Old pets, new hives
For the most part, bees, pets and other domestic animals can coexist happily, but there’s always the potential for harm. The larger the property, the easier it is to keep your pets away from your hives. Simply choose a spot with low traffic, away from cages, coops and kennels, and you should be fine.
Honey is great, but there’s more!
You might think of beekeeping as being all about honey, but it’s a whole lot more than that. Bees produce honey, sure, but along the way they create several other products that are useful to us humans. Propolis, beeswax and royal jelly are just some of the marketable substances beekeepers can harvest from their hives.
As anyone with a kitchen knows, ants are annoying scavengers. They’re constantly on the lookout for new food sources, and will use the tiniest entry point to gain access. If your kitchen is particularly messy – with food left on bench tops or jars left open – you may be more likely to attract these tiny invaders. It’s a similar story with your beehives.
A bee or not a bee?
If you’re a new beekeeper, or you’re simply interested in the insects that populate your garden, it’s good to be able to differentiate between the honey bees you’re caring for, other harmless species of bee and fly, and potential threats like wasps.
Selling your honey
Everyone knows that bees make honey, but beginner beekeepers are often surprised by exactly how much they produce.
Powerful properties in an unexpected package
The powerful health benefits associated with manuka honey have made it a huge success story for New Zealand exporters. Manuka’s cousin, kanuka, is far less famous – but may be equally beneficial.
Process, package, profit
Like any food product, honey needs to be handled safely before it can be sold. In New Zealand, safety standards cover everything – processing, testing, packaging and labelling. If you want to sell your honey, you need to meet these standards – and prove that you’ve met them. But before you do that, here’s our rough guide to safe processing and packaging:
Managing wax cappings
The first honey harvest is a milestone for any new beekeeper. But honey isn’t the only useful substance made by bees. Beeswax, which is used to store and cover honey in the hive, is a valuable beekeeping by-product. Even if you’re not interested in using the wax yourself, it’s worth collecting and clarifying your wax for resale, or to give to friends. After all, your bees expend so much energy making and using wax, it seems wasteful to simply throw it away.
The spread of a deadly disease
American Foulbrood strikes fear into the hearts of beekeepers – and for good reason. The bacterial disease infects larvae, kills bees before they reach maturity, and eventually destroys the colony.