If your interest in honeybees has grown to more than just a casual curiosity, you might find yourself considering becoming an amateur beekeeper. Beekeeping is a fascinating hobby and, for many people, it can be much more than that. It is a way to make a living.
While beekeeping is a fun way to spend time with bees, it can be very challenging! Beekeeping requires a lot of learning and a great deal of hard work. Experienced beekeepers agree that beginners will go through a lot of trial and error, frustration and confusion. But, the effort is all worth it!
If you are thinking about dabbling in beekeeping, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you get started on the right foot.
How to Get Started in Beekeeping
Find a beekeeping mentor.
One of the first things you should do is find a beekeeping mentor. Better yet, find multiple people you can refer to for advice when starting out on your own beekeeping journey. Experienced beekeepers can help you avoid some of the common pitfalls that many amateurs encounter. They can suggest the best equipment, refer you to other professionals and be there as a sounding board for your questions and frustrations.
Forums are a great way to connect with your fellow beekeepers. You can also reach out to your local apiaries, live bee removal companies and other bee professionals who are dialed in to the honeybee community.
When starting out in beekeeping, there is a lot to learn. And just like any new endeavor, the more knowledge you have, the better equipped you will be for success. An amateur beekeeper should know about bee biology, including their life cycles, roles in the hive and behaviors. You should also research how to raise bees humanely and understand their important role in pollination and our agricultural system.
Luckily, there are tons of resources available (many of which are free) to begin to learn about beekeeping responsibly. Beekeeping blogs, forums and books can be great places to start to gather information. There are also plenty of reputable books available online or at the library to give you the strong foundational knowledge you need. Check your local area for beekeeping classes. They also offer virtual learning opportunities.
One of the best ways to learn about bees is to observe them in their natural habitat! By spending some time observing a colony, you can find out a lot about their behavior, patterns and schedules. A more experienced beekeeper may allow you to observe their hive and maybe even help you interpret their behavior!
Obtain the right equipment.
Choosing the right equipment from the start can help you raise responsible and healthy bees. As a newbie, you will want to do your research and consult with your beekeeping mentors to decide what equipment is required. There are multiple hive styles and lots of protective equipment to consider, so getting help early will help you start up quickly.
You may be considering purchasing used equipment to save money, which is smart when you are starting a new hobby. However, be careful when purchasing second-hand equipment. Sometimes used equipment can have problems that can impact the health and safety of your hive. Have an experienced beekeeper take a look at any used equipment you are planning on using to ensure that it is in good condition.
Are you ready to start your beekeeping journey?
We hope these three tips help you get started in the wonderful hobby of beekeeping. Beekeeping can be challenging, but very rewarding. Getting the right education and finding a trusted mentor are vital for starting off right. And remember, you will make mistakes and that’s ok! All new beekeepers learn from their mistakes, so be patient with yourself and your bees.