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    What’s All the Buzz? It’s Time for Bees!

    Tractor Supply Co. is the one-stop shop for all of your beekeeping needs. If you’re new to beekeeping or just want to learn more, check out the articles below. There’s something for every beekeeping level – from beginner to experienced.

    Don’t forget to check out our full line of beekeeping supplies. From suits to frames to honey extractors, Tractor Supply Co. has you covered.

    5 Reasons To Raise Bees

    5 Reasons To Raise Bees

    Your gardens and orchard will yield much more if you have your own army of pollinators to fertilize plants and fruit trees. 

    See if these five reasons don’t get you thinking about having a hive or two of your own: 

    1. Beekeeping is not labor intensive

      Bees do not require daily care like animals. Plan to spend an hour
      or two per week for honeybees and about a couple of hours per year for solitary bees, says Jay Williams, owner of Williams Honey Farm in Franklin, Tenn. 

    2. Bees are not picky about where they live

      Bees are equally at home in the city or the country. If you live in an area that produces flowering plants, shrubs, and trees, you can keep bees. 

    Read More

    Neonicotinoid Pesticides

    Tractor Supply has been actively engaged in monitoring the decline in the honey-bee population and understanding the potential impact of a number of factors, including neonicotinoid (neonics) pesticides, on honey bee reproduction.  We are committed to doing our part to support a healthy honey-bee population and have taken the following steps to safeguard the health of bees and other pollinators:

      • In 2016, we conducted a comprehensive review of our lawn and garden product line and removed all products containing neonics. We are continuing to monitor our lawn and garden products to ensure they do not contain neonics.  
      • Working with the suppliers of our live goods, we have determined that most of these suppliers do not use neonics on the live goods we sell and we have directed all of our live goods suppliers to phase out the use of neonics by 2019 to the extent suitable alternatives are available.
      • We have reviewed the products we sell outside of the lawn and garden assortment to determine whether any of these products contain neonics.  For the few remaining products that do, we have worked with the supplier to ensure that bees and other pollinators are not likely to come into contact with these products.  In 2016, these products represented less than 0.0001% of total company sales.  
      • We are actively promoting healthy beekeeping by expanding customer education on our website on beekeeping and planting pollinator friendly gardens.  
      • We have begun selling bees directly to customers through our website and expanded our assortment of beekeeping products in stores and on-line.  We have also increased our promotional activities related to bees and beekeeping products. 

    Tractor Supply will continue to monitor developments in bee reproduction research and review the products and information we offer customers to support a healthy honey-bee and wild pollinator population.        


    How Do You Start Beekeeping?

    How Do You Start Beekeeping?

    Thinking about becoming a beekeeper but you're not sure where to start. The easiest way to begin beekeeping is to purchase our Just Add Bee Backyard Beekeeper Kit. It has everything you need to start.

    The items that you will need to start beekeeping are:

    Bee Hive" Category

    (1) Entrance Reducer
    (2) Wasatch Flat Hive Top
    (1) Inner Cover

    Read More


    Package Bee Installation Steps

    Step 1 – Place your package bees in a cool dark room until evening (1/2 hour before sunset) especially southern states where day time temp’s are extremely hot.

    Step 2 - Carefully use a flat head screw driver or hive tool to pry the feeder can loose and slide it up and out of the box, placing a barrier over the hole to keep the majority of your bees in their box also makes things easier at this stage.

    Step 3 – You will also notice a strap or string attached to the top of the box which leads into the hole where the feed can was. This strap holds a small cage containing your queen bee. Carefully detach the strap and remove queen cage containing the queen bee. Remember to a put a barrier back over the hole again to keep the rest of your bees contained for now.

    Step 4 – Upon inspection of the queen cage you will notice a small cork placed in a hole on one side. This will eventually be the exit for your queen as she enters the hive with the rest of the bees; however, it is extremely important that the bees be given a chance to accept their new queen. This is accomplished over a period of several days as the hive works to free the queen. To facilitate this, carefully use a knife or other suitable tool to pry out the cork but above all, DO NOT RELEASE THE QUEEN. You must keep the queen bee contained in her cage by blocking the cork hole with your thumb after removing the cork. Replace the cork with a marshmallow, piece of nougat or other soft candy for the bees to eat their way through as they free the queen over the next few days.

