We are often asked the question–where do I start? There are many paths from interest in beekeeping to becoming experienced and successful, but, in general, we recommend the following:
- Start with learning the basics. This can take many forms, from finding a mentor, joining a bee club, taking an online class, taking an in-person class, reading books, and watching videos. Do keep in mind that if books and videos are your only point of reference, there is as much misinformation out there as there is good information.
- After learning the basics, consider a mentor or hands on beekeeping class. This will help you avoid common mistakes that might cause you to think that it is impossible to be successful.
- Order supplies. This can be done through online vendors or local beekeeping shops. You will typically find the lowest prices locally. When ordering supplies, you’ll need to make a decision as to what “style” of hives you want to keep (for example, standard 10 frame versus 8 frame equipment, deep versus medium boxes, horizontal (“long”) Langstroth hives, top bar hives, AZ hives).
- Order your first bees. We always suggest starting out with (at the very minimum) 2 colonies. Bees can be purchased as nucs (small starter colonies–what we usually recommend), package bees with a separate queen, or even catching a swarm (more advanced and not recommended for beginner). The earlier you can do this the winter before, the better, as many local options are sold out early in the year.
- Make a plan for your first year. Know what you’re going to do throughout the season so you can try to avoid some surprises and failure. Here are some tips that we share with our customers.