm fencing wire, a large metal drum, ten bolts for the metal rod, four 400mm sections of 8mm threaded rod, a self centering bearing, six coach screws, and one pillow block bearing. When choosing a large metal drum for your homemade honey extractor make sure that is was never used to store potentially toxic materials. The tools you will need for constructing your honey extractor include; an electric drill, a welding machine (and preferably some welding experience), a socket set, and a hack saw. The first thing your going to do is remove the end of the drum that does not have two pouring holes, the newly opened end will be the top of your honey extractor. Use the coach screws to attach one of the pieces of wood across the bottom of the drum. Once the wood is in place use coach screws to secure the pillow block. After inserting the threaded rod through the center of the first bicycle rim, securely bolt the rim to the rod approximately ten centimeters from the end of the rod. At the opposite end of the rod you will want to thread a but for the other wheel, the second wheel will rest on this nut. When both of the wheel rims are in place you will want to drill holes in four spots around each wheel, when this task is complete you use the 8mm rods to lock the wheel rims together. Use two nuts onto the rod. Make sure that two cm of rod protrude. When this is complete you are going to cut a slit that is10mm deep and 3mm wide into the end of the rod. After this thread the lock the nuts together at the end of the rod. After you think the nuts are in place use the welding machine to permanently lock them into place. Fasten the wire to the the spokes of the bottom wheel rim, approximately 5-8cm from the rim. You have now successfully made the basket of your honey extractor. Take your newly crafted extractor basket and place it into the drum, settling it on the pillow bearing. Now you're going to want to bolt a second piece of wood to the sides of the drum and the self centering bearing. After drilling a screwdriver bit into the chuck, place the chuck into the slit into the slot in the top of the threaded rod. Detailed instructions and photos about making a homemade honey extractor can be found at www.scienceinafrica.co.za/2005/september/honeyextractor.htm Honey Honey bees spend their entire life pollinating flowers and making honey. Bees use pollen that they gather from flowers to create honey that the bees use to feed themselves. Beekeepers are responsible for removing the honey from the bees and using for human consumption. After the beekeeper has collected the honey from the bees, removed the wax caps that the bees use to seal the honey in the honey comb, and extracted the honey from the honeycomb it's time to process the honey. Not all beekeepers have process their honey. Unprocessed honey is marketed with words like raw, areanic, unfiltered, and natural printed on the label. The words are different words to say unprocessed. Beekeepers that choose to process their honey, should have it done as quickly after extracting the honey as possible. The act of processing honey is making sure that the honey is heated and filtered. Processing honey is a sticky and hot process, it is important that the person is patient and diligent. The area where the processing is taking place should be kept clean and free of insects. Before you start processing the honey crop make sure that all your equipment is dry. Honey absorbs water. Honey that has to much water in it will ferment. Experienced beekeepers can look at a vat of honey and tell you what type of flower the worker bees who were attracted to when they were gathering pollen. They can do this by looking at the honey's color. The type of flower the bees collected pollen from also affects the honey's flavor. Other factors like soil quality and honey comb quality can change the flavor of the honey. On the average lighter colored honey has a milder flavor then darker colored honey. There sre approximately three hundred different varieties of honey produced in the United States. The plugs that bees use to seal honey into the honey combs can be used to make bee's wax candles. For the health conscious, honey is a great substitute for white sugar. Honey that is still in the honeycomb has a more natural flavor then honey that has been extracted. Extracted honey works best for flavoring teas and cooking. Fans of natural healing have always bee big fans of honey for medicinal purposes. It is believed that honey is an excellent way to soothe sore throats, can help regulate blood pressure, burns, pressure wounds, and infectious wounds. Honey has been used by Chinese apothecaries to soothe aches and pains. The Egyptians favored using honey when they were treating wounds. Even the Greeks and Romans left behind literature that spoke of the medicinal benefits of honey for curing various forms of illnesses. Family owned beekeeping companies Beekeeping isn't just something you go into it's something you're raised and brought up in. Most companies that deal with beekeeping and providing beekeeping supplies are family owned. Dadant and Sons, a company based out of Hamilton, IL has been in the business of providing beekeeping equipment and attire for the past 140 years. They sell everything from beekeeping attire from the head to the torso, and even full body suits with headwear. They