DIY Series Part One - Finding Your Why




DIY Series - Episode #1

Why Beekeeping
Types of Bees
Intro to Hives
Hobby vs Commercial

Why Beekeeping? 

Keeping bees is an amazing experience; enlightening, humbling, educational, and rewarding. Beekeeping supports community pollination, food supplies, and fosters bee populations outside of the commercial beekeeping industry.

Pollination:  Bees can help make your plants healthy as they pollinate, as well as fruit trees in nearby orchards which helps the local economy! Low maintenance. Bees work hard without much effort from you.

Honeybee Decline:  Some of the main causes are pesticides both agricultural and home & garden used chemicals.
Pests; Varroa mites, Hive Beetles
Diseases, Nosema and American Foulbrood (will discuss in Part three of this series.)
Predators: Wasps, Racoons and Bears
Climate changes: Rapid climate changes disrupt the timing between bees and blooming. Directly impacts the hives brood and bee rearing cycles.
Monoculture: Huge scale single crop plantings deprive the honeybees of the diversity of vegetation key to healthy bee habitats virtually creating food deserts.
         
Honey:  Bees produce honey from the sugary secretions of plants known as nectar. Honey is used as a natural sweetener, is found in skin and health care products, and medicines. Honey’s flavor profile is determined by the nectar available in a three mile radius.

Fun: Mead! Mead is composed of honey, water and yeast. It is a fermented drink growing in popularity at a rapid rate. It’s an ancient drink that is making a great comeback.

Community Education, Entomology, Ecosystems, all help us to better  understand our modern food system and the importance of it’s sustainability.

Health and Well Being: Coming from Beeswax and propolis, a hive byproduct.
Household items: candles, soaps, salves, lotions, shampoos, creams, deodorants, tonics, tinctures, wood polish and beeswax wraps to name a few.

Types of Bees:

Not all pollinators are honey bees. The honey bee is exceptional because it  also provides food for human consumption. Our focus will be mainly on the honey bee but we must remember we need all of our pollinators to survive.

Apis Mellifera is the Western honey bee. Apis is Latin for “Bee” and Mellifera is “honey bearing”. It is the most commonly recognized bee when we think of pollination but we do have other species as well.

Mason Bees also known as Blue orchard Bees don’t live in big hives but live in tubular cavities. They do not produce honey but are some of the best pollinators out there and in light of the honey bees’ decline these are a great addition to pollinating your trees and gardens. Seven mason Bees pollinate at the same level as 500 Honey Bees. to you can see how we can utilize this little group as well.

Bumble Bees are similar to the Honey Bee when it comes to the structure of the colony. They have a single Queen and colonies are marginally smaller than the Honey Bees.
They also feed on nectar but do not produce honey. The Queens invade other Bumblebee nests, kill the resident Queens and lay their eggs.
This species is also in decline caused by habitat loss along with the mechanization of agriculture and the use of pesticides.

CapenterBee, Leafcutter Bee, Sweat Bees, and so on! I suggest a google search for types of bees. You will be astounded at the diversity in the Bee  families.

The Beehive:  

Understand various types of beehives are perfectly fine. Each is user preference when it comes to keeping their bees.

Beehive: an enclosed man made structure where honeybees live and raise their young.

Bees nest: an the location bee colonies chose to house themselves in, walls, roofs, cavities in trees, old sheds, etc. In warmer climates you can find them hanging and exposed.

So, the nest is the bees way and the hive is the man made way to house the nest.

If you were to look into the inside of the nest you would see densely packed hexagon shaped cells make of wax for food storage, honey, pollen, and most importantly to house their brood which is composed of eggs, larvae and pupae up to the day they emerge from the cell as  a honeybee.

Both natural and man made bee hives or nests require bee space. Bees do this naturally, modern hives use frames with bee space integrated into their design.

Three most common types: Langstroth, Warre and Tob bar.
Diagrams and pictures available in the DIY section online at honeybeemyteacher.com

Langstroth: Bottom board with a porch for the bees entrance,  boxes with frames.
Inner cover and telescoping cover for protection from weather.  Standard for many of the worlds beekeepers both professional and amateur.  Simple structure and fairly easy to work with.

I prefer the 8 frame hive because of weight.  Honey is heavy!  Good beginner hive

Warre hive very similar to the Langstroth.
Difference: Bars only, no frames. Bees build themselves.  It takes a little more skill to manage but is becoming more popular among sustainable practice beekeepers.  New empty box is placed on the bottom as opposed to the Langstroth where we place the new box on the top.  Purpose of this replacement is warmth retention within the brood nest of the hive which is considered to be the heartbeat of the hive.

Top bar Hive: Horizontal design. Also referred to and the Kenya hive. Uses bars no frames. You have to make sure to create bee space.

Pricing ranges:
Langstroth: Unassembled $95 to as much as $299
Warre:  $140 to $400
Top Bar. $45 to $350

Hobby vs Commercial Beekeeping:

Hobby Beekeepers are in a great position to make a real impact for the Honeybee.

The hobbyists can effectively create a matrix of Bee populations giving the Honeybee a fighting chance to survive and regenerate their populations while commercial Beekeepers  focus on pollinating large scale crops for profit.

Making the decision to be a hobbyist or work at the commercial level boils down to your motivation and reason to keep the Honeybees.

This podcast is focused on the opportunity to work together in community to make healthy changes for our beautiful planet.

Press subscribe and let's get started learning, teaching, and buzzing together.

Email feedback to beemyhoney.honeybees@gmail.com

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Show Produced by Jay Fratt

Sponsors:
SmokinJs.com
StonerHoroscope.com

Intro and Outro Music Credit: Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons "Attribution 3.0"

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