Home and Garden
The Benefits of Backyard Beehives
by Charity Bailey
Natural food is on the rise, and many people are talking about ways to get food that can be processed at home to be sure that they are safe. One food that you can produce at home is honey. You can be confident that you have safe, delicious and free-flowing honey by establishing your own backyard apiary. This is also a great way to make a little money on the side if your bees make more honey than your family can consume.
Beekeeping is also a great idea if you have a garden, because it will help pollinate all of your plants and keep your garden looking better for longer every year. By keeping bees, you can also help save the planet. Pollinators have been dying off quickly recently, and by keeping a backyard hive, you can help raise the population of bees in your area while deterring unfriendly bees from coming too close to your home.
To get started, you will need to find out a few things first. Make sure there are no local ordinances prohibiting beekeeping in your area; that none of your neighbors have severe bee allergies; that you have enough space for the hives and that you collect the materials you’ll need to start out with. These materials include a beekeeping suit, two-by-fours and cement blocks to raise your apiary, a smoker (the smoke is how you calm the bees so you can get to the honey), boxes and wire frames to build the actual hive, a soft-bristled brush to collect honey with, storage containers for the honey and, of course, bees. There are a variety of online stores from which you can order starter bees, as well as build-it-yourself beehive kits. These are also available from many farm and tractor supply stores and some hardware stores.
Maintaining Your Hive
The most important thing to remember is to check your hive regularly. Make sure that you still have enough bees and that they are healthy. That is why a soft brush is important to collect honey with. It is also important to remember certain things while harvesting honey. First, remember that the bees will be attracted to the light in your harvesting room. Also keep in mind that once the honey is out, it will attract your bees; honey flows best when warm; those little wax combs smell bad, but they hold a lot of honey; when extracting your honey, replace any bad frames as you go because this is the easiest time to do so, and be sure to have enough jars and containers for all of your honey. There will almost certainly be more than you expect.
Also be aware that whatever you use to collect the honey (bread knives work to open up the comb) will be covered in beeswax forever. Beeswax is nearly impossible to remove. Once you have extracted your honey, it is very easy to make it safe to eat by commercial standards. Simply heat it to between 150 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit. It doesn’t need to be boiled, just heated enough to kill bacteria. Once your honey is harvested, you can sell it or eat it. The beeswax can also be used for a variety of hobbies and crafts.
About the Author
Charity Bailey is an earth-conscious gardener and sustainable home renovator. If you’re looking to make your house more energy efficient, Charity suggests installing a new roof from roofing in Katy, TX.