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IRescueBees Presents  Beekeeping Basics Getting Started

Beekeeping Basics Getting Started
Beekeeping Basics Getting Started

Congratulations, you have made a wonderful decision!  Embarking on beekeeping shows your selfless character, along with your care and concern for others and our environment.

Doing something for the first time can often be nerve racking. Not knowing where to start and having no experience, does not help.

We, at IRescueBees, are here to guide you along your path to successful beekeeping.  While at the same time, preserving life on our planet.

Experience is the worst teacher...

Learning the fundamentals of beekeeping is easy these days.   Thanks to Youtube and Google, knowledge and important information on beekeeping, is right at your fingertips.

Subscribing to this blog is a great place to start. Or if you prefer, you can still old school it, by reading the large number of books on the subject.  But who has time to sift through all that.

Then there are college courses you can take.  But those are often heavy on the pocketbook and sometimes lengthy.  So again, I say, great choice.  Now let's get started.

Safety First, Protective Clothing!...

Beesuits are important.  But although they are protective, beesuits ARE NOT STING PROOF.  Beesuits only cut down the amount of stings you WILL receive.

So keep in mind, you will get stung being a beekeeper.

 We recommend wearing full body bee suits.  Since it gets really hot in the summer, ventilated is the best in our view.

Beekeeping Basics Getting Started
Beekeeping Basics Getting Started

We order ours from They offer free shipping and are reasonably priced.

Along with your beesuit, you will need gloves.  You can also get these at

Beekeeping Tools...

The Smoker

Beekeeping Basics Getting Started

Yes, the smoker is an essential tool for the beekeeper. Smoking the entrance causes the workers to gorge on the open cells of honey.

This makes the bees calm and easier to work with.  Two or three puffs into the hive is enough, then wait two or three minutes before opening.

We use brown cardboard as fuel for the smoker. It is free and easily accessible for most.  You can get your smoker from any beekeeping sales company.  We use Pestmall.

The Hive Tool

Honey bees glue all the woodenware together with a substance called propolis. Propolis is very sticky in the summer, and makes it difficult to pry boxes apart.

A hive tool is used to brake the seal. There are plenty to choose from on the market and is a "must have" for any beekeeper.

Of course, you will quite often lose them and need to reorder them. So you might want to own more than one, and expect to wait two to three weeks for the company to ship.

Better yet, you can get hive tools at your local hardware store. They are called paint scrapers :-).

These are the ones we use; Cheap and handy with no shipping or wait.

Beekeeping Basics Getting Started
Hive tool
Choosing A Hive

The hive is the container in which the bees are kept.  Again, there are a lot to choose from.

Most will either use a Langstroth or a Top Bar Hive. We recommend the beginner start with the Top Bar.

Lets Talk About The Top Bar Hive...

We recommend this type of hive for beginners because there is no heavy lifting or tricky manipulation to risk injuring the queen.

The Top Bar hive resembles a hollow log laying on it's side, and gives the bees a more natural home.  This keeps them calmer and more productive.

Beekeeping Basics Getting Started
Beekeeping Basics Getting Started

This hive gets it's name because of the many bars that make up the cover.  Each bar has a comb guide to help the bees decide where to draw comb.

Beekeeping Basics Getting Started
Beekeeping Basics Getting Started

As mentioned before, there are many top bar hives to choose from. Prices range from two hundred fifty to three fifty depending on the MFG.

All beekeeping retail outlets have them ready to ship. However, we do not like any of the top bar hives offered by them.

This is because they cost too much and are too short.  Also, the body of the hive is too deep and the heavy honey comb often falls, creating a big mess.

With that said, if you are handy with wood working you can build the perfect top bar hive.  Just go to my post $60 top bar hive, where we show you everything you need to know.

We will also be discussing top bar beekeeping in a future post.  So be sure to keep up with our blog to learn more.

Now, the Langstroth hive...

Invented by Rev. Langstroth, this hive is the best selling of all hives. Langstroth's movable frames were a giant leap in beekeeping.

Beekeeping Basics Getting Started
Beekeeping Basics Getting Started

Prior to this, bees were kept in skeps, and had to be killed to remove the honey.

Beekeeping Basics Getting Started

Langstroth's idea meant that, now, the beekeeper doesn't have to kill their beloved insect.

Beekeeping Basics Getting Started

Beekeeping Basics Getting Started

This hive has many different parts that are needed. There are the boxes, both brood ( this is where the young are kept ), and the honey super.  Most beekeepers use two or more of these boxes.

Then, inside the boxes, are ten frames each.  There are many frames to choose from.  We use foundationless frames; this saves a lot of money.

You can choose from foundationless frames, frames that the foundation snaps into, wedge top bar frames for embossed bees wax foundation, or the one piece plastic frame and foundation.

Confusing and very expensive when you figure you will need close to forty per colony. Frames are right around two bucks a piece, and don't forget shipping.  Therefore, we build our own.

Again, we only use foundationless frames in our langs. You can build them for pennies just watch the videos at the bottom of this post.

