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Beginning Beekeeping

Updated on January 5, 2017

The Job of Beekeeping

The decision of whether or not to keep bees is a personal one. Not everyone is cut out to keep small, stinging insects, even if they love honey. Bees require a lot of attention, especially if you're considering doing this in a suburban or city location. It is important that you educate yourself on the art of beekeeping before you begin your journey in this line of work. If you're prepared, you'll be more likely to be successful at it, and have a lower chance of getting stung by your hive of bees.

From Pollen to Honey

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Bee collecting pollen.  Photo by Serghei Starus at Bees entering their hive.  Photo by Mgyula at Dreamstime.comBees filling combs with honey and emerging from honeycombs.  Photo by Jeridu at Dreamstime.comBees working in the hive.  Photo by Kgtoh at Dreamstime.comBeekeeper getting ready to collect honey.  Photo by Kirsanovv at
Bee collecting pollen.  Photo by Serghei Starus at
Bee collecting pollen. Photo by Serghei Starus at
Bees entering their hive.  Photo by Mgyula at
Bees entering their hive. Photo by Mgyula at
Bees filling combs with honey and emerging from honeycombs.  Photo by Jeridu at
Bees filling combs with honey and emerging from honeycombs. Photo by Jeridu at
Bees working in the hive.  Photo by Kgtoh at
Bees working in the hive. Photo by Kgtoh at
Beekeeper getting ready to collect honey.  Photo by Kirsanovv at
Beekeeper getting ready to collect honey. Photo by Kirsanovv at

Beekeeping Essentials

First, find a beekeeping group nearby or talk with someone through your Cooperative Extension office about your intentions. They can help you avoid the many pitfalls of beekeeping and may also be able to provide you with free materials on the subject. In addition, clubs can help you learn, hands-on, how to care for your bees and the proper methods of honey collection.

Next, before you get your first bees you'll need some real hives. If you live in an area where beekeeping is prevalent, speak with a local beekeeper to find out where they get their hives and supplies. If none is available, go online and look for "beekeeping supplies" or "beehives." A complete hive setup can be found new, for less than $100. Don't buy used hives unless you're sure you can do all of the repairs necessary to bring it up to standard.

Buy the equipment you'll need early on. Start with buying your beekeeper clothing (gloves, hat, suit- if you want one) and a smoker. Next you'll need to start buying honey collection equipment. The scope of your project will help you determine the size of the equipment. This part of beekeeping is probably the most expensive. Used equipment may be found through beekeeping clubs or online.

Buying or Moving Bees

In order to start your hive, you'll need some bees and a queen bee. Believe it or not, you can obtain these through the mail or from a source online. Additionally, by contacting a local beekeeping club you may also find people who want to get rid of some bees in their home, barn or a tree. While this is one way to get bees, it is better to use these bees to add to your existing hives. Bees collected from other sites to start a new hive don't always stay, especially if you find you didn't get the queen when you moved them.

It is also important not to move bees right before fall and winter set in. Bees need to collect enough honey to live on for the winter. If you move bees too late in the season, you run the risk of your bees starving and dying over the winter. It is better to move hives early in the spring.


Submit a Comment
  • athynz profile image


    7 years ago from Hawaii

    You as may can have gold bars at your backyard from beekeeping. The only problem is how to operate and manage bees also on how to extract honey from it's purest and sweetest outcome. See for yourselves:

  • profile image

    J @ Bees for Sale 

    7 years ago

    Beekeeping businesses like "bees for sale" are trending now a days, you can just work on it at your backyard and make it as your hobby. It's like taking good care of your favorite pet more likely having income out of it.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    A simple way to build bee boxes!

  • profile image

    Bees for Sale 

    7 years ago

    I found this very informative. An excellent source for somebody new to bee keeping such as myself. Many thanks.

  • Gerber Ink profile imageAUTHOR

    Charlotte Gerber 

    8 years ago from upstate New York

    Hi Eleanor, It is my hope that more people who have an interest in beekeeping will actually follow through and get a hive or two of their own. Many people in big cities are starting to keep bees on the rooftops- especially if they are running a restaurant and offer items made with honey on the menu. Let's hope the bees make a big comeback and thrive once again!

  • profile image

    Eleanor Ward 

    8 years ago

    Beekeeping for beginners is a hot topic among many people interested in beekeeping as a hobby and not primarily as a commercial venture. People interested in beginning beekeeping are becoming more common in urban areas as more people see the benefit of bees that help support their urban vegetable gardens. Bees are an important part of the environment and may people are happy that bees are making a comeback.


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