Beekeeping For Dummies 4th Edition


Beekeeping For Dummies 4th Edition

Beekeeping For Dummies Pdf

By Howland Blackiston

Beekeeping For Dummies PDF. Everything you need to ‘bee’ a successful backyard beekeeper
If you’ve ever thought about becoming a backyard beekeeper—or have already tried a hand at it and want to be better one—then this is the book for you! In Beekeeping for Dummies, 4th Edition you’ll find everything you need to know in order to start your own colony, including how to assemble and maintain beehives, handle every phase of honey production, purchase and use all the latest tools, and what to do beyond your first season.

This hands-on guide provides all the tools, tips, tricks, and techniques needed to become a real backyard beekeeper. You’ll learn to identify the queen from her workers and drones, properly open and close the hive, distinguish one type of honey from another, and preserve your colony if disaster should strike.

  • Keep bees on a small urban rooftop or in a large country yard
  • Assemble your own hive and sustain it for years to come
  • Safely inspect and manage your colony
  • Harvest and sell your own honey

Becoming a backyard beekeeper isn’t as hard as people think—and with this hands-on guide, you’ll be able to create one honey of a colony that will have the neighbors buzzing.

Table of Contents

Foreword v

Introduction 1

About This Book 1

Foolish Assumptions 3

Icons Used in This Book 3

Beyond the Book 4

Where to Go from Here 5

Part 1: Taking Flight with Beekeeping 7

Chapter 1: To Bee, or Not to Bee? 9

Discovering the Benefits of Beekeeping 10

Harvesting liquid gold: Honey 11

Bees as pollinators: Their vital role to our food supply 11

Being part of the bigger picture: Save the bees! 13

Getting an education: And passing it on! 13

Improving your health: Bee therapies and stress relief 15

Determining Your Beekeeping Potential 16

Environmental considerations 16

Zoning and legal restrictions 16

Costs and equipment 17

How many hives do you need? 17

What kind of honey bees should you raise? 17

Time and commitment 18

Beekeeper personality traits 18

Allergies 19

Deciding Which Beekeeping Approach to Follow 19

Medicated beekeeping 20

Natural beekeeping 20

Organic beekeeping 21

Combining approaches 21

Chapter 2: Getting to Know Your Honey Bees 23

Basic Body Parts 24

Skeleton 24

Head 25

Thorax 26

Abdomen 27

The Amazing Language of Bees 27

Pheromones 27

Shall we dance? 28

Getting to Know the Male and the Two Female Castes 29

Her majesty, the queen 30

The industrious little worker bee 32

House bees 33

Housekeeping (days 1 to 3) 33

Undertaking (days 3 to 16) 33

Working in the nursery (days 4 to 12) 34

Attending royalty (days 7 to 12) 34

Going grocery shopping (days 12 to 18) 34

Fanning (days 12 to 18) 34

Becoming architects and master builders (days 12 to 35) 36

Guarding the home (days 18 to 21) 36

Field bees 36

The woeful drone 37

The Honey Bee Life Cycle 39

Egg 39

Larva 41

Pupa 41

Other Stinging Insects 43

Bumblebee 44

Carpenter bee 44

Mason bee 45

Wasp 45

Yellow jacket 46

Bald-faced hornet 47

Part 2: Starting Your Adventure 49

Chapter 3: Alleviating Apprehensions and Making Decisions 51

Overcoming Sting Phobia 52

Knowing what to do if you’re stung 53

Watching for allergic reactions 54

Building up a tolerance 54

Understanding Local Laws and Ordinances 54

Easing the Minds of Family and Neighbors 55

Location, Location, Location: Where to Keep Your Hives 56

Knowing what makes a perfect bee yard 57

Urban considerations 59

Dealing with nervous neighbors 59

City bees have the same needs as country bees 59

Deciding where to put your hives 59

Strike a deal with a community garden 60

Speak to your landlord about roof rights 60

Providing for your thirsty bees 60

Understanding the correlation between geographical area and honey flavors 63

Knowing When to Start Your Adventure 64

Chapter 4: Selecting a Hive That’s Perfect for You 65

The Langstroth Hive 66

The Kenyan Top Bar Hive 68

The Warré (People’s) Hive 71

The Flow Hive 74

The Five-Frame Nuc Hive 77

The Observation Hive 79

Make a Beeline to the Best Beehive 81

Hives for harvesting honey 82

Hives for pollinating your garden 82

