Introduction

The graceful, quiet and absorbing art of beekeeping has fascinated man for thousands of years. A long time ago, we changed our perspective. We used to be "honey grabbers", perfectly willing to completely destroy a beehive to get to the honey.

Then we turned the corner and realized that bees didn't need to be "expendable". Instead, someone had the idea we could somehow access honey without having to start again each time. Suddenly there was an interest in the keeping of bees.

Some bright spark decided to call this beekeeping!

Today many commercial beekeepers are at the other end of the spectrum. The benefits we see from bees are evident in a commercial context, so we use bees as a utility, of sorts, bringing them in to work their pollinating magic. It's science, nature, commerce and finance all rolled into one industry.

These two perspectives - bees as disposable honey machines and bees as a utility - have similarities. Yet there's space for someone else.

This is someone who has a deep appreciation for what bees do for us, a fascination for how they live their lives and how they collaborate. This person enjoys the craft of selecting, setting up and tending to a beehive. And there is a sense of being closer to nature with every hive inspection and, yes, every jar of honey. All this and an appreciation of the local benefits experienced through the magic dance of pollination.

This person is the hobbyist beekeeper.

Capped and uncapped cells

A course like ours can help build fundamental knowledge of bees and beekeeping. There are many wonderful books on beekeeping too.

Yet the only true, effective way to learn and enjoy beekeeping is.... to just do it.

So in this final element of our course, we provide a simple path for taking what you have learned via and actually making it real.

First, just tell yourself that this is finally the year you will become a beekeeper. Although we have covered lots of ground in our course, starting up really isn't that difficult.

Here is a whistle stop tour of some of the more important things you should consider to kick things off.

Brood

Know your bees

Get to know how bees live their lives.

Understand how bees forage and make honey.

Decide whether natural beekeeping is for you.

Understand the drone, the queen and the worker.

Grab a book or two for reference. And don't forget that this entire course is available in eBook form.

Social Bees

Find a location

Check out your garden as a suitable location.

In the city? Perhaps that's not a problem  - there's always urban beekeeping!

Don't forget to consider the neighbors.

Still not sure? Consider looking after a beehive on someone else's land.

Multiple beehives

Join with others

Tell friends and family about the PerfectBee Course (beekeeping is more fun together!).

Join a beekeeping club. Ask questions, borrow equipment and enjoy good company.

Get a mentor too.

Beekeeping club

Order bees

Don't wait for the spring - if you are looking for a package of bees, get your order in early!

If you can't find a package, consider a nuc.

If you are a new beekeeper, wait till another day to capture a swarm.

Decide on your beehive(s)

Not sure which type of hive to buy?

Want plenty of honey? Consider a Langstroth.

Like the way nature does things? Think Warre.

Don't fancy lugging around heavy boxes of honey? A Top Bar hive may be right for you.

Like pine? Absolutely and it works well - but make sure you understand the benefits of cedar.

One beehive? Two is better.

Beekeepers

Purchase clothing and equipment

Whatever you do - wear a veil!

Want to be well-covered but also want convenience? Choose a jacket and veil.

Too hot? A ventilated jacket or full bee suit is a good option.

Want an easy way to kick off the whole shebang? Check out Starter Kits.

Beekeeping buddies

Install your beehive and bees

Set up your beehives first, considering first what matters to bees and then what matters to you.

What is your choice of bees - Italian, Russian, something else?

Install either a package or a nuc.

Don't forget that you might need to feed your bees.

Checking hives

Keep them healthy

Know the important threats to bees.

Be aware of mice and bears, robbers, tracheal mites, American Foulbrood and especially Varroa mites.

Know what to check at each inspection.

Make sure you manage hive capacity and, if necessary, be ready to split a hive.

Beekeeper using smoker

Start learning

And with that your journey starts and so does the real learning....

Have fun and good luck!

 

 

13 thoughts on “From the End of a Course to the Start of Beekeeping”

  1. I loved this course! I learned so much!! I have just started my first year with bees, 1 hive. I have not read anywhere though about when to put on the honey super. Do I put on the honey box when I put on my second box? Right now I just have 1 box with 10 frames but I think I’m close to needing another box, when I put that on do I put one for honey on immediately?

  2. Ditto everything above, especially Ron Green’s comment re: always trying to learn more. I’ve had plenty of failures but believe that finally treating for mites has made the difference; so far this winter I’m 4 for 4. I am forwarding your course link to a niece who expressed an interest.

  3. I’m thankful to be part of this course. I appreciate your tireless effort to send us daily refreshing notes on beekeeping for three months, and may God continues to bless you for providing such an informative course. I will update you on my progress as a beginner beekeeper.

  4. Thank you for providing this course. As a former College Professor/Administrator, yours is one of the better online courses that I have seen…clear, concise, includes videos/pictures to enhance the content, and even included a “test”. Well done. Thank you for your efforts

  5. Thanks you for sharing this course. It is insightful and has helped me to understand what I need to do this year and going forward with my hives.

  6. I am now a 1 year beekeeper or as the young folks say, a beeker. My Apiary is 14 ; however, with the trials and tribulations on nature, climate and unwanted guests, it has been a challenge and a joy. I belong to two clubs, watch you tube and best of all learning from the very thorough PerfectBee sessions. I will use so much of this information in this new year to improve in some areas. I have prepared the bee yard when weather permitted and am ready for spring to begin and keep my girls happy and get my Apiary back to full strength. Thank you Perfect Bee team for all your knowledge and resources.

  7. Thanks guys, this was informative and the material was also fun to read. I live in Jamaica and I am dying to start my first few hives, just waiting on the rain to ease. In the meantime I will review a few of my favourite chapters so the information sticks.

  8. Been looking at bees. We have a large field of sainfoin and alfalfa behind the house. Thought that might be good for honey making and raising bees.
    Thank you for the training lessons, they brought all the articles I have read together.

  9. Started keeping bees 4 years ago with my son. We have had our struggles, but have 88 hives this year. Some might ask why I would take the time to follow this course. For me the answer is simple…I want all the knowledge I can possibly acquire. I loved the course overall, and can honestly say it will be helpful going forward. Thanks for making it available!

  10. Thank you for an absolutely wonderful course. I’ve read through every article, found fascinating tidbits I didn’t know, and generally feel like I’m more comfortable with the concepts and activities of a successful beekeeper. An in-person beginners class also assisted and dovetailed really nicely with this online course to really together fill in tons of blanks. I just placed the order for my two hives. I have to order frames and hive stands next and then it is just time to get the bees. I have a local supplier and will be going with two nucs. Can hardly wait!

  11. Thank you so much for this course. I’ve been following along since the beginning. I lost my first hive last year, so will try again this year with a nuc. Looking forward to putting into practice much of the knowledge you’ve shared with us.
    It was wonderfully presented and written, and it was something that I could easily understand and follow. It’s amazing how much more things make sense after you make mistakes the first time around.
    Thanks for sharing!!! And, happy beekeeping!!!

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