Preparing for the bees
Preparing your apiary
Before you bring in the bees, you need to prepare the apiary.
Place for the apiary
The first thing you need to do is to choose a suitable place where you will set up your hives.
If possible the apiary should be about 20 m away from the house, so no one is disturbed – not those who live in the house nor the bees.
Also, you need to make sure that the bees don't disturb the neighbours and people passing by.
The bees love the sun, so if possible you should put hives in a sunny spot. This is especially important if you have SHB (small hive beetles) in your area because they usually reproduce quite well when they are in a shady place and slower when they are in a sunny place. You should gather information on whether there are SHB in your area from the local beekeepers.
If possible the entrance of the hive should be facing the south or towards the sunrise. This way the bees start foraging earlier.
Preparing the ground for the apiary
Before you bring the hives with bees, you should clean and prepare the place for them.
You should mow the grass on the apiary.
If the apiary is located in your fenced yard, you don't have to put another fence. However, if you have animals that wonder around the yard, you should put a fence around the apiary so the animals don't disturb the bees.
If the apiary is placed on a terrain that doesn't have a fence, you should defintely put one up.
Also, if there are bears, raccons or any other animals in your area that might harm the bees, you need to protect your bees from them. Ask an experienced local beekeeper or in the local beekeepeing club what animals may harm your apiary and what is the best defence. A lot of people in those areas put up electical fences.
You will work with the hives from their back side, so the area behind the hives should be big enough for working and putting down the taken off boxes.
The hives should be protected from strong and frequent winds.
The hives shouldn't be placed directly on the ground. This is why you should provide stands on which they will be placed.
You should accommodate the height of the stands to your needs. 30 cm is good to go. The important thing is that the hive should be lifted from the ground because of the water and humidity.
Don’t make your stands too high. Hives usually have 3-4 deep boxes, so high stands make it hard to maintain the upper boxes.
One deep box is around 24cm high.
With short stands, you need to bend down when working with lower boxes but you can always have a seat.
Beekepers make stands out of wood, metal, concrete or they simply place the hive on 4 bricks or cinder blocks. Choose whatever suits you.
Stands need to be strong, stable and capable to withstand heavy load. One hive could reach more than 60 kg.
Hives should be slightly leaned to the front so the water doesn't flow inside but goes outside. It can be achieved simply by putting a small piece of wood or something else under the back side of the beehive.
Preparing the room for placing the beekeeping equipment.
You don’t need to have a special room to put away the beekeeping equipment but you do need to ensure a closed space for it. The size of that place depends on the number of hives you want to have. Here you will place boxes, frames and other parts of the hive that you aren’t currently using or other tools and equipment.
Bees and other insects and pests shouldn’t be able to enter inside that room.
It is preferable to put nets on the windows so that bees and other insects and pests can’t get in attracted by honey and wax while the windows are open.
Required beekeeping equipment
For beekeeping you will need a lot of equipment and tools but what you will need from the very start is:
Hive tool and
This beekeeping equipment and tools will be explained later on in this tutorial.
At the very beginning, depending on whether you’re buying a package bees, nucleus or the whole hive with fully developed colony, you may also need tools for setting up the wax foundations into the frames. Foundations are wax sheets with beginning of the cells which the bees draw out and thus make honeycomb.
Before you bring bees to the apiary you need to know the beekeeping basics.
You can’t buy bees before you have learned about members and organization of the honey bee colony, brood development, parts of the hive, basic activities as a beekeeper, how to properly inspect a honey bee colony, etc…
We will talk more about this later in this tutorial. For now read as much beekeeping books as you can and follow our tutorials. We will walk you trough everything you need to know step by step.