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There is a lot of hype buzzin around in our area about bees. We live in a very environmental friendly area of Wisconsin and they love bees! There are several companies in Madison that specialize in beekeeping, honey production and pollination. With all the excitement, we decided it might be worth getting into. We have enough room and we have a garden. This could be beneficial on both ends.

Honey bee hovering near blue-eyed grass flower

Santa Barbara, California, USA — Honey bee hovering near blue-eyed grass flower — Image by © Ralph Clevenger/Corbis

So I signed up for a class at Mad Urban Bees in Madison, WI and thought I’d share some of my findings with you.

First of all, if you are considering beekeeping like we are, let me tell you, there is a lot more to it than just tossing a hive out on your property with some bees in it. I’m really glad I took this class and even though it was extremely informational, I realize this is going to be a learning process.

Here are some of the basics:

  1. Bees need to have a source of water year round. This can be as simple as a birdbath or fountain feature in your backyard or as elaborate as a creek or pond.
  2. Locate your beehive in partial to full sun along a tree line or windbreak on your property. Preferably with the entrance to the hive facing South.
  3. It’s possible to get 2-3ga of honey per year from 1 beehive. This is considered a very good yield.
  4. 1 beehive can produce 1lb of wax per year.
  5. Bees will fly 25miles to eat if necessary. So if you have 50 miles of corn surrounding your property, plant some veggies and flowers for your bees to munch on.
  6. Bees are like chickens, they base their day around the sun. When the sun goes up, they wake up. When the sun sets, they go to bed too.
  7. Minimum Safety Equipment:
    1. Hood with a screen
    2. Gloves up past your elbows
    3. Bee smoker
  8. Bees attack Eyes, Nose & Ears first! Protect your face!!
  9. Bees react less to light colors, wear white or lighter colored clothing.

Here are some plants/flowers that Bees like:trees for bees

For a great list check out this site: http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/flower_insects/insects/bees.htm

Here is what a typical beehive looks like.


There is a whole process of starting with one box, then when the time is right to add another and again another before you get to the harvesting point. But we’ll save that for another post sometime.

As for now, we have ordered our first set of bees, due end of April early May! We are very excited to give this a try. If its a success then we’ll try venturing into selling honey, making lip balm and maybe some candles!