by Mike Gebert —
Welcome back to part two of the series that will assist you with your beekeeping endeavors. In the last article I introduced myself and went over what to expect in the future articles. So with that lets continue our journey.
How does one start keeping bees? Before you take the plunge and obtain your first colony, it is a good idea to read a few books to get an overview of what to expect, the difference between the types of bees in your colony and what basic equipment you need. There are several places you can go to obtain books starting with your local library. Although your local library system might not have a lot of books on beekeeping there should be at least a couple of basic ones. Amazon, your local bookstore ,and bee supply companies are other good places to obtain books. The main focus is to look for books on the basics of beekeeping. Some books that are worth reading and in no particular order:
Honeybee Democracy Beekeeping Essentials Idiots guide to Beekeeping
Beekeeping for Dummies Backyard Beekeeper Beekeepers Handbook
There are also two bee magazines in the USA that are published on a monthly basis. The two magazines are Bee Culture and American Beekeeping. Both magazines have articles for the beginner up to the advanced beekeepers. The magazines also host leaders of the bee industry as well as articles from beekeepers from all over the world. I can not tell you which one is best as the two have different writing styles. My suggestion is to try both of them, then make your own decision. Both companies have back issues of the magazines you can buy and see the differences without committing to a year long subscription.
Some of you are thinking, bah I don’t need to read any of these books or magazines, I am ready now. That thinking will get you in trouble and within a few months you will be overwhelmed. The books explain to you the different casts of bees in the hive and what their roles are, feeding, diseases that bees can get and spread to other colonies as well as organisms that will destroy all your hard work. The books also go over what equipment you need and how to use it and its function. There is nothing worse then opening a hive and having 200 bees shoot up, out of the hive right onto your veil. Or opening your hive and discovering all the bees are dead and/or the hive is empty. Knowledge is Power.
The last place you can go and is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, join a local beekeepers association. Each state has a main beekeeping association that can direct you to the closest one to your area. By joining a beekeepers association you will have a group of beekeepers that practice beekeeping in your area and most have mentors that can assist you with your first year of beekeeping. The beekeepers in the associations can also answer all you questions, provide tips, tell you the slight differences to techniques that are unique to beekeeping in your area.
That’s all I have for this article, stay tuned for the next installment
Mike The Beekeeper.