Beginning Beekeeping: An Illustrated Guide to Your First Year

Thinking about beginning beekeeping?

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

Follow along as I:

  • Order bees
  • Build a beehive
  • Install bees
  • Manage my hive through the entire first year

I’ll Explain AND Show…

installing-packaged-bees-16I’ll take lots of photos along the way so you can see exactly what I’m doing. And I’ll 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.

Hope it Goes Well!

Hopefully, everything will go smoothly. But although I’ve been keeping bees for a long time, I’m not immune from 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. And if anything bad does happen, I’ll consider it to be a learning opportunity for both you and me.

One thing about beekeeping: You never stop learning! 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!

This is My Goal

I’m an experienced beekeeper, with many beekeeping seasons under my belt. But my goal for this season will be exactly the same as your goal will be for your first season.

I hope to build my hive into 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. I want my colony to go into it’s first fall healthy and with plenty of stores on hand.

Will I Get to Harvest Some Honey From My Hive?

It’s 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 with a bit of luck (don’t underestimate the importance of luck in beekeeping!) – my bees will store up a nice crop of fall honey, and be in good shape for the winter.

And Then Next Season…

Look out! I will (hopefully) plan on a BIG crop of nice spring honey for my hive’s second year.

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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