Starting a honey-making business takes a lot of effort, and it also takes a lot of money for you to buy the necessary equipment and items needed to take care of the bees that will produce honey for you. While the equipment would already cost you plenty of cash, you would also have to buy the bees themselves, and the quality and the quantity of the bees you are going to get depends on how much money you can shell out.
However, did you know that you can start a beehive without actually buying bees? Yes, you read that right, but that doesn’t really mean that you a hive without any bees since you would have to catch bees in their natural, or sometimes unnatural, habitat. To help you learn more about catching bees to start your own honey-making business, here is a guide on starting a hive without buying bees.
Catching a Swarm of Bees
Before you start learning how to catch bees, there are several factors that you need to know about bees in general. First, bees would have a “swarming season,” which is a period of the year where they would appear more often, making them easier to spot and catch. This swarming season usually happens during springtime, and it is during those months that bees are busy finding a new home or upgrading or repairing it.
The second factor that you need to take a look at is the state of the bees that you are planning to catch. There are two states that bees go through during a swarming season, with the first one is the settled state, while the second is the flying state.
Catching Settled Bees
For the settled state, the bees would typically be in a stationary position inside or at the outside wall of their beehive. Settled bees are easier to catch than flying ones since they are not that aggressive and would stay at the beehive even if you shake it or put it in the collection box or an empty hive body. Most settled bees are found in tree branches, and professional bee catchers would usually cut the branch where the hive is attached and use it as a stick to place the hive in the collection box safely.
On the other hand, some settled bees are found in homes or buildings. These places aren’t actually a natural habitat for bees, although if there are gardens nearby that are full of flowering plants, then they may settle on houses and buildings where they would get a balanced temperature to survive in the fall and winter seasons. During these cases, almost all homeowners and landowners wouldn’t want the hive on their property, so they would often call the services of local beekeepers, who would willingly collect the hive from them and use it for their business.
If you are fairly new to beekeeping, you should be able to know at least some local beekeepers that will help you know if there is a bee to collect around your town or city. If you are the only beekeeper around, you should just contact your local agencies or place ads on bulletin boards that state that you are open for business in catching bees. Of course, before you start catching bees, make sure that you are equipped with the proper protective gear and warn people nearby before starting the process of collecting the hive.
Catching Flying Bees
Catching flying bees is not as easy as collecting settled bees, but the flying ones require a more passive approach that doesn’t take a lot of effort, but it does require you to buy several items suitable for catching bees.
One of the essential items that you should have when catching flying bees is the chemical lure, which has a special scent that lures bees to your area. This chemical lure typically mimics the pheromone released by bees to attract other bees to their location, so when you use the lure, you are actually tricking the bees into going to you by letting them think that they are being directed by other bees.
These chemical lures are commonly placed in swarm traps or bait hives. Swarm traps, as its name already suggests, traps bees once they get inside the enclosure, while bait hives are empty hive bodies that have chemical lures inside them.
Replacing the Queen Bee
Once you are able to catch settled or flying bees, it is necessary for you to find the queen bee among the swarm and replace them with a new one. Now, why would you replace the old queen when they are already thriving with her? The answer is that you don’t know the life cycle of the queen, so you don’t know how she was raised by her bees and the habitat that she is more comfortable with.
If the queen bee is aggressive against intruders, including humans, then her bees would also be aggressive, and this unpredictable personality or status of the queen bee is already a justifiable reason for her to be replaced with a new one that is raised and taken care of by beekeeping shops or by you if you already own a couple of hives.
And, there you have it, a simple guide on how to start a beehive without the need to buy bees, although you actually do need to buy a new queen bee for the hive that you’ve caught. Starting a beehive without buying bees saves you money since two to three pounds of bees can sometimes be too expensive, especially when you buy them during spring or summer.