Beginner Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I get beekeeping supplies in NB?
Where can I buy bees?
You can contact the above two suppliers, and in addition Paul Vautour in Moncton. He has nucs available after June 1st. Email: email@example.com, phone: 506-388-5127.
How much honey can I expect to get?
It will depend on the strength of your colony, your location, and the weather. Beyond that, it will depend how much you take and how much you leave for the bees. If you take half what they make, you might expect 20-35 lbs per hive in a decent location and with average weather. With a really good location and good weather you might get double that.
Am I likely to get stung a lot?
Not usually. If you wear protective equipment, smoke your bees, and work them carefully in good weather, you are not likely to get stung much at all.
Can I keep bees where I live?
Probably. In rural areas no issues are normally found. Some municipalities may technically not allow for it, but acceptance of beekeeping is generally on the increase.
How much does it cost to get started?
Have a look here. It pays to shop around. Whatever you do, expect to pay at least $400-500 to get started with bees, a hive and basic gear. If you make your own equipment you can save some money.
What kind of bees are best in NB?
Locally bred ones that have survived multiple years in your area. These can be hard to find, but talk to some local beekeepers.
What sort of location is best to set up a hive?
A sunny, well-drained location with shelter to the north and west is good. Avoid soft or low-lying ground. You need good access to take your gear to and fro. Somewhere you can drive right up to is handy. A less than perfect site can still be used. Avoid putting hives close to dwellings and swimming pools, or in places exposed to winter winds.
How can I get help?
Go to the CBA meetings and talk to the members there. You should be able to make contact with some local beekeepers who can help you.
What are the NB regulations on keeping bees?
The regulations are simple. You need to register your colonies each spring. The details can be found here.
What are the best flowers/plants for bees?
Clovers, asters, sumac, willows, dandelions, sunflowers, anything in the mint family and basswood trees are all very good. "Weeds" are often better than ornamental flowers. Watch what blooms in your area and note down periods when there isn't much flowering. Try to plant things that are useful to bees and that bloom in those 'gap' periods.
What are some of the best beekeeping books for beginners?
Have a look at this list. Read all you can, but remember all beekeeping is local. Books written by authors in different countries may have useful information, but their methods may not apply in NB. Local advice is most valuable.
What are the main problems keeping bees in NB?
Probably winter survival and control of varroa mites.....the main problems in most parts of Canada.
How far will my bees fly to collect nectar and pollen?
It depends on what is available in your location. Bees will go further to rich, abundant nectar sources like a grove of basswood trees or a field of clover in bloom. They will almost certainly go several kilometres, and might go as far as 5.
How many hives should I start out with?
If you can set up at least two, you will have some insurance against loss, and be able to compare and learn from their different progress and behaviours. With only one hive, you have nothing to compare with, and if they die the first winter, you are back to square one with no bees.
I have a question that's not on this FAQ!
There are extensive sources of information on line. For example, over the years the Beesource beekeeping forums have probably addressed almost every question that you can think of, so a search there can often be helpful. Just remember that non-local advice may not apply exactly to your situation. Ask at a CBA meeting for some local insights.