A hive for learning and teaching 82

Chapter 5: Basic Equipment for Beekeepers 85

Starting Out with the Langstroth Hive 86

Knowing the Basic Woodenware Parts of the Langstroth Hive 86

Hive stand 87

Bottom board 87

Entrance reducer 89

Deep-hive body 89

Queen excluder 90

Shallow or medium honey super 91

Frames 92

Foundation 95

Inner cover 98

Outer cover 99

Knowing the Basic Parts of a Top Bar Hive 99

The top bar 100

Everything else 101

Ordering Hive Parts 101

Startup hive kits 102

Setting up shop 102

Adding on Feeders 104

Hive-top feeder 104

Entrance feeder 105

Pail feeder 106

Baggie feeder 107

Frame feeder 108

Top Bar hive feeders 109

Fundamental Tools 110

Smoker 110

Hive tool and frame lifter 111

Bee-Proof Clothing 112

Veils 112

Gloves 112

Really Helpful Accessories 114

Elevated hive stand 114

Frame rest 116

Bee brush 117

Slatted rack 117

Screened bottom board 118

Beekeeper’s toolbox 119

Chapter 6: Obtaining and Installing Your Bees 121

Determining the Kind of Bee You Want 121

Deciding How to Obtain Your Initial Bee Colony 124

Ordering package bees 124

Buying a “nuc” colony 126

Purchasing an established colony 127

Capturing a wild swarm of bees 128

Picking a Reputable Bee Supplier 128

Deciding When to Place Your Order 130

The Day Your Girls Arrive 131

Bringing home your bees 132

Recipe for sugar syrup 132

Putting Your Bees into the Hive 133

Hiving steps for Langstroth hives and Steps 1–7 for Top Bar hives 134

Hiving Steps 8–14 for Top Bar hives 139

Watching your bees come and go from their new home 140

Part 3: Time for a Peek 143

Chapter 7: Opening Your Hive 145

Establishing Visiting Hours 146

Setting an Inspection Schedule 146

Preparing to Visit Your Langstroth or Top Bar Hive 147

Making “non-scents” a part of personal hygiene 147

Getting dressed up and ready to go 147

Lighting Your Smoker 148

Opening a Langstroth Hive 151

Removing the hive-top feeder 153

Removing the inner cover 155

Opening a Top Bar Hive 156

The Hive’s Open! Now What? 158

Chapter 8: What to Expect When You’re Inspecting 159

Keeping a Journal 160

Inspecting a Langstroth Hive 161

Removing the first frame of your Langstroth hive 161

Working your way through the Langstroth hive 162

Holding up frames for inspection 163

Knowing when it’s time for more smoke 164

Replacing Langstroth frames 165

Closing the Langstroth hive 165

Inspecting a Top Bar Hive 166

Working your way through the Top Bar hive 167

Top Bar comb management 168

Looking into Top Bar cells 170

Replacing the top bars and closing the hive 170

Understanding What to Always Look For 170

Checking for your queen 170

Storing food; raising brood 171

Inspecting the brood pattern 171

Recognizing foodstuffs 172

Your New Colony’s First Eight Weeks 172

Checking in: A week after hiving your bees 172

Verifying that the queen was released 173

Removing any burr comb 173

Looking for eggs 174

Replacing the missing frame of the Langstroth 174

Providing more syrup 174

The second and third weeks 174

Looking for larvae 175

Evaluating your queen 175

Hunting for capped brood 176

Looking for supersedure cells 176

Provide more syrup 177

Weeks four through eight 177

Adding a second deep-hive body to your Langstroth hive 178

Witnessing a miracle! 178

Watching for swarm cells 179

Providing more ventilation 179

Manipulating the frames of foundation 180

Making room for honey! 180

Inspecting your multilevel Langstroth hive 181

Chapter 9: Different Seasons, Different Activities 183

Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer 184

Your summer to-do list 185

Your summertime commitment 185

Falling Leaves Point to Autumn Chores 186

Your autumn to-do list 186

Your autumn time commitment 191

Clustering in a Winter Wonderland 191

Your winter to-do list 192

Your winter time commitment 192

Spring Is in the Air (Starting Your Second Season) 193

Your spring to-do list 193

Your springtime commitment 195

Administering spring medication 195

Reversing hive bodies 196

Managing Top Bar Hives in the Spring 197

Finding the cluster 198

Preventing the urge to swarm 198

Expanding the brood nest 199

The Beekeeper’s Calendar 199

