Getting Started

Congratulations on your interest in the hobby of beekeeping. We are certain you will find beekeeping an enjoyable and rewarding hobby that can be shared by young and older alike. Not only will you receive the obvious reward of a naturally sweet honey crop, but also the little known benefits to the backyard garden.

Common garden plants such as melons, cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, blueberries, raspberries and most fruit trees including apple and pear require insect pollination to set fruit. The honeybee is the most efficient insect pollinator. Bees visit these flowers to obtain pollen, the sole source of protein in the honeybee diet. Multiple visits to a flower increase the size of the fruit, the number of seeds, and the consistency in the shape of the fruit. The seeds inside a fruit produce the sugar that makes the fruit sweet; therefore, the greater the number of pollinated seeds, the sweeter the fruit.

For the beginning beekeeper, we suggest taking a class on beekeeping. These can generally be found by contacting the entomology (study of insects) department at your local university, you can also check with your local department of agriculture. These classes will teach you all the basics of beekeeping in your area and help you get familiar with the terms and equipment used in keeping bees. Join a local beekeeping club or organization. Click here for a rather long list of some regional clubs and ways to contact them. If there isn't a club listed there or in your phone book, give us call and we will do our best to locate that information for you. Generally, these clubs will hold meetings once a month to discuss beekeeping and they are usually very eager to have new members. While you are at the meetings find a mentor, a person who has some experience keeping bees who is willing to help you get started.You will find beekeepers eager to share their knowledge of this great hobby! Subscribe to an industry magazine, we recommend the Bee Culture magazine published by AI Root Co. This magazine is informative and easy to read. Subscription information can be obtained clicking here.

It is best to order your equipment in the fall for use in the following spring. This will give you time to paint the woodenware and familiarize yourself with each piece and it's purpose. Order your bees early to ensure availability. Generally bees are mailed to you from the supplier in the early spring, call in the fall to put in your reservation. For the names of package bee suppliers click here or call our customer service department at 800-880-7694 or consult your Bee Culture magazine. Please feel free to call our knowledgeable sales staff at any time with questions regarding bees and equipment. Good luck and have fun with your new adventure in beekeeping!

How to Install your Package Bees

You have bees coming... Now what? Here is a great video by Jim Kloek that will teach you how to install your new bees and queen into your hive.

Checking for Queen Acceptance

Now that you have installed your new queen and bees, you will want to check to see she has been accepted. Jim Kloek shows what evidence to look for even if you do not see the queen.

Beekeeping Glossary

A:

ABDOMEN:

The posterior or third region of the body of the bee that encloses the honey stomach, stomach, intestines, sting and the reproductive organs.

ACARAPIS WOODI:

A mite, called the Tracheal mite, which infests the bees' breathing or tracheal system; sometimes called Acarine Disease, this refers to bees that are heavily infested with the Tracheal mite.

ACIDITY:

The state of being acidic or sour; the acids in honey, called organic acids, including gluconic acid, formed by the enzyme glucose to produce the acid and hydrogen peroxide.

AFRICANIZED BEE:

A term used indiscriminately to describe the African honey bee Apis mellifera scutellata (formerly A.m. adansonii) or its hybrids; an African bee released in Brazil and known for its volatile nature, its aggressive behavior may cause concern to the non-beekeeping public.

AFTERSWARM:

Swarms which leave a colony with a virgin queen, after the first (or prime) swarm has departed in the same season; afterswarms are also referred to as secondary or tertiary swarms.

ALARM ODOR:

A chemical (iso-pentyl acetate) substance released near the worker bee's sting, which alerts other bees to danger; also called alarm pheromone.

ALLERGIC REACTION:

A systemic or general reaction to some compound, such as bee venom, characterized by itching all over (hives), breathing difficulty, sneezing or loss of consciousness.

ANTENNA (pl –AE):

One of two long segmented sensory filaments located on the head of the bee, which enable bees to smell and taste.

ANTHER:

From the Greek anthros (flower), referring to the pollen-bearing portion on top of the stamen or male part of a flower.

APIARY (pl-IES):

The location and total number of hives (and other equipment) at one site; also called bee yard.