1. Don’t get overwhelmed
Langstroth or top bar? 10 frame or 8? Plastic foundation or wax? There are a number of various hive configurations and complimentary equipment available, so much so that it can quickly be overwhelming! Bees are adaptable. Pick whatever is in your budget, and know you can always make changes later as you learn and gain experience.
2. Ask 10 beekeepers, get 15 answers
There is a lot of information out there, and most of it conflicting. Read, learn, and pick what you think would work for you. You have to start somewhere and then make changes as you find what you like and don’t. Everyone keeps bees a little differently than the next person, and that’s ok!
3. Worry less
Bees have been doing their thing for 130 million years, give or take. Bees are very adaptable to many situations. Case in point — many beekeepers do things very differently, yet they all still have bees. If bees required very rigid circumstances, there wouldn’t be so many hive styles or management practices. Simply put, bees are tolerant and adaptable. Don’t worry about making mistakes, as most “mistakes” the bees don’t care about and are just a part of beekeeping.
4. Sometimes beekeepers can be grouchy
Expanding on #2… some beekeepers are set in their ways. When asking a question online or on social media, you may not always receive helpful answers as some people believe their way is the only way. Just ignore any unpleasant remarks and focus on those that want to help. Many groups are focused on providing helpful advice to beekeepers of all backgrounds.
5. Don’t be afraid
Yes, getting stung hurts. However, it is a part of having bees that you’ll have to accept. The pain from stings is only temporary and serious allergic reactions are uncommon.
6. Join your local club
Your local bee club is a wealth of vital information. Beekeepers in Florida have different needs than beekeepers in North Dakota. Joining your local group will help you be successful and overcome local challenges like weather, pests and food sources. Club meetings allow members to get questions to their answers and find mentors as well. Find your local bee club here.
7. Understand your local laws
In some areas, beekeepers must register their hives, or have a limit to the number of hives permitted on the property. Before placing a beehive, be sure to look up your local regulations.
8. Learn, learn, learn
The more you learn and understand the hows and whys, the more successful you’ll be. There is a lot of excellent free content available. Some of our favorites: Keeping Backyard Bees newsletter, YouTube, eBooks, and Podcasts.
9. Resist temptation
Inspecting a beehive creates quite the disturbance inside the colony. Limit your inspections to one every 2-3 weeks at most. It can be tempting to look at them more often, however excessive inspections could encourage the colony to abscond and find a more peaceful home.
10. Have fun
Beekeeping is a very relaxing, enjoyable hobby. Above all else, have fun!