How to Become a Beekeeper
Some people, when they decide to pursue beekeeping, just buy a beehive and a batch of bees and get started. This sort of go-it-alone approach includes learning from your own mistakes. It certainly can be done but it takes longer, and you will probably make more mistakes than if you have direction.
However, there are quite a few choices for those who prefer something a little more formal.
Becoming a beekeeper will require a considerable amount of energy to be expended on your part. It requires discipline, intelligence, and a sense of purpose. This is a most rewarding hobby or small business, but it is not set-and-forget.
Eventually you can get to the stage where you can be a little less vigilant, but not in the start-up phase while you are learning what it is all about and the many types of issues that can confront you.
In this 19:54-minute video by David Burns, he shares some great tips and advice on how to start beekeeping:
Many hobby beekeepers get started because a friendly neighbor is a beekeeper and gives them a little taste of how sweet the honey can be when the bees are right in your garden. Having a neighbor like this is a great way to get started because you have a built-in mentor or teacher with experience of their own.
Check Out Some Library Books or a Class
There is almost certainly at least a book or two at your local library that will help you get an overview of what being a beekeeper is all about. In some places, the libraries also have videos you can borrow, or even live presentations or classes by local beekeepers. Librarians usually have a good handle on such information and can point you in the right direction.
Beekeeping Associations or Clubs
These often provide more formal training, either in the form of a single class or a series of classes that might even give you a certificate at the end of it. You can find these all over the country, and the world. There is also a sense of getting to know your community and finding others with similar interests. Here you can also attend special meetings with speakers that cover different topics related to beekeeping every month. There is a rich assortment of experience in the room, with some seasoned beekeepers and other newbies just like you. Then you can also ask questions at the end.
Online Classes, Webinars and Workshops
This is maybe the easiest way, but often will take you beyond your own community into the wider world. Such classes may be live or pre-recorded, but either way you are sure to learn plenty that will help you in your new hobby of beekeeping. This new information will help you maintain your backyard beehives. The downside is that you are virtual and won’t get hands-on training, but you can still learn a lot and then seek out the hands-on learning from some local person or group.
A Mentor to Guide You
This brings us full circle to the friendly neighbor or friend that can give you guidance. This is not easily available to everyone. Most people will enjoy mentoring you as much as you enjoy learning about your new passion. Bee creative in your pursuit of a mentor. You might find out about a mentor at a beekeeping club, a farmer’s market, or from the librarian or at your local community center. Not everyone wants to engage with others, though, so don't take it personally if you request mentorship and the person is not interested. Just keep searching.
If beekeeping speaks to you on any level, set your mind to finding the best way for you, and don’t give up.
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