Finding Beekeeping Supplies Indiana Way

By Larry Hamilton

Looking for a hobby, a way to make a difference, a way to save the planet, a way to supplement your income? Creating and caring for a beehive is a way to do all of this at once. Bees are jewels in nature's cap and vital to its balance. Buying American-made beekeeping supplies Indiana way helps the economy, too.

There is both help and information waiting at your local extension agency. This outreach of your state universities loves to help people start with bees. They will put you in touch with dedicated volunteers who've had years of hand-on experience.

Help is as close as your local extension office. State universities reach out to communities through these offices, and volunteers sign up to help people get started in various agricultural fields. Lots of people want to help others keep bees.

Some of the things you'll need to have a home apiary include the hive (outer box) that shelters the colony, the frames that you stack on top of each other, and the feeders that provide extra nutrition during hot, dry spells or the colder months. There are various sizes of frames, from deep ones for the 'brood' (eggs and larvae) to shallow ones that hold the honeycomb. Beginner's kits are available to make getting started easier.

Special tools have been developed to make opening the hives easier. It's necessary to inspect the colony periodically to make sure all is well. You also will want to harvest the honey. Special brushes help move bees out of your way, chemical or natural remedies help control mites and other parasites that can harm the colony, and feeders make it easier to carry the hive through dry spells or cold snaps.

If you work with honeybees, you'll want protective clothing. Most beekeepers wear complete suits to protect them from stings. There are hats with secure veils, body suits, and gloves. These come in sizes for adults and children. Almost all of our honeybees are imported (the native honeybees are afflicted with disease and are rarely found) and remarkably docile, but they can still get upset.

If you want to help pollinators but don't want to harvest honey, you can make a place for the native Mason bee. These tiny bees are solitary rather than living in colonies. They can sting but rarely do so, and they are so small that their sting is insignificant. Mason bees are very low maintenance, needing only a hole in the wood of a sunny spot, where their larvae are protected from rain. They range about 100 yards, so they are happy with a all-season border of flowers, herbs, and shrubs.

It is so important for home gardeners to have pollinators for their flowers, trees, and orchards that more of us should make a place for bees. Whether you live in Indiana, on the east coast, or by the Pacific Ocean, this is a way to help counter the assault of pesticides and loss of habitat on these important insects. It's also a way to introduce children to the wonderful world of nature, to produce honey for you and your neighbors, or to make sure native species thrive in today's world.

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