Having done this the right and wrong way a few times before, I feel pretty safe in saying that bees are really smart and you can’t really mess this up for them too much. However, you can mess it up for yourself and that can be your bigger concern, if you don’t feel like buying new hives every Spring!
You can choose from different types of hives – Langstroth, Top-Bar, Warre, Flow. There are advantages and disadvantages to each (which you can find many resources for with a simple internet search) and you will get varying opinions, depending on a beekeeper’s objective. For instance, if you want hands-off honey harvesting, you might not go with the same hive as someone who was simply looking to support/increase the bee population.
Our beekeeping ambitions are: foster honey production (because we love all things honey!), support bee population, and pollination of our garden and farm.
This instructional is for the installation of Langstroth beehives and packaged bees.
When Matt came to me and said, “we should start beekeeping,” it was almost in passing. We knew as close to nothing about beekeeping as possible and had done zero prep work (nor did we know the work it might entail to get started). It was early Spring and as we began reading we realized that if we were starting it was now or never!
Our research told us that starting colonies is done in the Spring; so, if we didn’t get going on it soon, we would be better off just waiting a year until the following Spring. I basically told Matt either we do it or we don’t, but we had to decide! We took the leap and haven’t looked back. The pictures below are from the day we picked up our bees to start our first two hives!
As we drove home, it was exciting… and a little stressful! We did not yet realize how docile honeybees are for the most part – especially without a hive and brood (eggs) to protect. I think we were both almost on edge, awaiting the bees to revolt against us!
When I think back to that decision, I am not positive what it was that motivated us, but here are some reasons you should consider starting beekeeping of your own!
Having just experienced our first snow, it already feels like winter here in Ohio. Living in the midwest, I am in love with the season changes. I marvel in seeing the new growth and fresh start of Spring… I look forward to the long, sunny days of Summer… I LOVE the colors and smells of Fall… and Winter’s invitation to cozy up with those you love!
The joke about Ohio that you can experience all four seasons in one week; as Ohioans might don sandals on Monday and be in snow boots by Friday!
As apiarists, we have a crucial role in ensuring our bee colonies are strong, well, and prepared for the potentially long, hard winter. Starting from November and lasting all the way until March, we could experience below freezing temperatures. With this, bees will be restricted to their hives and the honey stores they built up all Spring, Summer, and Fall. In fact, bees don’t even fly once temperatures hit 55º or below, so preparations should be made in advance of impending winter weather.