Welcome to the World of Bees

Mar 4, 2021 | For Beginners, Posts

Here is a short guide for people who are contemplating the idea of ​​having a small apiary at home or in the chalet. You ask yourself questions like ”  Is this for me?” How much does it cost? What implication does this require  ”? Then this is for you.

TRAINING IS THE ESSENCE OF ALL SUCCESS …

You have to think about getting training first. Having bees and dealing with them blindly is almost always an equation that ends in failure. The ideal combo is a basic training with a mentor who can accompany you throughout your first seasons. A few bedside books to help you fully assimilate the material, and voila. Be careful, there is some good information on the web, but also a lot of information that is not adapted to our climate, so it is very important to judge whether it is relevant or not. Validate your doubts and certainties with experienced beekeepers, it could save you time, money and energy.

Taking a course allows you to understand the “macro” and the “micro”. It is important to understand the general plan of a beekeeping season, stages and times to look out for, for example, for processing and feeding. On the other hand, training also equips us for the “micro”, that is to say to learn to detect anomalies of the hive when necessary. The poverty of our environment and the lack of biodiversity for bees unfortunately leaves room for pathogens and disease infestations. Being a beekeeper in 2020 means facing a whole different reality from what was present in 1980. Today, not having the capacity to detect diseases in a hive can prove to be extremely destructive for neighboring hives. Take the time to be well informed,

TIME HAS TO BE SPENT ON EVERYTHING …

Second, let’s talk about how much time you’ll need to spend with your bees. A beehive needs to be visited on average once every 10 days during the season (May to September). It takes about fifteen minutes per hive maximum, although it depends on the circumstances. Sometimes an inspection will take you 5 minutes, and other times it will take longer.

Then, you have to think that you will have honey to extract; an extraction at the end of the season or a few depending on the flowering, it’s up to you! However, plan at least a day for honey extraction. Uncapping the frames, putting everything in the centrifuge, filtering, and putting in pots, it takes time, but how rewarding it is to harvest your own honey!

THE TWO MAKE A PAIR…

How many beehives do you need to have to start? Every beekeeper will tell you that it is always better to start with two hives rather than one. Why? It is easier to assess the condition of a beehive when you have a comparison. A single hive to start can be difficult when you lack experience. With two, you will have more possibilities, if one is weak and the other strong, to balance your small apiary.

MONEY MAKES HAPPINESS…

Who says beekeeping project also means a few dollars spent. You will need a few essentials to get started, and you can gradually build them up over the course of the season, depending on what your budget will allow. Let’s say that we fully equip ourselves and that we go there to buy 2 beehives with the necessary equipment around. I will spare you the details, but roughly speaking, you will have to think of bees (nuclei), complete hives, smoker and tools to work in the hive, feeders, syrup, protective clothing, treatments for parasites, and equipment surrounding the honey harvest (extractor, filter, bucket, pots, etc.). Your bill for 2 beehives for the 1st year will reach around $ 2000 with all these elements. Keep in mind that you won’t have to spend this money again for the 2nd year. When the hive is well, the only expenses incurred are the purchase of treatments to treat varroasis, and the containers that will be used to put the honey in jars. You can get away with under $ 250 a year. Having said that, beekeeping is a hobby that is considered quite expensive, but if you are a bit of a handyman, you can keep the expense to a minimum. It will only take you a little longer than if you bought everything already ready.

In addition, it is very possible to make profitable the expenses related to beekeeping by selling the harvested honey. Your friends and family will be the first to ask for honey year after year. Usually, after the third season, you start to make it profitable. This means that we must persevere.

Beekeeper myself, I must describe to you how working with bees is an activity that fascinates me at all times and gives me happiness that is both serene and filled with ecstasy. Get to know the character of each hive, let yourself be lulled by its hum, see the queen, witness the color of the pollen balls that are brought back to the colony … everything, as soon as you are in the presence of these magnificent beings, constitutes a magical moment in itself and transports us out of space-time. We quickly forget the few occasional bites of the beehive keepers ????

I therefore invite you to undertake this great adventure if you feel like it. You don’t have to want to save the planet, you just have to love bees and commit to taking care of them the best you can!

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