Would you like to know more about honeybees? Do you wonder what all the fuss is about? Could you picture yourself in a beekeeping suit but are afraid to try?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, our beekeeping class may be for you.
Our popular one day Beekeeping Boot Camp is a good introduction to the world of the honeybee.
This beekeeping class will give you a great start on your journey to become a new beekeeper.
Commercial Beekeeper, Kerry Owen, owns Bee Well Honey Farm and operates over 2000 hives.
Master Beekeeper, Charlotte Anderson, is the first female master beekeeper in SC and a former SC Beekeeper of the Year. We will have a great lecture during the morning session and actually go into the hives during the afternoon ! Don’t miss this opportunity to learn first hand from experience beekeepers.
Our next class is Saturday March 11, 2017- cost is $75. Register now.
Bee Packages Vs Nucs
What is the best way to get started as a beekeeper ? The first step in your journey may be to chose a source of bees ! When buying bees, you will be faced with the decision of purchasing package bees vs nucs. Both choices have advantages and disadvantages.
Thousands of packages of honeybees are sold each year. The most popular size is a 3# (weight) package of bees with a young mated queen. They are transported inside a small wire/wooden box with a can of sugar syrup to feed them on their journey. Package Bees are the most economical and readily available source of bees. Generally available early in the Spring season, package bees are often preferred for beekeepers who want to get started early in the season.
Nucs (also know as nucleus colonies) are small starter bee colonies. A nuc usually consists of 5 frames of bees (including drawn comb, honey and brood) and a mated queen. Not all nucs are created equal and when purchasing you should be clear on the size of the colony (# of frames) you are purchasing.
Which is better packages vs nucs ?
Which is better for the new beekeeper ? Packages vs nucs ? Unfortunately, there is no clear answer to this question and the best answer will depend on the genetics of the bees involved, the climate/geographic location and the management style of the beekeeper.
Packages vs Nuc (the nitty gritty)
Package bees are more economical, less prone to spread pests or diseases (because no honeycomb is involved) and are more readily available. They are slower to build up a working population and have to go through the queen acceptance procedure. Buy Package Bees Now
Nucs – Nuc colonies are more expensive than packages of bees. They include drawn honeycomb, some brood and bees to cover the frames. Their mated queen will already be laying and accepted. This gives them a jump start initially over package bees. However, the presence of drawn comb also brings with it the opportunity for pests and disease. Buy NUCS Now
Both package bees and nucs are a great way to get started in beekeeping. Bee Well Honey Farm has been providing bees to area beekeepers for more than 11 years. Always purchase your bees from a reputable dealer and this will help insure that you get off to the best start possible.
If you are new to beekeeping, we offer beginners beekeeping classes in the fall and spring. There are many great beekeeping books available but nothing takes the place of a good hands-on class. Check out our classes
Beekeepers in the Summer Heat
The summer heat has arrived with a vengeance. Those beekeepers who are new to the profession are getting to experience just how hot it gets here in South Carolina while wearing a beesuit. Yes, unfortunately sweating goes hand in hand with bee hive management during the summer months. One thing the South Carolina beekeepers need to be aware of is a possible change in temperament of your bee colonies.
That sweet colony of honeybees that you have nurtured from a small package back in the early Spring has grown into a massive colony. With that size comes strength and it is natural for a larger colony to be a bit more defensive than a small one. Lets add to this size issue, the fact that the colony now has brood to protect and honey stores. The bees “know” that the main harvest time is over and they are already starting to prepare for Fall/Winter.
Now we add the heat ! Bee colonies “in general” tend to be more defensive during really hot weather ! Well, are you surprised – it makes humans grumpy also. So it might be a good idea to postpone beehive management, until the heat wave breaks. If you must go into the colony be sure to wear appropriate gear and take your smoker.
The Bee Well Team
Kerry Owen has the red freightliner loaded down with package bees for our sold out bee day tomorrow ! Hundreds of excited beekeepers will be at the Pickens store bright and early Saturday morning to pick up bees that they have preordered. Each box of bees contains a mated queen, approximately 3# (10,000) bees and a can of sugar syrup for the journey. (You take snacks when you travel right ?) Bees need constant energy and this can of sugar will provide that until the new owners get them home and in a hive.
Kerry is very serious about providing good package bees for our customers. He does not have them shipped but actually goes and picks up the bees himself. These Italian Hygenic bees will fill up hives all across the upstate. Some beekeepers will experiment with new lines by replacing the Italian queen with one of the Carniolan Queens we have in stock. We stock all the bees supplies you might need.
Bee Day is always an exciting time and we are opening one hour early tomorrow to allow excited beekeepers to get those bees soon. We hope that everyone has their equipment ready and some sugar water already mixed as feeding new packages is very important.
We have several more bees days planned for the next few weeks and still have a few available for sale. Visit our Bees for sale page or call (864) 898-5122 to place your order. Spring is a great time to get started in bees and we will be glad to help you on your beekeeping journey.
Now, if you see a lot of excitement at Bee Well Honey early in the morning…. you will know why !
