Getting bees this year? Here are my top 10 tips for those thinking of starting beekeeping.
1. Educate Yourself. Read all that you can about starting beekeeping. Educate yourself prior to jumping into this hobby. It can be an expensive hobby and mistakes can be easily made.
2. Purchase Local Bees. Try to purchase local bees as they are more adept at surviving in your area. For me, I only purchase bees raised and reared in the Northeast. Southern bees in my opinion are not hardy enough and have not adapted to our types of winters.
3. Join a local bee club. Sign up and get local support. The way you care for your bees will be unique to your area.
4. Decide on Nuc vs. Package. There are pros and cons. Do your homework.
5. Consider starting with the Langstroth. Because the Langstroth is the most popular hive, I recommend starting with this one. For a few reasons:
- As most beekeepers use Langstroths it will make trouble shooting easier.
- It will be easier to manage initially when you look for help.
- If you have a mentor, mostlikely they are familiar with the Langstroth.
- Ease and accessibility of replacement parts.
- Consider an alternative hive like the Warre, Top Bar or AZ hive for a second hive.
6. Do regular hive inspections. This will help you to know how well or not so well your bees are doing and allow you time to intervene.
7. Monitor for pests. Be sure to know how your hives are fairing against the main pests–varroa mites, small hive beetles and wax moths.
8. Consider keeping more than one hive. This way you can compare and contrast and also borrow from them to help the other if need be.
9. Plant pollinator friendly plants in your garden with attractive blooms for bees all year round.
10. Share your beekeeping journey. You might just inspire someone.