Starting A Bee Colony For Honey

Starting A Bee Colony For Honey

As a beginner, you may start beekeeping by purchasing established colonies from a local beekeeper or the State Department of Agriculture/ State Agricultural University/ Research Institution/ Khadi & Village Industries Board. Normally a bee colony with 5 frames full of bees having sealed brood and immature brood, especially with eggs and young queen should be used to start hiving. Following tips may be useful to you:

  1. Make preparations: Before setting up an apiary, you should be ready after undergoing proper training, buying new equipments, assembling new hives with the
    help of an expert, ordering new colonies well in advance, etc.
  2. Start small: Two or four colonies are ideal number for a beginner to keep for one or two year. Expand the colonies as you gain experience.
  3. Execute work: When the package of bees arrives, your hives should be on the site.

Prepare a work schedule and follow strictly.

Suitable season for starting beekeeping coincides with mild climatic conditions and availability of bee flora in plenty. Normally, spring (February-April) and post-monsoon (September -November) seasons are the best periods to start beekeeping.


A new beehive may be established by following ways:

?? Capturing a swarm of bees
?? Purchase a packaged bee colony
?? Using of nucelus

Starting A Bee Colony For Honey

Capturing a Swarm of Bees

To establish a bee colony, bees can be obtained by transferring a wild nesting colony to a hive or attract a passing swarm of bees to occupy it. Collecting honey bee swarms in the spring is an excellent way to replace winter losses, strengthen weak colonies, or start new ones. Swarms normally cluster on a tree limb shrub, fence post, or on the side of a building. Swarms near the ground are relatively easy to capture. When possible, remove the swarm gently, disturbing the cluster as little as possible, and put it directly into a hive or enclosed container to transport it to a new hive or location. Before putting a swarm or even a colony in a prepared hive, it would be beneficial to make the hive smell familiar by rubbing old brown comb pieces or some bee wax. If possible, the Queen bee can be captured from a natural swarm and placed under a hive to attract the other bees. Feed the hived swarm for a few weeks with sugar syrup for its easy establishment.

Purchase a Packaged Bee Colony

The easiest and the best way to start beekeeping is by purchasing a packaged bee colony from an established beekeeper or a reputed supplier. A package consists of about 3000-4000 bees. It has a cage with a young mated queen and two or three worker bees to care for her. The cage contains sugar candy as a food source. A cage containing sugar syrup is positioned in the middle of the package for feeding the bees during transportation. The package bees may not produce a honey crop in the first year. The bees will have to be fed until the start of the nector flow.

Using Nucleus

A nucleus, popularly known as “nuc”, is a hive of bees comprising two to five frames of comb instead of the standard 10 frame in a standard hive and smaller in size. A nucleus usually consists of brood, honey and pollen, a laying queen, and each frame has adult bees. Get them inspected for any disease or pest by an expert. If the nucleus colony is strong then there is a possibility of getting a honey crop in the first year itself.

Article Related Questions:

  • How much does it cost to start a bee colony?
  • How many acres do you need for honey bees?
  • How much honey does a colony of bees make?
  • When should I start my honey bee hive?
  • Will an empty beehive attract bees?

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