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Bee Keeping

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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.


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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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