Beekeeping For Dummies
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Beekeeping For Dummies

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Everything you need to 'bee' a successful backyard beekeeper If you've ever thought about becoming a backyard beekeeper or have already tried a hand at it and want to be better one then this is the book for you! In Beekeeping for Dummies, 4th Edition you'll find everything you need to know in order to start your own colony, including how to assemble and maintain beehives, handle every phase of honey production, purchase and use all the latest tools, and what to do beyond your first season. This hands-on guide provides all the tools, tips, tricks, and techniques needed to become a real backyard beekeeper. You'll learn to identify the queen from her workers and drones, properly open and close the hive, distinguish one type of honey from another, and preserve your colony if disaster should strike. * Keep bees on a small urban rooftop or in a large country yard * Assemble your own hive and sustain it for years to come * Safely inspect and manage your colony * Harvest and sell your own honey Becoming a backyard beekeeper isn't as hard as people think and with this hands-on guide, you'll be able to create one honey of a colony that will have the neighbors buzzing.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 480 pages
  • 191 x 234 x 24mm | 700g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 4th Edition
  • 1119310067
  • 9781119310068
  • 9,434

Back cover copy

Learn what to do in your first season and beyond Keep your bees healthy using natural methods Manage all phases of honey production

The bestselling, hands-on guide to beekeeping



Find out what all the buzz is about beekeeping. Beekeeping For Dummies gives you details on starting and managing your own backyard colonies with practical, up-to-date information on all things apicultural. Whether you're a newbie or an old hand looking for the latest tools and techniques, this hands-on guide tells you what you need to know to keep happy, healthy honey bees, understand bee behavior, use the latest hiving techniques, and a whole lot more. You can also check out how-to beekeeping videos online.



Inside ...

Manage a Langstroth or Top Bar hive Keep bees in the 'burbs or the city Acquire bees and install them safely Learn when and how to inspect your bees Identify and fix common problems Save using enclosed coupons for beekeeping supplies
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Table of contents

