What you need to get your beekeeping journey started
Are you interested in beekeeping? You can get started by doing your research, attending courses, and finding a mentor. While selling honey is a good source of income, it requires hard work and dedication. You can find beekeeping equipment for sale on AgriMag.
Beekeeping in South Africa
If you’re a beekeeper in South Africa, you can register with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. South African beekeeping is different from other countries because local bees act slightly differently. These bees are more aggressive and when they sting you, there can be serious consequences. It’s important to ensure that the training you receive is based on local knowledge about bees. You’ll need information on the following areas of beekeeping:
● The bee’s tasks
● How bees feed and their preferred foods
● The habitat of bees
● Selecting and setting up hives
● Hive management
● Queen rearing
● How to collect honey
The best environment for bees
Before you set up a beehive, you’ll need to decide where to put it. Bees should be placed away from people and animals. However, you should still be able to easily access the hive. The bees require adequate shelter and thrive in a dry and sunny environment. The area needs to be free from frost and there should be sufficient food and water within 5km of the hive. If the food supply is depleted, you can move the hive near crops, which also helps with pollination.
If you want to succeed as a beekeeper, you’ll need to invest in the right equipment. You’ll need maintenance tools so that you can provide a safe place for the bees to thrive. Protective gear for yourself is also necessary as it reduces the risk of being injured from bee stings. Your equipment should include:
● Zip-up overalls
● Protective face veil
● PVC Gloves
● Hive tools
● Bee brush
Hive maintenance and preparation
Hives need to be properly prepared and maintained otherwise the bees may find somewhere that’s safer to live. While the exact dates vary, these tasks are typically carried out in June and July.
Pollination generally starts at the end of July and continues until the end of October. Besides selling the honey, you can hire your bees out to farmers for an additional source of income. Bees are valuable to farmers as they pollinate their crops. Suitable crops for bees include:
● Blue gum
A formula is used to determine how many hives are required to pollinate various crops. The types of crops that are being grown have an impact on how many hives are necessary. If you have been hired by a farmer who wants to use your hives for pollination purposes, transportation is an important consideration. It’s advisable to move the hives later in the day when it’s cooler as this is when the bees return to the hive. You’ll need to ensure that no pesticides are sprayed near the hives.
Honey production usually starts in September and ends in May. The number of hives that are placed in a certain area depends on the flora species growing there. If there is insufficient nectar available, the bees’ food can be supplemented with sugar water. The climate and disturbances in the area have an impact on honey production.
Beekeeping can be lucrative but it requires hard work to succeed. Theft is a threat to farmers who are keeping bees. It’s important to check the hives regularly for pests and diseases. The American foulbrood is a disease that puts local bees at risk. The Cape honeybee can also wreak havoc in your hives. Keep up to date with the latest information to understand what new threats you need to protect your hives from. Infected hives need to be quarantined so that they can be checked thoroughly.
If you’re just starting out, you can set up a small operation to advance your skills before you expand. Find bee equipment for sale on AgriMag and launch a successful beekeeping business.