What Is an Apiary?

The common “Bee Yard” is called an Apiary. This is the location where beehives of honeybees are kept and reared. Another name for beekeepers is “apiarist”. Apiary or apiculture, which derives its meaning from Latin word apis which mean bee, is the maintenance of honeybee hives by humans. The objectives of the apiarist might be to collect beeswax or honey, or to pollinate the local crops or even to produce bees to sell to other apiarists. Beekeeping apiary is one of the oldest forms of food production.

A beginning apiarist could start out with two bee colonies. The actual number of hives in an apiary will differ from location to location depending on the local nectar and pollen resources that are available. If there are too many hives in an apiary, there is a danger of the hives competing with one another for limited resources. This will likely lead to increased disease transmission, robbing and reduced honey and pollen yields. You can expand your apiary in few years as you gain experience (and the area can support the colonies). It is assumed that a single hive produces 50 to 100 pounds of honey every year. Start with right type of hive. Put your hives together with the help of a master beekeeper. There are many DIY hive plans available, or you can get a local craftsman/carpenter to make some for you if you lack the necessary skills. You can also order all the parts of hives from a store or online.

It’s a good idea to plan your apiary for the upcoming season well in advance. Be sure to order the hives, and equipment you’ll need before you order the bees themselves. Fall is the best time to buy all the supplies. Assemble all your hives and gather your gear in the winter in order to be ready for the bees’ arrival. Place your hives in their new apiary. For additional resources and more information about beekeeping, it would be a good idea to join you local apiary association. This will also help you in sharing your problems with more experienced apiarists who will eagerly help you out.

It is very important to select the best location for your apiary. Ideally, the best place is where there is an abundance of nectar and pollen sources, such as ornamental trees, plants, flowers and even corn. A good source of clean water nearby is also very important. This is important because, if you don’t provide water near the bees, they will go elsewhere for their water needs. Perhaps to your neighbors yard or pool. A bee apiary must face south or southeast along with a windbreak behind. The area must not be damp and must have sufficient shade. The apiary must be easily approachable for you to work around it.

Selection of correct apiary equipment is very essential. If you can manage it, new equipment is ideal, especially for beginners. When purchasing equipment of colonies from other beekeepers, it’s a good idea to get it tested for pests or disease. Irrespective of how and from where you purchase your apiary equipment, it needs to meet the your requirements. Buy all the protective gear required for your beekeeping apiary such as a beekeeping suit, gloves, masks, veil and smokers so as to protect from bee stings as well as facilitate easy handling of bees.

Kerry Stuart is a long time beekeeping enthusiast. For more great information on beekeeping supplies [http://www.secrets2beekeeping.com/beekeeper-supplies/], visit www.Secrets2Beekeeping.com [http://www.secrets2beekeeping.com]

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