Regardless of what people say, the art of beekeeping is lots of work. If you think about it, bees are little stinging insects that do whatever they want, and your job is to keep them safe, alive, disease free, and give them the space and resources they need. It sounds a lot like parenting, and it is! Some beekeepers make taking care of their hives much more complicated than needed, unnecessarily torturing themselves in the process. Since bees have a natural course of things and are efficient at caring for themselves and their queen, keeping beekeeping simple is the best way to enjoy your hobby in the beginning.
Expect the Unexpected in Beekeeping
One of the devastating things you may hear about or experience firsthand as a beekeeper is checking on your hives that were fine a couple of weeks prior, only to find the colony decimated. Busy and thriving hives one week may end up full of dead bees, and thriving pests can break a beekeeper’s heart. One thing you must accept in beekeeping is to expect the unexpected, try to roll with the punches, and not get discouraged.
Hives should be inspected often, and new beekeepers should never assume that the colony is doing well. Opening a hive frequently as a new beekeeper can be intimidating, but outside activity is never a clear indication of the hives’ health inside.
Beekeepers, especially those new to the hobby, are often consumed with doing everything right with their hives. However, instead of over-complicating it, it is usually better not to do the wrong things. Allow the bees to guide you and do their thing. There are a few things that beekeepers should refrain from doing to give their hives the best chance.
New Beekeepers Should Not Build Their Own Hives
Beekeepers always hope to build their own hives, but skip this step unless you have a woodworking and cabinet-making background. There are other ways to personalize your hives without the frustration of trying to build your own hives in the beginning. Many choose this path because beekeeping equipment is expensive, but buying your first hives and frames will save you money, time, and frustration.
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New Beekeepers Should Stick to What’s Popular
Although there is a temptation to buy what is on sale or less used in beekeeping, once you venture off the beaten path when it comes to equipment, there are fewer and fewer people that can help. Local beekeepers are always happy to help a fellow beekeeper. Still, if you are using something unfamiliar, they will be limited to how much light they can shed to help with whatever issues or concerns you have. So, the advice is to buy what is popular, so if you have questions, any local beekeeper can help guide you. Buy standard sizes so frames are easy to find and replace when necessary.
Start simple, and you can always add other equipment brands as you gain more experience.
New Beekeepers Should Not Isolate Themselves
A valuable piece of advice to new beekeepers is not to isolate and try to do it alone. The first year of beekeeping is inevitably the most challenging, and having chats with other local beekeepers can be insightful and take the guessing out of your area’s unique BEE-havior and tendencies. Beekeepers love to share their experiences. You are not obligated to incorporate every piece of advice given or agree with everything they say, but knowledge about what is typical for your area is power. Connecting with local beekeepers in your area is always wise – it will ultimately make you a better beekeeper!
However, on the other hand, do not take everybody’s advice – it will be impossible to make a decision! Gather information and then do what is best for your hives. There are countless blogs, bee forums, and organizations that have decades of experience, but if you feel uncomfortable or ridiculed, move on before you get confused!
New Beekeepers Should Do Their Research
A plethora of information is available geared to beginning beekeepers, and it is a good idea to have the basics down before getting your first hive. Starting this hobby with no knowledge is unwise and will likely make you decide it is not for you. Educate yourself and find easy-to-follow guidelines to start your new hobby. Additionally, learn the basics of how to care for frames. Although you do not want to take everyone’s advice or critiques, going into the process blind is a mistake.
If you determine that beekeeping is not a fit for your lifestyle and need to have the bees removed and relocated, contact a local bee removal company to relocate them humanely and frequently visit for local honey and other bee products that your hives possibly contributed to creating!