Have you ever wondered, “How do I become a beekeeper?” Been pondering this question for years? You are not alone. In fact, most ‘new-bees’ that walk through our door at the Scottsville Supply Company say they have been thinking about becoming a beekeeper for years, but just didn’t know where to start!
The first thing I would say is take a beginner beekeeping class with us, with your local extension office, or an area bee club. If you want to take a class with us, we run them throughout the winter and into early spring. Give us a call or sign up through our website anytime to get started.
The next thing you will need to do is order your bees! Bees orders tend to fill up prior to the pickup date, so don’t wait until the last minute. Our pickup date in 2017 for both package bees and nucs (nucleus hives) is April 10, 2017. You can call, stop by the store, or place your order through our website (early bird pricing specials end November 30th!).
After you know you have your bees secured for the following season, you will need to get your beehive. This can be a daunting task, no doubt. A visit to our store to talk to Heather about different configurations, foundation types, and protective gear can help clear it up a bit so you can make a more informed decision. If you are starting with one package of bees or one nuc, then you should search for a beginner kit that fits your needs and budget. If you are getting two or more packages and/or nucs, then you only need one beginner kit and the appropriate number of additional hives.
We offer a range of beginner kits that fit every budget and each way of sourcing your bees (as nucs tend to need more space the first year than a bee package tends to need). The basics you should find in any beehive kit that can accommodate a growing colony is a bottom board, two brood chambers, an inner cover, and a top cover.
A Screened Bottom Board is quickly becoming the standard in today’s beekeeping as they allow for better ventilation and air flow and serve as part of an integrated pest management system. Brood chambers is one of the many names for the boxes in which your queen is primarily laying eggs. They are also known as hive bodies and deep supers. An inner cover is also essential as it provides proper spacing above the uppermost box on the hive, assists with ventilation when notched, and allows you to remove the telescoping top cover when your bees begins to seal every possible crack with propolis. Finally, the telescoping cover protects your hive with the weather.
Of course, when you look through any catalog or online bee supply store, there is amazing amount of equipment beyond a basic hive kit. You can fall into a trap of over buying, so keep it simple when you start out. Having at least one honey super on hand is great for a growing colony. Feeders are a must for any new colony established in the spring and fall feeding for everyone. Anything outside of that, ask a fellow beekeeper first!