also sell journals that are published about beekeeping and also selling copies from the archives as well. They have a large selection of books for giving you a short course on beekeeping to candle making since many beekeepers also not only collect and sell honey, but they make things out of beeswax as well like candles. Most family owned beekeepers usually produce the honey and beeswax items on their farms and sell the products they make at local stores. Usually it's a family business that has been a long-standing tradition. Most beekeeping families have been at this for several generations so it's not a new thing many families get into with this. A lot of children grow up making this into their livelihood since it's how their ancestors made their living. Many companies now are in fact commercially owned since so many family-owned businesses are forced out because of the rising cost of running a business and many mom and pop places that were not technologically advanced were the ones who suffered because those who had the resources to invest in websites and tools needed to stay ahead in the business were the ones who made the transition into the 21st century with their businesses. This was a business that began as a simple hobby and just a small way to make extra money on the side or to just have something extra for the dinner table since honey was super popular to be put on hot biscuits and toast for dinner and breakfast since it was used as a marmalade. Honey wasn't really a huge resource at the time since people used sugar and other things like molasses to put in their food, but when it was discovered that honey was cheap and inexpensive to make that's when beekeeping had become a hugely popular and profitable business for many families in regions that beekeeping was a widely practiced activity. As a result of how inexpensive it was to produce honey, which became what beekeeping has developed into today. The only issues was in this day and age more pesticides was being used and the problems with having to treat much of the honey that was being made which left a lot of people wondering how safe it was to consume such a product. It was a concern since you have the organic food movement that totally goes against the use of pesticides and any means to chemically alter or treat food or livestock used for food products. Today you have family owned companies at the commercial level that produce honey products and beeswax used in cosmetics and candle making. Curbside Honey Sales The roadside stand is as common a site in rural America as the lemonade stand is in the city. Whenever a someones garden produces a surplus of produce the farmers drag out an old card table, load it down with baskets of fruit and vegetables and slap a for sale sign in front of it. The same roadside stand that you use to sell your extra fruit and vegetables can also be used to sell your excess honey that you've collected fro, your bee hive. When you are getting ready to set up your roadside stand you need to make sure that you have a sign indicating that you are selling honey. The sign should be simple. The letters should be clearly printed with ink or paint the contrasts with he background of the sign. The sign should be large enough the people driving past your house should be able to easily read the sign as they drive past your roadside stand. Make sure that sign can be easily seen from the road. Keep the writing simple, the sign you are using to advertise your roadside stand is not the place to practice your writing skills. People who total their cars trying to read a long winded spiel on a piece of cardboard generally aren't good customers. Don't get cute and draw a picture of a bee on your sign, people might misunderstand and think that you are warning them of a potential attack. Before you set out your honey take a second and examine it. Make sure that the honey has been strained. There shouldn't be any dirt, clumps of wax or other foreign materials in your honey. Take a minute and wipe the outside of the container with a wet washcloth and remove and indication of spills. Make sure that the container is dry before you expose it to dust. If possible offer your customers various forms of honey. Give them the opportunity to purchase jars of honey that you extracted from the honeycombs and also invite them to purchase a honey comb that still has the honey entombed behind the wax plugs. Offer your clients a variety of sizes of containers of honey. Some people will shy away from purchasing large containers of honey because they are afraid that the honey will crystallize before they have an opportunity to use it. Don't be afraid to market other produce alongside your honey. Feel free to sell cut flowers, sweet corn, or banana peppers. Different foods, in a a variety of colors will give your roadside stand an artistic flavor. If possible try to set up your roadside stand in a shaded section of your front yard. The shade will make your produce appear fresher and will also encourage customers to linger over the merchandise. If you notice that your merchandise is starting to look tired, replace it. If you are selling vegetables don't be afraid to spritz the vegetables with a find mist of water. The water will look fresher if they are occasionally watered. Feel free to mingle with your customers. Customers are more likely to make