Beekeeping Essentials that Everyone’s Buzzing About
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Backyard beekeeping may seem super intimidating but I can assure you that it is surprisingly easy and incredibly rewarding. Bees are absolutely fascinating and so beneficial for reasons such as they're pollinator rockstars, they make delicious honey, they make valuable beeswax and they're independent which means they're easy to care for. If I can keep bees, you can keep bees (trust me on that) and this list of beginner resources and proper tools will get you headed in the right direction.
Call me old fashioned but if I’m going to take on a new hobby - especially one that can result in bee stings - I’m definitely going to do some research beforehand. The 4th Edition of Beekeeping for Dummies is the perfect hands-on guide for anyone interested in backyard beekeeping. Loaded with instructions, tips, tricks and techniques in an easily-digested format you’re sure to pick this up over and over again while caring for your bees.
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One of the most economical options for beginner beekeepers, this traditional 10-frame Langstroth hive has everything you need to establish a healthy hive and harvest their honey thanks to the included queen-excluder and medium-sized super. Beautifully crafted dovetail pine frames make for a durable habitat and the fact that everything is heavily coated with a natural wax eliminates the need for painting and keeps the hive safe from the elements. Add on a front-entrance or hive top feeder and your bees are sure to call this box home for years to come.
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This beautiful award-winning bee box is well-loved by beginners and professionals and it’s easy to see why. It assembles with ease, has no need to be painted, is incredibly easy to open and inspect and has two separate top feeders to keep your hive active. A great choice for colder climates, this hive is insulated to withstand plunging temperatures while keeping the bees safe and sound inside. This particular model is solely for establishing a hive, however, so you’ll want to purchase an Apimaye Super separately if you’re hoping to harvest honey for yourself.
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If you’re going to truly commit to keeping your own bees you will absolutely want to invest in a beekeeper suit no matter how tough you think you are. Something as simple as this highly-rated pull-over smock and veil will keep you protected from stings while tending to your hives and the lightweight polyester will keep you cool through the summer months. However, I must warn you that if your hives are going to be kept in an area of your yard where you’ll have to mow on the reg, do yourself a favor and purchase a FULL suit with jacket, hood, pants and gloves.
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Now that you’ve created a cozy habitat for your honey bees it’s time to tend the hives and this six-piece kit has all the tools you need to do just that. The easy-to-use stainless steel smoker is fueled by smoker pellets to interrupt the colony’s defensive response so you can get in there and inspect with the included frame grip, hive brush, hive scraper and uncapping fork. This kit also has a mini entrance-feeder that can be refilled between inspections without disturbing the colony.
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Now that you’ve put in the time to love on your bees hopefully they’ve rewarded your hard work with a super full of honey that’s just begging to be harvested. If that’s the case, a quality centrifuge will make the honey extraction process as easy as possible especially with a model such as this one that’s large enough to spin two frames at once. A couple of other invaluable tools for honey harvesting are a honey extractor knife for cutting the caps off of the honeycomb and some stainless steel honey strainers to ensure a smooth wax-free honey crop every time.
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Although mason bees don’t produce delicious honey they’re still potent pollinators and one of the easiest bee species to raise. Plus, they love to live in these adorable little houses! Help them set up shop in your yard or garden with this bee and bug hotel and try to make sure there’s a water source nearby for them. Pro Tip: a great way to keep bees hydrated is to fill a birdbath with marbles or river pebbles before adding water so they have something to rest on while they drink.
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