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PENNED IN - All about the BEES

Posted by Jamie Whitbeck, JAG Products, Inc. on

Adding Apiary to the bucket list!

By Jamie Whitbeck

I've never owned a hive before, so I am a rookie bee keeper excited to be embarking on a fascinating journey.  I decided to get involved when I read about the dangerous decline of bees, and I felt a “calling” to learn more about it.  Over the past six months I have noticed the number of hive boxes increasing at farms and rural roads in my community. I have been paying close attention to location and placement of hives and what others seem to be using for supplies. I have to admit, I now have a new appreciation for people that are bee keepers, and the realization of why it is so vital. I’ve decided to do my part and give Apiary (bee keeping) a go! 

According to the US Department of Agriculture, pollinators include: bees, butterflies, moths, wasps, flies, beetles, ants, bats, and hummingbirds. The animal pollinators are important for 35% of global crop production. But, the number of honey bee colonies is in decline due to loss of habitat and disease. I’ll be honest, I knew bees were in decline, but I didn’t truly understand the impact. The article went on to say that native bees contribute an estimated $3 billion worth of crop pollination annually to the US economy.

Independent bee keeping has become a popular hobby for some, and a thriving business for others. I tip my hat to all of them. Without bees, our food supply, crops, flowers, berries, and orchards are definitely impacted. Placement for a successful hive to thrive is critical. The control of disease is also a number one priority. So good hive maintenance is very important to the hive, and also to us humans. If you are a first timer like me, then working with a local bee supplier or bee association is a great resource to learn more about Apiary, and how to get started the correct way.

Keep in mind that hive ownership is an investment, and should be treated as such. In order to protect your investment a commonly used and critical element for helping to keep hives safe and secure is with electric fencing. Electric fencing set up correctly around hive boxes is used as a preventative to keep predatory animals out of the hives. It is important for Bee Keepers to understand the local predators that are in the area that could be destructive to the hive boxes and fence appropriately.

Checking with your local DNR office, or Game Warden can help provide more information for wildlife in your area that may be more prone to getting into hive boxes. Especially for bears! 

The output charge of the fence energizer needs to be strong enough for the predator to feel it and move away from the fence.  Having the right amount of ground rods depending on your soil type will also help with the voltage strength.  Knowing the types of predatory animals that can come in contact with the fence around the hive will make it easier for you to determine how many strands of charged wire your fence needs.  Raccoons and Foxes hunt with their noses to the ground, so having the bottom wire hot is important to consider.  The fence should be free of debris and checked regularly, and also have a minimum height of 3 feet.  

Ahh ha…Something I do know a thing or two about…Insulators. Electric fence insulators help to keep the hot-wire from grounding out, and also hold the wire securely away from the metal T-post or Wood Post.

JAG Products, Inc. has unique electric fence insulators that are strong, durable, and versatile. Better yet, the GLOW for increased visibility!! How cool would that BEE!

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Happy bee keeping to you all! 

I look forward to sharing my journey with you, and please contact me to share your tips to maintaining a successful hive! Email: jwhitbeck77@gmail.com