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Honey, beeswax and pollen are the most common bee products that are produced by bees and used by people all over the world. Because of the nutritional benefits of honey, honey is now an essential part of most or our diets.
In is used as a common ingredient in many health foods simply because of these health benefits it can give us. Beekeeping is becoming an ever increasing hobby and business in different countries across the world. People in the United States, Asia, Africa and across Europe have realized how easy it is to take up beekeeping how they can earn money from it.
Beekeeping is fairly easy and a lot of fun as long as you learn the right techniques and use the right equipment when you start keeping your own bees. The list of supplies for beekeeping equipment and supplies is long, but there are only few essential pieces you will need to successfully keep bees.
This is without a doubt the most essential piece of equipment, your bees need home to live, without it you will have no bees.
The type of beehive that you need really depends on a number of things, for example depending in which country you live, there is a common type of beehive used i.e., in the UK the National Hive is the most commonly used, and in the USA it is the Langstroth Hive. This is important because the obtaining supplies; like beehive frames foundation and other equipment like honey extractors mentioned below; you will use with your hive, are much easier to source.
Setting up the beehive can also be done in few different ways, depending on your hives location and time of season, so it would be a good idea to join a local beekeeping association that will be able to help you with this.
A beekeeping suit and gloves of good quality is very important, as the most common reason for beekeepers giving up beekeeping is being stung. Your suit and gloves are your protection and will shield you from being stung by bees that feel threatened by you.
A suit that fits you loosely and covers all of your body is best, especially when you are starting out. Once you have a little more experience and are comfortable around your bees, then maybe the use of a beekeeping jacket with veil will suffice, depending on the temperament of you bees.
Not only will you need to wear these when inspecting your bees, it will also be good to wear when harvesting honey or doing any garden work around your beehives.
Using a bee smoker is the most effective way to calm your bees. When smoking your beehive, firstly blow a few puffs of smoke through the hives entrance and wait a few minutes. The remove the roof and the crown board and puff some smoke over the top of the frames.
The smoke makes the bees think that there is a fire close by, so the bees will gauge themselves on their honey stores to protect their crop. They are now more concerned with saving their hive and protecting their queen, than they are about you rearranging their home.
This smoking of bees makes them appear calm, become slightly more disorientated as the smoke can mask some of the pheromones they use to communicate and helps to disguises your scent.
When harvesting honey from your beehives, using the right tools can make this sticky job much easier.
A honey extractor is a must, whether hand driven with powder an electric motor. I prefer an extractor that can hold four frames rather than three, as this makes the process of extraction a little quicker. To prepare your frames before putting them into the honey extractor, you will need to uncap the foundation. To do this you will need a large plastic try to catch the wax cappings and the small amounts of honey that will drip out (a potting tray for a garden center works well) and an uncapping fork or knife. These are available from most beekeeping suppliers.
This is a fun job, as you get eat the purest and most delicious honey you will ever find.
Your pure local honey will sell at a good price, easily five 5 time the price of supermarket honey. Which is great, as your newfound hobby can earn you an income and will hopefully encourage you to keep more and more honey producing bees.
By James Bailey