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Beekeeping for Dummies

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  • Edition: 5th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2020-09-01
  • Publisher: For Dummies
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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


The single best and most comprehensive guide for prospective, new and experienced hobbyist beekeepers

Beekeeping For Dummies, 5th Edition, is one of the most popular titles in the For Dummies series available today. Including the latest information regarding every aspect of backyard beekeeping and honey production, this book describes how to get started, how to care for and safely handle bees, and how to maintain healthy and productive colonies.

This book is loaded with up-to-date, practical examples and helpful illustrations of proven techniques and strategies for both new and seasoned hobbyist beekeepers. Some of the updates for this brand-new edition include:

  • New information regarding the critical role that nutrition plays in the health and productivity of your bees
  • News about the latest beekeeping products, medications, and all-natural remedies
  • Information regarding dozens of helpful beekeeping resources
  • Redeemable coupons from beekeeping suppliers that save the reader money

Beekeeping For Dummies embodies the straightforward and simple approach made famous by the For Dummies series. Each and every reader will benefit from its accessible and approachable take on beekeeping.

Author Biography

Howland Blackiston has been keeping bees for almost 40 years. He has appeared as an expert on CNBC, CNN, NPR, The Discovery Channel, Sirius Satellite Radio, and other broadcast outlets, and has written numerous articles on beekeeping. Howland has been a keynote speaker at conferences in more than 40 countries.

