My beekeeping experience
Fired up with the desire to start an apiary and having weighed all the possible pros and cons, the future beekeeper begins a period of accumulation of initial knowledge. But the most optimal is training on courses. In St. Petersburg, they are in the House of the Gardener. The Beekeepers' Club also operates there.
Beekeeping for me, as well as for the majority of St. Petersburg beekeepers, is a hobby. I started my apiary in 2000, having previously attended a course with a teacher V.A. Ivanova.
What about the dream?
From a formal point of view, if you have complied with all regulatory restrictions, no one has the right to prohibit you from starting an apiary. But good neighborly relations for beekeepers are never superfluous, especially if the apiary is in horticulture. After all, bee colonies can sometimes swarm, and the swarms will be grafted behind a neighbor's fence. It should be especially taken into account that your family members and neighbors have medical contraindications for stinging bees. By and large, bee sting is a health session. If the neighbors think so, then you will not have any problems.
When is it likely to be stung by bees?
If you breed aggressive cross-bees; if you do not conduct inspections of bee colonies incorrectly, they are slovenly dressed. Also, bees are irritated by strong odors: sweat, perfume, gasoline, alcohol. Bees are indifferent to the smells of onions and garlic. The smells of crushed raspberry, cherry, lemon balm leaves, as well as bee drones soothe.
How can the risk of bee stings be reduced?
The first... Breed only generic bees. For the North-West, the Carpathian breed is the best. The sale of these bees is well organized in St. Petersburg.
Second... Work only in clean beekeeping clothes. It is obligatory to wear gloves and a front net. Clothes should be washed after each inspection of the bees.
Third... Use smoke skillfully. Do not use random combustible materials in smokers.
Fourth... Always warn neighbors about upcoming checkups. This will save you from unnecessary nervousness. Better do it in their absence.
Fifth... Always have clean face nets in the apiary for guests, neighbors, etc.
Sixth... The apiary should always have a first-aid kit, in which the presence of antihistamines is required: diphenhydramine, suprastin. Hydrocortisone ointment relieves swelling very well.
Present your neighbors with a set of facial nets and a first aid kit. And do not forget to treat the bees with something tasty after each inspection, for example, a piece of honeycomb.
What should be considered before placing an apiary in the country?
Make sure there are major melliferous plants within a two kilometer radius. For the North-West, these are:
- early spring honey plants - mother-stepmother, hazel, alder, willow (delirium, goat, weeping, etc.), dandelion, maple;
- summer (honey plants of the main flow) - raspberries, fireweed (ivan-tea), white clover, sweet clover (white and yellow), meadow cornflower, sow thistle, etc.
- summer-autumn honey plants (aftertas of flowering grasses, some flowering garden crops).
Do not think that in horticulture, bees will collect honey from a blooming garden. This is just a supportive bribe.
How do I place the hives?
Any quiet place is suitable for this. The main thing is that no one bothers the bees. It is all the same for bees in which direction the entrances are oriented. They will be disturbed by both the sun and the constant shadow. It is good to place hives in the garden. In the spring, when there is still no foliage, the sun is only good, and in the summer the shade of the trees will save the hives from overheating.
They do not like bees and drafts. A very good effect is provided by an additional fence around the apiary or protection from the prevailing winds. This fence can be a hedge made from a magnificent honey plant - yellow acacia. The hives should stand strictly vertically on stands. They must be accessible from all sides. Very good for giving is the option of lifting the hives up (balconies, terraces, attics, etc.). Then the bees practically do not fly in the zone inhabited by people. In nature, bees prefer to settle in hollows at a height of about 7-10 meters. And they fly for nectar and pollen at the same height. I also have such hives.
Which hives are best?
It is difficult to give an unambiguous answer to this question. It all depends on your preference, desire and capabilities. I will only express my point of view.
