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

S:

SACBROOD:

A brood disease of bees caused by a filterable virus which interferes with the molting process; the dead larva resembles a bag of fluid.

SCREENED VENTILATED BOARD:

A framed screen used to cover the top of a hive being moved in hot weather.

SECTIONS:

Small wooden (or plastic) boxes used to produce comb honey.

SELF-POLLINATION:

The act of a single flower, or flower from the same plant, pollinating itself.

SELF-STERILE:

The inability of a flower, such as a fruit tree, to be fertilized within its own variety; it is only fertilized by pollen from another variety.

SETTLING TANK:

A large capacity container used to settle extracted honey; air bubbles and debris will float to the top, clarifying the honey.

SKEP:

A beehive without moveable frames, usually made of twisted straw in the form of a basket; its use is illegal in the U.S.

SLUMGUM:

The refuse from melted combs and cappings after the wax has been rendered or removed; usually contains cocoons, pollen, bee bodies and dirt.

SMALL HVE BEETH (or SHB):

The small hive beetle can be a destructive pest of honey bee colonies, causing damage to comb, stored honey and pollen. If a beetle infestation is sufficiently heavy, they may cause bees to abandon their hive. Its absence can also be a marker in the diagnosis of Colony Collapse Disorder for honey-bees. The beetles can also be a pest of stored combs, and honey (in the comb) awaiting extraction. Beetle larvae may tunnel through combs of honey, feeding and defecating, causing discoloration and fermentation of the honey.

SMOKER:

A metal container with attached bellows which burns organic fuels to generate smoke; used to control aggressive behavior of bees during colony inspections.

SOLAR WAX MELTER OR EXTRACTOR:

A glass-covered insulated box used to melt wax from combs and cappings using the heat of the sun.

SPERM CELLS:

The male reproductive cells (gametes) which fertilize eggs; also called spermatozoa.

SPERMATHECA:

A small sac connected with the oviduct (vagina) of the queen bee in, which is stored, the spermatozoa received in mating with drones.

SPLIT:

To divide a colony for the purpose of increasing the number of hives.

STARLINE HYBRID:

An Italian bee hybrid known for vigor and honey production.

STIGMA:

Receptive portion of the female part of a flower to which pollen adheres.

STING:

An organ belonging exclusively to female insects developed from egg laying mechanisms, used to defend the colony; modified into a piercing shaft through which venom is injected.

STING SAC:

STRAINING SCREEN:

A metal or plastic screen through which honey is filtered; also serves as a base for other, finer screening material.

SUGAR SYRUP:

Feed for bees, containing sucrose or table (cane) sugar and hot water in various ratios.

SUPER:

A receptacle in which bees store honey; usually placed over or above the brood nest; so called brood supers contain brood.

SUPERING:

The act of placing honey supers on a colony in expectation of a honey flow.

SUPERSEDURE:

Rearing a new queen to replace the mother queen in the same hive; shortly after the daughter queen begins to lay eggs, the mother queen disappears.

SURPLUS HONEY:

Any extra honey removed by the beekeeper, over and above what the bees require for their own use, such as winter food stores.

SWARM:

A collection of bees, containing at least one queen that split apart from the mother colony to establish a new one; a natural method of propagation of honey bees.

SWARMING SEASON:

The time of year, usually mid-summer, when swarms usually issue.