So You Wanna Bee A Beekeeper? (Part 1)

Becoming a beekeeper has been one of the most rewarding and difficult things I’ve ever done! Beekeeping is rewarding but it also has its challenges. In this blog I give aspiring beekeepers some things to think about when deciding on whether to keep bees. I hope you can learn something from my post!

Location, location, location!

A big thing to consider when deciding to keep bees is location. (If you hadn’t already gathered that from when I said it 3 times in the heading) In fact, it’s probably one of the most important things!

WuTang hive at Twilight

Questions to consider…

Noise. Do you know studies have shown that bees are sensitive to noise and will actually stop moving when encountering noise at certain decibels? Are you close to a street? Are you in an area that constantly has construction going on? Blowers, mowers, and weed wackers are all stressors for bees.

Foot traffic. Many people are afraid of bees and some are deathly allergic. There are different laws for each state, county and cities so make sure you read up on those before you decide where to place a hive. There can also be laws based on the neighborhood you live in. It’s wise to know what the rules are in your area before committing to purchasing equipment/bees.

Accessibility. Are your hives easy to get to? You will need easy access to your hives so you need to make sure they are in a place you can comfortably move around and safely place supers (bee boxes) down while you complete hive inspections or treatments.

Capped Queen Cells

Safety. Safety for you AND the bes. There are some practical things you can do to protect your hives. One thing you can do is know your yard/neighborhood. Are large branches hanging over the apiary? Where does it normally flood? Are there bears in the area? Racoons? Do you see water accumulating after a day or two of rain? You could also do a little research and check into flooding in the area you want to place hives in.

Water Source. Is there a water source nearby and if so is it your neighbors pool? If it is, be prepared to potentially filter complaints from your neighbor about how your bees ruin her backyard because there are hundreds over there drinking from her pool and she’s scared to go into her backyard, much less let her kids out. If you decide to get bees the best thing you can do is establish a water source near your hives. Your bees will get used to it and continue to return. If you are laidazical about it you might have some angry neighbors. This is a question I get asked about very often!

Honeybees and sunflowers <3

Other things to consider

  • Can your hives opening safely face South or East?
  • Do you have a place your hive(s) can be out of direct wind?
  • Is the location safe from pesticide spraying?
  • Can you protect your hives from predators like bears or skunks?
  • Are there patches of flowers close enough to you that bees do not have to fly 3 miles to get to them?

Some things you just can’t control.

Aside from the things you can control, realize there are some things you cannot…like, hurricanes, tornadoes and flash flooding. A beekeeper I know from an online group gave me permission to share the following photos. There is a creek near her home that has been virtually dry for 28 years but this year there was a “100-year event” and it flooded not only her yard but the entire region. As a matter of fact, four people died. I share these photos with her permission for educational purposes.

The hives were located away from the home. Luckily, they were able to find 3 out of the 4 boxes.
Closer up photo. You can see the bees hanging onto their home!

There may be other things to consider but, well, I don’t know everything! I do know that dedication, practice and education will help you grow as a beekeeper! Whatever you do, don’t give up!