return trips to a roadside stand if the owner is cheerful and friendly. Packaging Your Honey Large beekeepers can not turn a profit if they limit their market to their local community. Beekeepers who have several colonies must be able to sell their product at larger grocery stores and supermarkets if they want to remain financially solvent. In order for beekeepers to sell their honey to a larger market their packaging must meet certain USDA standards. The first thing beekeepers have to decide is what kind of container they want to use to hold their honey. The standard size of containers used to sell honey are measured in pounds. The typical amount of honey offered to the customers can be as small an amount as a half pound or as large as five pounds of honey. Some stores perfect to sell honey that is measured in gallons, these stores offer their customers the option of purchasing a container of honey as small as a half pint or as large as one gallon. If, as a beekeeper, you are attracted to novelty containers you can choose from a variety of fun containers such as skeps, bears, and plastic squeeze bottles. Once you have settled on the perfect bottle for your honey you have to design an equally perfect label. Before you start designing a label for your honey check with your state government, most states have several laws and requirements about how labels appear on products. Make sure that the word honey is written in bold letters across the label. The word should stand out and really catch the casual shopper's eye. Most graphic designers recommend that the honey should run parallel with the container's base. Do not authorize a label if the design does not incorporate your name (or your farm's name) and your address. If you use a packing or distribution company their name and address must also be included on the label. The final thing that needs to be clearly printed on the label is the net weight of the honey. If the honey you are marketing weighs between one to four pounds then the weight has to be written in both pounds and ounces. The print size used to show the net weight is not random, the font size is determined by the size and shape of the container. If you are a beekeeper who harvests your honey more then once a season you might be able to write what flavor of honey you are selling. You might have honey that is flavored with clover, alfalfa, or apple blossoms. Labels that have words such as unfiltered, natural, raw, and areanic refer to honey that has not been processed. Beekeepers who have USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) grades printed on the label have passed a set of USDA grade standards. Honey that has a USDA grade of A has passed the exacting government standards. Honey that has a USDA grade of D has passed only a bare minimum of standards. The USDA grades honey based on the amount of moisture in the honey, clarity, flavor quality, and defects. How to market your honey Marketing honey in today's market is going to pose a bit of a challenge since you have so many commercial level sellers doing this with the resources to promote and market the product since not all places will purchase and carry your product. This is why many small businesses who do this sell to lower end stores and mom and pop places because when they get people buying that's how many of them end up in large scale stores like Whole Foods Market and other stores that carry name brand organic food. Part of the marketing strategy is to be able to utilize the internet as well since people can open up online stores to sell their products, but you also have to have an effective system in place to pack and ship items all over the world because you will have customers who will be buying your product as far away as England or even Japan. Your business should reflect handling online orders or you can sub-contract a company to pack and ship your items and take the guesswork out of your hands so you're not stuck having to deal with lost or misdirected packages. Starting at the bottom for marketing helps you to learn little things that will make your business successful and can thrive in years to come when you know what it takes to make it work. Promotion isn't a skill placed on auto-pilot you have to spend time working it every single day because a business doesn't run itself it takes a good deal of persistence and effort to make it work and to make it where you want it to be. It's easier for people who have prior experience in running a business to be able to effectively carry out a sure-fire way to market a single product and still gain revenue. It's just that when you market products you have to know what is actually the demand for that particular product in question. Selling honey is always a product that people will buy and is in demand, but it's the companies that make it are the ones who are having to deal with a lot of competition since many small end businesses are extending themselves to the outside world and relying on larger companies to do the larger scale selling. Websites are effective because this is how many co-ops are formed because many food production companies try to find cost effective ways to produce a product through sub-contracting farms and contractors to handle the mass production of honey making and making products out of beeswax. This is why so many small businesses are