Beekeeping for beginners is not an easy or a simple job at all. Considering that the first year of beekeeping is the most difficult and unprofitable one, we will try to help those who are just entering the business with some useful pieces of advice. Experienced beekeepers may also find some of it useful.
Bees Should Be Given The Most Favorable
Bees should be given the most favorable living, development, and work conditions in accordance with their natural characteristics.
Work on the apiary should be planned for at least one year and efforts should be made that each job from the plan is surely done. If not, even what appears to be the smallest work, can lead to reduction of honey yield. It is recommended to beekeeping beginners to make a plan even before starting beekeeping.
Within the limits of possibility, hives should be placed in the most suitable place. That place should be sheltered from strong winds, not close to a dump, warehouse, refinery, or similar objects with unpleasant and strong odor, away from busy roads, walls or next to large rivers. The hives should not be crowded together or more of them put on one stand.
Placing Hives In The Apiary
It would be best to put the hives in groups, from three to five in one group, but not in one row, but in checkerboard pattern, which means the first group forward, the second pulled back, and so on, but with as much distance as possible between groups, and a hive away from a hive at least 30 centimeters.
When placing the hives on a stand, care should be taken to ensure that it is 30 to 50 centimeters raised from the ground and facing south or southeast.
Hives with bee colonies should not be placed near high voltage networks. Transmission lines or high voltage have an adverse effect on bee colonies, which can endanger your beekeeping.
All work at the apiary should be done on time when needed, not when manageable. Any delay of the work at the apiary, especially the one that is important, has a very detrimental effect on the honey yield. Even though beekeeping for beginners often means engaging in beekeeping as a hobby, it is especially important for beekeeping beginners to pay attention to the timely performance of the necessary work in the apiary.
Adding Food In The Winter Months
At the very end of winter, while there is still no pasture, the question arises how to maintain the bees.
When a beekeeper estimates that there are insufficient amounts of honey in the hive, which bees feed on, then it is a quite logical solution to help the bees by adding honey which can be done by adding a beehive frame with a full closed honey, which we do not have now due to non-grazing period.
The best supplement food is honey. An alternative solution is a flat cake, which should be avoided as much as possible. But it is still better to add it than allow the colony to die. Mix crystallized honey with ground sugar and give it to bees.
Flat cakes can be made ourselves, or it could be purchased from verified manufacturers. Cakes need to be soft because hard ones will do more harm than good to the bees.
When making flat cakes, use only your own honey and pollen, or which has been tested; honey transmits disease, so do not use honey from diseased colonies. The best flat cake is the one with the most honey.
Keep in mind that if you feed them pure sugar, that is just energy food. In order for the bees to process the 1kg flat cake, they will consume between 250 and 300g of food from them because they consume energy and they consume themselves, which leads to shortening of their lives and even a chance of energy stress.
Flat cakes should not be given before February, if not needed. The best food is the honey frame in winter period.
Is It Possible To Exactly Determine When The Spring Inspection Will Be Performed?
Late March or early April is usually reserved for spring inspection, provided it is done on a quiet sunny day when the outside temperature is above 16 degrees Celsius.
The aim of this examination is to assess the strength and health status of bee colonies, the presence and quality of queen bees, size, quantity, and position of brood, food reserve, and position of bee colonies.
Remember, weak bee colonies that need urgent help or removal from the hive are examined first.
Primarily we need to know that we need to divide bee colonies to strong, medium, and weak. The strong colonies are those which in that period cover 8 bee hive frames. The medium are the ones that cover 6 frames. The queen bee is good if the brood is compact with eggs in each worker cell and without a drone brood.
If the queen bee is old with a shiny, hairless body, with worn wings and injured legs, if possible, she should be replaced by another young and better queen from the reserve.
What Is The Biggest Problem Beekeepers Have?
Bee poisoning stands out as one of the biggest. The biggest problem for beekeepers is that farmers unintentionally poison bees. Everyone looks only at their own specialty and their own production, and resorts to the most efficient, often illegal preparations that are cheaper. The action of spraying their agricultural crops, leads to bee die-offs.
Beekeeping Requires Certain Costs: How Much Should Be Invested In One Hive?
About 150 euros are invested in one hive. Bee colonies in our conditions from October to January never consume more than 7-8 kg of honey. But you should never leave them in that reserve as they reduce their activity. It would be optimal to leave 15, and in a bad year even 20 kilograms. It is very important that it be quality natural honey. Only part of it can be replaced with sugar.
Where there are not many cattle, beekeepers should provide a pasture for bees by planting certain plant species, such as white and red clover, lucerne, and rape, and from special species also California bluebell, sainfoin, and field melilot.