Getting Started with Bees
It is highly recommended that schools or citizens partner with a local agency before installing a bee colony. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for suggestions and for information on area “Bee Meet Ups!”
It is suggested to start two hives so you can compare the difference. You will gain more knowledge and experience with two hives.
1. Consider available space
- A typical lot is about one-tenth of an acre and can accommodate one bee colony.
- Ensure your space has a clear flight path for the bees so that you won’t interrupt their ability to build the hive.
- For more information, read Margaret Sloan and Kimberley Navabpour's article, "How to Raise Honeybees".
3. Start in the spring
Bees’ behavior is entirely dependent on climate. Use the fall and winter to plan, gather your supplies to build the hive, and find a source for your bees. Introduce your bees to the hive in the spring as the early flowers appear. Read this blog post for additional information.
4. Construct a hive stand
Purchase a hive stand or build one with concrete blocks to keep your hive off of the ground. Measure that the hives are at least 18 inches off of the ground. This can protect them from critters such as skunks or raccoons and make it easier to check the hives. Read this blog post for more information about constructing a hive stand. Cost $250
5. Get hive tools
Having basic protective clothing and tools such maintain your colony and protect yourself. Consider getting the following hive tools:
- Bee suit with gloves or simple hat and veil and lightweight jacket
- Smoker to calm the bees when you’re working in the hive
- Hive tool, which is a mini pry bar specific to beekeeping.
Visit Treehugger for additional information. Cost $150
6. Figure out your bee source early
- Select a local beekeeper, gardening or pet store to purchase your bees by January or February.
- Find a local supplier like BeeWeaver, that sells the three types of beehives: top bar hive, Warre hive, and Langstroth hive. Ask the supplier to help you determine the type of hive best suited for your needs.
7. Purchase a "nuc"
Ask your supplier to provide you with a “nuc.” This is a queen bee and a bunch of workers that are ready to place in the hive once spring starts. If this isn’t an option, buy a confirmed queen bee and about 10,000 individual workers. This is approximately 3 pounds of bees. Visit BeeWeaver for examples of nucs. Cost $140
8. Introduce your bees to their hive
Open the top of your hive and pull the bees out of their package. Release them into your hive and let them settle in before covering it. View this video to see an example of introducing bees to a new hive.