Thinking about getting a hive or two of your own this spring? Here’s what you should know:
Honey bees are not pets! While many beekeepers might feel affection and respect for these amazing little creatures, bees require expertise, attention, time, and equipment to help them maintain optimal health.
You cannot help declining honey bee populations by placing beehives in your backyard and walking away! Sadly, sometimes people buy bees on a whim, or with the hope of saving bees, but end up killing them because they were not equipped with the proper knowledge and training to maintain a hive.
Research before you get bees! Read reputable beekeeping books, learn how honey bees function in a hive, and find an experienced mentor! Having an experienced hand to guide you and help you learn-by-doing is the best way to gain experience. Find your mentor (or mentors) by befriending your local beekeeper and joining a bee club and national organization!
Understand beekeeping isn’t cheap! Even basic equipment—boxes, frames, bee suits, smokers, hive tools—can add up. And most beekeepers would tell you the list of items beyond the basics is much longer.
Remember that beekeeping is an ongoing job! Throughout each season, honey bees require different levels of care and monitoring. A good beekeeper is never passive, and staying on top of your bees’ needs is vital for their health.
Beekeeping isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s not impossible. Hard work, applied knowledge, determination, and asking for help are things beekeepers must practice every day!
*From the American Honey Producers Association