Becoming A Beekeeper
A new beekeeper's year starts in the Fall - See the article in this issue of Mother Earth News
Honey bees are truly wondrous creatures, and keeping them can be a thoroughly rewarding and enjoyable hobby. Getting started though is not always easy. The path may be simple and straightforward, or it may be strewn with difficulties. To ease your way and to make your introduction to the world of the honey bee as enjoyable as possible, consider taking the following steps:
Find an experienced, successful beekeeper in your own area who is willing to help you. Look over his or her shoulder whenever possible, and ask lots of questions. Recognize, however, that years of experience do not guarantee a beekeeper's competence or success. It may actually be one year of experience many times over. Select your mentor with care.
There are a number of good books available about beekeeping. Read two or three of the more recent ones. Acquire one or two of the better ones for your own library. Read them and reread them. In selecting your books, realize that beekeeping is generally the same worldwide. There are some national and regional differences, however, in both equipment and methodology. Beginners will do well to stay with books written for their own area. A New Englander, for instance, might not be best served by a book written in California or England.
A look through any beekeeping catalog will show an array of equipment and supplies that can be over- whelming to a potential beekeeper. However, the amount of equipment that is actually required during the first year is relatively small. Experience will guide you in subsequent years. In New England most beekeepers use two full-depth hive bodies as their basic unit, with supers (superstructure) added and removed as appropriate during the active season. The following list includes everything needed to maintain one colony for the entire first season.
Complete Two-Story Hive
Bottom board with entrance reducer.
Super, shallow, 5 l l/'l6" or mid-depth,
In the long run you will want at least two or three supers per colony.
In the first year you may need only one extra super.
What You Will Need To Start !
3 Ib. package of Italian bees with queen.
Hive tool, 10".
Compiled by Richard E. Bonney
Site updated August 28, 2015
© 2010-2015 Albert W. Needham