Gabriela Bratkovics of White Plains has been keeping bees in her backyard for few years now. It’s a hobby she really enjoys that she found years ago after her children were older. She says it satisfies both her need for saving the environment and being penny-wise and thrifty. Every year after harvest time, Gabriela Bratkovics says she is asked how to get started in beekeeping. “The honey is just so good!” she says. Here, she talks about the materials you’ll need to begin beekeeping as a backyard hobbyist.
“It’s easy to get started,” Gabriela Bratkovics says. “I did a lot of research and read a lot of books,” she adds, “so it’s all second nature to me now.” She says the first thing she would recommend is to get an education by buying an encyclopedia on beekeeping. “There are so many good references out there now,” she adds. Just go on Amazon and look at the ratings and reviews. “A great book I’d recommend for learning all about it is The Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden*, by Kim Flottum. It has everything you need to get started,” she adds.
One of the first things you’ll need to do is order your bees, Gabriela Bratkovics says. “That might seem counterintuitive to order the bees before you have any equipment. However, the bees won’t be ready until April or May,” she says. Most people order their bees in January, so be sure you’ve done your homework prior to then, she adds.
Next, you’ll need to decide what type of hive system you want. The two major types are vertical and horizontal. The vertical system is called the Langstroth hive in which the boxes are stacked on top of each other, and the boxes are pulled out like drawers to access the honey. Each box contains the frames where the bees build their combs and store the honey. The other system is horizontal. With this one, the boxes are arranged side by side, and you pull the box upwards to remove it. “Either one will work fine,” Gabriela Bratkovics of White Plains adds, “but I’d recommend starting out with a single-story hive. You can add more later.”
A good website to check out is Barnyard Bees*, Gabriela Bratkovics says. They have just about everything you’ll need for the bees, a hive, and the rest of your materials. Another idea is to check for used equipment on your local online agricultural forum, she adds. Occasionally, you’ll find someone who is getting rid of theirs, and you can get a good deal.
Some of the other materials you’ll need right away are protective clothing, a smoker, and a bee brush. Gabriela Bratkovics of White Plains says her best recommendation, however, is the beekeeping encyclopedia. Just by reading a few good references and watching some videos, you’ll be able to learn so much, she says. “It’s so easy to do and so rewarding, especially at harvest time,” she adds.
The Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden* – https://www.amazon.com/Backyard-Beekeeper-4th-Absolute-Beginners/dp/1631593323
Barnyard Bees* – https://barnyardbees.com/