If you’re considering beekeeping as a hobby, you’ll want to understand some of the basics of beekeeping. Beehives will require proper stewardship and management. This skill will take some time and some knowledge.
In colder months, beekeeping will be limited to ensuring that the hives aren’t frozen. The bees will survive on the honey that has been stored and they won’t emerge until the temperatures are above freezing.
It’s best to not inspect the hives during this time as the hive may lose heat and the bees will all die. Leave them alone and allow the hive to “hibernate” for best results.
The way the hive is handled will depend greatly on the climate that you live in. Each climate will have its own specific requirements.
Each beekeeper will have their own unique method and each hive will be slightly different, even if a beekeeper owns more than one hive each hive is going to act differently.
One important fact to remember is that no matter how careful a beekeeper is, he or she is going to be stung at some point in time. The bee may inadvertently end up in a fold of the clothing or somewhere without the keeper noticing.
It’s also important to note that most honeybees are very docile insects and they just want to be able to fly off. If they feel trapped or threatened, they will sting, but only if they see no other alternative. They know that once they’ve stung, they will die and they are trying hard to preserve themselves.
Bees are influenced by their environment. They forage for pollen longer in southern regions as it’s warmer than they do in the more northern regions.
There are many beekeeping associations that will gladly take in a newcomer and show them their hives and how they work. All you have to do is look around and find one to join.
Before you ever start your own hives, it is recommended that you get to know other beekeepers in your area. Get to know how their hives work, how they manage them and how to interact with the bees.
Each hive is slightly different so it’s wise to interact with two or three different beekeepers and get an idea of the variances and what is normal and what isn’t normal.
There are also many books on the topic as well. A beekeepers association will have a variety of books on the topic and be able to direct newcomers to the right books for their specific questions.
Honeybees work in social castes. Each caste has their specific role within the bee colony. There are thousands of bees in each colony that function altogether as a whole. It takes a lot of good teamwork on the bees part and the ability to work together as a cohesive unit to run a bee colony from the bees perspective.
The queen is the only bee that reproduces and each hive will have only one queen bee.