David has really been wanting to keep bees for a while now to help pollinate our garden and to provide us with delicious honey, and we decided this year to finally take the plunge and get started with beekeeping. We both didn't know much about beekeeping when we made this decision, but we have jumped headfirst into it and are ready to go! I am excited to share our experiences with you and hope we can help out anyone who is thinking of becoming a beekeeper through our own successes and mistakes.
I thought I would share what has been our process so far for getting started with beekeeping. We are total newbies and have no prior experience, so if you have any advice for us we'd love to hear it!
1) Get An Education
First of all, we read Beekeeping For Dummies to get a general education on all things bees. I would highly recommend the book because I feel like I have a good understanding of beekeeping now. Of course we are not experts, but I feel like after reading the book we have a solid foundation from which to start.
2) Order Your Hive
David did a lot of research on hives and we decided to order from Rossman Apiaries in Georgia. We chose the super deluxe beginners outfit which includes everything you need to get started. This hive came unassembled so David had to take a couple of weeks to put everything together. It is made out of cypress wood so it should be very durable, but we are going to paint the outside to protect the wood even more. Rossman was really great to work with and promptly answered several of our questions about the hive components after we received our order.
3) Connect With Other Beekeepers In Your Area
There is one prominent beekeeper in our area who sells his honey at all the farmers markets and the local health food store. We knew he would be a wonderful resource for us, so we contacted him via email to see if he had any advice on how to get started. He encouraged us to attend the area beekeeper's meeting last month, but we were unable to make it. Luckily, we were able to go to the meeting this month which took place last night and we learned so much! We met another beekeeper there who started keeping bees with his father when he was a teenager. He has many years of experience and at the present keeps over 900 hives! We were able to pick his brain for a while and learned so much in our conversation. I know our contacts will be an invaluable resource for us. Not only that, it is so fun to talk about bees with others who are equally as excited as we are! It seems that beekeepers love to talk about bees and are a very passionate bunch.
4) Decide How To Acquire Your Bees
There are several options for getting bees. Just starting out, you can order package bees online, but we've decided that we are most interested in obtaining a nucleus colony (called a "nuc"). With a nuc colony, you get several frames with the bees already in place, working away. To us it seems that this is a better option for first time beekeepers. The beekeeper we met last night with over 900 hives said that we could get a nuc from him next month. We will just bring him a box of six frames and he will insert four frames including the nuc into our box. He will monitor the colony for us for a couple of weeks to make sure the queen is laying and everything is running smoothly. Then we will pick up our new bees and bring them home!
It is thrilling to think that in just a few short weeks we will have bees taking up residence in our new hive. To be honest, I am a little bit scared but I'm hoping that will subside in time. I'm sure all new beekeepers feel at least somewhat nervous, right?! With any luck, the curiosity and excitement will overshadow any anxiety I have over beekeeping. I just have to get that first sting out of the way.
Do you keep bees? If not, are they on your wish list for your homestead?
Shared with Clever Chicks Blog Hop, Eco Kids Tuesday, Backyard Farming Connection Hop
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