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

C:

CAGE SHIPPING:

Also called a package, a screened box filled with 2 to 5 pounds of bees, with or without a queen, and supplied with a feeder can; used to start a new colony, or to boost a weak one.

CANDY PLUG:

A fondant type candy placed in one end of a queen cage to delay her release.

CAPPED BROOD:

Immature bees whose cells have been sealed over with a brown wax cover by other worker bees; inside, the non-feeding larvae are isolated and can spin cocoons prior to pupating.

CAPPING SCRATCHER:

A fork-like device used to remove wax cappings covering honey, so it can be extracted.

CAPPINGS:

The thin wax covering over honey; once cut off of extracting frames they are referred to as cappings and are a source of premium beeswax.

CARBOHYDRATE:

A food (organic compound) composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen with the hydrogen:oxygen ratio frequently 2:1, as in water.

CARNIOLAN BEES:

A grayish race of honey bee Apis mellifera carnica named for Carniola, Austria but originating in the Balkan region; while they are gentle and do not propolize, they tend to swarm more than other races.

CAUCASIAN BEES:

A black race of honey bee A. mellifera caucasica, originating in the Caucasus Mountains; gentle but tend to propolize excessively.

CELL CUPS:

These are used in queen rearing. They can either be push in or base mount.

CELL PROTECTORS:

These are used in queen rearing. They can either be push in meaning they can be pushed into place anywhere on drawn comb or base mount meaning they hang between top bars of frames for easy insertion/retrieval.

CHALKBROOD:

A disease affecting bee larvae, caused by a fungus Ascosphaera apis, larvae eventually turn into hard, chalky white “mummies”.

CHIMNEY EFFECT:

The tendency for bees to fill only the center frames of honey supers; happens when bees are given too much room too fast.

CHROMOSOME:

A group of nuclear bodies (from the nucleus) containing genes; responsible for the differentiation and activity of a cell, and undergoing characteristic division stages such as mitosis.

CHUNK HONEY:

Honey in the comb, but not in sections, frequently cut and packed into jars then filled with liquid honey.

COCOON:

A thin silk covering secreted by larval honey bees in their cells in preparation for pupation.

COLONY COLLAPSE DISORDER (or CCD):

Is a phenomenon in which worker bees from a beehive or Western honey bee colony abruptly disappear. While such disappearances have occurred throughout the history of apiculture, the term colony collapse disorder was first applied to a drastic rise in the number of disappearances of Western honey bee colonies in North America in late 2006. Aside from fundamental concerns about the survival of bee species, colony collapse is significant because many agricultural crops worldwide are pollinated by bees.

COMB:

The wax portion of a colony in which eggs are laid, and honey and pollen are stored.

COMB HONEY:

Honey in the wax combs, usually produced and sold as a separate unit, such as a wooden section 4-1/2” square, or a plastic round ring.

COMB, DRAWN:

Wax foundation with the cell walls drawn out by the bees, completing the comb.

CONICAL ESCAPE:

A cone-shaped bee escape, which permits bees, a one-way exit; used in a special escape board to free honey supers of bees.

CREAMED HONEY:

Honey that has been pasteurized and undergone controlled granulation to produce a finely textured candied or crystallized honey which spreads easily at room temperature.

CROSS-POLLINATION:

The transfer of pollen from the anther of one flower to the stigma of another flower of the same species.

CRYSTALIZE: