Beekeeping For Beginners: Bees That Don't Sting!

By The Vedic Way on 14 Jan 2016 | read

Welcome to the exciting world of beekeeping!

Bees are fascinating beneficial insects!

In this video we want to show you how it can be easy painless and safe to take care of bees in your own home.

So let's begin!

The first thing to learn is that there's many kinds of bees: there's carpenter bees, orchid bees, cuckoo bees, bumble bees, honey bees, stingless bees and others!

Which one should you choose?

It depends on your goals, typically bees are kept for honey and pollination.

Of all the species of bees the ones that produce edible honey are the honey bees and the stingless bees

Honey bees are overall larger sized bees. Their hives are bigger and they produce more

honey per hive. But, they have a painful stinger, you need to wear special protective clothes and some people have severe allergic reactions.

Stingless bees on the other hand, are overall smaller-sized bees. Their hives are smaller.

They produce less honey per hive. But, there's no stinger, no poison and there's no risk for children or pets.

For a beginner we simply recommend to start with stingless bees.

So, what's next?

You need to observe what species of bees are available in your area. Pay close attention to the flowers that produce nectar and look for bees around them during the day.

On this first example we found stingless bees in the tulasi plant flowers.

On this second example we found stingless bees in the banana plant flowers.

Take some pictures of the bees, research about their species, but be careful because some honey bees can be aggressive and dangerous!

Now let's talk about your first beehive.

There's three main ways to get your first beehive. You can get a beehive from nature,

you can purchase from another beekeeper or you can capture a swarm of bees. At this point you should keep all your options open. Look for natural beehives in your surroundings.

Ask people that work cutting trees, forest rangers, setup bait hives or meet other beekeepers.

You'd be amazed how quickly you can find opportunities to get bees.

In this example a neighbor helped us get this beehive that fell from a tree, it was originally a termite nest.

Let's talk about the beehive structure.

In the wild bees make their homes inside the trunk of a tree, termite nests, bamboo, caves and many others.

In this picture you can see a portion of a tree trunk where a beehive resides.

What's inside a beehive?

In simplified terms, there's two main sections: the nest area, where the queen bee lays eggs.

Here's a view from the top and this is a view from the side. The rest is the storage areas where honey and pollen are stored.

The bees spend a very long time building these complex structures.

Time to learn about man-made beehives.

There's so many beehive designs, but from all of them there's three main features.

We want to make it easy to harvest honey and other products, we want to keep bees safe from pests and comfortable in all weather conditions, and we want to have a strategy for beehive duplication.

Let me show you an example, here's a stingless beehive 3d model that you can build at a low cost.

The entrance to the beehive is in the bottom section, this is where the bees will establish the nest. As the beehive grows they'll store honey in the upper section, the honey super.

Notice how there's only a small passageway to the upper box, so that the bees only use it to store honey and pollen, no nest. In the back there's a ventilation hole which is required to avoid excessive humidity. By simply taking the top section at harvesting time, we can get the honey and leave the nest section undisturbed.

You can download this 3d model for free, it includes all the measurements required.

Duplicating a beehive.

Every year at least once, a strong beehive will create extra offspring, some of the bees will leave the original nest for the purpose of starting a new nest. This is called swarming.

Most beekeepers today will try to avoid swarming at all costs typically by some variation of a method called beehive splitting.

Hive splitting is based on the idea that, if you have a strong beehive and you split it in two, then you'll have two beehives.

This division by brute force disturbs the nest and you end up with two weak hives and a very high risk of pests.

You wouldn't like your house split in two would you?

The hive splitting method is very inefficient.

One of the greatest problems is that bees are frequently attacked by all sorts of pests.

There's phorid fly, wasps, ants, hive beetle, mites, moths and many others!

On this first example,you can see an ant attack that forced the bees to abandon the beehive.

On this second example,the larvae from a phorid fly attack consumed everything inside the hive.

This is why we want to avoid disturbing the beehive structures.

So, what is the vedic way of duplicating a hive?

We simply wait until the bees are ready to swarm. There's many symptoms. The most noticeable is that there is double the amount of bees. At that time we move the original nest and replace it with an empty hive.

Here's a video of that moment. A portion of the bees like the idea and in a very short time they decide to stay and start a new nest.

This method is very efficient because the original nest remains strong. No bees die.

There's no disturbance to any of the beehive structures! And, because of that,no pests can get in!

A booming bee population is better for all of us!

When we work together with the bees by protecting them, the bees in return will provide many services to us and to mother nature.

We hope you enjoyed this video.