Blossomland conducts beekeeping classes please inquire for most recent schedules.
Honey bees can be kept almost anywhere there are flowering plants that produce nectar and pollen. Choose a site for bee hives that is discrete, sheltered from winds and partially shaded. Avoid low spots in a yard where cold, damp air accumulates in winter.
Be considerate of non-beekeeping neighbors. Place hives so that bee flight paths do not cross sidewalks, playgrounds or other public areas. In dry weather, bees may collect water at neighbors' swimming pools or water spigots. Avoid this by giving your bees a water source in your yard such as a container with floating wood or styrofoam chips. The floating objects prevent bees from drowning
The management and maintenance of colonies of honeybees. Although the commonly known honeybee species is native to Europe and Africa only, humans have transported them to other continents, and in most places they have flourished. The natural home for a honeybee colony is a hollow tree, log, or cave.
European strains of the honeybee build a nest only in locations which are dry and protected from the wind and sunlight.
African bees are less selective and may nest in hollowed-out termite mounds, rock piles, and locations which are less well protected.
The honey which beekeepers harvest is made from nectar, a sweet sap or sugar syrup produced by special glands in flowers, collected from both wild and cultivated plants. Nectar, the honeybees' source of sugar or carbohydrate, and pollen, their source of protein and fat, make up their entire diet. Nectar contains 50–90% water, 10–50% sugar (predominantly sucrose), and 1–4% aromatic substances, coloring material, and minerals. To transform nectar into honey, bees reduce its moisture content, so that the final honey produced contains between 14 and 19% water, and also add two enzymes which they produce in their bodies.
Scientific beekeeping started in 1851 when an American, L. L. Langstroth, discovered bee space and the movable frame hive. Bee space is the open space which is about 0.4 in.(1 cm) wide and maintained around and between the combs in any hive or natural nest and in which the bees walk. If this space is smaller or larger than 0.4 in. (1 cm), the bees will join the combs. When the combs are stuck together, the hive is not movable, and it is not possible for beekeepers to manipulate a colony or to examine a brood nest.
It was found, in 1857, that bees could be forced to build a straight comb in a wooden frame by giving them a piece of wax, called foundation, on which the bases of the cells were already embossed.
Bees use these bases to build honeycomb, the cells of which are used for both rearing brood and for storing honey. When a hive of bees is given a frame of foundation, they are forced to build the comb where the beekeeper wants it and not where they might otherwise be inclined to build it.
Another discovery, made in 1865, was that honey can be removed from the comb by placing a comb full of honey in a centrifugal force machine, called an extractor. If the beekeeper can return an intact comb to a hive after removing the honey from it, the bees are saved the time and trouble of building a new comb, and the honey harvest is increased.
The next discovery, in 1873, was the modern smoker. When bees are smoked, they engorge with honey and become gentle. Without smoke to calm a hive, normal manipulation of the frames would not be possible.
By 1880, honey, which had once been a scarce commodity, became abundant.