With their vital pollinating activities, bees are one of the most ecologically useful and important insects, and beekeeping must rate as one of the most interesting and satisfying hobbies. The structure and hierarchy of a beehive and the behaviour of bees is fascinating, and the end product, honey, is a fitting reward for a beekeeper's care. Since the decline of the honeybee worldwide owing to disease and intensive farming, there has been a huge re-surge of interest in beekeeping, and many new beekeepers have taken up the challenge of keeping bees, particularly in urban areas. They can enjoy the honey that is produced, and help the environment at the same time by supporting the bees? essential role of pollinating plants and flowers. This book outlines the relationship of bees and people, different types and species of bees, and explains in a practical way all the factors to consider before starting to keep bees. In the early chapters of this volume, the author suggests suitable sites to house the hives, which can include small gardens or even rooftops, and the best kind of hives to buy. The section includes the way the hive works, handling the bees, and how to get your bees and transfer them to the hive. A useful calendar, packed with information, shows you at a glance when to inspect, maintain and repair the structure of the hive to ensure that the bees are happy and healthy all through the year. The bees? hard work culminates in wax combs bursting with honey, and a detailed harvesting plan lists the equipment needed to harvest the golden liquid, from extraction to bottling, from storage to uses for the honey. As well as disease, mites and poisoning, there are other problems that the novice beekeeper needs to be aware of, including wax moth, brood diseases, and pests such as other insects, mice, birds, bears, skunks and raccoons. The author explains how anticipating these situations and preparing for them can avoid losing the entire hive. He also outlines how to help the bees become more productive, by providing a bee-friendly garden with plants and flowers that are rich in nectar and pollen, to provide food early and late in the year when it is scarce. Finally there is a section for those interested in taking beekeeping further by using the many products that bees supply, entering competitions, rearing queens and breeding queens. This captivating volume will inspire the budding beekeeper and provide all the information necessary to start a colony, look after it and harvest the products of the hive. As well as enjoying an engaging hobby, beekeepers are doing a hugely important job by helping the environment, and ensuring the continuance of our food supply.
The Complete Step-by-Step Book of Beekeeping