So you want to be a beekeeper? Beekeeping is an amazing, even transcendental, experience for a lot of people. However, it can also be heartbreaking, expensive, and very time consuming. Before you invest in bees, invest in becoming a beekeeper. Spend your time and money on taking classes and workshops, reading books and trade magazines, and heading to conferences and bee schools before you swarm in to the bee world.
Once you do take up the hive tool, you’ll need bees, equipment, and always more community and knowledge.
WHERE DO I FIND THE BEES?
Not in Southern Oregon or Northern California?
WHAT DO I NEED TO GET STARTED?
- Main hive (where the colony of bees live, not where you take honey): usually two deep boxes per hive, or one deep and two medium supers.
- For honey for you: Any combination of mediums, shallows, or comb supers (start with two per hive, and don’t add until the main hive is completely full of bees and drawn comb).
- Bottom board
- Telescoping lid
- Inner cover with a hole in the center of the lid
- Frames for all (10 or 8 per box – note that nucs come with 4-5 frames)
- Veil and helmet
- Suit or jacket
- Smoker fuel (phone book paper and animal bedding wood shavings work fine)
- Hive tool (I prefer the j-hook)
- Small metal trash can with a lid for hot smoker embers
- Hose, fire extinguisher, or other water source near by incase of smoker accident
- Sting kit: Claritin, Allegra, lavender essential oil, sting relief gel, cortisone (consult doctor about an epi pen).
NOW, HOW DO I DO THIS?
Reading and Research
Randy Oliver's scientificbeekeeping.com
First Lessons in Beekeeping, by Keith S. Delaplane
Storey’s Guide to Keeping Honey Bees, by Malcolm Sanford
The Hive and the Honey Bee
Natural Beekeeping, by Ross Conrad
Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping, by Dewey Caron
Honey Bee Democracy, by Tom Seeley
American Bee Journal & Bee Culture Magazines