First. The hive should be on a standard frame. In Russia, standard frames have dimensions: 435x300 mm (the so-called Blatt frame). It is used in all kinds of hive designs. There is also a semi-frame with dimensions of 435x145 mm. It is used as a storehouse for storing honey by bees. It is used in conjunction with the main frame, which is also called nesting... Dimensions (edit) shop and nest frames are selected so that when two store buildings are installed, a nest frame is placed in them. Now the Farrar hive is very popular in amateur apiaries. Frame size 448x156 mm (American standard). Russian analogue 435x145 mm. Hives of this type are produced by the firm "ApiRuss". There is also a Langstroth frame with dimensions of 435x230 mm. Used in multi-body hives. These hives are also called Langstroth-Ruth hives.
Second. The hive must be industrially manufactured. Standard. Handicraft hives have a number of so-called rationalization proposals, which ultimately complicates the beekeeper's life.
Third. No alternative designs of hives (hives of Glazov, Andreev, Raav, R. Delon, etc.). These hives exist only on paper or in limited use. Don't trust false ads.
How does my apiary work?
The apiary is located in the gardening "Krasnogorskoe" of the Lomonosov region. A plot of 15 acres is adjacent to the forest. There is an excellent melliferous base. There are early spring honey plants and honey plants of the main flow. But there are very few honey plants in the summer-autumn flowering period. The apiary from the north is protected by a forest massif.
My hives are located both in the attic (pavilion) and in the garden.
In the attic, bee-beds for 24 Dadan-Blatt frames (435x300 mm) with shops (435x145 mm) of their own design and production. In 2005, I purchased 12 ApiRuss beehives and placed them in the garden on long stands. The entire plot is fenced with a solid two-meter fence. I have more than 20 hives, but I really have no more than 12 families. I pump out honey either right in the attic or in the garage in a specially equipped place. It happens that bees sting neighbors too. But there have not been any emergencies yet.
Beekeepers have an opinion: in order to master the craft, you first need to make beehives. I must say that this is an insidious recommendation. Not everyone can refuse sunbeds later. Where to put them? Therefore, purchase multi-hulls immediately. Define the standard yourself. For example, I have a problem. Having initially adopted the standard of 435x300 mm frames, I cannot switch to the standard 435x230 mm. Where can I put a few hundred frames with dry land?
Where should I take my bees - in the attic or outside?
Everywhere has its pros and cons. The main disadvantage of hives in the attic for me is that I cannot observe the arrival board and monitor the behavior of the bees. For a person studying the life of bees, this is very important. There is a lot to learn from the behavior of the bees on the landing board. For example, whether the uterus lays eggs or not; are there any idly staggering bees - harbingers of swarming; how many drones are in the family; whether there are ejection of pupae or bees with deformed wings.
I am not a supporter of classical beekeeping science, recommending numerous frame-by-frame examinations to beekeepers. I am for industrial technologies with minimal labor costs. Supporter of non-invasive technologies. I use in my practice the obligatory autumn feeding with sugar with the use of preventive treatment. Without speculative autumn feeding in our area, the family's strength cannot be increased in winter due to the lack of summer-autumn honey plants.
I consider it a prerequisite for the constant "renewal of blood" in the apiary through the acquisition of fetal uterus of the Carpathian breed. They hibernate in the wild. Honey harvests are different from year to year: sometimes more than 40 kg from a wintering family, and sometimes less. For example, the 2006 season was more than successful. I received about a hundred kilograms of honey from a wintering family.
There is also a winter departure of bee colonies. This must be taken calmly. If the strength of the family in the winter is small, then it must be eliminated in advance. I am a supporter of wintering on a full set of combs. But for this, the hives must have improved thermophysical characteristics, and the corresponding strength of the family is needed.
They say that beekeeping is troublesome. It's not like that at all. With the correct organization of the apiary, work can be grouped, simplified, or not carried out at all. Success in beekeeping depends on a skillfully chosen technology for a particular apiary. The use of industrial technologies makes it possible to engage in beekeeping even before retirement.
