Beginner’s Beekeeping Information – 5 Tips on How to Get Started
Article by Lance Murdock
There many books and online resources for experienced beekeepers, but there is little beekeeping information on how to get started. Getting started on the right foot is critical to having a healthy, thriving hive that will produce years of fascination and fun.
Be aware that beekeeping is not something that is mastered overnight. Bees are not fully understood by even the most educated scientist or beekeeper. You will learn something new about them every season. This is one reason beekeeping as a hobby or business is such an interesting endeavor.
Let me go over 7 tips on how to get started in beekeeping, so you can avoid critical mistakes and start you beekeeping activities off correctly.
1. Take note of your environment
This is a point often overlooked by beginning beekeepers. You obviously have to live in a area which is conducive to a bees lifestyle, to maximize your chances of having a healthy, thriving hive. Although bees can and do exist in all types of environments, let’s just say if you live in a little studio apartment in a high rise building in the middle of a big city, your chances of success are lower than someone with a backyard living in the suburbs.
2. Buying An Man-Made Hive
The second step in getting started is to understand where you will house your bees. There are many types of hives out there, with their associated pro’s and con’s. What is best is to talk with local bee keepers in your area and ask them what works locally. Location, weather patterns, and surrounding vegetation will all play a role into what type of hive you choose. Also, you can call your state Apiculture center to see what they might recommend.
3. Obtaining Bees
It is important to obtain your bees from a dealer who knows what they are doing. Again, check with local agents. They need to be knowledgeable not only about the bees, but how to transport them safely, without damage or starvation. You can obtain bees in “nucs” or nucleus, usually sold as a 3 frame or 5 frame. This will usually include a laying queen, and a good variety of bees of all ages. These are all important factors when starting your hive.
Shop around for equipment to get the best prices. You will usually need the hive, a smoker, and a good suit. One piece of important advice gained from experience is to never be cheap. Buy new if at all possible, and don’t settle for cheaper quality products. You and your bees will thank me later for this.
In particular, smokers are critical to help calm the bees and make inspections much easier. Copper units will last a long time, but will obviously be more expensive. You can also use an old beekeeper’s trick, new corrugated cardboard rolled tightly. When lit from the bottom, it works well and lasts for a long time.
As mentioned earlier in this article, beekeeping is not mastered overnight. Get the education you need to take care of your bees properly. Learn their life cycles and behavior patterns. Some things not covered in this article include how to take care of honey, understanding the hive’s seasonal patterns, and also how to move a hive if you need to. You can find many resources out there to learn more.
About the Author
Lance Murdock is a beekeeping enthusiast and author. He lives in Los Angeles and spends his time teaching others how to setup a healthy, sustainable beekeeping hive in your backyard. For more beekeeping information, you can get his free mini-course on how to get started in beekeeping at