At the beekeeper mentoring workshops you will learn:
- Tools of the trade and the parts of a domestic hive
- What you need to get for beekeeping and what can wait
- How to build a hive from commercially available pieces or kits
- How to inspect a hive for health, diseases, pests and parasites
- How to create a new hive from a swarm, package bees or a split
- Develop confidence working with bees
- Develop relationships and references for successful beekeeping
Consider attending training before buying anything or ask the
Beekeeping supply catalogs have a plethora of things you don't need or will collect dust until they are thrown out.
- A veil to protect the face from stings is probably first on most lists.
Some people have found veils cheaper for outdoors (mosquitoes)
The smoker is a close second.
- A hive must have a bottom (screened bottoms are the greatest to control mites), a super with frames, and a cover.
- Don’t forget bees.
There are three prominent hive tool designs, any will get it done.
If the veil is not enough protection there are jackets with attached veils and full suits that provide protection equivalent to a nuclear technician.
There are leather gloves, but there are disadvantages to gloves.
- You can get Velcro closures for the wrists and ankles to keep bees from crawling under clothing. Bicyclists use the same so you might find it cheaper in sporting goods. Duct tape or rubber bands work like the Velcro closures too!
- Some day you will need an extractor, unless you just cut out comb honey. USF
has an extraction setup.
The rest make nice gifts but you can live without them.
- After several weeks as the hive grows and gathers honey, they will need another super with frames.
The queen excluder is in the same league as politics and religion. If you want to know everything two beekeepers know or think ask about queen excluders, sometimes called honey excluders. The queen does not normally cross the “honey barrier” to lay eggs. Manipulating frames to maintain frames of honey will keep her down in the brood chamber.
Honey bees have two goals:
- collect a surplus of honey for the winter
- make a second hive by swarming.
Beekeepers gladly assist with honey production but avoid swarming or attempt to control the bees natural desire.
Swarms are really easy to collect. DO NOT ever pay to get one. Recent publicity aside, it is reasonable to be reimbursed for your fuel and for removing what most municipalities consider a nuisance – the swarm.
Several beekeeping suppliers sell package bees with queens. There are many ways to introduce package bees and each is best in someone’s mind.
Splits have a double benefit, creating a second hive and delaying the swarming desire.
Local, state and national beekeeping organizations and clubs like the
Tampa Bay Beekeepers Association and
Florida State Beekeepers Association are great resources.
Agricultural extension agents and bee inspectors are paid to assist too. Florida has more than a dozen inspectors that do more answering questions than asking. A great deal for $10 a year!
All these resources should be your first thought if you think you have a problem too. I have my inspector on speed dial! I learned beekeeping in Boy Scouts, but a neighborhood beekeeper mentored and taught me how to be a beekeeper. That is my personal goal with the workshops – to mentor beekeepers!