Alexander Konovalchuk, beekeeper
Spring feeding of bees
In early spring, before and after the flight of bees, until honey plants with a large amount of nectar appear in nature, all bee colonies with little honey left in their nests (less than 4-6 kg) should be fed. It is required so that the queen begins to lay eggs intensively, and the overwintered bees take good care of the brood and gain strength for spring flights for a bribe. This is especially important in cases where the family is weak, and there are few early honey plants in the area.
In every region and district, the same plants do not start flowering at the same time. The largest number of worker bees emerge from the brood approximately 85 days after laying the eggs. It is optimal if the timing of the mass flowering of honey plants coincides with the period of the greatest strength of the bee colony both in terms of its quantity and effectiveness. Therefore, the beekeeper must decide / calculate for himself when and what kind of feeding to give bees, taking into account the weather trends in his region, the peculiarities of the local flora, the state of the family.
How to start a beginner beekeeper: the basics of beekeeping, how to organize an apiary from scratch, choose and keep bees
An apiary for many people is not only getting the most valuable products and a promising business, but also a hobby, because watching insects is very exciting. In a bee family, everyone performs their duties - worker bees are engaged in construction, guarding and cleaning houses, producing honey and feeding children, queen bees and drones breed.
How to start a novice beekeeper, how to build an apiary from scratch, how to choose, maintain and examine bees correctly, advice from experienced beekeepers and our personal observations will suggest.
Tips for a novice florist
Floriculture is a pleasant, interesting, and most importantly, a useful way to decorate a house, street, garden and park, as well as not a boring hobby at all. The only ones who most likely will not like this activity are those who are allergic to pollen, which is in flowers.
Among flower growers there are also beginners who do not even know the basics of this wonderful business. So that they quickly begin to amaze others with their talent, skills, creativity, so that thanks to them the world becomes a little more beautiful, it is better to help them in mastering and studying this completely uncomplicated but fascinating business.
One of the goals of the "World of Flowers and Plants" project is to help beginner flower growers.
To begin with, here are a few, though obvious, but very important tips:
Don't overdo it with watering. Plants that have a deluge instead of moist and useful soil will in no way be able to breathe air. Of course, plants need water, but exactly the same as air. The soil must be made moist.
During winter, in no case should you water and feed the plants. About watering: water less often than in the summer.
No matter how tenacious the plant would be, each needs moisture. Therefore, you need to maintain humidity. When it gets hot, flowers should be poured abundantly in the morning and evening. Those flowers that love the shade are planted in the shade, and those that love the light are planted in the light. So that such flowers, which require little water, do not experience hot weather, you need to either spray them with water or use wet peat.
It is easier to solve a problem in the early stages of its development than in later ones. This applies to both pests and flower diseases.
The grouped flowers are considered by many to look beautiful and pleasant. Also, in this way, you can make it easier for yourself to care for these wonderful gifts of nature.
Over time, many flowers lose their attractiveness. To restore their charm, you can plant them or feed them.
In order for the flowers to delight the eyes, they need to be given extremely good living conditions, although the plants must get used to those around them, but nevertheless.
Required gardener's inventory
With this kind of equipment, the gardener will be able to feed, transplant or do something else with the flower.
Thanks to him, the likelihood that the flowers will survive is higher. Good care also stimulates the growth and development of flowers.
Do not grieve over dead plants
For example, there were cases when the roots of narcissus, tulips, chrysanthemums, roses and the like, completely hidden and protected from severe frosts, still could not overwinter. There is no need to be sad about this. We can say we must rejoice, because those plants that survived are frost-resistant and strong. They are used to the local weather conditions. And those are weaklings. There is another plus among the sadness: in the place of the dead, you can plant some new flower.
To get started, study the articles on our site. And over time, you will have an understanding of how to care for flowers and you will confidently move from the title of “novice gardener” to an honorary “experienced gardener”.
What equipment does a novice beekeeper need?