    Step 5 - Use a staple or thumb tack to attach the queen cage, with your new marshmallow, nougat or other soft candy plug on the center frame in the middle of the hive box. Be sure that the screened sides of the cage are facing out.

    Step 6 – Pull a frame or two from your hive body and set them aside nearby. This makes room while you introduce the bees.

    Step 7 - Remove the barrier covering the feeder can hole in the top of your box of bees and ‘pour’ the bees over the frames into the hive body. It’s ok to bump the box in order to shake the bees out as they clump together.

    Step 8 - Once most of the bees are out of the box and in or on the hive body, gently place the frames you removed back into the hive body, the bees will move to accommodate them. Then set the package box on its side, on top of the open hive body to allow any remaining bees to move inside.

    Step 9 - After 20 minutes to an hour, shake out any remaining bees and place the top and inner covers on the hive body. Next, place the entrance reducer in place with the smallest entry open to keep predators out and to make the hive easier to defend. Then, Remove the bee box and feeding can from the vicinity of the hive in order to prevent the bees from mistakenly attempting to re-establish their home in the shipping box.

    Step 10 - That’s it! Your bees have been introduced to their new home. It is now very important that they not be checked or disturbed in any way for a minimum of 7 days. Interfering with the hive before this time has lapsed may result in rejection and death of the queen.


    How and Why to Use a Smoker

    Beekeeping goes with smoking like peanut butter goes with jelly. They just work. There are many reasons that you should smoke your bees while checking your hive(s). The primary reason is the masking of pheromones — for example: the pheromone that guard bees excrete when they smell your pheromones as you approach or the pheromones that bees excrete when they are inadvertently killed during the inspection, as well as the pheromone that a bee will excrete if you are stung during the inspection.

    Read More

    A Day in the Life of Honey Bees

    The honey bee hive is one of the best run, most efficient operations in existence. It is no wonder that the beehive has long been a representation for industry. There are three main types of bees: queen, drone, and worker bee. Every bee in the hive has a distinct role and a job to perform.

    Read More

    What to Do If You Are Stung

    We are not medical personnel, and we do not make any claims as such. We have, however, experienced our share of stings and reactions, and this is what our experience has been.

     

    When you are a beekeeper, bee stings are inevitable. It is the same concept as getting burned while cooking: it shouldn't be a common occurrence when taking proper precautions, but on the occasion that it does happen, knowing what to do will help. 

     

    Wearing proper clothing will help to decrease the occurrences of bee stings. We suggest that you wear a full bee suit with a protective hood and gloves. A proper fitting bee suit will be loose fitting. Remember a bee can only sting what it can grab on to; therefore, it is not the density of the clothing that provides protection but the looseness, which prevents the sting from reaching your skin.

    Read More

    Installing your Honeybees in a new hive

    If you are like most new beekeepers, receiving your bees is new and exciting. You can help ensure a positively successful experience by having your hives set up and ready to go with a full feeder before the bees arrive.

     

    Read More

    Photo and Story by Harvest Lane Honey

    What To Do With Your Honey

    After extraction comes the very best part of beekeeping — fresh, raw, unaltered honey. Honey is one of the rare foods that have no expiration date. Most people don't realize that raw honey will crystallize. The simplest storage method for your honey will depend on how you plan on using your honey. Here are a couple of suggestions:

    Bulk Storage

    If you don't plan on consuming a lot of honey, and primarily want to have your honey for food storage or stock piling, then we suggest storing it in the 5 gallon bucket with the honey gate. Make sure the honey gate is locked tight!

    Individual storage

    If you want to use you honey frequently, then we suggest bottling your honey in smaller amounts by using HLH Honey Bears or canning jars. We prefer to store our extra reserves in the freezer. It helps defer crystallization, and as the honey thaws, the honey will nearly always be liquefied.

    Excess honey makes great gifts. At Christmas time, Harvest Lane Honey neighbors always find themselves with a bottle of honey. Nothing makes a sweeter gift.

    If you decide that you want to sell your honey at fairs, markets, or stores, you must check your state and local laws regarding resale and bottling.