New Beekeepers & Beginnings
The lure of a raising your own bees and producing honey is a strong one. It is too much for some people to resist. Beekeeping is a wonderful hobby and brings enjoyment to many of us. But before you get too excited, every new beekeeper should take some time to prepare.
Each Spring brings a new crop of flowers, tree leaves, baby animals and yes, new beekeepers.
Those of us who have been in beekeeping for a while enjoy seeing the enthusiasm of this group. And it enables us to relive that thrill again. Thinking about bees in the Spring is great.
But if you are serious about purchasing bees, planning should start in the Fall. And don’t forget to give your family a wish list for Christmas gifts!
Your Beekeeping Goals Matter
Becoming a beekeeper is best accomplished in steps. Spend some time thinking about bees and about your goals. Not just getting the bees but also about the time you will need to manage them.
Why do you want honey bees ? Your goals are important. Beekeeping has changed over the last 25 years.
Some of new beekeepers will continue in the beekeeping industry for years and some will wear the title of “beekeeper” for a much shorter time.
Honey bees themselves may be the same as they were thousands of years ago but the environment is not the same.
New beekeepers will learn how seasonal weather patterns can affect the development of the colony.
Weather and bee health also play a large role in the amount of surplus honey “if any” is produced each year.
Managing honey bees is fun, exciting, wondrous, awesome, frustrating, aggravating and all of those emotions can happen in just one day !
Educate Yourself – Common New Beekeeper Tasks
My Beekeeping Journal was developed to help new beekeepers. More than a diary, this booklet has writing space for recording keeping and a bee task calendar.
What Every New Beekeeper Needs to Consider
Are you allergic to honey bees ? Many people think they are – but they really are not.
It is common to have redness and swelling from a bee sting. This usually goes away after a day or so. However, some people are very allergic and can have systemic reactions to stings such as trouble breathing.
If this is you (or members of your family) you need to carefully consider whether or not beekeeping is for you.
We do have allergic beekeepers who dress to greatly minimize sting threats but be aware of these issues before you invest in the hobby.
P.S. Honeybee venom has a different protein than Yellow Jacket venom . You can be allergic to one and not the other. Get it checked out by medical professionals.
Location – Do you have a nice “mostly sunny” location to place your hives ? Away from the general activity area of your family and neighborhood ?
Are there any laws or homeowner regulations that would prevent you from having bees ?
Do you have a water source for your bees (other than the neighbors swimming pool) ? Many factors go into finding the best location for a beehive.
Motives And Goals Matter
What are your motives? If your only interest in beekeeping is to make money or save money on honey, I can tell you straight off that there are easier ways to do it.
I am not trying to keep all the profit for myself (profit ? have I had any ? LOL) but beekeeping is really hard work and much of it has to be done during the hot sticky Carolina summer.
Having managed bee colonies for several years and as a part-time employee at a bee supply company, I can honestly say that few people really make a financial profit from beekeeping.
However, if you love the survival aspect of producing some of your own food or just enjoy the idea of providing increased pollination for your vegetable gardens or orchards, beekeeping may be the answer.
Be realistic in your expectations and you are in for a wonderful education of bee culture.
Read, study, learn and consider my online beekeeping class. Ask questions of local people, all these will be of great benefit to you. If you have been thinking about bees for a long time… maybe it is time to take action.