Table of Contents

Foreword xvii

Introduction 1

About This Book 1

Foolish Assumptions 3

Icons Used in This Book 4

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

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 29

The industrious little worker bee 32

House bees 33

Field bees 36

The woeful drone 37

The Honey Bee Life Cycle 39

Egg 39

Larva 41

Pupa 42

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 55

Easing the Minds of Family and Neighbors 55

Location, Location, Location: Where to Keep Your Hives 57

Knowing what makes a perfect bee yard 57

Urban considerations 59

Understanding the correlation between geographical area and honey flavors 64

Knowing When to Start Your Adventure 64

Chapter 4: Selecting a Hive That’s Perfect for You 67

The Langstroth Hive 68

The Kenyan Top Bar Hive 70

The Apimaye Insulated Hive 73

The Flow Hive 75

The Warré (People’s) Hive 78

The Five-Frame Nuc Hive 81

The Observation Hive 83

Make a Beeline to the Best Beehive 86

Hives for harvesting honey 87

Hives for pollinating your garden 87

A hive for learning and teaching 88

Chapter 5: Basic Equipment for Beekeepers 91

Starting Out with the Langstroth Hive 92

Knowing the Basic Woodenware Parts of the Langstroth Hive 92

Hive stand 93

Bottom board 93

Entrance reducer 95

Deep-hive body 96

Queen excluder 97

Shallow or medium honey super 98

Frames 100

Foundation 103

Inner cover 106

Outer cover 106

Knowing the Basic Parts of a Top Bar Hive 108

The top bar 108

Everything else 109

Ordering Hive Parts 110

Startup hive kits 110

Setting up shop 111

Adding on Feeders 112

Hive-top feeder 112

Entrance feeder 114

Pail feeder 115

Baggie feeder 116

Frame feeder 117

Top Bar hive feeders 118

Fundamental Tools 118

Smoker 119

Hive tool and frame lifter 119

Bee-Proof Clothing 120

Veils 120

Gloves 122

Really Helpful Accessories 123

Elevated hive stand 123

Frame rest 125

Bee brush 125

Slatted rack 126

Screened bottom board 126

Beekeeper’s toolbox 128

Chapter 6: Obtaining and Installing Your Bees 131

Determining the Kind of Bee You Want 132

Deciding How to Obtain Your Initial Bee Colony 135

Ordering package bees 135

Buying a “nuc” colony 136

Purchasing an established colony 138

Capturing a wild swarm of bees 138

Picking a Reputable Bee Supplier 139

Deciding When to Place Your Order 141

The Day Your Girls Arrive 142

Bringing home your bees 142

Recipe for sugar syrup 143

Putting Your Bees into the Hive 144

Hiving steps for Langstroth type hives and Steps 1–7 for Top Bar hives 144

Hiving Steps 8–14 for Top Bar hives 150

Watching your bees come and go from their new home 151

Part 3: Time for a Peek 153

Chapter 7: Opening Your Hive 155

Establishing Visiting Hours 156

Setting an Inspection Schedule 156

Preparing to Visit Your Langstroth or Top Bar Hive 157

Making “non-scents” a part of personal hygiene 157

Getting dressed up and ready to go 158

Lighting Your Smoker 159

Opening a Langstroth Hive 161

Removing the hive-top feeder 164

Removing the inner cover 165

Opening a Top Bar Hive 166

The Hive’s Open! Now What? 168

Chapter 8: What to Expect When You’re Inspecting 169

Keeping a Journal 170

Inspecting a Langstroth Hive 171

Removing the first frame of your Langstroth hive 171

Working your way through the Langstroth hive 173

Holding up frames for inspection 174

Knowing when it’s time for more smoke 175

Replacing Langstroth frames 175

Closing the Langstroth hive 176

Inspecting a Top Bar Hive 177

Working your way through the Top Bar hive 177

Top Bar comb management 179

Looking into Top Bar cells 180

Replacing the top bars and closing the hive 181

Understanding What to Always Look For 181

Checking for your queen 181

Storing food; raising brood 182

Inspecting the brood pattern 182

Recognizing foodstuffs 183

Your New Colony’s First Eight Weeks 183

Checking in: A week after hiving your bees 183

The second and third weeks 186

Weeks four through eight 188

Chapter 9: Different Seasons, Different Activities 193

Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer 194

Your summer to-do list 195

Your summertime commitment 195

Falling Leaves Point to Autumn Chores 196

Your autumn to-do list 196

Your autumn time commitment 200

Clustering in a Winter Wonderland 201

Your winter to-do list 202

Your wintertime commitment 203

Spring is in the Air (Starting Your Second Season) 203

Your spring to-do list 204

Your springtime commitment 205

Administering spring medication 205

Reversing hive bodies 207

Managing Top Bar Hives in the Spring 208

Finding the cluster 208

Preventing the urge to swarm 209

Expanding the brood nest 209

The Beekeeper’s Calendar 210

Part 4: Common Problems and Simple Solutions 213

Chapter 10: Anticipating and Preventing Potential Problems 215

Running Away (to Join the Circus?) 216

Swarming 216

Absconding 227

Where Did the Queen Go? 227

Letting nature take its course 228

Ordering a replacement queen 228

Introducing a new queen to the hive 229

Avoiding Chilled Brood 230

Dealing with the Dreaded Robbing Frenzies 231

Knowing the difference between normal and abnormal (robbing) behavior 231

Putting a stop to a robbing attack 232

Preventing robbing in the first place 232

Ridding Your Hive of the Laying Worker Phenomenon 234

How to know if you have laying workers 234

Getting rid of laying workers 235

Preventing Pesticide Poisoning 237

The “Killer Bee” Phenomenon 237

What are “killer bees”? 238

Bee prepared! 239

Chapter 11: Colony Collapse Disorder 241

What is CCD? 242

What to Do If You Suspect CCD 243

Why All the Fuss? 243

What’s Causing CCD? 244

The cellphone theory 244

It may be the perfect storm 244

Answers to FAQs 248

What You Can Do to Help 248

Chapter 12: Keeping Your Bees Healthy 251

Understanding the Importance of Good Nutrition 252

What bees eat 252

The need for good gut health 253

Taking steps to ensure good nutrition 253

Medicating or Not? 254

Knowing the Big-Six Bee Diseases 254

American foulbrood (AFB) 255

European foulbrood (EFB) 256

Chalkbrood 257

Sacbrood 258

Stonebrood 258

Nosema 259

A handy chart 260

Chapter 13: Heading Off Honey-Bee Pests 263

Parasitic Problems 263

Varroa mites 264

Tracheal mites 271

Zombie (Phonid) flies 276

Other Unwelcome Pests 276

Wax moths 277

