Beginning Beekeeping: An Illustrated Guide to Your First Year as a Beekeeper

Thinking about beginning beekeeping?

Then you’ll probably be interested in this step-by-step guide covering beekeeping basics.

Follow along as I order bees, build a beehive, install bees, and show how to manage the hive through the entire first year.

I’ll take lots of photos along the way, and explain thoroughly what needs to be done and how to do it each step of the way.

You’ll be able to watch my hive being built, and see my bees being installed in the hive.

I’ll update you on every hive inspection throughout the season, and show you pictures of how the hive is looking.

Hopefully, everything will go smoothly.

But although I’ve been keeping bees for a long time, I’m not immune to making mistakes. Nor am I immune from having bad things happen to my bees. But whatever happens, you’ll see it and read about it here.

If anything bad happens, I’ll consider it a learning opportunity for both you and me!

I think this will be a great primer on beekeeping for beginners. It’ll be an excellent way for you to get a feel for what your first year as a beekeeper will be like.

And it will be fun!

The Goal

My goal will be to build my hive up to a strong, healthy colony. I’ll want my bees to store up plenty of honey, enough to see them safely through the hive’s first winter.

Will I be able to harvest any honey from my hive’s first season? Very unlikely.

Where I live, the very best honey flows occur in the spring. In fact, the best honey flow of the year will probably be under way around the time I get my bees. So by the time the hive builds up enough strength to store surplus honey, the season’s best honey flows will be over.

But we normally have some pretty good fall honey flows in my area. The fall honey is darker, and not prime table honey (in my opinion, anyway), but it’s just fine for the bees, of course.

So with a strong colony going into the fall – and a bit of luck – the bees will store up a nice crop of fall honey, and be in good shape for the winter.

And then in my hive’s second season – look out! I will (hopefully) plan on a BIG crop of nice spring honey.

If you’re thinking of beginning beekeeping, I hope you’ll follow along.

Let’s get started!

Buying Package Bees

I order package bees for my new hive. Packaged bees, usually shipped through the mail, are a great way to get bees for your first hive.

Build a Bee Hive

I build a bee hive for my package bees. Building a bee hive from a kit is really easy. If I can do it anyone can!

Installing Package Bees

April 12: Installing package bees in my new hive. If you’re beginning beekeeping, package bees are a great way to stock your first hive. And installing them is easy.

First Hive Inspection

April 17: I inspect my recently hived package bees for the first time.

Continuing Hive Inspections

I’ll perform occasional hive inspections of my new bee hive and report what I find right here. Most recent inspection: July 18.

Final Hive Inspection and Preparing for Winter

Final inspection of the season and preparing the hive for winter.

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Where can I get the bee hive kit shown in the above photo's? Thank you. Patrick --- Hi Patrick, There are a number of companies that sell …

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