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Beekeeping For Dummies


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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

About This Book 1

How This Book Is Organised 2

Part I: Getting Hooked on Honey Bees 2

Part II: Starting Your Adventure 2

Part III: Looking Inside Your Hive 3

Part IV: Common Problems and Simple Solutions 3

Part V: Sweet Rewards 4

Part VI: The Part of Tens 4

Icons Used in This Book 4

Where to Go from Here 5

Part I: Getting Hooked on Honey Bees 7 Chapter 1: To Bee or Not to Bee? 9

Discovering the Benefits of Beekeeping 10

Harvesting liquid gold: Honey 11

Bees as pollinators: Their vital role in

ensuring our food supply 11

Helping the bees; helping the environment 13

Passing on your knowledge 13

Good for your wellbeing; good for your health 13

Determining Your Beekeeping Potential 15

Environmental considerations 15

Being responsible and considering others 16

Costs and equipment 16

Time and commitment 17

Beekeeper personality traits 17

Overcoming Fear of Stings 17

Knowing what to do if you're stung 19

Building up a tolerance 19

Watching for allergic reactions 20

Chapter 2: Life Inside the Honey Bee Hive 21

Basic Body Parts 21

Skeleton 22

Head 22

Thorax 24

Abdomen 25

The Amazing Language of Bees 25

Pheromones 25

Shall we dance? 26

Dividing Honey Bees into Three Castes 27

Her majesty, the queen 27

The industrious little worker bee 30

The woeful drone 34

The Honey Bee Life-Cycle 35

Egg 36

Larva 37

Pupa 37

Part II: Starting Your Adventure 41 Chapter 3: Locating Your Hive 43

Getting Over 'Buzz Off!': Consulting Family and Neighbours 43

Location, Location, Location: Where to Keep Your Hives 45

Providing for your thirsty bees 47

Understanding why your honey varies in colour and flavour 49

Knowing When to Start Your Adventure 50

Chapter 4: Stocking Up on Basic Beekeeping Equipment 51

Finding Out about the Modified National Hive 52

Knowing the Basic Parts of the Hive 53

Hive stand 54

Floor 55

Entrance block 55

Brood chamber 56

Queen excluder 58

Super 58

Frames 59

Foundation 61

Crown board 65

Roof 66

Ordering Hive Parts 66

Preparing for assembly 67

Adding on Feeders 68

Miller and Ashforth rapid feeders 68

Bucket feeder 69

Frame feeder 71

Stocking Up on Your Personal Beekeeping Equipment 72

Smoker 72

Hive tool 73

Covering Up with Bee-Proof Clothing 74

Veils 74

Gloves 75

Really Helpful Accessories 76

Elevated hive stand 76

Frame rest 78

Bee brush 78

Other necessities 79

Chapter 5: Obtaining and Hiving Your Bees 81

Determining the Kind of Bee You Want 81

Deciding How to Obtain Your Initial Bee Colony 83

Picking a reputable bee supplier 84

Deciding when to place your order 84

Buying a nucleus colony 85

Transferring your nucleus to a hive 86

Purchasing an established colony 87

Capturing a wild swarm of bees 88

Ordering package bees 88

Meeting and Greeting: The Day Your Bees Arrive 89

Bringing home your bees 90

Feeding your bees 90

Buzzing with Excitement: Putting Your Bees into the Hive 91

Part III: Looking Inside Your Hive 97 Chapter 6: Opening Your Hive 99

Setting an Inspection Schedule 99

Preparing to Visit Your Hive 100

Making 'non-scents' a part of personal hygiene 101

Getting dressed up and ready to go 101

Lighting your smoker 102

Opening the Hive 104

Removing the crown board 106

The Hive's Open! Now What? 107

Chapter 7: What to Look for when You're Inspecting 109

Exploring Basic Inspection Techniques: Examining a Full Colony 109

Removing the first frame 110

Working your way through the hive 112

Holding up frames for inspection 112

Understanding what to look for every time 113

Replacing frames 117

Closing the hive 118

Establishing a Colony from a Nucleus 119

Managing your nucleus 119

Starting your Colony with a Package of Bees 121

Checking in: A week after hiving your bees 121

The second and third weeks 124

Weeks four to eight 125

Chapter 8: Your Work throughout the Seasons 129

Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer 129

Your summer to-do list 130

Your summer time commitment 130

Falling Leaves Point to Autumn Tasks 131

Your autumn to-do list 131

Making one hive from two 133

Your autumn time commitment 134

Clustering in a Winter Wonderland 134

Your winter to-do list 135

Your winter time commitment 136

Spring Is in the Air: Starting Your Second Season 137

Your spring to-do list 137

Making two hives from one 138

Your spring time commitment 140

Administering spring medication 141

Reversing hive bodies 141

Part IV: Common Problems and Simple Solutions 145 Chapter 9: Heading Off Potential Problems 147