reaching out to bigger companies, but it's helpful to give small businesses the tools needed to increase their exposure for business and even clients with farmers and suppliers. Beekeeping is more than just a hobby it's a full time job and business. It may look difficult because it requires you to be in all kinds of weather wearing a puncture and sting proof body suit with a face net just to put that sweetener you use for your biscuits and toast in the morning or that cup of hot chamomile tea, remember the beekeepers who endured that to make it possible to have that sticky sweet indulgence you put in your food and drinks. Beekeeping and the Apple Orchards The country is full of apple orchards. Apple orchards are where the apples you buy in the supermarket come from. Applesauce is made out of apples grown in orchards. People who drink apple juice and apple cider enjoy the produce provided by the hardworking orchard owners. Without apple orchards there would be no apple pies. The world would be a sadder place without apple orchards. In the springtime people drive past apple orchards and see tidy row after tidy row of apple trees, their spreading boughs fragrant with the scent of delicate apple blossoms. In the summer they can drive past the same orchard and see the same trees, leaves shining in the sunshine. In the fall those same trees are laden with apples, crunchy and full of juice. In the winter, the spreading limbs of the apple trees spread wide and are blanketed with a layer of glittering snow. When they stop to admire the artistic trees they notice that unlike other types of agriculture endeavors the only time they see anyone working amongst the trees is when the trees are heavy with fruit and the farmers are picking the apples. It doesn't take very long for the passer bys to start thinking about how easy it would be to own an orchard. When the opportunity to purchase an apple orchard comes along, these people can hardly walk away from the opportunity. The reality is that there is a lot more to owning an apple orchard then picking apples and pulling in money. The casual passerby thinks that owning an apple orchard won't be much work, the reality is that a great deal of backbreaking labor goes into maintaining the orchard. The trees have to be pruned. The trees have to be sprayed to protect them from being ravished by insects. In addition to caring for the trees there is a lot of general maintenance chores that have to be taken care of. There is also the task of removing the old, unproductive trees and replacing them with young trees. The next thing to consider when purchasing an apple orchard is the size of the orchard. According to the experts an apple orchard has to be at least ten acres large in order to break even. That's just breaking even. In theory a larger orchard means a larger profit margin for the orchard owner, but a larger orchard also means that the owner will have to buy more insecticide, rotate more trees, hire more employees, and spend more money on the equipment needed to maintain the orchard and harvest the apple crop. Perhaps the biggest error newcomers to the apple orchard business make in the spring time when the apple trees are in bloom. In order for the trees to bear fruit the flowers have to be pollinated. Although the wind can help pollinate the flowers, honey bees are better. Many new orchard owners think that there are enough bees in the wild to pollinate the acres of apple trees. These owners are making an assumption that could harm their yearly yield. Experienced owners know that to ensure they get a profitable harvest they need to work with local beekeepers. They lease the hives and the honey bees from the beekeepers. The hive owners set up the hives in the orchards. The extra bees assist in the pollination. Acquiring the Bees As long as you aren't allergic to bee stings beekeeping is a way for someone who doesn't have a great deal of money and acres of land to take an active role in agriculture. The start up expense of the average hive is approximately $300 per hive (you only need one to get begin with). Once you have purchased a hive it can be kept in a remote corner of your back yard, it is not uncommon to see some suburban homes with a bee hive. If you are considering starting a beehive the first thing you should do is call your local Cooperative Extension office. They will be able to tell you if you live in an area that restricts keeping bees. They will also be able to give you the contact information of your states beekeeping organization where you can become a registered beekeeper. The next thing you need to do is select a site for your potential honey bee hive. Once you have selected a site for your beehive you will need to go about acquiring the equipment needed to successfully maintain a beehive. Some of the equipment you will need can be purchased used on EBay. If you are unable to find the equipment you need on EBay there are several on-line sites where you can purchase equipment. If you need further assistance finding and purchasing a beehive and other beekeeping equipment call your local Cooperative Extension office or the Federation of American Beekeepers. Before acquiring bees for your hive it's important to make sure that you are properly protected, this means you have to purchase beekeepers gear. Once your hive is in place and you are