When you’re beginning your own beehive, it’s important to keep yourself and your bees safe. This means taking the proper safety measures to protect yourself from your bees or taking precautions to ensure your bees don’t come to harm when you’re handling them. Keep these mistakes that new beekeepers make in mind before you purchase your first colonies of bees.
Feeding the New Colony Too Much or Too Little
It can be difficult to know when to feed your bees and how much food they need. In many circumstances, one of the common mistakes new beekeepers make is that they feed their bees too much or too little at first. There are ways to ensure your bees always have enough water, but packaged colonies in the spring need special attention. They’re weak and frail, and they must be fed regularly until they have the honey and strength they need. If you don’t feed them enough, then they run the risk of dying during the autumn season.
Not Using a Smoker
Beekeepers use smokers when they need to check on their colonies. The use of smoke is to disorient the bees and disrupt their chemical communication with one another. This results in the bees being unable to properly form a defense for their hive, meaning they’re far more docile. The benefit of this is that the bees will not attempt to sting you. Once they sting, they lose their stingers and die. The confusion and disorientation of the bees may be stressful for them, but it’s preferable to them dying.
A beehive is a delicate environment, and it can be easily disturbed. For this reason, it’s necessary to limit your direct interactions with the hive. Checking in with the hive too often can result in the bees becoming stressed and lead to an unhealthy and struggling hive. The check-in process is already stressful on the bees, and exposing them to that multiple times a week will have immediate negative results. It’s typically recommended to check in once every two weeks to see if the hive is active and healthy.
Not Suiting Up
It’s always important to put on your protective suit before handling your bees. New beekeepers may have seen experienced ones handle and play with their bees without their suits on, but just know that every beekeeper—whether they’re new or a veteran—can get stung when not wearing a protective suit. A few stings won’t do much, but if too many bees sting you, you could end up in the hospital. Keep yourself safe and healthy, and always wear your suit while handling the bees.
Remember to keep yourself safe as much as possible to keep your bees safe. Feed them properly, check on them when necessary, and always suit up.