So here we are at the end of Stage 1 of our beekeeping course. Our focus in Stage 1 : Learn About Bees was to set the stage for the more hands-on, practical information we deliver in Stage 2 : Your Beehive and Stage 3: A Healthy Beehive.
As you start out as a beekeeper, you will hear experienced beekeepers use terms like "knowing the bees", "listening to my bees" and understanding them. To the unfamiliar these may seem strange but over time you will come to form a unique bond with your bees. They are not traditional pets like a cat or a dog. But when you see the extreme levels of work they put into expanding and maintaining the colony you will form a tremendous respect for bees. Further, the almost perfectly collaborative ways in which they work is inspiring.
Many beekeepers find beekeeping therapeutic and relaxing. In additional, beekeeping is truly fascinating.
Our first Stage, Learn About Bees, has been all about building a base level of awareness of how and why bees live as they do. We are summarizing the main points of our month-long series of articles, for both an easy scan but also to reference other articles we have published.
But before we do so, we want to make one very important point.
Your bees will always find ways to surprise you. Many beekeepers - including very experienced ones - find beekeeping to be a never-ending challenge, with no two seasons being the same. Indeed, no two hives, right next to each other, are ever the same.
What does this mean for you, the new beekeeper?
It means what follows and our other detailed articles are merely a start. Even when armed with one or more of the excellent books available today, one really can't replace simple, direct experience.
That's our qualifier here - consider all this supportive in nature. When you get with your bees they will indeed teach you. You will see behaviors and outcomes you didn't imagine. These are the skills you will build as a beekeeper, namely to interpret these signs, using all the resources available to you.
When you get your bees the learning is just starting.
With that said, let's summarize what we have covered in Stage 1 : Learn About Bees.
There are many fascinating aspects to beekeeping but the science behind how they live is amazing. Beekeepers are best able to help their bees when they understand them at this level. Our Science of Bees section covers a broad range of topics and any effective beekeepers should have familiarity with each of these.
Bees are resilient, strong, disciplined, resourceful and incredibly effective at what they do. Over millions of years, they have created ways to work together that can put us mere humans to shame.
The level of collaboration within the hive is often surprising to the first time beekeeper, including how the role of workers varies as they live their life. The following areas are all worth understanding in detail by the beekeeper, all as clues when it's time to try an interpret their actions.
Finally, in our final stage, we set up the more practical aspect of our course, by providing context for beekeeping as a whole. These are important ideas and philosophies that all beekeepers need to consider, so they can find their path forward.
Is that enough for you? Deep breath....
You now know more about bees than maybe 95% of the population! You are well beyond seeing bees merely as honey-donating, stinging machines!
Of course, knowing a few things about bees doesn't make you a beekeeper. For that.... you are going to need some bees!
Stage 2: Your Beehive covers the hard-core, practical details you will need to start your first beehive.
Then, with that done, you have to help your bees stay healthy and Stage 3 : A Healthy Beehive is all about just that.
If you have followed along so far....congratulations.
Now the fun begins.