confident that everything is in working order it's time to order your honey bees. The easiest way is to order Honey Bees from an established Apiary. You should plan on placing you bee order early in the winter, the average beekeeper orders their bees in January and February. The order is typically shipped in March and April. Most Apiary's ship their bees through the U.S. postal service. When the bees arrive at the post office your mail carrier will call and ask that you pick up the bees. Very few mail carriers are comfortable driving all over the county with a car full of young angry bees in their car and most bees are healthier if they don't have to spend several hours in a hot car. When you pick up your bees they should have been packaged in a special carrying case that is designed just for bees. This package will be a wooden framed "house" that has a screen covering the outside. This packaging allows air to circulate to the traveling bees and keeps handlers, such as post office employees, from getting stung. When you get your bees, do not be surprised if you see a few dead bees laying in the bottom of the package. Traveling is hard on bees and they can't all be expected to live through the trip. The rest of the bees should be clutching the sides of the container. You will notice that one bee in the container has been separated from the rest of the hive.This is your queen bee. The rest of the bees in the container will make up the rest of your bee hives hierarchy. Some Apiaries ship the queen with a couple of nurse bees. The top of the queen's container will be covered with piece of sugar candy. You should also see a container that is filled with a sugar solution. This sugar solution is what the bees feed on while they are traveling. Once you get your bees home offer them something to drink. You do this by taking a spray bottle and covering the container with a very fine covering of water. Beekeeping in different areas of the world. Many areas in the world are producers of honey and beeswax for medicinal and food purposes. You'll find a lot of beekeeping in the United States, Asia, Africa, and some parts of Europe. Since beekeeping had originated in Europe and had been modernized in the United States, the way it's done is different and the way it's taught is different as well. Yet this is a very interesting way to see how different cultures train someone to do beekeeping as a way of life and part of the culture. The cool thing is that honey is used for mostly food in so many cultures that use it in religious and celebratory occasions when preparing certain concoctions or meals and honey is used to sweeten it. Americans are usually in the business of beekeeping to produce honey for the supermarket and for shipment overseas to markets and countries that don't have beekeeping businesses that is advanced enough to mass produce the necessary amount to ship overseas to stores owned and operated in the United States like Whole Foods Market when they carry specific brands. Most countries overseas don't have the system the way the United States does to mass produce a single product like honey since we managed to harvest effectively so we can produce enough to meet the needs of the market until the season to produce starts again in the spring since bees are inactive during the winter months and start again in late March early April when the mating season for bees is fresh and flowers are in abundance for them to feed and pollinate on. The U.S. alone turns out the majority of the honey that's used when they provide to supermarkets owned by American based companies to their stores and restaurants overseas. Beekeepers could be observing hives every 7 to 8 days generally making it the ideal time on the weekend to pass time. Hives don't need a lot of maintaining just an hour a day between the peak season around May to September. A good season can produce for a keeper 60-100 pounds of honey and depending on how much the buyer charges by the pound that's what you go by to what you'll make for every harvest you get. The most common annoyance to beekeepers during their harvesting and maintenance of the hives are bumblebees these are the big ugly black and yellow bees that are seen going through the flowers honey bees have already visited and these bees live underground so they can be an annoyance to beekeepers when they swarm from the ground up. Many beekeepers will move their hives around which is called migratory which is one of the secrets to increase honey production and giving bees a fresh supply of flowers to pollinate and feed from so they can produce different variations and batches of honey. Each batch produced can differ with each pollination or when hives are rotated and bees go to different flowers so that's why sometimes honey may have distinct taste since it's the type of flowers available to them at the time of migration. Beekeeping Equipment Like all hobbies, beekeeping requires some basic equipment before someone can establish a successful hive. This equipment should be bought before you get a call from the post office asking you to come pick up bees. The most obvious piece of equipment you will need is the actual bee hive. Your beehive should be have five supers. The supers are a very important part of the beehive because they are where the bees will be storing their honey. These five supers