CAN I KEEP BEES IN MY BACKYARD?
Yes, you can keep bees in your backyard. It would wise to check with the local municipality, and also that the hives are not in an area that will endanger your neighbours. Bees are defensive creatures and not aggressive. However, if they sense harm from you or your pets, they will sting. Hives situate best in areas where there is no traﬃc from humans or pets. Also, if you have chickens or horses, keep your hives well away as the bees do not like their smell.
HOW MUCH TIME SHOULD I SPEND TENDING TO MY BEES?
Hive inspection should be done once a month max, and Hive maintenance, where you inspect each side of every brood frame should be done once every three months (4 times per year).
IS BEEKEEPING DIFFICULT WORK?
No, beekeeping is not diﬃcult work. One thing that must be stressed is to keep checking your hives for pests and fungi that harm bees. For more on pests, take a look at the site provided. Click here
The busiest time of the year is autumn when you are harvesting your, honey.
WILL THEY BOTHER MY NEIGHBOURS?
Generally, honeybees are very gentle and busy creatures and usually keep to themselves unless they feel threatened. Just educate your neighbors on what is involved in keeping bees, and they will generally leave them be to forage in their gardens. One rule of thumb is don’t panic when you are near bees.
HOW MUCH HONEY WILL I GET?
It’s diﬃcult to give an exact answer here. A lot depends on the quantity and quality of nectar, the health and strength of the colony and the size of the hive. Generally, one hive will produce up to 15 - 30 kg of honey per season. During the 1st year of a colony, the production of honey will not be that great, so be patient and wait for the next season.
DO I HAVE TO WEAR A SUIT?
Yes. Wearing protective gear when you are near the hives is a must. If you are very comfortable around bees and can stay calm, it is not necessary to wear the full suit; however, one must always wear facial protection.
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED?
To start beekeeping, we recommend getting at least two hives (new/used) from a reputable source. Some hives on the market are not standard, and should you wish to add on more brood/super boxes; it may be diﬃcult to obtain the correct size. The industry standard hive is a Langstroth hive.
Protective gear consisting of a veil, jacket and gloves, hive tools, and smoker, Oh yes and bees!
HOW MANY HIVES SHOULD I GET?
We recommend beginning with two hives. However, you can start with one. The advantage of having more hives is if one absconders, then you will have another to carry on with; also, you will have a more significant production of honey at the end of the day. Having more hives is not that much more work.
WHERE DO I GET THE BEES?
The best time to start beekeeping is early spring. You have four options to obtain honeybees for your hive: colonies (from reputable bee farms), nucs (small honey bee colonies caught in a catch box), swarms or acquire a colony from a bee removal (get an experienced person to do this for you). Just a word of caution - nucs are only compatible with Langstroth hives.
WHEN SHOULD I START?
Before you obtain any equipment and bees, it is recommended that you learn as much as possible about beekeeping. Read books, visit other bee farms, and get as much information as possible. It’s a passive hobby, but very rewarding. Then the best time to start beekeeping is early spring/summer.
WILL I GET STUNG?
Yes, you will, however, it won’t happen often. If you respect your bees and don’t disturb them unnecessarily, then your bees will not harm you. If you know you’re allergic to bee stings, then take precautions and keep on hand an antihistamine. Generally, an ice pack and over the counter antihistamines will sort out the sting and redness that will occur.
DO I HAVE TO TREAT?
You do not have to treat unless you know you are allergic to them. Then you must seek medical attention urgently. We do recommend working with an experienced beekeeper in the beginning to establish responsible practices.