In addition to frames you will also need a bottom board, an inner cover, an outer cover, a hive stand, an entrance reducer and a queen excluder.  Then you are ready for bees, coming soon in a future post...

Beekeeping Basics Getting Started

We will be discussing Langstroth beekeeping in a later post. So be sure to subscribe, and check in often.

I hope you enjoyed  Beekeeping Basics Getting Started Now here are the Langstroth building videos I promised.

Showcasing bee friendly companies. Lone Star Wind Farm Bee Removal Abilene Tx

Lone Star Wind Farm Bee Removal Abilene Tx
Lone Star Wind Farm Bee Removal Abilene Tx

Located in west Texas 15 miles northeast of Abilene sits Lone Star Wind Farm. Spread across Callahan and Shackelford counties, it sits on ranch land mostly used for oil and cattle production.

Lone Star came in to full energy production in June of 2008. Providing at least 86,000 homes with carbonless energy.

Their do no harm policy makes it an enviornmental masterpiece. We started removing honey bees from their site in 2013, and continue to do so.

Lone Star Wind Farm Bee Removal Abilene Tx
Lone Star Wind Farm Bee Removal Abilene Tx

Our latest removal was from this sub station. The sub station is where the energy produced from the turbines is collected then sent to the grid.

Lone Star Wind Farm Bee Removal Abilene Tx   Lone Star Wind Farm Bee Removal Abilene Tx

Connected to the upright I beams are square pipe. The bees entered thru the weep holes.

This time the colonies needed to be removed. Since we could not cut the structural steel we had to preform a force abscond.

Forced abscond is to get the bees to leave the hive. You can use water or smoke and a bee repellent.

Electricity and water do not mix, so we used smoke and repellent. Not just one colony, there was three.

Each cross member was at least 15 feet long of longer. We had to have one man on the vacuum and the other on the smoker.

Zach, one of Lone Star's workers and I took turns. He vacuumed two colonies and smoked one. I did the others.

Three colonies in all and each took little over four hours to force the bees out.

All three queens came out and the workers. Successfully, we got them hived and they are growing well.

It was not our first time to this sub station. In fact last year we contained these same colonies to replace a bus.

Lone Star Wind Farm Bee Removal Abilene Tx

IRescueBees would like to thank Lone Star Wind Farm for showing care and concern for out enviornment. Keep up the great work and we look forward to serving you in the future.

Cheap beekeeping hives for you. $60 Top Bar Hive

$60 Top Bar Hive

Beekeeping hives and other woodenware is expensive. Shipping is not cheap either.

In order to cut cost and widen our profit margin we now build our on equipment.

Top bar hives require much less attention of the beekeeper than the lang. In fact it is basically load and go.

Yes, they will sometimes cross comb, But that is easy to fix. We will discuss Top Bar hive management in later posts.

Which is better Langstroth Topbar bee hives  $60 Top Bar Hive

The top bar hive is a long box with angled sides. Under the cover are the top bars.

Each bar has a comb guide. Honey bees like to draw comb down in fact they use gravity to let them know the comb is straight.

This hive gives the feeling that they are within a hollow log.

$60 Top Bar Hive

In the video below Dave from Dave's bees give you all the information you need to get started. Dave did a much better job then I could. Thanks Dave.

What tools do I need to build the  $60 Top Bar Hive...

We use one sheet of 3/4 plywood and three eight foot 2x4s. A table saw is needed to rip one 2x4 in to 1x4s.

The remaining 2x4s are for the legs.

You will also need a electric drill, hammer and exterior glue. In case you do not have a table saw your local lumber yard can make the rips in the plywood.

You will need three rips long ways. Two at 11 3/4 and one at 21.

You can download plans for free at

There plans show the legs on the outside. We put them on the inside, this allows the hive to support more weight and last longer.

$60 Top Bar Hive   $60 Top Bar Hive

We also use a flat top, we do not have time to do all the fancy cuts. Lastly, our entrances are only on one end of the box not on the sides.

When you bore the hole for the entrance be sure to angle it so rain does not get in.

Remember to use plywood for the hive body, and cover.

Here is a link to his youtube channel



Learn the Power of the Bee with us, Today's subject,  What is Apitherapy

What is Apitherapy

I have been keeping honey bees for over seventeen years. This endeavor has brought more knowledge than I could have ever imagined.

 What is Apitherapy ...

Api or apis is the latin word for bee. Therapy comes from the Greek word  Therapeuein and means, a method to treat humans and animals against different diseases.

 In other words Bee-therapy.

 What is Apitherapy

Simply put, Apitherapy is the use hive products to prevent, heal or recover man, animals even plants from many diseases and conditions.

"Apitherapy is the Art and Science of treatment and holistic healing through the honeybee and her products for the benefit of mankind and all the animal kingdom."

(Tina Drakes, A.I.C. student, U.K.).

In my twenties I was diagnosed with Fibromyaigia. It is very painful and the older you get the more painful it becomes.

In my late thirties I began keeping bees, but the pain was becoming worse each year.

What is Apitherapy

One day a friend called me and said he had a swarm of bees in his tree. He asked if I would come get them.

