The preservation of bees is imperative to our continued ability to grow food to feed the plant. Bees are the major pollinators on the plant. Did you know that raising bees can be a stress reduction strategy and can provide a wealth of education for adults and children alike. Raising bees allows you to provide gifts for family and friend, while providing healthy products good for your health. In this book the author discusses the benefits, steps to get started, supports, and other valuable information.
Chapter one looks at the benefits of raising bees, while chapter two addresses the steps to get started. The author discusses the cost involved in set up a bee colony; discusses how much space you will need; the impact of food and water to the hive; the impact of pets and other domestic creatures may have on the bee reproduction; how to manage wild animals, climate and neighbors; and list some important rules and regulations regarding beekeeping.
The next chapter focuses on the most important lessons you will learn while beekeeping. The author then follows up this section with how to find and develop support systems. His recommendations are to join a local beekeeping group which will assist in providing important information, additional resources, strategies to protect the hive, how to increase production of honey and pit falls to avoid. Participation in a local support group will enhance and maintain your development as a beekeeper.
The next section is dedicated to the types of bees, their role and importance to the hive. There are various types of bees and the author makes recommendations on which variation your should start with in order to be successful. In this section the author discusses the importance of the queen, worker and drone bees. He details bee reproduction, how other bees protect the only female bee in the colony and how to promote a high quality queen bee. There is additional information on introducing a new queen bee should the need arise and how to handle the old queen bee. Included in this section is information on drone bees, which are male bees, and how to recognize a drone from a worker bee. The role of the worker bee is to build the honey combs, rear the brood, protect the hive, maintain optimum temperature with in the hive, keep the hive clean and tend to the needs of the queen. The author provides strategies on how to maximize the role of each class of bee.
There is another section on how to produce queen, drones and worker bees. The author provides detailed information regarding the production of each and identifies pitfalls.
The next chapter focuses on the essential equipment for beekeeping. There is information on harvesting the honey; the different types of hives and how to harvest the honey from each; bee gum hives and modern hives. There is instructions and information on how to develop a hive for your bees, what designs provide the most protection; what construction will assist in production of honey; and the history of man made hives.
The next section of the book is dedicated to managing hives, listing the parts of the modern hive and its function. There is important information on the role each part place in protecting and managing the bees. The author discusses the mouse excluder, varroa screen, frame boxes, the effectiveness of plastic foundation sheets for hives, shallow frames, queen excluder, crown board, and roof.
In chapter six the author discusses the importance of the right kind of clothing and the role it plays in protecting the beekeeper. The following chapter lists the tools a successful beekeeper will need to get started, such as the hive tool, bee brush, and the smokers.
Chapter eight is dedicated to getting your bees. The author discusses the advantages and disadvantages to complete bee hives, nucleus hives and how to set one up; packed bees and transferring the bees to the hive; and helpful tips on managing a swarm of bees when setting up the hive. There is a full section on how to prevention bee swarming.
Combing weak hives in order to ensure the growth of both is discussed in the next chapter. He identifies how to combed the hives, lists strategies to ensure production of the combed hives, how to deal with combing to hives with two queen bees, and when is the best time of year to comb weak hives.
The next chapter looks at feeding your bees. There is information on how to introduce medicine to treat and/or prevent certain conditions; how to ensure the hive has enough food after the honey has been harvested; how to keep the hive productive and safe during the winter months. The author lists the food sources most useful to the bees and lists food sources the beekeeper should never give the hive. There is instruction on how to get the right food source to the bees through: entrance feeders, tile division-board feeders, friction top can; and hive top feeders. Additional information regarding pollen or pollen substitutes is provided.
There is a complete section on disease management listing the most common diseases such as: American Foulbrood, European foulbrood, Sacbrood; Parasitic mite syndrome (PMS); and chalk brood. There is additional information on adult bee diseases such as Nosema; and mites. Here the author describes the symptoms and lists ways to identify and treat the diseases.
Many animals and insects are enemies of the bees and can harm and/or destroy the hives. The author identifies each species: bears, birds, ants, cattle, small hive beetle, fogs, fire ants, rodents, raccoons, skunks, and moths. There is also information listed on how to protect the hive and bees from these pests.
The next few chapters provide information on how to manage the hives through the summer, fall, winter and spring; how to examine and what to expect; steps on how to handle your first harvest, extract the honey crop; how to brush the bees; what to do with escape boards, and bee blowers.
At the end of the book there is information and websites for suppliers in the United Kingdom, USA, Canada, and Australia.