What you need to get started in backyard bee keeping
I never cared much for insects, let alone bees that could fly around and sting you. I put all bees into the same class; annoying and useless. I could not have been more ignorant. The honey bee could arguably be one of the most important living creatures on the face of this earth. Once I became more educated on their importance and the peril times they face, I decided I wanted to help. I purchased and bulit a hive and filled it with 10,000 of those ever so important pollinating machines.
I credit my friend Gary for getting me involved in bee keeping. When I first laid eyes on his suburban backyard bee hive I was immediately enthralled. Watching a constant flow of thousands of bees coming in and out of a hive working their little wings off was simply amazing. Through Gary’s knowledge of honey bees and research of my own, I became more aware of why one might want to help the honey bee population by getting involved in bee keeping.
The honey bee is facing a serious threat and unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably have heard a thing or two in the news about the “vanishing” bees. The name given to the phenomenon of the disapearing bees is called Colonly Collapse Disorder (CCD). I wish I could tell you the cause of this strange occurance but to date scientists don’t even know. There is speculation and theories, but all scientists really know for sure is that bees are disappearing and they don’t know to where or why.
What we do know is that honey bees account for 30 percent of everything we put in our mouths. They are crucial to agricultural pollination and without them our world would quickly suffer.
On a more positive note, there are actions we can take to help like becoming a backyard bee keeper!
So what do you need to get started? There is a great “go to” website for all of your bee keeping supply needs. It’s called Dadant.com
They sell what is called a “starter kit” which is everything you need other then the bees to get going. This retails for $174.50 and includes the actual hive, a smoker, a head net, gloves, hive tools, and a book on the lessons in bee keeping. Once you purchase and build your hive then all you need now are the bees. There are many places online to purchase them. I get my bees shipped from Georgia to Pennsylvania and they come in a package of 10,000 which is the perfect amount to start a healthy, functional hive. This will cost you approximately $100. I also recommend buying the book “Beekeeping for Dummies” by Howland Blackiston. It is extemly informitive and gives great detail on what beginners need to know.
For less then $300 you would be ready to start a hobby that is not only enjoyable but extremly benefical to our planet. Everyone is always looking to “go green” or help the environment. Sure recycling or buying a Prius helps, but they are not as fun as being able to sit down next your hive and watch these amazing creatures work. And what amazing work they do by pollinating our fruits, nuts, and vegetables, not to mention the golden delicious honey they create which you occasioanlly get to take and enjoy!