Wondering how to become a beekeeper? Don’t! Although it seems like a hard task that will require a lot of your time and energy, beekeeping is in fact, really easy, with the proper guidance.
But, not everyone will share their knowledge and insights, right? Don’t worry, we will. We have the ultimate guide on becoming a beekeeper that will help you be the greatest and the best. And no, we aren’t talking that you should max out your card. However, in order to get started, there are a few pointers.
How to become a beekeeper 101
In the following text we’ll go over the most important aspects that any beginner beekeeper should have in mind. You should know that there are different aspects of beekeeping, and before you actually learn how to become a beekeeper and buy the equipment, you should be as informed as possible. Knowing the following things will save you a lot of time, trouble, nerves and eventually money.
What is beekeeping?
In order to determine whether you can invest your money and time in beekeeping, you need to know what it is. For instance, it can be a great way to stay active, fit and engaged in healthy activities. Also, it can be beneficial for the community around your home, as it improves pollination in areas around your home. Moreover, beekeeping is a rewarding act on its own – it can bring you honey which is a natural remedy for many respiratory and throat problems.
So, in general, there are a lot of benefits from beekeeping – both individual ones that you’ll feel first hand such as discipline, greater health, happiness and honey, and societal since it is beneficial for the whole community.
Is beekeeping for you and should you learn how to become a beekeeper?
Although beekeeping can be extremely rewarding on a short and long term altogether, you need to determine whether it is a good fit for you. In fact, there are several things that you need to have in mind before committing to the activity yourself.
First, you need to have time. The beekeeping activities can take an hour on a daily basis, and sometimes, during periodical maintenances, you’ll need to spend whole days on different beekeeping related tasks. These include honey harvesting, cleaning up, maintenance of the equipment, and so forth.
Also, you need to know that you ou need to have money. Think of beekeeping as any hobby – there is never enough equipment. Even when you have everything – you’ll want to have it better. And, the starter kit beekeeping equipment can be also expensive to begin with. You’ll need basic things like beehive, frames, bees, honey extractor, beekeeping suit, veil, gloves, smoker and many other tools.
In addition to everything we mentioned above – you need space. Space is important for beekeeping. You need to have a garden or a spacious yard to have the hive in. Also, you need a garage or a storage room where you’ll keep the equipment.
Just like with any other sport, beekeeping requires the patience and time to learn. You should be able to understand techniques and methods, and implement them. This means that you need to commit to learning, constantly.
Regulations and laws
A thing that is usually not considered by beginners are the laws. Different areas and states have different legal frameworks regarding beekeeping. So, before you actually commit to equipment purchases and gathering knowledge about actual beekeeping – do your research on the legal aspects. If you cannot find the proper laws and regulations, consult the local governments and officials, they will give you insights about what you need to do. In some cases, you must report it, in other cases you might need to have special equipment to fulfill the laws, etc. This will save you a lot of nerves, and it will help you avoid fines.
Although beginners don’t know this, everyone was once a beginner. This is why, you can access classes for beginners. Also, usually there are local beekeeping clubs you can take part in. By using the help of the beekeeping society, the first steps in the beekeeping world will be significantly easier. You’ll learn tips and tricks, and you’ll share experiences with professionals.
Who shouldn’t do beekeeping
As we already said, beekeeping requires dedicated work and patience. So, if you don’t have the time to invest in it, don’t start doing it. Even if you learn how to become a beekeeper and get good at it, you need to be prepared for committing your time and energy to it. There are unfortunate cases where pests and diseases occur in the hives, so those who aren’t dedicated to treat these, shouldn’t even start doing it.
We say this because usually those beekeepers who start with it and give up once they have pests or diseases are the worst type of beekeepers. This is because bees leave the hive when it gets overridden with disease. When this happens, the beekeepers pose a greater risk for local bee colonies since the disease can be easily spread.
And, since bees are endangered as species, the undedicated beekeepers are worsening the problem. So, although it’s a hobby that tolerates some errors, those who aren’t dedicated enough to manage diseases and pests should stay away from beekeeping altogether.
Which decisions should you make when learning how to become a beekeeper?
If you’ve already decided that beekeeping is the perfect thing for you, your job is not done. In the following text, we’ll go over the most important things regarding beekeeping that you should decide before buying any equipment.
The site where your beehive will be is an important thing. You need to consult local authorities and see if your chosen site is a suitable one. Also, even if there aren’t any restrictions, you need to consult the neighbors if you want to avoid legal problems.
First, you should know that bees are essential for a functioning beehive (duh!). There are different types of bees that you can get, and you need to do your research on each type to find the ones that are most suitable for your needs and expectations. Unlike equipment you can get on any day, bees can be only bought during the spring. So, you need to have this in mind before starting up your beekeeping purchases.
