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

P:

PARTHENOGENESIS:

The development of young from unfertilized eggs laid by virgin females (queen or worker); in bees, such eggs develop into drones.

PDB (PARADICHLOROBENZENE):

A white crystalline substance whose vapors are heavier than air and are used to fumigate wax moths in stored hive bodies. Sold under the trade name Para-Moth.

PLAY FLIGHTS:

Short flights taken in front and in the vicinity of the hive by young bees to acquaint them with hive location; sometimes mistaken for robbing or swarming preparations.

POISON SAC:

Large oval sac containing venom and attached to the anterior (front) part of the sting; stores venom produced by the poison gland, and its primary ingredients are peptide and mellitin.

POLLEN:

The dust-like male reproductive cells (gametophytes) of flowers, formed in the anthers, and important as a protein source for bees; pollen is essential for bees to rear brood.

POLLEN BASKET:

POLLEN PELLETS:

The cakes of pollen packed in the leg baskets of bees and transported back to the colony.

POLLEN SUBSTITUTE:

A food material which is used to substitute wholly for pollen in the bees' diet; usually contains all or part of soy flour, brewers' yeast, wheast, powdered sugar, or other ingredients.

POLLEN TRAP:

A device for collecting the pollen pellets from the hind legs of worker bees; usually forces the bees to squeeze through a screen mesh, which scrapes off the pellets.

POLLEN TUBE:

A slender thread-like growth, containing sperm cells, which penetrates the female tissue (stigma) of a flower until it eventually reaches the ovary; there the sperm cells unite with the ovule.

POLLINATION:

The transfer of pollen from the anthers to the stigma of flowers.

PORTER BEE ESCAPE:

Introduced in 1891, the escape is a device that allows the bees a one-way exit between two thin and pliable metal bars that yield to the bees' push; used to free honey supers of bees but may clog since drone bees often get stuck.

PROPOLIS:

Plant resins collected and modified by bees; used to fill in small spaces inside the hive.

PROPOLIZE:

To fill with propolis, or bee glue; used to strengthen the comb and seal cracks, it also has antimicrobial properties.

PROTEIN:

Naturally occurring complex organic substances, such as pollen; composed of amino acids, the building blocks of protein.

PUPA:

The third stage in the development of the bee during which it is inactive and sealed in its cocoon; the organs of the sealed in its cocoon; the organs of the larva are replaced by those which will be used as an adult.