Living The Basics

Simple and Resourceful Living

Beekeeping for Beginners

If you are familiar with our page, most of you know Donnie and I are working out of our backyard in the Southwest.

This is not where we want to be long term, but it is where we are now, so we make the most of it.

When I imagine myself finally on our own land and back in the Midwest, I always want to do it “Little House on the Prairie” style. So, some of the things I picture aren’t always practical.

For example, I know we will be using power, just hopefully power we are generating ourselves.

I want candles and a wood stove! Donnie is much more practical. A girl can dream though.

Candles are what brought me here today. I have made tallow and lard candles. Tallow wins every time, but I do not want to raise beef. I’ve been told sheep fat works as well, but I do not have experience with sheep. Maybe I’ll look into it. The candles I really want are beeswax. You can even mix beeswax with lard to get a much nicer candle than lard alone and without using up all the beeswax you spent money on (I’m cheap).

Now you are probably thinking that paraffin wax is way cheaper. It is, but it is also made from petroleum or coal. I cannot do this. I also do not have a special machine to turn soy beans into soy wax. Maybe some of you can. If so, please tell me!

By now you have figured out that I have settled on bees. Maybe I am a little bias, because really, I just want those perfect pollinators to hang around with their sweet treats and covet their wax making skills.

The issue here is, I do not know what to do with bees. I don’t even know anyone who does. There is this amazing local honey called Killer Bee that I love, and I have seen the boxes and suits, but other than that, I have no clue.

My plan is to learn this one step at a time. The first step, at least for someone like me who just wants to jump right in, is start up. What do I need and how much is it?

What I learned is that if you have no experience, it is best to just go with the kit on this one. It is the same cost as buying everything separately, and of course when you expand later, you can do something different. Here is the kit I am looking into for a whopping $200 on amazon.:

It really isn’t a bad investment. It won’t be for me when my hubby gets it for my birthday when we are settled in… hint hint.

If you don’t want the kit, here is what it says you need to begin:

· A hive body with wood frames

· A bee veil

· Leather gloves

· Hive tool (mini crowbar…)

· This includes a book, but the internet works too

· Not included is a jacket, which I feel is needed, because I do not like to get stung…

· Not included is your bees! You can order these online once you decide which kind you want. I’ll save this for an addition on a later date as I learn more about it. It will probably cost $50 to $100.

· Sugar water. Your bees will need something to use as food at first until they become established.

I’ll also look into building my own hive, but I thought this was a great place to start, and really $200 for equipment and then let’s say $100 for the bees isn’t outlandish when you consider they will produce a minimum of 20 POUNDS of honey and a pound of beeswax not to mention the benefits of having your own pollinators. After the hive is established, they require minimal care and little to no additional costs unless you are expanding. There can be some expensive equipment for harvesting, but you do not have to have it, especially for personal use.

Okay, that’s all for today. Make sure to sign up for our newsletter to see the next post as we learn more about bees!

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