Farm | Food | Nature

Notes from Nature: Beekeeping 101

At Kiawah River, we are buzzing to tell you about our resident beehives and how you can take up the hobby of beekeeping right in your own backyard. Kiawah River’s resident beekeeper, Chuck Hudspeth, is responsible for maintaining our six beehives, each of which houses up to 50,000 bees and produces our famous Golden Honey. Before you set out to build your hive, check out these tips below for what to do, and what not to do, to start harvesting delicious honey in your own backyard.  

Beehive design: The first step in beekeeping is deciding which type of beehives you want to use. The main three types of beehives are the Langstroth, the Warré and the Top Bar. Featuring removable frames for bees to comb in, the Langstroth hive consists of boxes that stack on top of each other and is the most common style in use today. Like the Langstroth, the Warré design style features stacked boxes and is attractive to most beginner beekeepers because it requires less ongoing maintenance than the Langstroth, with additional boxes being easier to add. Lastly, the Top Bar hive consists of one long box, offering a simpler design and an attractive option to beekeepers not wanting to lift heavy boxes, as with the Langstroth hive. With the Top Bar, no foundation is needed to get started.  

Location: While bees can live in almost any location, choosing the right spot for your beehives is incredibly important. Some counties or municipalities have laws regarding beekeeping, such as how many hives you can keep and annual registration fees, so it’s important to consult your community before building your hive. It is also important to consider the bees’ flight path from their food source to the hive, and to make sure they can fly freely without disturbing you or your pets.   

Food source: Bees rely on nectar and pollen to survive, so ensuring that plenty of flower nectar is nearby will help your beehive thrive. Chuck warns that it can be difficult to plant enough of a nectar source for a healthy hive, so check to see what nectar sources are growing nearby. Additionally, a honey’s taste is a direct result of a bee’s nectar source—just like grapes with wine – so having nearby food sources is vital for obtaining perfectly delicious golden honey.

With plenty of produce for pollinating and wildflowers filled with sweet nectar, Kiawah River provides the perfect environment for our honey-producing bees year-round. Stop by to try our famous Golden Honey and see how our bees thrive under Chuck’s guidance!