Foreword v


Introduction 1


About This Book 1


Foolish Assumptions 3


Icons Used in This Book 3


Beyond the Book 4


Where to Go from Here 5


Part 1: Taking Flight with Beekeeping 7


Chapter 1: To Bee, or Not to Bee? 9


Discovering the Benefits of Beekeeping 10


Harvesting liquid gold: Honey 11


Bees as pollinators: Their vital role to our food supply 11


Being part of the bigger picture: Save the bees! 13


Getting an education: And passing it on! 13


Improving your health: Bee therapies and stress relief 15


Determining Your Beekeeping Potential 16


Environmental considerations 16


Zoning and legal restrictions 16


Costs and equipment 17


How many hives do you need? 17


What kind of honey bees should you raise? 17


Time and commitment 18


Beekeeper personality traits 18


Allergies 19


Deciding Which Beekeeping Approach to Follow 19


Medicated beekeeping 20


Natural beekeeping 20


Organic beekeeping 21


Combining approaches 21


Chapter 2: Getting to Know Your Honey Bees 23


Basic Body Parts 24


Skeleton 24


Head 25


Thorax 26


Abdomen 27


The Amazing Language of Bees 27


Pheromones 27


Shall we dance? 28


Getting to Know the Male and the Two Female Castes 29


Her majesty, the queen 30


The industrious little worker bee 32


House bees 33


Housekeeping (days 1 to 3) 33


Undertaking (days 3 to 16) 33


Working in the nursery (days 4 to 12) 34


Attending royalty (days 7 to 12) 34


Going grocery shopping (days 12 to 18) 34


Fanning (days 12 to 18) 34


Becoming architects and master builders (days 12 to 35) 36


Guarding the home (days 18 to 21) 36


Field bees 36


The woeful drone 37


The Honey Bee Life Cycle 39


Egg 39


Larva 41


Pupa 41


Other Stinging Insects 43


Bumblebee 44


Carpenter bee 44


Mason bee 45


Wasp 45


Yellow jacket 46


Bald-faced hornet 47


Part 2: Starting Your Adventure 49


Chapter 3: Alleviating Apprehensions and Making Decisions 51


Overcoming Sting Phobia 52


Knowing what to do if you're stung 53


Watching for allergic reactions 54


Building up a tolerance 54


Understanding Local Laws and Ordinances 54


Easing the Minds of Family and Neighbors 55


Location, Location, Location: Where to Keep Your Hives 56


Knowing what makes a perfect bee yard 57


Urban considerations 59


Dealing with nervous neighbors 59


City bees have the same needs as country bees 59


Deciding where to put your hives 59


Strike a deal with a community garden 60


Speak to your landlord about roof rights 60


Providing for your thirsty bees 60


Understanding the correlation between geographical area and honey flavors 63


Knowing When to Start Your Adventure 64


Chapter 4: Selecting a Hive That's Perfect for You 65


The Langstroth Hive 66


The Kenyan Top Bar Hive 68


The Warre (People's) Hive 71


The Flow Hive 74


The Five-Frame Nuc Hive 77


The Observation Hive 79


Make a Beeline to the Best Beehive 81


Hives for harvesting honey 82


Hives for pollinating your garden 82


A hive for learning and teaching 82


Chapter 5: Basic Equipment for Beekeepers 85


Starting Out with the Langstroth Hive 86


Knowing the Basic Woodenware Parts of the Langstroth Hive 86


Hive stand 87


Bottom board 87


Entrance reducer 89


Deep-hive body 89


Queen excluder 90


Shallow or medium honey super 91


Frames 92


Foundation 95


Inner cover 98


Outer cover 99


Knowing the Basic Parts of a Top Bar Hive 99


The top bar 100


Everything else 101


Ordering Hive Parts 101


Startup hive kits 102


Setting up shop 102


Adding on Feeders 104


Hive-top feeder 104


Entrance feeder 105


Pail feeder 106


Baggie feeder 107


Frame feeder 108


Top Bar hive feeders 109


Fundamental Tools 110


Smoker 110


Hive tool and frame lifter 111


Bee-Proof Clothing 112


Veils 112


Gloves 112


Really Helpful Accessories 114


Elevated hive stand 114


Frame rest 116


Bee brush 117


Slatted rack 117


Screened bottom board 118


Beekeeper's toolbox 119


Chapter 6: Obtaining and Installing Your Bees 121


Determining the Kind of Bee You Want 121


Deciding How to Obtain Your Initial Bee Colony 124


Ordering package bees 124


Buying a "nuc" colony 126