Of course I said and I headed to his house.

I did not know they were killer bees. As I went to cage them i got stung close to 100 times.

I looked like I just went swimming in poison oak. It was real ugly.

Two weeks later i noticed that the muscular pain of my Fibromyaigia was gone and I needed no more pain meds.

Please do not try that at home.

What are the different hive products...

Royal jelly, propolis, honey, beeswax and bee hive air. All of these have healing properties That we will discuss in later post.

Needless to say there is also bee venom. Mainstream science has proven that bee venom kills HIV and cancer cells.

If you found this post helpful then please leave a comment. If you have any questions or want to suggest a topic you can leave them in the comment section below.


IRescueBees showing you how to successfully increase your colonies in this simple course  Beekeeping Basics Walk Away Splits

Splits are an essential part of increasing you colonies. This is when you take a strong colony of bees and make into two.

Here at IRescueBees we split our strongest colonies in Fall. Just after the summer harvest.

Why split in fall...

After the summer flow honey bee populations are at there highest. Plenty of brood and workers to properly feed the virgin.

Therefore, a properly feed queen will be at peak egg production to ensure a strong spring build up.

Preforming splits in the spring mean a late build up and a smaller honey crop.

Beekeeping Basics Walk Away Splits  how to...

Using only your strongest hives, two brood boxes full of brood. Make sure that the top box has open brood and nurse bees.

Placing a bottom next to the hive you want to split. Take the top box and place on the empty bottom board.

Put a new cover on the other box and there you go. A Walk away split.

Beekeeping Basics Walk Away Splits   Beekeeping Basics Walk Away Splits


No need to look for the queen because the box without a queen will draw out another. If no open brood is in top box then add a cou;le frames from the bottom.

Tips for increasing success rates...

Tricks we use at IRescuebees gives us a 100% success rate.

Setting the top box to the side.Evenly divide honey, pollen, capped brood and uncapped brood into both boxes.

We shake the bees off the frames that we put in one of the two boxes. Be sure to shake the bees at the entrance of the bottom box.

Pollen frames must be between the capped brood and the honey frames. Uncapped brood must be in the middle.

Remove the bottom box with all the bees and set it on the empty bottom board. Place the top box without the bees and place where the colony was originally.

Beekeeping Basics Walk Away Splits    Beekeeping Basics Walk Away Splits

The foragers will orientate to where the hive originally was and will quickly take over nurse bee duties.

The secret to getting quality queens...

Proper feed of the queen larva is vitally important to the colony as a whole. This will ensure that the queen has properly developed ovaries and will lay abundant eggs for several years.

The must be fed 9 days before capping. Any less then that and her ovaries will not develop properly.

On the fourth day after the split check for queen cells. If you find any that are capped at this time cut them out. ( the larva was only fed for seven days not nine.)

Leave the uncapped queen cell at this time to develop. That is the secret to getting a quality queen.

Thanks for reading  Beekeeping Basics Walk Away Splits

Check back with us every week for new information on beekeeping, apitherapy and bee removals.

If you have any questions, comments or topic suggestions leave them in the comment section below.

Other fall duties...

Consider setting propolis traps for a Autumn cash crop.






Fall Propolis Season  is just around the corner. Time to start preparing for the harvest.

Fall Propolis Season


Great Ancient civilizations knew of the power of the bees. Especially Propolis and was used as medicine by all three.

By the middle ages propolis was all but forgotten. In todays antibiotic resistant bacteria world medical research is looking to honey bee products for the answers.

Studies have shown that propolis protects injured teeth, helps to recover from food borne illnesses. Propolis kills bacteria even colon and prostate cancer cells.

What is Propolis?

Made of tree sap and honey bee enzymes Propolis is used to keep the hive sterile. It is the sticky substance that glues it all together.

Every part of the interior of the hive is varnished with it. Not liking drafts or light honey bees chaulk these cracks and gaps with propolis.

Fall Propolis Season

Fall Propolis Season  lets get started...

Yes you can scrape your equipment of propolis but scrapings contain lots of wax.

Premium propolis is caught in traps. Of which there is many including DIY. Window screen and shade cloth.

Amazingly enough Dadant has a Propolis trap I consider the best.

These already have the 1 cm space needed above the top bars.

 Fall Propolis Season  Fall Propolis Season

Installation of propolis traps needs to be one week before fall. Fall is when honey bees begin to winterize and waterproof the hive.

Placing the trap on top of the brood chamber ( lip side down ) lay a couple sticks or some type of prop to let sunlight in and a draft. The bees will quickly fill it.

Placing a rock or brick on the cover will deep it from blowing away.

Once the trap is full remove it and replace with  an empty one. Continue this process until a week before winter then remove all traps and close the hive.

Roll your full traps ( lip side in ) place in trash bag and freeze for 24 hours. After freezing unroll trap and slap on a hard surface.

Clean propolis in a cold water bath. The wax and trash will float to the top and the propolis will sink.

Manufactures will pay up to $21 pr pound or you can sell it on ebay for up to $50 pr pound,\.