Avoiding Absconding 147

Swarming 148

Absconding 156

Where Did the Queen Go? 157

Letting nature take its course 157

Ordering a replacement queen 158

Introducing a new queen to the hive 158

Avoiding Chilled Brood 160

Dealing with the Dreaded Robbing Frenzies 161

Knowing the difference between normal and

abnormal (robbing) behaviour 161

Putting a stop to a robbing attack 162

Preventing robbing in the first place 162

Ridding Your Hive of the Laying Worker Phenomenon 163

How to know if you have laying workers 163

Getting rid of laying workers 164

Preventing Pesticide Poisoning 166

Chapter 10: Treating Diseases and Considering Colony Collapse Disorder 169

Medicating when Necessary 170

Knowing the Big Six Bee Diseases 170

American foulbrood (AFB) 171

European foulbrood (EFB) 172

Nosema 172

Chalkbrood 173

Sacbrood 174

Stonebrood 174

A handy chart 174

Shedding Some Light on Colony Collapse Disorder and Vanishing Hives 177

Unlocking the mystery of the Mary Celeste hives 177

Discovering more about CCD 178

Exploring Potential Causes of CCD 179

The mobile phone theory 179

Pollinating insect research 179

A Final Word 181

Chapter 11: Buzz Off! Dealing with Honey Bee Pests 183

Preventing Parasitic Mites 183

Varroa mites 183

Controlling Varroa the natural way 192

Acarine (Tracheal mites) 193

Wax Moths 196

Ants, Ants and More Ants 197

Keeping Out Mice 198

Dealing with Birds that Have a Taste for Bees 199

Pest Control in a Nutshell 199

Chapter 12: Raising Your Own Queens 201

Why Raising Queens Makes You Proud 201

Accentuating the Positive: Choosing Good Traits 202

What Makes a Queen a Queen 204

Buzzing with love: Queen mating 205

Creating Demand: Making a Queenless Nuc 206

Queen Rearing: The Miller Method 207

Using an Artificial Swarm to Raise Queens 211

The Doolittle Method: Grafting 212

Tools and equipment 212

How it's done 214

Trying Out the Jenter System 216

How it's done 216

Providing nuptial housing 219

Finding a Home for Your Queens 220

Part V: Sweet Rewards 223 Chapter 13: Getting Ready for the Golden Harvest 225

Choosing Extracted, Comb, Chunk or Soft-Set Honey 226

Using the Right Equipment for the Job 228

Honey extractors 228

Uncapping knife 229

Honey strainers 229

Other handy gadgets for extracting honey 230

Comb honey equipment 233

Honey containers 233

Planning Your Honey Harvest Set-Up 233

Labelling and Selling Your Honey 235

Creating an attractive label 235

Finding places to market your honey 237

Chapter 14: Honey, I'm Home: Harvest Time 239

Knowing When to Harvest 240

Getting the Bees Out of the Honey Supers 241

Shakin' 'em out 242

Using a bee escape 242

Fume board and bee repellent 244

Food of the Gods: Honey Extraction 246

Cleaning Up after Extracting 249

Controlling wax moths 249

Harvesting wax 250

Part VI: The Part of Tens 253 Chapter 15: Ten Fun Things to Do with Bees 255

Starting an Observation Hive 255

Planting Flowers for Your Bees 257

Brewing Mead: The Nectar of the Gods 259

Getting Creative with Propolis 262

Propolis tincture 263

Propolis ointment 263

Making Candles and Polish from Beeswax 263

Beeswax candles 264

Beeswax furniture polish 264

Beauty and the Bees 265

Beeswax lip balm 265

Beeswax and olive oil salve 265

Getting up Close with a Microscope 266

Chapter 16: Ten Frequently Asked Questions about Bee Behaviour 267 Chapter 17: Ten Delicious Honey Recipes 271

Appendix A: Helpful Resources 279

Honey Bee Websites 279

Apiservices 279

Bee Master Forum 279

BeeHoo 280

British Beekeepers Association 280

Bush Farm 280

Cornwall Honey 280

David A. Cushman 280

The Beespace 281

Vita (Europe) 281

Bee Organisations and Conferences 281

Apimondia: International Federation of

Beekeepers' Associations 281

The BBKA Spring Convention 282

Bee Diseases Insurance Ltd (BDI) 282

Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders Association (BIBBA) 282

International Bee Research Association 283

The National Bee Unit of the Central Science Laboratory 283

The National Honey Show 283

The National Farmers Union 284

Bee Journals and Magazines 284

American Bee Journal 284

BBKA News 284

Bee Craft 285

Bee Culture 285

The Beekeepers Quarterly 285

Bee World 285

Beekeeping Supplies and Equipment 285

The Bee Shop 286

B. J. Sherriff 286

Brunel Microscopes Ltd 286

Compak 287

Giordan 287

Maisemore Apiaries Ltd 288

Modern Beekeeping 288

National Bee Supplies 288

Swienty Beekeeping Equipment 289

E. H. Thorne 289

Appendix B: Glossary 291

Index 297

About the Author

David Wiscombe is a beekeeping expert who has been keeping bees for over 50 years. He also teaches novice beekeepers and runs the beekeeping course at River Cottage. Howland Blackiston has more than 20 years' experience keeping bees. He has written many articles on beekeeping and been a keynote speaker at conferences in over 40 countries.

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