Beginning with Bees

Keeping bees can be a fascinating and profitable hobby in Louisiana. Start with one or two colonies and, as you learn the mechanics of beekeeping, establish additional colonies. Two or three colonies of bees in a good location, properly cared for, should provide enough honey for your family and some to give to friends and neighbors.

Beekeeping requires some heavy lifting and constant attention to the needs of the hives. Unless you are physically able to lift heavy supers (hive bodies) and willing to accept occasional stings, you should not attempt to keep honeybees.

The valleys of the Mississippi, Red and Atchafalaya rivers are the most productive honey-producing areas of the state. Bees however, can be kept successfully just about anywhere. Since bees are easily killed by insecticides, locate colonies some distance from crops subject to pesticide application.

Honeybees (Apis mellifera L.) are not native to the Western Hemisphere. Hives of bees were brought to the Virginia Colony from England in 1622 and to Florida, possibly by the Spaniards from Cuba, in the 16th and 17th centuries. How they reached our state—by swarming or in box hives transported by early settlers—is not known, but honey and wax were found in Louisiana in 1804.

Excerpted from “Beginning with Bees” published by the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, authored by Dr. D. K. Pollet, LSU AgCenter Entomology Professor & Dr. E. A. Cancienne, Agricultural Research Service (retired). 

To download a PDF of “Beginning with Bees” click here.

Beekeepers in Louisiana must register hives with the Department of Agriculture & Forestry. Click here for more information.