Spring will be here before you know it, and whether you’re a master beekeeper or just starting to explore your newfound love for bees, here are some helpful tips for spring preparation.
For the beginning beekeeper:
- First and foremost, we recommend reading! Some great options include the Idiot’s Guide to Beekeeping, and Michael Bush’s The Practical Beekeeper.
- Join a local beekeepers association to become connected in the community, and gain invaluable insight from seasoned keepers.
- Once you know the basics of beekeeping, you’ll need to decide what type of hive is right for you.
- Get your bees! By January, most bee packages from breeders will be sold out. In February and March, you might be able to still track some down. Our favorite hygienic package bees come from Honeybee Genetics, and Wolf Creek Bees. You can also check with beekeeping friends to see if anyone plans to split their hives. Also, research being added to swarm lists in your area, but you'll need to be ready to catch a swarm! (Which can be really fun.)
- After you’ve purchased your bees, it’s wise to invest in a hive and beekeeping starter kit. Our kit includes a hat and veil, gloves, a brush, a stainless steel smoker and an Ultimate Top Bar Hive Tool. Just about everything you need to start a successful hive!
- Another, arguably better approach to procuring bees is to bait a swarm using lemongrass oil, which contains many of the same compounds found in the pheromone that scout bees release when they’ve found a suitable hive. Putting it at the entrance of your hive, or in a nuc box, increases the chance that a swarm will choose to make it their new home! More information about baiting and trapping swarms can be found in the book “Swarm Traps and Bait Hives”.
Now, if you’re saying “All this is great, but I’m a veteran”...
First and foremost, reinforce your hive with tung oil. Tung oil is a natural, chemical-free way of increasing the longevity of your hive. Ours is 100% pure with no chemical additives, unlike many tung oils on the market.
It’s always a great time to invest in some new harvesting equipment as well. We recommend the crush-and-strain system, and a bucket strainer system does the job well for harvesting honey from natural comb. We offer replacement bags for your DIY strainer system. Or, if you want to eat your honey straight out of the comb, use a comb cutter to prepare it!
- Interested in using your wax? Harness the power of the sun and melt it down with our Solar Wax Melter to fulfill any of your wax crafting needs.
- It's always a great time to refine and deepen knowledge. Books like Dr. Thomas Seeley's Honeybee Democracy are interesting enough for new beeks, but downright fascinating for seasoned keepers.
Our colony at Bee Built is so grateful to be constantly surrounded by passionate, new and experienced beekeepers alike, and we always look forward to learning from and alongside you all, and the bees. Waggle on!