beekeeper using a hive tool on a brood frame

FAQs for Beekeeping

Beekeeping is a complicated activity, and even the most experienced beekeepers may not know some aspects of the activity. So, to help beginners and even veterans to understand a few of the most trivial aspects of it, we are providing several answers to some of the frequently asked questions about beekeeping. Included below are questions about how many bees are needed to start a honey-making business, as well as what beekeepers should do during each of the four seasons of the year.

How Many Bees Do You Need to Start?

For beginners, you would need one hive and one 3-pound package of bees, which is enough to let you learn how to raise bees in one year. A 3-pound package usually contains about 10,000 bees, and this number is sufficient for the hive to thrive even during the fall and winter seasons. However, the package doesn’t come with a queen bee, so you would have to buy that separately.

Can You Catch Bees Instead of Buying Them?

If you want to save money from beekeeping, you can actually catch bees instead of buying them, although the catching process is quite difficult for beginners to try since you would need the proper equipment for it, and you also need to know how to catch bees efficiently. There are two ways that beekeepers catch bees; one is being the active way, while the other is the passive way. For the active method, homeowners or landowners would usually call the local beekeeper, and that beekeeper would be the one that catches the hive latched on the wall of the house or building. For the passive method, the beekeeper will spray or apply some chemicals on an empty hive box, and those chemicals release pheromones that attract the bees.

What are the Pieces of Equipment Needed for Beekeeping?

Of course, the most important items needed for beekeeping are the hive boxes, which are wooden boxes that act as hives for the bees. Inside those hive boxes are brood frames where the bees would store eggs and food supply. The other equipment you would need for beekeeping is the beekeeper’s veil that protects your face against bee stings, a beekeeper’s suit to provide maximum protection for your body, a smoker that calms the bees and keeps them away from brood frames, and a hive tool used to remove brood frames from the hive box.

When is the Best Season to Start Beekeeping?

beekeeper removing a brood frame from a hive box using a hive tool

The best season for beginners to start beekeeping is during the spring season, where the bees would naturally adjust to their environment before they get busy collecting pollen and nectar from flowering plants during the summer. However, it is best that beginners should buy bees during the last month or last days of winter in order for the bees to get the proper time to be accustomed to their environment in all the months of spring.

What Happens During the Summer Season?

The summer season is arguably the busiest time for both the bees and the beekeeper. For the bees, it is the season where they will collect the most pollen and nectar for flowering plants in order to get sufficient food supply for their hive until the winter. For the beekeeper, it is the period where he or she would need to inspect the hive at least once a week to collect honey or to look for any parasites or pests in the brood frames.

Is the Winter Season Dangerous for Bees?

If they don’t get ample food supply and the temperature inside the hive is not enough for the queen bee to live comfortably, then the winter is a dangerous season for the bees. In order to combat the lack of food supply, the beekeeper must be able to provide a little bit of food for the bees just in case they run out of honey, and the food that can be provided to them is usually sugar syrup. As for keeping the temperature warm inside the hive, the bees would usually cluster around the queen bee to keep her warm, but they are unable to control the temperature outside the hive, which could potentially affect the temperature inside, so the beekeeper needs to inspect the outer walls of the hive and scrape away any snow or ice that builds up on top or on the sides of the hive.

When Will A Beekeeper Get Profits from Honey-Making?

Since most beginners would start with one hive and a 3-pound package of bees, they wouldn’t be able to make profits during the first year of raising that hive. However, once the next year comes, they will be able to buy more bees and hive since they would feel more confident in raising more bees, and the profits will surely come around that year. A few people may not have the patience to wait one year for them to get money off of the honey produced by the bees, but those who are patient, hardworking, and persistent in beekeeping will surely see the fruits of their labor in the second or third year.