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

B:

BALLING:

Refers to the action of worker bees surrounding a queen who is unacceptable, they are trying to kill her by pulling her legs, wings, and by stinging and suffocation; the bees form a small cluster or ball around this queen.

BASKET EXTRACTOR:

A honey extractor that spins out one side of the frame at a time.

BEE BLOWER:

A gas or electrically driven blower used to blow bees from supers full of honey.

BEE BREAD:

Pollen collected by bees and stored in wax cells, preserved with honey.

BEE BRUSH:

A soft brush or whisk (or handful of grass) used to remove bees from frames.

BEE CELLAR:

An underground room used for storing bee hives during long cold winters; difficult to use as constant temperature and humidity must be maintained to ensure colony survival.

BEE DISEASES:

Diseases affecting adult larval honey bees, not all of which are infectious (such as dysentery); common diseases are Nosema Apis and Nosema Cerena, deformed wing virus and American and European foulbrood, which are highly infectious larval diseases.

BEE ESCAPE:

A device constructed to permit bees to pass one way, but prevent their return; used to clear bees from supers or other uses.

BEE GO:

A chemical, such as benzaldehyde, repellent to bees and used with a fume board to clear bees from honey supers. Honey Robber works better than other product on the market because it is not weather dependent.

BEE SPACE:

A space big enough to permit free passage for a bee but too small to encourage comb building, and too large to induce propolizing activities; measures ¼ to 3/8 inch (9.5mm).

BEE SUIT:

A pair of coveralls, usually white, made for beekeepers to protect them from stings and keep their clothes clean; some come equipped with zip-on veils.

BEESWAX:

A complex mixture of organic compounds secreted by four pairs of glands on the ventral, or underside of a young worker bee's abdomen, secreted as droplets which harden into scales, they are used to construct honey comb; melting point of beeswax is 143.6-149 degrees F (62-65 degrees C)

BEEWAY SUPER:

The shallowest or section super used with wooden section boxes to make comb honey; has a built-in beeway or bee space.

BLACK SCALE:

Refers to the appearance of a dried down larva or pupa which died of a foulbrood disease.

BOARDMAN FEEDER:

A wooden or plastic device that fits into the entrance of a bee hive and holds a quart jar that can be filled with syrup or water.

BOTTLING TANK:

A plastic or stainless steel tank holding 5 or more gallons of honey and equipped with a honey gate to fill honey jars.

BOTTOM BAR:

The bottom part of the frame.

BOTTOM BOARD:

The floor of a bee hive.

BROOD:

Immature stages of bees not yet emerged from their cells; the stages are egg, larvae, pupae.

BROOD DEVELOPMENT:

TypeEggLarveCell CappedPupaEmergenceStart of Fertility
Queen until day 3 until day 5 1/2 until day 7 1/2 until Day 8 from day 16 on Approx. 23rd day
Worker until day 3 until day 6 until day 9 until day 12 from day 21 on N/A
Drone until day 3 until day 6 1/2 until day 10 until day 14 1/2 from day 24 on Approx. 38th day

BROOD DISEASES:

Diseases that affect only the immature stages of bees, such as American or European foulbrood.

BROOD NEST:

The part of the hive interior in which brood is reared; usually the two bottom supers.

BROODBOX:

Refers to the hive bodies where the queen lays her eggs.

BUCKFAST HYBRID:

A strain of bees developed by Brother Adam at Buckfast Abbey in England, bred for disease resistance, disinclination to swarm, hardiness, comb building and good temper.

BURR COMB:

Small pieces of comb made as connecting links between combs or between a frame and the hive itself; also called brace comb.