10 Rules For The Reluctant Beekeeper
Are you a reluctant beekeeper like I was in the beginning of our beekeeping adventures? I remember when my husband dragged me to beekeeping class and to be honest I really didn’t like my instructor he didn’t seem to give women and men equal attention or time and well frankly that bothered me. I knew I was there to learn so I did the best to learn as much as I could but I didn’t really feel welcome and so in the beginning I didn’t really learn as much as I could have. Also I will share with you that with all the Beekeeping couples we have met one of them is always more enthusiastic than the other. Single folks are usually there because they can’t wait to be a beekeeper they aren’t following someone to the classes just some of my observations I made. Truth be told becoming a beekeeper will change everything about your life in more ways you will ever know in the beginning. You will begin to live your life by the seasons of the bees they are the “ultimate preppers” as my guest Troy Marino from Bee Bayou Apiary said when I interviewed him and my husband The Viking on my Radio Show this past December called “Winter Care For The Bees”.
To listen to that show Click Here!
Rule NO. 1 For The Reluctant Beekeeper
Find a beekeeping instructor that makes you feel comfortable! In my case it ended up being my husband after we passed our beekeeping certification he slowly but surely coached me until I became more comfortable.
I was so nervous about the bees attacking me, my kids, or somebody in my yard (Remember the movie My Girl?)but I befriended some beekeepers and started talking bees all the time and I slowly started embracing the thought of having bees and got more comfortable with the bee lingo!
Rule NO 2. For The Reluctant Beekeeper
Surround yourself with beekeeping friends you will be glad you did!
Make sure you are getting the correct knowledge and that can be from joining a local beekeeping group, following pages that share reliable information like Help The Beez Pleez or joining Facebook groups like Lil’ Suburban Homestead or Bees & Beeks!
Rule NO. 3 For The Reluctant Beekeeper
Join clubs and groups that provide good solid information but also accept a variety of approaches to backyard beekeeping and sharing information!
Set aside some money and make sure you purchase proper “Beekeeping” equipment to begin your beekeeping adventures ahead! Word of mouth is the most reliable source of a reliable beekeeping supply company. You need a jacket with zip up hood, smoker, gloves, and a hive tool to begin this journey. You of course need bees and hives but we will get to that in a minute. Cheaper doesn’t always mean better you want high quality products since once you begin beekeeping you will become addicted and want to do it for the rest of your life.
Rule NO. 4 For The Reluctant Beekeeper
Outfit yourself or your favorite beekeeper with the proper equipment to do their job!
Beekeeping is not a cheap hobby so you need to realistically expect some money will be spent on the woodenware for the hives, bottom boards we build our own to save money you can click here to read about that. You need the bees and you want to make sure you are getting the type of bee you want to raise lots of research and talking to other beekeepers in your area and online is critical. You will need containers to put your honey in, labels, and I’m not even scratching the surface I mean it’s not a huge crazy list but you will need some supplies to get you started. Often the Reluctant Beekeeper or the partner being dragged in doesn’t want to invest the same amount in beekeeping supplies so if you aren’t into raising the bees at first don’t feel bad about it instead think of it as a gift to your partner or the environment amazingly your attitude will most likely shift but for me I just thought skeptically, “I am not sure about this raising the bees stuff but if I can help the bees well sure I’m all for that”.
Rule NO. 5 For The Reluctant Beekeeper
Go into beekeeping with a realistic mindset and plan to budget financially for the bees. They will become a part of your homestead each year and if you aren’t excited about raising bees feel excited about your altruism towards the environment!
The thing that I was not prepared for and no one can prepared you for is the strong smell of smoke that will permeate your house for hours if you do not plan to store your beekeping suits and items in a pre-agreed upon area. I am not prissy at all but I live in Suburbia and we did not have an area designated for the storage of smoky smells kind of like the smell of you sitting by a campfire all day! Of course these smoky suits will be laid around your house on your favorite tablecloth and you will be annoyed at times.
Rule NO. 6 For The Reluctant Beekeeper
Have a designated area to hang and store beekeeping suits and other smoky smelling items that is out of your main living area if the smell bothers you and or your family!
Beekeeping is an extremely messy hobby especially during the honey harvest. I have a blog post called “Sticky Doorknob Season” that explains what it’s all about. Your house will smell like a candy shop which I love and you will get wax stains on your floor which I don’t love…especially if you make soaps, lotion bars, and other items with your bees wax!
Rule NO. 7 For the Reluctant Beekeeper
Prepare for your house to get messy! You can’t stop it you will have sticky door knobs, you will have wax land on your floor while you are working with it and it will adhere to your floors it just comes with the territory!
Dinner conversations’ will slowly evolve in your household at times to what is happening with your bees especially during peak beekeeping season when they are the most active. The mysteries of the bees will be discussed but no worries you will never be able to solve them but if you like a good mystery you will soon be hooked!
Rule NO. 8 For The Reluctant Beekeeper
Be prepared for the best mystery of your lifetime! Honey Bees are mysterious creatures who keep all of us guessing who raise them and love them!
The honey harvest; the most exciting part of beekeeping when we first began this journey we would finally receive our reward for our investment and all of our hard work but as you get further into your beekeeping journey and you will note that many make their living at raising bees the honey is truly just one facet of this journey. It’s a great facet though and I love waking up in the morning after we have spun the honey and our house truly smells like heaven!
Rule NO. 9 For The Reluctant Beekeeper
Bees don’t just reward you with an all natural sweetener but they reward you with the sweet fragrance of honey but always important to note to leave more than enough for the bees for the winter!
Oftentimes the Reluctant Beekeeper becomes the most passionate about beekeeping on the homestead just because we proceed with caution does not mean we lack enthusiasm! So brace yourself for the most addicting pursuit of a lifetime!
Rule NO. 10 For the Reluctant Beekeeper
Be prepared to have your heart won over by the honeybees and for you to be the next Beekeeping expert in your neighborhood!
This blog post was meant to share some of my initial thoughts and musings for that beginning beekeeper who is feeling kind of reluctant about this new journey. This post in no way covers a myriad and plethora of beekeeping topics such as swarms, diseases, step by step beekeeping and so much more! Join a beekeeping group and get connected you will be glad you did!