Getting Started

How much does it cost to get started beekeeping?

This depends completely on the new beekeeper, equipment can be built, and items purchased new or used. Depending on how many hives are desired, access to bees and so forth. A complete hobbyist beginner may spend anywhere from $0 to $1000.

How much time does it take to keep bees?

Beekeeping is a seasonal task. During the winter there is little to be done, during the spring your time may be completely occupied. Once a beekeeper becomes accustomed to keeping bees it may take anywhere between five to thirty minutes per hive per week during the active season. However, this is not to say that beekeeping can’t consume more time if desired.

Is a license or permit required to keep bees?

This is wholly dependent on where you live and possibly the number of hives you wish to keep. If you call your local agricultural department they can likely point you in the right direction.

Do I need to join a local association or club to keep bees?

Joining a club or association will likely never be a requirement, though doing so is greatly advised. Some clubs require yearly dues, but often this money is quickly more than paid back through the resources the club provides.

 

Bee Stings

How often do beekeepers get stung?

This is dependent on many factors, including the race of bees the keeper keeps, the temperament of the individual colonies, the number of colonies and the beekeepers attitude and skill. Every beekeeper that does his or her job properly will get stung at some point, it is rarely the goal, but sometimes the result. A beekeeper may expect more stings as they begin keeping bees, and fewer as they continue.

Does being stung hurt?

It can, and likely won't depending on where the sting occurred. The best protection against being stung is not to bother the bees, however, the second best is to wear the proper protective gear such as a veil or bee suit. Some beekeepers even purposely get stung around ten times a season to build and keep tolerance to bee venom, causing intermediate stings to hurt and swell less.

How many people in the US die as a result of bee stings?

Statistics show that lightning is more likely to lead to death than bee stings.

I was stung by a bee, how should I remove the stinger?

The stinger should be removed as soon as possible by scraping it out, such as by using a fingernail or credit card. Squeezing the stinger, and attached venom pouch may cause the release of more venom into the skin.

Do bees really die after stinging a person?

Yes, if the bee that stings is a worker bee it will lose its life shortly after stinging. A queen bee may survive after stinging, however, it is extremely unlikely to be stung by a queen.

I was stung by a bee and received some redness and swelling in the immediate area, was this an allergic reaction?

No, this may be a standard reaction to a bee sting, however, consult a doctor to be sure.

 

Hive Population

How many bees live within a colony?

There may be anywhere between 10,000 to 80,000 bees in a colony. The population is highly dependant on the activity and season of the bees.

How many queen bees exist in a hive?

Normally there only exists a single mated queen bee within a hive, though it is not unheard of to have two, it is even rarer to have three.

 

Nectar Collecting

What percentage of foraging bees collect nectar?

Around 50 to 80 percent

How many trips will a single bee make a day to forage for nectar?

As many as 30 trips for a single bee have been recorded

How much nectar can a bee collect during a single trip?

A full load of nectar may weigh about 85% of the body weight of a bee.

 

Pollen Collecting

What percentage of foraging bees collect pollen?

Around 15 to 30 percent

How many trips will a single bee make a day to forage pollen?

As many as 50 trips for a single bee have been recorded

How much pollen can a bee collect during a single trip?

Rarely more than 15 mg

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