Small hive beetle 278

Ants, ants, and more ants 279

Bear alert! 280

Raccoons and skunks 281

Keeping out Mrs Mouse 282

Some birds have a taste for bees 283

Pest Control at a Glance 283

Chapter 14: Raising Your Own Queens 285

Why Raising Queens is the Bee’s Knees 286

Understanding Genetics 287

Dominant and recessive genes 287

Inbreeding versus outcrossing 288

Accentuate the positive 289

What Makes a Queen a Queen 291

Talking about the Birds and Bees for Honey Bees 292

Creating Demand: Making a Queenless Nuc 293

Queen-Rearing Method 1: Go with the Flow 294

If the queen cells are capped 294

If the queen cells are open 294

Mind the timeline 295

Queen-Rearing Method 2: The Miller Method 296

Queen-Rearing Method 3: The Doolittle Method, also Known as Grafting 298

Tools and equipment 298

How it’s done 301

Providing nuptial housing 303

Finding Homes for Your Queens 304

Evaluating the Results 305

The Queen Rearer’s Calendar 306

Marking Your Queens 307

Part 5: Sweet Rewards 309

Chapter 15: Honey, I Love You 311

Appreciating the History of Honey 311

Understanding the Composition of Honey 313

Healing with Honey 314

Honey and diabetes 314

Honey’s nutritional value 315

Honey and children 315

Choosing Extracted, Comb, Chunk, or Whipped Honey 315

Extracted honey 316

Comb honey 317

Chunk honey 317

Whipped honey 317

Honeydew honey 318

Taking the Terror out of Terroir 318

Customizing your honey 319

Honey from around the world 320

The Commercialization of Honey 324

Is it the real deal? 324

Raw versus regular honey 325

Organic or not? 325

Your own honey is the best 325

Appreciating the Culinary Side of Honey 326

The nose knows 326

Practice makes perfect 327

Recognizing defects in honey 328

Pairing Honey with Food 328

Infusing Honey with Flavors 329

Judging Honey 329

Honey Trivia 330

Chapter 16: Getting Ready for the Golden Harvest 333

Having Realistic Expectations 334

What Flavor Do You Want? 334

Assembling the Right Equipment to Extract Honey 335

Honey extractors 335

Uncapping knife 336

Honey strainer 336

Other handy gadgets for extracting honey 337

Honey containers 340

Planning Your Extracted Honey Harvest Setup 340

Gathering Comb Honey Equipment 342

Section comb cartridges 342

Cut comb 342

Branding and Selling Your Honey 342

Creating an attractive label 343

Finding places to market your honey 346

Selling your honey on the web 346

Chapter 17: Honey Harvest Day 347

Knowing When to Harvest 348

Bad things come to those who wait! 349

A few pointers to keep in mind when harvesting liquid gold 350

Getting the Bees out of the Honey Supers 351

Shakin’ ’em out 352

Blowin’ ’em out 353

Using a bee escape board 353

Fume board and bee repellent 354

Honey Extraction from a Langstroth Frame 356

Harvesting honey using an extractor 357

Cleaning frames after extracting 359

Harvesting Honey from Your Top Bar Hive 360

Selecting the comb to harvest 360

Getting the bees off Top Bar comb 362

Harvesting using the crush-and-strain method 362

Harvesting honey using a honey press 363

Harvesting cut-comb honey 365

Harvesting Wax 365

Part 6: The Part of Tens 367

Chapter 18: More than Ten Fun Things to Do with Bees 369

Making Two Langstroth Hives from One 369

Making One Langstroth Hive from Two 371

Dividing a Top Bar Hive into Two Colonies 373

Combining Two Top Bar Hive Colonies 375

Building an Elevated Hive Stand 376

Building materials list 377

Cut list 377

Planting Flowers for Your Bees 378

Asters (aster/callistephus) 379

Bachelor’s buttons (Centaurea) 380

Bee balm (Monarda) 380

Hyssop (Agastache) 380

Malva (Malvaceae) 381

Mint (Mentha) 381

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum minus) 381

Poppy (Papaver/Eschscholzia) 381

Salvia (Salvia/farinacea-strata/ splendens/officinalis) 382

Sunflowers (Helianthus/Tithonia) 382

Brewing Mead: The Nectar of the Gods 382

Create Cool Stuff with Propolis 385

Propolis tincture 386

Propolis ointment 386

Propolis varnish 387

Making Gifts from Beeswax 387

Beeswax candles 388

Beeswax furniture polish 389

Beauty and the Bees 389

Use your cappings 390

Equipment 390

The recipes 391

Packaging and labeling 396

Chapter 19: More than Ten Frequently Asked Questions about Bee Behavior 397

Chapter 20: My Ten Favorite Honey Recipes 403

Honey Curry Vegetable Dip 405

Golden Cornbread 406

Honey Picante Chicken Wings 407

Apricot Honey Bread 408

Asian Honey-Tea Grilled Prawns 409

Broiled Scallops with Honey-Lime Marinade 410

A Honey of a Chili 411

Beef and Potato Tzimmes 412

Chewy Honey Oatmeal Cookies 413

Apple Honey Tart 414

Part 7: Appendixes 415

Appendix A: Helpful Resources 417

Honey Bee Information Websites 417

Apiservices — Virtual beekeeping gallery 417

The Barefoot Beekeeper 418

Beemaster Forum 418

Bee-Source.com 418

Facebook — Top Bar Beekeeping 418

Honey Bee Health Coalition 418

Mid-Atlantic Apiculture Research and Extension Consortium (MAARAC) 419

National Honey Board 419

Bee Organizations and Conferences 419

The American Apitherapy Society Inc 420

American Beekeeping Federation 420

American Honey Producers 420

Apiary Inspectors of America 420

Apimondia: International Federation of Beekeepers’ Associations 421

Eastern Apiculture Society 421

Heartland Apicultural Society Inc 422

International Bee Research Association 422

USDA Agricultural Research Service 422

The Western Apiculture Society 423

Bee Journals and Magazines 423

American Bee Journal 423

Bee Culture 424

Bee World 425

Beekeeping Supplies and Equipment 425

Apimaye Insulated Hives 425

Barnyard Bees 426

Bastin Bees 426

Bee-commerce.com 427

BeeInventive 427

Bee Vital 428

Betterbee 428

Blue Sky Bee Supply 428

Dadant & Sons, Inc 429

Glorybee Inc 429

Healthy Bee 430

Hive Butler 430

Hive Tracks 430

Hungry Bear Farms 431

Kelley Beekeeping 431

Mann Lake 431

Miller Bee Supply 432

Oliverez 432

Pierco 433

Pigeon Mountain Trading Company 433

Rossman Apiaries 433

Sacramento Beekeeping Supplies 434

Swienty Beekeeping Equipment (EU) 434

Thorne Beekeeping Supply (UK) 435

Western Bee Supplies 435

State Bee Inspectors (United States) 436

Appendix B: Beekeeper’s Checklist 437

Appendix C: Glossary 441

Index 449

Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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