Beekeeping for Beginners – One small hive can keep your family in honey all year.
There’s not any other project on our homestead that has given us as much satisfaction as our beehives. We easily pull over 30 pounds of honey off our two hives each year.
If you are just starting off homesteading, I would suggest you look into beekeeping as one of your first projects. The start-up is a bit costly but once established they require little attention and little feeding to carry them through the winter months.
We are fortunate to live in the country with plenty of wildflowers, fruit blossoms, shrubs, trees and even weeds to go around. Our pastures are filled with blackberries, so our honey takes on a nice fruity flavor.
Not only do our bees supply us with honey, but they also pollinate our gardens and fruit trees.
Choosing the perfect site for your hive is half the battle.
The best location to set up your hive will get your bees off to a good start and help ensure a production honey harvest.
Walk around your yard and look for a place where there is good drainage and where you can raise your hive off the ground to protect it from moisture. Ideally, on a slope, so the rain and snow can drain off rapidly.
Next, the spot should be sheltered from the wind. Even the slightest breeze can chill your bees and reduce their honey collection efforts.
Another important factor is ensuring the hive has plenty of sunlight to warm the hive. We have our hive facing east and use the warming effect of the morning sun to warm the colony.
If you live in a warm part of the country, be sure to protect your colony from the hot afternoon sun.
Spring is the perfect time to start a hive.
Anytime we add or start a new hive we always do it in the spring so it has a chance to get established well before the honey begins to flow.
Being successful at beekeeping takes a little more than evaluating the honey’s taste.
The following infographic from foodpackaginglabels.net explains some of the obstacles beekeepers experience in their work and gives practical tips on how to keep the bees healthy and alive, and how to properly label honey jars to better inform honey consumers about the product.