Beekeeping Class – Who knew school could be so much fun !
Bee Well Beekeeping BOOTCAMP
Kerry Owen, owner of Bee Well Honey, has been involved in helping new beekeepers for many years. Kerry remembers the older beekeepers who helped him early on in his beekeeping experience and he wants to share that knowledge with others. Charlotte Anderson (Carolina Honeybees Farm) has worked part time with Kerry for 8 years. She is a SC Master Beekeeper and the 2012 SC Beekeeper of the Year. It was only fitting that these two would team up to provide a special beekeeping class for area beginners and share their love of honeybees.
The Bee Well honeyhouse was crowded on that March Saturday morning. Everyone arrived early and some had driven for several hours. Chairs were set up and notebooks opened. The morning session consisted of a presentation that took the students deep into the world of the honeybee. What kinds of bees are in the hive and how do I identify them ? How is a queen made ? How do I know if I have a queen ? What type of equipment do I need ? What should I expect the first year ?
As the lecture portion proceeded, Kerry brought in actual frames from the bee yard. These were passed around and we even saw a bee being born ! (emerging from its cell). Capped brood, larva, pollen and a few docile nurse bees crawled around on the frames as they were passed from one student to another. This was a wonderful experience for the many new beekeepers in the group.
After a short lunch break, everyone was back at the farm. Kerry spoke about a very important beekeeping tool – the smoker. Smoke is used to calm the hive and distract the bees from our intrusion. Kerry demonstrated how to light the smoker properly with his favorite fuel (dried pine needles). Charlotte remarked that Kerry was the only person she knew who could light a smoker with wet pine needles ! He does have a lot of practice while managing almost 2000 hives.
Now it was time for the class participants to get involved and apply some of the techniques we had discussed during the morning session. We enjoyed looking for capped honey, open brood, capped brood, pollen and of course the queen. We worked to identify workers, drones and we found those queens. This was a very exciting session with many of the new beekeepers experiencing the inside of an active hive for the first time. Bee Well Honey would like to thank the participants and we hope that you will enjoy the wonder of bees for many years to come.
*Please join our newsletter mailing list if you would like to be informed of future classes. You can also follow Bee Well Honey on Facebook !
Becoming a beekeeper ? YOU. Can you keep bees ?
YES you can.
At the time of year when the flu “bug” is racing across the country and winter storms pound the Northeast, many others are being “bitten” by a different kind of bug. The bee bug. Hundreds of new beekeepers will go forth this Spring into the fascinating world of beekeeping. The study of bee culture dates back to ancient times and volumes of books have been written on the subject.
If this is your first beekeeping adventure or you are returning to beekeeping after years of absence, keep a few things in mind. The internet is a wonderful resource of information. However, not all beekeeping books are well written or correct. Almost anyone can develop a website and that does not make them a beekeeping authority. Even if a certain approach works for someone in Nevada, you may not be as successful with those methods in South Carolina. You really need to find a local club, mentor or beekeeping supply to provide guidance on your journey.
Bees should be ordered in January, February and March for delivery in April and May. The earliest dates are sought after by experienced beekeepers and will sell out so don’t delay in placing an order. Beekeeping is filled with many “do-dads” and inventions that are fun to use but you don’t need all of them in the beginning. At the most basic, you will need a hat, veil, hive tool and smoker.
The smoker is used to mask the alarm pheromone that angry bees may release to rouse the hive into action. We have found that dry pine needles make a great fuel so try to find a place to keep a small box of them. At first, firing up the smoker can be a bit difficult but in time you will learn how to do this effectively. We want a smoker producing cool, white smoke – not grey/black hot smoke. Practice lighting your smoker before going to the bee yard and never go to the bee yard without one. It is much easier to keep the bees calm than to calm down a hive of angry bees. For other
protective gear, at the minimum you need a hat and veil to protect your face and eyes. You may choose to purchase a beekeeping jacket or full suit with or without gloves. Do not be ashamed to wear full gear in the beginning or throughout your beekeeping adventure. The most important thing is to feel calm and comfortable so you can enjoy the bees.
Where can I keep bees ?
In addition to preparing the hive, ordering bees and purchasing tools you need to consider the location for your hives. Bees can be kept in almost any location including rural pastures and city rooftops. You may need to check local regulations before purchasing your hives. Try to find a sunny location that is not too near your home or your neighbors home. Most colonies are peaceful if left alone but may be provoked if placed too near active areas.
One of your first decisions if you decide to keep bees is where should I put them ?
- Sunny location (not shade)
- not too close to human dwelling
- place them up off the ground – on a hive stand – cement blocks etc
- how far apart ? 24″ is a good number but they can be closer
These are the most important first steps in your plan to keep bees. Read, learn, observe.
It’s a bee-utiful adventure.
Becoming a Beekeeper with Bee Well Honey
As we near the end of 2014, we begin to think about what will be in store for the next year. Perhaps you are considering a new hobby ? Maybe you have always been interested in honeybees but don’t know where to start ? Here at Bee Well Honey we have been helping people become beekeepers for many years. The world of beekeeping is exciting and filled with many ideas. Each person who desires to succeed will have to chose their path as there are many thoughts on how to manage honeybees.
