How to Get Started with Beekeeping
Starting Your Own Beehive
Whether you have a small back yard or acres of land, beekeeping can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. If you’re a budding beekeeper, there are a few things you should consider and do before you start your buzzing empire.
Choosing Your Hive
When you’re starting out, it’s good to start small. Get your footing with one hive, especially if this will essentially be a hobby and not a moneymaking opportunity.
There are two ways you can go with your hive.
Beekeeping Starter Kits
There are plenty of small starter kits out there that include everything you’ll need for your first colony. While some are expandable and can be added to other hives, many are not. This means once your colony outgrows your starter kit, they may swarm and leave.
Build Your Own Backyard Hive
Whether you choose an assembled or unassembled hive, there are plenty of parts that you’ll need in order to give your bees a proper home. Make sure you pick the right size and number of frames, as well as the foundations. These are the plastic or wax covered sheets where bees create their comb. You’ll want thin sheets on the outside of the boxes and thicker foundations with crimped wire for extra support and protection in the middle.
Tools to Help You Collect the Honey
Know Your Local and State Laws
Depending on your city ordinances, beekeeping might be illegal inside city limits and subdivisions. Additionally, both Oregon and Washington have laws around selling honey products.
In Oregon, if you own your own hives and you’re selling direct to the consumer, you do not need a license. This includes wholesale honey extractors with 20 or fewer hives. Washington state has similar laws for small and direct-to-consumer operations but does require that all honey be free of contaminants and properly labeled with the word “Honey,” the name and address of your beekeeping business, as well as the net weight and grade of the honey. If you add flavors or process your honey in Washington state, you will need a WSDA Food Processor’s License.