should be between the bottom of the hive and the hive cover. These supers are very important because they are where the bees will be storing their honey and raising their offspring. Once you have an active hive each of these supers will contain nine to ten frames. You can choose if you want a hive with shallow supers or deep supers. The advantage of deep supers is that they enable beekeepers to buy only one size foundation. The disadvantage is that, when full, a deep super can weigh one hundred pounds. Once you have a hive for your bees make sure you place is somewhere that has a flat surface so that the hive wont tip over in a strong wind. Also make sure that you place it somewhere that humans and pets aren't likely to disturb it. A spacer is a piece of equipment beekeepers use to keep an equal amount of space between the frames while they are in the super. The next piece of equipment you will need is a smoker. The smoker is what you will use to encourage the bees to leave the hive when you are getting ready to harvest the honey. The smoker is surprisingly simple in its design. The smoker consists of a funnel, a combustion chamber, and bellows. Many beekeepers claim that old, clean burlap is the best material to use in the smoker because burlap is easy to ignite and smolders and smokes. Other beekeepers prefer to use dried corn cobs. Once the fire has been lit in the combustion chamber the bellows will keep it going. The funnel directs the smoke into the hive, encouraging the bees to leave. Another tool you will need is a metal hive tool. The metal hive tool is used to pry open the hive, separate the hive bodies, and to scrape the frames clean. Think of it as the all purpose tool of beekeeping. No beekeeper is ready to receive their shipment of bees until they have a bee brush. A bee brush is used to gently brush bees out of the way so that the beekeeper can examine the frames. When it is time to harvest your honey, you will need a fumer board. A fumer board is a board that is covered in bee removing chemicals and is then used to encourage the bees to leave a super and let you take their honeycombs. If you don't mind getting using used equipment you can find some great prices on beekeeping equipment on EBay. There are several catalogs and websites that offer beekeeping equipment, and many of those offer beginners packages. History of Beekeeping Beekeeping is one of the oldest forms of food production dating back as far back as 13,000 BC. The history dates back to ancient Egypt where it was modernized for that time until around the 1860s when the first system of beekeeping was brought to the United States by a 19th Century native Pennsylvanian named John Harbison. According to history beekeeping was practiced for the harvesting of honey, which is the mainstay of a beekeepers financial sustenance. Other items that are harvested from honey are royal jelly and propolis, which were derived for the use of medicinal purposes. The use of beehive products has changed little since ancient times. Many different kinds of bees were brought over from places in Europe and even as far as New Zealand. Before the 80s rolled around beekeeping was in fact a hobby and not a means to make a living that was primarily done by farmers or relatives of a farmer who lived in a rural community where you could set up a bee farm and maintained it from time honored traditions passed down through the generations. In the Asian culture beekeeping was done to produce honey and beeswax (which was used in candle making and other products), but when an American scientist named L.L. Langstroth took beekeeping to the scientific level in 1851 had innovated the bee space and the removable hive frame. It wasn't until 1857 that it was discovered that bees could be manipulated into building a straight frame hive by providing them with some wax for a foundation. Bees would proceed to use the wax foundation to build a honeycomb the octagon shaped holes that was used to store larvae and later honey once the bees had developed and hatched. Over the next few years' different techniques had been developed to continue modernizing beekeeping, but the most practical invention wasn't until 1873, which was the smoker, which was a helpful safety device for many beekeepers. Beekeeping is an art form, which takes a lot of time and practice to master because a skilled beekeeper will learn everything there is to know about beekeeping. Essentially you will be schooled into this way of life so that everything about beekeeping is like second nature to you so you basically eat, sleep, and breathe the art form of beekeeping. Beekeepers have a term called Apiculturists because that's what the Department of Agriculture calls them when they're categorized for what they do. Beekeepers are just small offshoots of the agriculture world since it's pretty much a world of their own with the fact that what they do began as a hobby had slowly transformed into a way of life for people to earn a living at. Beekeepers that are knowledgeable in biology and entomology can prove to be valuable to the beekeeping market for those who are trying to improve even innovate and create their own unique system of beekeeping which can be passed down to up and coming beekeepers who want to learn how to do successful beekeeping.
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