Beekeeping is an exciting, engaging hobby. But for many would-be beekeepers, the bizarre costumes and buzzing are intimidating enough to turn them away. In truth, beekeeping is a comfortable, surprisingly inexpensive hobby. Most people just need a beginner’s guide to starting a beehive to get ready for a new adventure.
Meet with Local Beekeeping Organizations
Although there’s a great variety of ways to get educated on beekeeping, including many books and online sources on the subject, the best method is to meet with beekeepers in your area. There are many local beekeeping organizations spread throughout the world. To get started with your new hobby, reach out to one of these organizations and see if they can offer you an education. Some beekeeping groups even include mentorship programs.
Choose Your Hive Type
Once you have educated yourself about bees and beekeeping, preferably with the help of a beekeeping organization, it’s time to pick your beehive design. Carefully look through your options and see which would work best for your interests and budget:
- Ten-frame Langstroth hive: The most recognizable hive type, the ten-frame Langstroth hive gets its name from its ten boxes stacked on top of each other, which are filled with combs so that the bees have a place to store honey.
- Eight-frame Langstroth hive: The same as the ten-frame, only with two fewer boxes, the eight-frame may be easier to work with for beginners, but its supplies are more difficult to find.
- Top-bar hive: Top-bar hives are one of the oldest styles in the world. In these hives, horizontal bars are set across a trough-shaped hive protected by a removable cover. This is a relatively inexpensive option.
Get Your Supplies
A beginner’s guide to starting a beehive would not be complete without a brief exploration into the different beekeeper supplies. Although the hobby isn’t too expensive, beekeepers will still need to make space in their homes for:
- A veil: Protects your face from bee stings
- Gloves: Most beginners use gloves when they face bees.
- Bee suit: Protects your whole body from stings
- Smoker: A handheld device that sprays smoke at the hive so that you can calm the bees
- Hive tool: A crowbar-like tool that opens and breaks apart the box
Order Your Honeybees
The last step in preparing for your new beekeeping hobby is to order bees. You can order either package bees, which are sold without food stores or a queen, or nucleus colonies, which include some food stores and a queen. Both options have advantages and disadvantages, with package bees being economical but slow at building their populations and nucs being more expensive but prone to disease. If you’re ready to take on your first hive, we have honeybees for sale in Bunkie, LA, at The B Farm.