We’ve all done it. There’s a company carry-in tomorrow, it’s already 9 pm, and you totally forgot about it until now. You rummage the cupboards, hurriedly slap some ingredients into a mixing bowl, and throw them into the oven. Cookies are pretty simple, no problem, you’ve got this. After it’s all said and done, those cookies aren’t nearly as tasty as you’d hoped. You tell yourself that next time you’ll remember to pick some up from the grocery and bring them to the carry-in inside of own tupperware, you know, so they might appear homemade.
Beekeeping is of a similar nature. You can jump right in with both feet, by the seat of your proverbial pants as it were. You buy a hive setup, a beesuit, a smoker, and soon find yourself violently shaking a 3-pound package of bees into their new home. You walk away, not to look at them again for many weeks. You did it. Nothing to do now but wait for honey robbing time, right? Come July or August, you decide to go take a gander at that hive of yours. To your horror, the bees are gone, not leaving a trace of the sweet stuff behind. With great disgust, you realize that you don’t know as much as you thought you did. So far your beekeeping experience is equivalent to that lackluster batch of cookies you slapped together for your coworkers. You might decide to throw it all away and just get a jar of honey from a local beekeeper instead.
How can you keep this from happening to you? While there is no fool-proof method to keeping bees, learning as much as you can before making the decision is the best place to start. Beekeeping isn’t difficult if you know what to expect. But where do you even BEGIN? It can be overwhelming. Maybe this post can shed a little light on the subject.
Before you take the leap into the amazing realms of all things Apis Mellifera, there are a few things you should consider. Why on EARTH would anyone want to keep bees? Every beekeeper has a slightly different story and rationale. For some, the idea of having “free honey” is enticing. (Here’s a hint, it’s not free.) Others see the undertaking as a sideline means of income, selling honey and other hive products to their family, friends, and beyond. (Don’t bank on it being a cash cow… you’ll learn why later.) Others who choose to become keepers do so because of their pollination potential. Others are trying to do their part to help “save the bees,” therefore helping our ecosystem and food chain. There are some folks that simply keep bees for pleasure; they keep bees for the sake of keeping bees. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Bees are most mesmerizing creatures.
Note: If you or a family member have anaphylactic reactions to honeybee stings… well, this isn’t the hobby for you. No amount of honey is worth your health or safety. However, you could possibly check into releasing (and creating/purchasing “bee houses” for) mason bees or leaf cutter bees. These bees are virtually harmless, demand no expensive equipment, and pollinate up to 100x more efficiently than honeybees. Click HERE to learn more!
When we talk to new and potential beekeekers we are hammered with questions. In the near future, we will address some of these questions, including:
What equipment do I need?
How much does it cost to get started?
How much time does it take?
Do I need a large backyard or a field to put my hive in?
Can I keep bees in the city?
Where can I get bees?
What type of hive should I use?
When should I install my bees?
Will I get to harvest any honey the first year?
Do you ever get stung?
Have you ever had a colony die?
Varroa Mites? What are those?
How much money can I make by selling honey or wax?
What can I do to help my bees to survive and thrive?
Stay tuned for the answers to these questions and more, coming very soon!
The primary focus of this website is to be a resource for new and existing beekeepers, as well as others who are trying to establish a more self-reliant, sustainable lifestyle. We will share with you our successes as well as our failures. Maybe you’ll be entertained or find a little humor along the way. If you are interested in keeping bees or have other homestead related questions, let us know. Your feedback helps us to improve and to better serve you.