How to Start Beekeeping: What You’ll Need to Know About Keeping Bees
Interested in learning how to start beekeeping?
Keeping bees is a fascinating and fun hobby – and it can even be profitable. Learning how to keep bees isn’t difficult, but there are some specific things you’ll need to know to get started.
But perhaps the very first thing you’ll need to know is why you might want to keep bees.
What Kind of a Hobby is Beekeeping?
At the bottom of this page you’ll find a number of links to beekeeping information that will be helpful in learning the nuts and bolts of how to get started in beekeeping.
But before you start learning about how to get started in beekeeping, let’s spend a few moments considering why you would even want to consider keeping bees.
Because if you think about it, beekeeping could be considered to be rather a strange hobby, wouldn’t you agree? After all, what other activity can compare to sticking your hands in a box containing tens of thousands of stinging critters?
In fact, if you become a beekeeper, I can assure you that you’ll encounter folks who just don’t get it.
Sure, they’ll appreciate the honey that you give them (or sell to them). Some will admire your courage at throwing caution to the wind and laying your life on the line (they won’t understand that it’s really not a dangerous activity).
But most really won’t understand why you spend some of your precious spare time messing around with a bunch of bugs.
That’s OK, because beekeeping isn’t for everyone. And right about now, you might be wondering whether beekeeping is for YOU.
I can’t answer that question for you, of course.
But I’ll try to help you make that decision by telling you about some of the reasons that beekeepers are beekeepers. There are many aspects of beekeeping that attract people to it, but I think most beekeepers keep bees for one or more of the following 3 reasons…
Beekeeping Provides a Connection With Nature
In our modern lives, many of us are isolated from nature. We live in a virtual cocoon of technology, our ties with nature severed.
But we are all children of nature. We cannot survive without the bounty that nature provides. And for those of us in occupations in which we are no longer in touch with nature on a daily basis, restoring a connection to nature helps to add balance to our lives.
Beekeeping is an excellent means of connecting to nature, as is gardening (I read somewhere that a great percentage of beekeepers are also gardeners.)
Perhaps that’s why many of us find that time spent in the bee yard – whether that’s with one hive or many – is a wonderful, soothing change-of-pace from the everyday grind.
Listening to the gentle hum of the bees, watching as they stock their hives with the golden treasure of nature’s bounty, and being in tune with nature’s pulse as we watch our bees adapt to the cycling of the season, all provide a wonderful connection with nature.
Now in truth, there are plenty of folks who feel no need to be connected with nature.
But for many of us, that connection is something we yearn for. Having a ringside seat to the subtle yet spectacular workings of nature adds a richness of life for which there is no substitute.
Are you one of us?
If so, you’ll likely find that beekeeping is a wonderful means of reconnecting to nature.
For the Honey (and the Money!)
I don’t think I’ve ever met a single person who doesn’t like honey. But not only is honey a sublime taste treat, it’s also a pretty healthy food.
Unlike many sweets, it offers some real nutrition. And honey compares quite favorably to sugar, both in taste and in health benefits.
But if you’ve only had honey from the supermarket, you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise when you taste honey straight from the hive, unprocessed and unaltered.
For many beekeepers, harvesting their own healthy, incomparably delicious honey is reason enough for keeping bees.
And unlike many hobbies, beekeeping doesn’t have to be a black hole into which your money disappears with nothing to show for it other than the pleasure the hobby provides.
Because if you choose, you can sell some of the honey you produce and at the very least reduce the costs of beekeeping, and when all goes well, maybe even make some profit.
I have to tell you, though, that if you’re considering becoming a beekeeper only because of the money you might make, you’ll likely end up disappointed.
Beekeeping is an agricultural venture. Some years the honey production will be good, and some years, not so much.
(As I write this, we’re suffering through one of the worst droughts in the recorded history of Texas. And we beekeepers are as hard-hit by nature’s fit of stinginess as are all of the farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers.)
But the opportunity to enjoy a wonderful, fulfilling hobby, and have at least part of the costs paid for by the hobby itself – most would consider that a pretty good deal!
It’s All About the Bees…
This is stating the obvious, of course, but learning to keep bees requires learning all about bees. And for many of us, learning about the world of the honey bee involves entering a fascinating and enchanting realm.
When I first started beekeeping waaaay back in the olden days, I devoured book after book about honey bees. The more I learned about bees and beekeeping, the more I wanted to learn about them.
And I certainly wasn’t learning just from the books; the bees themselves were pretty good teachers. (If you become a beekeeper, you’ll hear this old truism sooner or later, so I might as well get it out of the way now: The bees haven’t read all those books about bees – they sometimes behave contrary to expectations!)
I can tell you that you certainly won’t learn all about bees in just a year or two of beekeeping. In fact, you’ll never learn all that there is to know about bees.
After all of the years I’ve been at it, I’m still surprised occasionally by the bees’ behavior. I’m still reminded now and then that I don’t know all there is to know about honey bees.
And that’s a good thing. Because wouldn’t it be awfully boring otherwise?
OK, Want to Learn How to Start Beekeeping?
The reasons above aren’t the only reasons that people keep bees, of course. But I think that for the majority of beekeepers, the motivation to keep bees stems from one or more of the three.
Did one of the big three appeal to you; maybe even all of them?
If so, you might be eager right now to learn more about how to start beekeeping. Just read through the links below, and you’ll be off to a good start in having the beekeeping information you’ll need to know how to start beekeeping.
Good luck, and have fun!
Things to consider if you’re thinking about giving beekeeping a try.
About Bee Stings
Considering beekeeping, but worried about bee stings? There’s really no need to be, unless…
Parts of a Beehive
If you’re going to become a beekeeper, you’ll want to learn about the parts of a beehive. You’ll need to know which parts are optional (not many), and variations that are available for some of the parts.
Beekeeper supplies that you will need to get started with beekeeping, and some that you might want to add later.
How to Build a Beehive
A few tips on assembling your beehive. Do it right and it will last for years.
How will you get bees?
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