Purchasing an established colony 127


Capturing a wild swarm of bees 128


Picking a Reputable Bee Supplier 128


Deciding When to Place Your Order 130


The Day Your Girls Arrive 131


Bringing home your bees 132


Recipe for sugar syrup 132


Putting Your Bees into the Hive 133


Hiving steps for Langstroth hives and Steps 1-7 for Top Bar hives 134


Hiving Steps 8-14 for Top Bar hives 139


Watching your bees come and go from their new home 140


Part 3: Time for a Peek 143


Chapter 7: Opening Your Hive 145


Establishing Visiting Hours 146


Setting an Inspection Schedule 146


Preparing to Visit Your Langstroth or Top Bar Hive 147


Making "non-scents" a part of personal hygiene 147


Getting dressed up and ready to go 147


Lighting Your Smoker 148


Opening a Langstroth Hive 151


Removing the hive-top feeder 153


Removing the inner cover 155


Opening a Top Bar Hive 156


The Hive's Open! Now What? 158


Chapter 8: What to Expect When You're Inspecting 159


Keeping a Journal 160


Inspecting a Langstroth Hive 161


Removing the first frame of your Langstroth hive 161


Working your way through the Langstroth hive 162


Holding up frames for inspection 163


Knowing when it's time for more smoke 164


Replacing Langstroth frames 165


Closing the Langstroth hive 165


Inspecting a Top Bar Hive 166


Working your way through the Top Bar hive 167


Top Bar comb management 168


Looking into Top Bar cells 170


Replacing the top bars and closing the hive 170


Understanding What to Always Look For 170


Checking for your queen 170


Storing food; raising brood 171


Inspecting the brood pattern 171


Recognizing foodstuffs 172


Your New Colony's First Eight Weeks 172


Checking in: A week after hiving your bees 172


Verifying that the queen was released 173


Removing any burr comb 173


Looking for eggs 174


Replacing the missing frame of the Langstroth 174


Providing more syrup 174


The second and third weeks 174


Looking for larvae 175


Evaluating your queen 175


Hunting for capped brood 176


Looking for supersedure cells 176


Provide more syrup 177


Weeks four through eight 177


Adding a second deep-hive body to your Langstroth hive 178


Witnessing a miracle! 178


Watching for swarm cells 179


Providing more ventilation 179


Manipulating the frames of foundation 180


Making room for honey! 180


Inspecting your multilevel Langstroth hive 181


Chapter 9: Different Seasons, Different Activities 183


Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer 184


Your summer to-do list 185


Your summertime commitment 185


Falling Leaves Point to Autumn Chores 186


Your autumn to-do list 186


Your autumn time commitment 191


Clustering in a Winter Wonderland 191


Your winter to-do list 192


Your winter time commitment 192


Spring Is in the Air (Starting Your Second Season) 193


Your spring to-do list 193


Your springtime commitment 195


Administering spring medication 195


Reversing hive bodies 196


Managing Top Bar Hives in the Spring 197


Finding the cluster 198


Preventing the urge to swarm 198


Expanding the brood nest 199


The Beekeeper's Calendar 199


Part 4: Common Problems and Simple Solutions 203


Chapter 10: Anticipating and Preventing Potential Problems 205


Running Away (to Join the Circus?) 206


Swarming 206


Understanding why you want to prevent swarming 208


Keeping the girls from leaving home 208


They swarmed anyway Now what? 211


Capturing a swarm 213


Hiving your swarm 215


Absconding 216


Where Did the Queen Go? 217


Letting nature take its course 218


Ordering a replacement queen 218


Introducing a new queen to the hive 218


Avoiding Chilled Brood 220


Dealing with the Dreaded Robbing Frenzies 221


Knowing the difference between normal and abnormal (robbing) behavior 221


Putting a stop to a robbing attack 222


Preventing robbing in the first place 222


Ridding Your Hive of the Laying Worker Phenomenon 224


How to know if you have laying workers 224


Getting rid of laying workers 224


Preventing Pesticide Poisoning 226


The "Killer Bee" Phenomenon 227


What are "killer bees"? 228


Bee prepared! 229