Part 4: Common Problems and Simple Solutions 203

Chapter 10: Anticipating and Preventing Potential Problems 205

Running Away (to Join the Circus?) 206

Swarming 206

Understanding why you want to prevent swarming 208

Keeping the girls from leaving home 208

They swarmed anyway Now what? 211

Capturing a swarm 213

Hiving your swarm 215

Absconding 216

Where Did the Queen Go? 217

Letting nature take its course 218

Ordering a replacement queen 218

Introducing a new queen to the hive 218

Avoiding Chilled Brood 220

Dealing with the Dreaded Robbing Frenzies 221

Knowing the difference between normal and abnormal (robbing) behavior 221

Putting a stop to a robbing attack 222

Preventing robbing in the first place 222

Ridding Your Hive of the Laying Worker Phenomenon 224

How to know if you have laying workers 224

Getting rid of laying workers 224

Preventing Pesticide Poisoning 226

The “Killer Bee” Phenomenon 227

What are “killer bees”? 228

Bee prepared! 229

Chapter 11: Colony Collapse Disorder 231

What Is CCD? 232

What to Do If You Suspect CCD 233

Why All the Fuss? 233

What’s Causing CCD? 234

The cellphone theory 234

It may be the perfect storm 234

Parasites 234

Pathogens 234

Pesticides 235

Other possibilities 237

Answers to FAQs 237

What You Can Do to Help 238

Chapter 12: Understanding Diseases and Remedies 241

Medicating or Not? 242

Knowing the Big-Six Bee Diseases 242

American foulbrood (AFB) 243

European foulbrood (EFB) 244

Chalkbrood 245

Sacbrood 246

Stonebrood 247

Nosema 247

Nosema apis 247

Nosema ceranae 248

A handy chart 248

Chapter 13: Heading Off Honey-Bee Pests 251

Parasitic Problems 251

Varroa mites 252

Recognizing Varroa mite symptoms 253

Using two surefire detection techniques for Varroa 253

Knowing how to control Varroa mite problems 256

Tracheal mites 259

Symptoms that may indicate tracheal mites 260

How to control tracheal mite problems 261

Natural source options 261

Synthetic chemical options 263

Zombie (Phonid) flies 265

Other Unwelcome Pests 265

Wax moths 265

Small hive beetle 266

Determining whether you have a small hive beetle problem 266

How to control the small hive beetle 267

Ants, ants, and more ants 268

Bear alert! 268

Raccoons and skunks 270

Keeping out Mrs Mouse 270

Some birds have a taste for bees 272

Pest Control at a Glance 272

Chapter 14: Raising Your Own Queens 275

Why Raising Queens Is the Bee’s Knees 275

Understanding Genetics 277

Dominant and recessive genes 277

Inbreeding versus outcrossing 278

Accentuate the positive 279

What Makes a Queen a Queen 280

Talking about the Birds and Bees for Honey Bees 282

Creating Demand: Making a Queenless Nuc 283

Queen-Rearing Method 1: Go with the Flow 283

If the queen cells are capped 284

If the queen cells are open 284

Mind the timeline 285

Queen-Rearing Method 2: The Miller Method 285

Queen-Rearing Method 3: The Doolittle Method, also Known as Grafting 288

Tools and equipment 288

How it’s done 291

Providing nuptial housing 293

Finding Homes for Your Queens 294

Evaluating the Results 295

The Queen Rearer’s Calendar 295

Marking Your Queens 296

Part 5: Sweet Rewards 297

Chapter 15: Honey, I Love You 299

Appreciating the History of Honey 299

Understanding the Composition of Honey 301

Healing with Honey 302

Honey and diabetes 302

Honey’s nutritional value 303

Honey and children 303

Choosing Extracted, Comb, Chunk, or Whipped Honey 303

Extracted honey 304

Comb honey 304

Chunk honey 305

Whipped honey 305

Honey or honeydew honey? 306

Taking the Terror out of Terroir 306

Customizing your honey 306

Honey from around the world 307

The Commercialization of Honey 312

Is it the real deal? 312

Raw versus regular honey 312

Organic or not? 313

Your own honey is the best 313

Appreciating the Culinary Side of Honey 314

The nose knows 314

Practice makes perfect 315

Recognizing defects in honey 315

Pairing Honey with Food 316

Infusing Honey with Flavors 316

Judging Honey 317

Honey Trivia 318

Chapter 16: Getting Ready for the Golden Harvest 319

Having Realistic Expectations 320

What Flavor Do You Want? 320

Assembling the Right Equipment to Extract Honey 321

Honey extractors 321

Uncapping knife 321

Honey strainer 322

