Anyone do beekeeping?

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Hello friends. I am curious if anyone has done beekeeping and could offer some advice on how to get started. I am thinking about setting up a small area on the end of our property for bees. Said winged friends can help pollinate plants and provide delicious honey for the family.

Anyone done this? Any tips? Things to avoid?

Thank you very much. :)
 
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You should probably start with two hives, not one. There are several problems a hive can have that can be cured by transferring a few frames from one hive to another. For instance, if you discover a hive is queenless, you can move a tray of eggs from one hive to the other and the bees will simply make a new queen! If a hive is weak after a hard winter, some food and a tray of sealed brood is just the ticket. When the young bees emerge they will be ready to work and the hive will instantly be much stronger!

Other than starting with two hives, I would recommend joining a local bee club. Each area has its own challenges for bees, and the problems that are common in some areas are nothing to worry about in another.
 
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A long ladder might be useful! Our next door neighbour keeps bees and they have swarmed three times in the last two weeks. Each time they go to the top of a tall cherry tree and it seems to be quite an operation to get them back down. He has about 12 hives but they're not all occupied. I don't know why they swarm - I just assume the bees aren't happy for some reason, but once I hear that loud buzzing from his garden, I'm off indoors with all the windows shut.
 
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Yikes! That does not sound like fun. Thanks for the tip.
 
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Hives swarm when they are overcrowded, usually. When the hive appears crowded the average beekeeper puts another box with frames on top: that is why some hives are tall and some hives are short. Bees rarely swarm unless they feel crowded!

Bees in a new swarm are unable to sting, by the way. A bee has to bend in order to insert a stinger, and just before they leave the hive the worker bees gorge themselves with several days supply of food. Until two or three days have passed, the bees are simply unable to bend enough to sting! They are too bloated!
 

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