Each Spring Bee Well Honey provides hundreds of packages of bees to upstate beekeepers. These packages help replace winter loses for experienced beekeepers and fill new hives for people who are just becoming a beekeeper. Call now to place your order for Spring delivery.
We have a special package that contains the most needed items for the new beekeeper. We call this the Beginners Kit and it will be a big help to the new person becoming a beekeeper and unsure of which items to purchase. In addition, starting December 13, 2014 thru Christmas – we will be having our 20% off sale so this is a great time to get those special gifts.
Call Bee Well Today 864-898-5122
or visit us online at beewellhoneyfarm.com
Beekeeper’s Supplies and Education – Important Parts of a fascinating hobby
One of the most important facets of becoming a beekeeper is the beekeeper’s supplies and education. These elements are considered long before the bees ever arrive. At least this is the optimum way to become involved in beekeeping. Americans have enjoyed the hobby of beekeeping ever since the colonists first arrived – some bringing colonies of honeybees with them in the 1600’s.
Today the hobby of beekeeping is seeing a resurgence in popularity brought on by the media coverage of large honeybee losses. Keeping honeybees has changed a lot in the last 30 years. It is the intelligent approach to beekeeping that is most likely to yield good results. Many catalogs contain pages and pages of Beekeeper Supplies that can be overwhelming. Proper Beekeeper education can help the new hobbyist prepare for and mange their colonies.
Bee Well Honey has provided a full line of beekeeping supplies for years. We have everything you need to get started from beginners books to wooden ware and even the bees themselves. After a very successful event in the Fall of 2014, we will be offering a one day Beekeeping Bootcamp in the Spring of 2015. Commercial Beekeeper Kerry Owen, teams up with SC Master Beekeeper Charlotte Anderson to provide this special day of beekeeping fellowship and learning. This one day class will feature lecture time and field time in actual hives. Date and price to be determined.
Are you ready to dive into beekeeping ?
Order your bees NOW for spring delivery. Order bees here
Want more information about the Beekeeper Boot Camp ? Email us at : firstname.lastname@example.org
Bee Well Honey has been active in the beekeeping community for many years and helping beekeepers is a major goal. Many people express interest in becoming a beekeeper each year and start with new colonies. Proper management techniques are essential to becoming a successful beekeeper. Various resources include books, online articles, mentoring, classes and club meetings. One of the most useful resources is actual hands-on help from another beekeeper with more experience. This is why Bee Well Honey offers our beekeeping Boot Camp. The next session will be held on a Saturday in March 2015 (date to be determined). If you would like to receive more information when it is available send your
contact information to email@example.com.
Many problems that colonies face can be adjusted and the hive saved if the beekeeper intervenes quickly. Whether gaging colony strength, checking for a good brood pattern or even looking for that elusive queen bee, having another pair of trained eyes can be a great asset. Beekeeping is an activity that contains a great number of variables : genetics of the bees, location, food sources, pests, weather, foraging area. All of these conditions can vary greatly from one location to another. If you want to be really successful with your colonies, form a good group of beekeeping friends that you can call for advice. Expect to get a lot of answers. You will still have to decide for yourself which management options to use but you will learn a lot. Beekeepers helping beekeepers – this is the way to go !
The coolness of Fall is a delight to all beekeepers who have been suffering from humidity and sweat all during the long Carolina summer. Our beesuits that were resplendent, crisp and white in early Spring are now sweaty, smokey and possibly covered with dirt, wax, propolis and bee poop. (Unless of course you have laundered your suit periodically – as you should).
Hopefully you have checked your colonies to insure they have sufficient winter stores before the cold weather is here to stay. In Upstate SC, we have now experienced a killing frost- very little or no fresh nectar will be available for foraging. You may also be running out of time to feed them sugar water as they can not access it well during the cold. We encourage our customers to check the honey stores of their colonies in September-October to give the bees their best chance of survival.
In our local area, it is not necessary to wrap beehives for the winter. In fact, most beekeepers leave the screen bottom boards open and only reduce the entrance to help the bees protect the hive as bee numbers dwindle over winter. You may start out will a large cluster in late Fall but the number of bees alive in January/February will be less as bees start to die before new ones are produced. A healthy cluster with plenty of food stores in the correct location should be able to maintain survival temperatures. The bees must consume food to generate heat. We are often impressed by beekeepers in colder regions who require extensive insulation to help their bees. One of our customers photographed this Alaskan beehive that was fully wrapped in straw against the winter cold. Luckily, this is not necessary here and you may even do more harm by trapping excess moisture inside the hive.
Honeybees practice homeostasis and maintain a nearly constant temperature during the winter but only inside the cluster itself. With the warmest temps in the middle of the cluster – it becomes cooler on the outside wall of bees and the temps inside the hive itself may get quite cold. Bees don’t need or require a heated space. Thermal imaging shows where the clusters are located in the boxes by the colors shown in the image.