Becoming a beekeeper is the best way to boost the bee population in your community, and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Whether you’re an avid beekeeper or a beginner, understanding the correct ways to care for your bees is imperative. Follow these five best practices for sustainable beekeeping and live in harmony with your bees.
Plant a Bee Garden
It’s no secret that bees have to get their resources somewhere outside the hive, and planting pollen- and nectar-rich plants on your property is the best option to give them what they need. Ensure your colony has plenty of foraging opportunities, especially during spring and early summer.
Caution: Avoid using toxic pesticides on your plants as they can harm your bees!
Safe Bee Feeding
Healthy colonies feed only on products from their own hives. In other words, avoid feeding your bees any sugar syrup, sugar water, or honey from another source. You should leave your colony with enough honey to feed them through the winter and avoid supplemental feedings.
However, an additional feeding supplement might be necessary in an emergency, such as a lack of food sources within the beehive. Avoid using honey from another local colony, as it can contain bacteria or viruses that may impact your bees.
Harvesting honey is one of the most rewarding parts of being a beekeeper, but your bees must come first. Since honey is the sole food source for your bees, you should only harvest honey if there is excess and a steady nectar flow. Harvesting too much can put your colony at risk of running out of food.
Avoid Smoking the Bees
Smoking bees is a method beekeepers use to prepare the hive for an inspection, but it can cause stress on the bees. While smoking masks the alarm pheromone, it makes the bees think the hive is on fire and they need to prepare for evacuation by loading up with honey. As a result, they’ll struggle to free themselves when you open the beehive.
Proper Hygiene and Inspection
While it’s essential to inspect your beehive occasionally, you should avoid opening it unless it’s absolutely necessary. Additionally, maintaining good hygiene is the best way to prevent parasites and diseases from invading the colony.
Regularly check on your bees to make sure all is well, but keep your hives at a distance to ensure diseases don’t travel from one to another. Allowing your colonies to reproduce naturally through swarming is the best way to break a varroa mite cycle.
If you’re considering becoming a beekeeper, The B Farm has honeybee nucs for sale to start your new adventure. While you might feel inexperienced at first, following these five best practices for sustainable beekeeping will keep you on the path toward a healthy and prosperous colony.