12 Steps to Becoming a Beekeeper

 

1. Find out if you are allowed

Not all cities are honeybee friendly, most are silent on the issue and those who are open to it are the exception. Cities, counties, neighborhoods are all different so check them all. 

2. Read books, blogs and forums

Beekeeping has become extremely popular in the past 5 years, which means there are lots of information available on the web. I vastly underestimated how valuable forms are. Put a question on there and you will have several answers in 24 hours. I huge source of information when you wan't lots of specific answers and nobody to ask.

My favorite books are: "Top-bar hive beekeeping," by Mangum, "Practical Beekeeper" by Bush

My favorite blogs are: Linda's Bees, Honey Bee Suite and

My favorite forums are: Bee Source and Bee Master

3. Find a course locally or online 

You can't beat actually meeting beekeepers in your area. Its a huge resource to have because all beekeepers and locations are different. Can't find one locally? Check out some online courses. I found a 4 week video chat course from Brushy Mountain FOR FREE!

4. Visit another beekeepers hives

You can read 10 beekeeping books or you can visit one beekeepers hive. Even if the bees aren't flying, there is so much to learn from seeing another beekeepers hives. Beekeeping is as much a art as a science, and its amazing to watch an experienced beekeeper handle their bees. 

5. Ask your neighbors how they feel

Your neighbor holds the trump card. Even if it's legal on your property, it's important to be a good neighbor. Want to be on the fast lane to being disappointed, keep bees right next to your neighbors fence. Talk with your neighbors about what they think and educated them as you educate yourself. It's more important in suburban/urban settings than in rural areas. A little promised honey will grease the wheels. 

6. Find a location for your bees

Location will dictate whether you have a good experience or a bad experience with your bees. If they are difficult to get to or in the way, thats not good. Bees also struggle more in shaded areas than in sunny areas. 

7. Decide on your beekeeping goals

Whether you want bees for pollination or for honey will dictate the equipment you buy. Top bars are typically easier to handle and access if you want pollination and a little honey. If you want lots of honey are don't mind lifting, langstroth hives are a better option. 

8. Find someone to help you

If you start keeping bees, you are guaranteed to have questions. Find somebody to ask when you need help. A quick text and a picture will save you a headache later. 

9. Order your bees

There are many ways to obtain bees, but beginners have only a few reasonable ones. Packages and nucs are the traditional way. Nucleus hives are more user friendly and packages are easier and cheaper to obtain. Bees sell out quickly, so order yours before the end of January to have any shot at getting some the easy way.

10. Order your equipment

Equipment can be hard to get as well, so order yours just after you get your bees. Most equipment requires assembly, so build it before they come or you are going to be a big stinging heap of trouble.

11. Keep, watch and inspect your bees

Easier said than done, but it's the fun part. 

12. Help your bees survive through the winter and into spring

Most bees die during the winter, specifically the month leading up to spring weather. Until your bees survive their first winter, you are a bee haver. After you get them through their first winter, you could then become a beekeeper.

Happy Beekeeping