Experienced beekeepers, who have been breeding bees for more than one year or even a decade, have a dozen or two tools in their arsenal that make it easier to care for insects. However, at the very beginning, you can limit yourself to just three:
1. Protective suit. A special hat with mesh and gloves will protect you from bee stings and make your work safer.
2. Smoker. Bees are known to be afraid of smoke and water. A smoker is used to scare away bees while working with the hive. Inside this device they put, for example, raw sawdust and ignite them. The emerging smoke scares away insects. If you don't have a smoker, you can replace it with a spray bottle. Experienced beekeepers say that in hot weather, a spray bottle is even preferable to a smoker.
3. Beekeeping (apiary) chisel. This seemingly simple device greatly facilitates the work of the beekeeper. The chisel helps to easily move one frame away from another, with its help they clean the hives from wax and propolis, detach the bottom of the hive and do many other works. An experienced beekeeper does not start working with bees without a chisel.
When the time comes to collect honey, then, in addition to the named tools, you will also need a device for unpacking honeycombs and a honey extractor.
Of course, it is difficult for a beekeeper to do without the above-mentioned devices, but the main thing with which an apiary starts is hives. Before purchasing hives, study the information about what they are. Depending on the design, all hives are divided into two types:
- risers - hives that expand upward (vertically): these include the Dadant hive and the multi-hive hive
- sun loungers - hives that expand horizontally.
An unambiguous answer to the question "Which hives are better?" does not exist: some beekeepers prefer risers, others - loungers.
Frames are a must for any kind of hive. They come in several sizes. Each type of hive corresponds to a frame of certain dimensions, which must be taken into account when purchasing hives.
The frame is a part of the hive on which the bees build honeycombs or grow brood.
The hive must be installed on a stand with a height of at least 15-20 cm (the optimal distance from the ground is 40-50 cm). In this case, the bottom of the hive will not touch the grass, it will be well ventilated and will not start to rot over time.
Grape care: tips for a novice gardener
The grape is a plant that was one of the first to be cultivated by man.
Grape care is formed at the phases of its life, which directly depends on the season and is divided into two periods: active and dormant.
Let's try to follow the stages of caring for this interesting plant from spring to autumn.
In the spring at the beginning of March, if weather conditions permit, start pruning the grown grapes, if you do not do this in time before the buds swell, intensive sap flow will occur, which will cause the vine to dry out. In addition, you can start updating the trellises, since in the coming months the gardeners will have much more to do.
In April, if a cold snap is not expected, you can release the plant from the winter shelter and control how the plant survived the winter. An integral action at this stage is the spraying of the grapes themselves with special substances.
During this time period, grapes from diseases and the action of small rodents will help protect the treatment with a solution of copper sulfate. When the buds are swollen, you can start grafting cuttings, tie up the sleeves and, for proper development, form a support for it from trellises. In May, another garter is made, breaking off the shoots and using them for seedlings in the garden.
In summer, from June to August, it is necessary to take care of the plant, treating it with various preparations for the effective growth of the plant. In June, when the plant produces berries, you can carry out, for example, treatment with Ridomil Gold.
It is not recommended to irrigate the grapes often; it is better to moisturize abundantly once or twice a month. In July, you need to treat with various antifungal drugs and feed with fertilizers that contain the NPK complex, and in the last month of summer, the plant is fed with phosphorus or potassium preparations and the plant is prepared for winter.
At the beginning of autumn, the main stage in the life of any gardener takes place - this is the collection of berries. In late October - early November, autumn pruning and planting of plant cuttings is carried out, and grape vines need to be helped to prepare for wintering.
As the crown of the plant falls, it is necessary to cut off all the shoots and, to prevent various diseases, dig up the soil near the plant. In November, cover the plants with peat, sawdust or special material, and water them abundantly to prevent dehydration.
Following such simple recommendations, you can correctly and consistently plan your actions and enjoy a rich harvest, and start preparing for the new season in winter.