Chapter 11: Colony Collapse Disorder 231


What Is CCD? 232


What to Do If You Suspect CCD 233


Why All the Fuss? 233


What's Causing CCD? 234


The cellphone theory 234


It may be the perfect storm 234


Parasites 234


Pathogens 234


Pesticides 235


Other possibilities 237


Answers to FAQs 237


What You Can Do to Help 238


Chapter 12: Understanding Diseases and Remedies 241


Medicating or Not? 242


Knowing the Big-Six Bee Diseases 242


American foulbrood (AFB) 243


European foulbrood (EFB) 244


Chalkbrood 245


Sacbrood 246


Stonebrood 247


Nosema 247


Nosema apis 247


Nosema ceranae 248


A handy chart 248


Chapter 13: Heading Off Honey-Bee Pests 251


Parasitic Problems 251


Varroa mites 252


Recognizing Varroa mite symptoms 253


Using two surefire detection techniques for Varroa 253


Knowing how to control Varroa mite problems 256


Tracheal mites 259


Symptoms that may indicate tracheal mites 260


How to control tracheal mite problems 261


Natural source options 261


Synthetic chemical options 263


Zombie (Phonid) flies 265


Other Unwelcome Pests 265


Wax moths 265


Small hive beetle 266


Determining whether you have a small hive beetle problem 266


How to control the small hive beetle 267


Ants, ants, and more ants 268


Bear alert! 268


Raccoons and skunks 270


Keeping out Mrs Mouse 270


Some birds have a taste for bees 272


Pest Control at a Glance 272


Chapter 14: Raising Your Own Queens 275


Why Raising Queens Is the Bee's Knees 275


Understanding Genetics 277


Dominant and recessive genes 277


Inbreeding versus outcrossing 278


Accentuate the positive 279


What Makes a Queen a Queen 280


Talking about the Birds and Bees for Honey Bees 282


Creating Demand: Making a Queenless Nuc 283


Queen-Rearing Method 1: Go with the Flow 283


If the queen cells are capped 284


If the queen cells are open 284


Mind the timeline 285


Queen-Rearing Method 2: The Miller Method 285


Queen-Rearing Method 3: The Doolittle Method, also Known as Grafting 288


Tools and equipment 288


How it's done 291


Providing nuptial housing 293


Finding Homes for Your Queens 294


Evaluating the Results 295


The Queen Rearer's Calendar 295


Marking Your Queens 296


Part 5: Sweet Rewards 297


Chapter 15: Honey, I Love You 299


Appreciating the History of Honey 299


Understanding the Composition of Honey 301


Healing with Honey 302


Honey and diabetes 302


Honey's nutritional value 303


Honey and children 303


Choosing Extracted, Comb, Chunk, or Whipped Honey 303


Extracted honey 304


Comb honey 304


Chunk honey 305


Whipped honey 305


Honey or honeydew honey? 306


Taking the Terror out of Terroir 306


Customizing your honey 306


Honey from around the world 307


The Commercialization of Honey 312


Is it the real deal? 312


Raw versus regular honey 312


Organic or not? 313


Your own honey is the best 313


Appreciating the Culinary Side of Honey 314


The nose knows 314


Practice makes perfect 315


Recognizing defects in honey 315


Pairing Honey with Food 316


Infusing Honey with Flavors 316


Judging Honey 317


Honey Trivia 318


Chapter 16: Getting Ready for the Golden Harvest 319


Having Realistic Expectations 320


What Flavor Do You Want? 320


Assembling the Right Equipment to Extract Honey 321


Honey extractors 321


Uncapping knife 321


Honey strainer 322


Other handy gadgets for extracting honey 323


Double uncapping tank 323


Uncapping fork or roller 323


Bottling bucket 324


Solar wax melter 325


Honey containers 326


Planning Your Extracted Honey Harvest Setup 326


Gathering Comb Honey Equipment 328


Section comb cartridges 328


Cut comb 328


Branding and Selling Your Honey 328


Creating an attractive label 329


Finding places to market your honey 332


Selling your honey on the web 332


Chapter 17: Honey Harvest Day 333


Knowing When to Harvest 334


Bad things come to those who wait! 335


A few pointers to keep in mind when harvesting liquid gold 336


Getting the Bees out of the Honey Supers 336


Shakin' 'em out 338


Blowin' 'em out 339


Using a bee escape board 339


Fume board and bee repellent 340


