As we continue through Springtime, we see more and more new beekeepers who are getting ready for their first package of honeybees. Some of you have attended our Beekeeping Class “Beekeeping Boot Camp” and we have seen your enthusiasm. (We will be holding another bootcamp on April 25) New Beekeepers can be overwhelmed this time of year. Don’t be overwhelmed by the strange terminology – you don’t have to learn everything in the first week.
New Beekeeper’s First Steps
1) Read and learn all that you can. Take a class.
2) Order Your Bees – Order early for the best selection of dates. Bees are generally ordered in Jan-April for Mar & April Pick up. At this time we still have packages available for the new beekeeper on April 18 & May 2.
3) Buy your basic supplies and get them assembled and painted. Bee Well Honey has everything the new beekeepers needs as well as supplies for the veteran beekeeper. You can drop by the store or order online !
4) Decide where to put your bees. A sunny location is best. It is a good idea to raise the colonies off the ground to help protect them from skunks. Make sure your stand is sturdy !!! You will be amazed at how heavy a hive can be when filled with bees and honey ! Your bees will “orient” to your hive location. It is important to put it where you want to leave it for a while.
5) Make plans to feed your bees. Your new package MUST be fed. The bees have a lot of work to do in those first few months. They will not fly at night or on rainy days. A full feeder will help to ensure that their growth will continue. Improper feeding is the #1 problems that new beekeepers face. Feed 1:1 sugar water and this may continue for several months. Adding a bit of “Honey B Healthy” to the water will help keep it fresh until the bees consume the syrup but is not absolutely necessary. Your bees will likely consume the syrup before it goes bad unless you are using very large capacity feeders.
6) When you pick up your package of bees, they can ride in the car with you. “You may even sing – Happy Bee Day to me if you are feeling extra happy about your New Beekeeper Experience”. Bees should not be able to escape the screen package.
7) Once the bees are installed in their new home and fed. You have time to relax a bit and congratulate yourself on what a great job you have done ! Now you are a beekeeper.
8) Your job doesn’t end here. Continue to feed and monitor your bees. (Don’t look in there everyday !). Continue to learn and read. Join a local bee club (if you don’t feel comfortable at the first one continue to visit others). A group of helpful experienced beekeepers are a blessing to the new beekeeper.