This would be a nice time to consult a beekeeping club or association – since most of their members can tell you where to buy bees, or even sell you some.
Allergies & Safety equipment
A lot of people are allergic to bees. Maybe you are one of them. If you are, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be a beekeeper. However, it means that you need to be extra-cautious regarding safety. So, do your research and decide the safety equipment wisely.
Types of beehives
You should know that there are two main types of beehives. For instance, wooden hives are popular because they are old-school and they have good performance. However, there are polystyrene hives too. Many brands offer both of these types of beehives, and you need to find the best beehive for sale according to your own needs and expectations.
Plan for the honey
You cannot have bees without having honey, right? You should have a plan on what to do with the honey. If you have a small hive and you use it for personal purposes that is totally fine. However, if you have a larger swarm, you’ll probably going to have a lot of honey. So, you need to decide and make a business plan how you are going to sell it, to whom are you going to sell it and so forth. Or, you at least need a plan on where and how to keep it.
How to become a beekeeper and get the proper equipment
After you’ve done everything on the list above, you are ready for purchasing beekeeping equipment. If you ask different beekeepers, you’ll get a lot of different opinions and advice. Some use DIY beekeeping tools whereas others use professional pieces. Regardless of that, here are the most important pieces that you must have if you want to learn how to become a beekeeper and be good at it:
You need to know where your bees are going to live. Choose between the different types of beehives and get the one that you deem worthy of an investment. Just make sure that it is a good one.
You can buy the bees from a local seller, as this will minimize the chances of them being injured during transport. Simply choose the proper type of bees and get an amount you have the capacity to handle.
Bee food & Bee feeder
There is special bee food that you need to acquire, as well as medication and supplements for keeping the bees happy and healthy. In addition to food, you need to find a suitable bee feeder. You should choose the bee feeder according to the type of hive and the size of your swarm.
Pest management tools
It isn’t a secret that bees might get sick – with viruses and diseases that can especially harm them and their honey. So, you need to be ready for handling the problem. Usually, proper maintenance and a few tips and tricks along the way can do the job.
A bee smoker is meant to calm the bees. In addition to this, it is helpful for beekeepers (especially beginners), since they don’t attack and you can do your thing around the hive easily. So, in order to feed them, harvest the honey or do other bee tasks, you need to have a bee smoker. There are different types and brands of smokers, as you probably know. However, the most important thing you need to have in mind when buying one is safety. We are talking safety of burns – you should feel safe while using it, and it shouldn’t be harmful to the bees either.
In addition to a bee smoker, you’ll also need bee smoker oil. The situation is the same as with the unit – you need to find a safe and natural one that won’t harm the bees.
We previously mentioned that clothes are a type of decision you need to make. And they are. Protective gear is a must-have for beekeeping, regardless of how confident you feel. If you are a beginner, you need a jacket or a full suit. These will give you protection. A beekeeper jacket gives protection for the upper body, whilst a head-to-toe suit protects your whole body.
In addition to clothes, you’ll need good footwear. Rubber boots might do the trick. It prevents bees from crawling up in your leg and stinging you where it hurts the most – on the thighs.
Moreover, you’ll need gloves. Look for gloves that are made from high-quality durable materials but are easy to wear. You’ll be using your hands around, so you need to feel proper mobility in the gloves. It is best if the palm-part of the gloves is ribbed, since it prevents objects from slipping from your hands.
Hive tools are an essential part of beekeeping since they are specifically made for the beekeeping tasks. As a piece of beehive equipment, you can use them for all the things you can do around a hive. You can open up the hive with it, you can check out the frames and you can scrape things off the frames too.
Find a comfortable hive tool since you’ll be using the unit for a long time in the day. Also, make sure that the unit is durable since you should be able to rely on it. Lastly, make sure to have an easy-to-maintain hive tool. We say this because things can get really dirty around a beehive, and honey is sticky too. So, you need to be able to keep the unit clean. Remember, if you don’t clean it (and the rest of your equipment) you might transfer diseases.
Last but not least, you should have a bee brush. Many people use their hands for chasing off bees from the frame or simply shake them off. However, using your hands can be dangerous and you might end up killing or injuring bees. So, to avoid this, you need a beekeeping brush. Each time you extract honey frames, you can use the bee brush to do the task easily and safely.
Conclusion – How to become a beekeeper?
As you probably concluded so far, learning how to become a beekeeper is a challenging task and it can take up a lot of your time and energy. So, before deciding that you’ll become one is a good thing. Still, we suggest knowing all the aspects – good and bad before committing to getting the bees and giving up on them in a few months. It can be really rewarding to be a beekeeper, so you need to be patient.
We hope that we helped you learn how to become a beekeeper, and we tried to cover all aspects of it. Still, we suggest doing additional research and trying to improve yourself at all times.