Other handy gadgets for extracting honey 323

Double uncapping tank 323

Uncapping fork or roller 323

Bottling bucket 324

Solar wax melter 325

Honey containers 326

Planning Your Extracted Honey Harvest Setup 326

Gathering Comb Honey Equipment 328

Section comb cartridges 328

Cut comb 328

Branding and Selling Your Honey 328

Creating an attractive label 329

Finding places to market your honey 332

Selling your honey on the web 332

Chapter 17: Honey Harvest Day 333

Knowing When to Harvest 334

Bad things come to those who wait! 335

A few pointers to keep in mind when harvesting liquid gold 336

Getting the Bees out of the Honey Supers 336

Shakin’ ’em out 338

Blowin’ ’em out 339

Using a bee escape board 339

Fume board and bee repellent 340

Honey Extraction from a Langstroth Frame 342

Harvesting honey using an extractor 342

Cleaning frames after extracting 344

Harvesting Honey from Your Top Bar Hive 345

Selecting the comb to harvest 346

Getting the bees off Top Bar comb 346

Harvesting using the crush-and-strain method 347

Harvesting honey using a honey press 348

Harvesting cut-comb honey 350

Harvesting Wax 350

Part 6: The Part of Tens 351

Chapter 18: More than Ten Fun Things to Do with Bees 353

Making Two Langstroth Hives from One 353

Making One Langstroth Hive from Two 355

Dividing a Top Bar Hive into Two Colonies 357

Combining Two Top Bar Hive Colonies 358

Building an Elevated Hive Stand 359

Building materials list 361

Cut list 361

Planting Flowers for Your Bees 362

Asters (aster/callistephus) 362

Bachelor’s buttons (Centaurea) 363

Bee balm (Monarda) 363

Hyssop (Agastache) 363

Malva (Malvaceae) 364

Mint (Mentha) 364

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum minus) 364

Poppy (Papaver/Eschscholzia) 364

Salvia (Salvia/farinacea-strata/splendens/officinalis) 365

Sunflowers (Helianthus/Tithonia) 365

Brewing Mead: The Nectar of the Gods 365

Create Cool Stuff with Propolis 368

Propolis tincture 369

Propolis ointment 369

Propolis varnish 370

Making Gifts from Beeswax 370

Beeswax candles 370

Dipped candles 371

Molded candles 371

Beeswax furniture polish 372

Beauty and the Bees 372

Use your cappings 373

Equipment 373

The recipes 373

Ultra-rich skin cream 374

Rich body balm 375

Beeswax lip balm 375

Beeswax and olive oil salve 376

Beeswax lotion bar 376

Natural homemade sunscreen 377

Packaging and labeling 377

Chapter 19: More than Ten Frequently Asked Questions about Bee Behavior 379

Chapter 20: My Ten Favorite Honey Recipes 385

Honey Curry Vegetable Dip 387

Golden Cornbread 388

Honey Picante Chicken Wings 389

Apricot Honey Bread 390

Asian Honey-Tea Grilled Prawns 391

Broiled Scallops with Honey-Lime Marinade 392

A Honey of a Chili 393

Beef and Potato Tzimmes 394

Chewy Honey Oatmeal Cookies 395

Apple Honey Tart 396

Part 7: Appendixes 397

Appendix A: Helpful Resources 399

Honey Bee Information Websites 399

Apiservices — Virtual beekeeping gallery 399

The Barefoot Beekeeper 399

BeeHoo — The beekeeping directory 400

Beemaster Forum 400 400

Facebook — Top Bar Beekeeping 400

Mid-Atlantic Apiculture Research and Extension Consortium (MAARAC) 400

National Honey Board 401

Bee Organizations and Conferences 401

American Apitherapy Society 401

American Beekeeping Federation 401

American Honey Producers 402

Apiary Inspectors of America 402

Apimondia: International Federation of Beekeepers’ Associations 402

Eastern Apiculture Society 403

International Bee Research Association 403

USDA Agricultural Research Service 404

The Western Apiculture Society 404

Bee Journals and Magazines 404

American Bee Journal 404

Bee Culture 405

Bee World 405

Beekeeping Supplies and Equipment 406 406

BeeInventive 406

Bee Thinking 407

BeeWeaver Apiaries 407

Betterbee 408

Blue Sky Bee Supply 408

Brushy Mountain Bee Farm 408

Dadant & Sons, Inc. 409

Glorybee Foods, Inc. 409

Kelley Beekeeping 410

Mann Lake 410

Miller Bee Supply 410

Rossman Apiaries 411

Sacramento Beekeeping 411

Swienty Beekeeping Equipment 411

Thorne Beekeeping Supply 412

State Bee Inspectors (United States) 412

Appendix B: Beekeeper’s Checklist 413

Appendix C: Glossary 415

Index 423

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