There are many good reasons to become a beekeeper. It might be that you want to do your bit to save the honeybee, or it could be that you want to have access to delicious raw honey. Maybe you are looking for an enjoyable hobby that could be turned into a business at a later date. If so, beekeeping might sound like a good idea. But what do you need to consider, and is it difficult?
What to Consider
The first thing to do before jumping headfirst into beekeeping is to ask yourself why you want to do it. If your reason is to help save the honeybee, know that there are other ways to do this too. For example, buying jewelry from a company known as Project Honey Bees means you are contributing to bee conservation by way of a bee adoption. You can keep the jewelry for yourself or give it to a loved one.
If, on the other hand, you have a real interest in working with honeybees and want to harvest honey, then it is important that you learn all you can about beekeeping before you even think about buying any equipment. Your local library will have a plethora of books on the topic, and you can find plenty of useful information online too.
Your location is another consideration. It makes sense that not everyone is in a position to keep bees. If you live in a high rise apartment, your chances of being a beekeeper (from home at least) are minimal. If though you have plenty of outdoor space, then beekeeping could be ideal. However, it is not just outdoor space that you must bear in mind. You need to have a location where the hive will be sheltered from the strongest midday sun and from harsh winds. Furthermore, honeybees will need access to nectar and pollen, which is something else to consider.
Beekeeping can be an expensive hobby, particularly in the beginning when you will have to buy equipment such as a hive, bees, a beekeeping suit, and a smoker. While you don’t need to have any specific training to be a beekeeper, you will need to know quite a bit about how to look after them and what is required. If you would prefer to have some training, you can probably find some courses at a nearby college or look for something online.
It is possible to buy bees from a local beekeeper, and you will need a hive in which to put them. Hives, as well as bees, can also be purchased online and shipped straight to you. Some people will try to catch a swarm of bees, but this is not recommended for those with no experience of handling these creatures.
It is a good idea to check with your local agricultural department to ensure that there are no restrictions to you keeping bees. In most cases, you will not need to apply for permission, but if you live in a major city then there may be restrictions in place. What you may find however is that there will be regulations in place regarding the sale of honey. You might need a license, depending on where you live, and you may require a health inspection before you can sell anything.
Beekeeping is a great hobby that will allow you to harvest honey for your own consumption or to sell locally if you wish. Before you get started though, there are a few things to consider including whether you have a suitable space and what regulations may be in place regarding the sale of honey.