Urban & Backyard Beekeeping

Urban and backyard beekeeping is becoming more and more popular among gardeners today. Harvesting of honey and increasing pollination for higher fruit and vegetable yields are some of the benefits one can get from having a hive of your own. Bees provide royal jelly, propolis and beeswax and are a great addition to any homestead. Here are some simple tips to managing your bees hive in urban and backyard areas.

  • Have a water source.

Bees, like all living creatures, require water. Providing a suitable water source will help prevent your bees from seeking water in “unwanted” locations such as your neighbor’s pet water bowl or pool. They do naturally forage for water in creeks, ponds, rocks, vegetation and puddles. You can leave a pot or a barrel full of water, floating plants and some rocks in their property. This will ensure that the bees travel less in search of water. 

  • Fencing.

If you would like – a fence around the hive can help ensure the bees do not collide with humans as they travel in a straight path. You can keep your bees in your yard without a fence as well – this is more of a preference than anything.

  • Managing of the hive.

The beekeeper should tend and work on the hive and always make sure that it is in good condition. When managing the beehives one should meet or follow the following conditions;

  • The hive should be placed in an area with plenty of sun and protected from winds. However, the location should not be too hot for the bees.
  • When collecting honey, ensure that the bees have left the hive.
  • Ensure that the temperatures are not very hot outside when working on the hives.
  • When relocating the hives, one should smoke them first to calm the bees.

Deciding on a plan up front will help you be prepared when problems arise. Think of how you plan to handle, manage and treat pests and diseases. Think of what type of chemicals, if any, you’re willing to put in your hive. Have an expert beekeeper’s contact information or an online forum handy for when you get in a bind.

  • Managing the swarms.

Swarming is the nature of bees but as beekeepers, especially in more urban environments, we’ve got to keep swarms down to a minimum so that we don’t end up with irritated neighbors. Using mechanical techniques to prevent swarming, like splitting hives, is the best practice. You can also set up ‘bait hives’ to help capture any outcasted swarms from your bees.

These are some of the tips one should put into use when beekeeping in your backyard and in the urban areas. One should ensure they review local laws in their area before beekeeping. This is because some places prohibit this.

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