Honey Extraction from a Langstroth Frame 342


Harvesting honey using an extractor 342


Cleaning frames after extracting 344


Harvesting Honey from Your Top Bar Hive 345


Selecting the comb to harvest 346


Getting the bees off Top Bar comb 346


Harvesting using the crush-and-strain method 347


Harvesting honey using a honey press 348


Harvesting cut-comb honey 350


Harvesting Wax 350


Part 6: The Part of Tens 351


Chapter 18: More than Ten Fun Things to Do with Bees 353


Making Two Langstroth Hives from One 353


Making One Langstroth Hive from Two 355


Dividing a Top Bar Hive into Two Colonies 357


Combining Two Top Bar Hive Colonies 358


Building an Elevated Hive Stand 359


Building materials list 361


Cut list 361


Planting Flowers for Your Bees 362


Asters (aster/callistephus) 362


Bachelor's buttons (Centaurea) 363


Bee balm (Monarda) 363


Hyssop (Agastache) 363


Malva (Malvaceae) 364


Mint (Mentha) 364


Nasturtium (Tropaeolum minus) 364


Poppy (Papaver/Eschscholzia) 364


Salvia (Salvia/farinacea-strata/splendens/officinalis) 365


Sunflowers (Helianthus/Tithonia) 365


Brewing Mead: The Nectar of the Gods 365


Create Cool Stuff with Propolis 368


Propolis tincture 369


Propolis ointment 369


Propolis varnish 370


Making Gifts from Beeswax 370


Beeswax candles 370


Dipped candles 371


Molded candles 371


Beeswax furniture polish 372


Beauty and the Bees 372


Use your cappings 373


Equipment 373


The recipes 373


Ultra-rich skin cream 374


Rich body balm 375


Beeswax lip balm 375


Beeswax and olive oil salve 376


Beeswax lotion bar 376


Natural homemade sunscreen 377


Packaging and labeling 377


Chapter 19: More than Ten Frequently Asked Questions about Bee Behavior 379


Chapter 20: My Ten Favorite Honey Recipes 385


Honey Curry Vegetable Dip 387


Golden Cornbread 388


Honey Picante Chicken Wings 389


Apricot Honey Bread 390


Asian Honey-Tea Grilled Prawns 391


Broiled Scallops with Honey-Lime Marinade 392


A Honey of a Chili 393


Beef and Potato Tzimmes 394


Chewy Honey Oatmeal Cookies 395


Apple Honey Tart 396


Part 7: Appendixes 397


Appendix A: Helpful Resources 399


Honey Bee Information Websites 399


Apiservices - Virtual beekeeping gallery 399


The Barefoot Beekeeper 399


BeeHoo - The beekeeping directory 400


Beemaster Forum 400


Bee-Source.com 400


Facebook - Top Bar Beekeeping 400


Mid-Atlantic Apiculture Research and Extension Consortium (MAARAC) 400


National Honey Board 401


Bee Organizations and Conferences 401


American Apitherapy Society 401


American Beekeeping Federation 401


American Honey Producers 402


Apiary Inspectors of America 402


Apimondia: International Federation of Beekeepers' Associations 402


Eastern Apiculture Society 403


International Bee Research Association 403


USDA Agricultural Research Service 404


The Western Apiculture Society 404


Bee Journals and Magazines 404


American Bee Journal 404


Bee Culture 405


Bee World 405


Beekeeping Supplies and Equipment 406


Bee-commerce.com 406


BeeInventive 406


Bee Thinking 407


BeeWeaver Apiaries 407


Betterbee 408


Blue Sky Bee Supply 408


Brushy Mountain Bee Farm 408


Dadant & Sons, Inc. 409


Glorybee Foods, Inc. 409


Kelley Beekeeping 410


Mann Lake 410


Miller Bee Supply 410


Rossman Apiaries 411


Sacramento Beekeeping 411


Swienty Beekeeping Equipment 411


Thorne Beekeeping Supply 412


State Bee Inspectors (United States) 412


Appendix B: Beekeeper's Checklist 413


Appendix C: Glossary 415


Index 423
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About Howland Blackiston

Howland Blackiston has been a backyard beekeeper since 1984. He's written many articles on beekeeping and appeared on dozens of television and radio programs. He is also the author of Building Beehives For Dummies, which provides detailed instructions on how to build hives from scratch.
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977 ratings
4.11 out of 5 stars
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4 42% (406)
3 18% (178)
2 3% (30)
1 0% (4)
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