Bee Keeping here I come!


It is worth having a read this article from Michael Bush’s web site where he deals with the question in detail.



I found the note:

Time is honey. Bernd Heinrich


Thank you Mick, I started to read it and it seems to be a good resource. Eventually I am hoping to take a class on beekeeping prior to venturing into it myself.


I would definitely recommend a hands on class before starting. Beekeeping is one hobby that you cant learn from a book. You need to do it and being able to practice on someone elses hives before starting my own helped me a ton.


Agreed. I have mixed feelings about how long it will be but I am looking at at least another 2 years before I begin the hobby.


Just enough time to find a capable mentor. Some one who has more than three hives(so they have enough experience), can find the queen 90% of the time(so they know how to handle their bees), makes honey every year(they know where to place their bees and are forward enough to ask strangers, can I put bees there), and will let you work for him for free(because he will know you have the determination to learn on your dime, not his).
A good mentor in beekeeping will save you so much time and money, the old guy who taught me had 2000 colonies, I worked for him 6 months and made 300lbs of honey from 4 hives the first year. Take classes, join local bking groups, watch YouTube, all will help, but find a mentor and get lots of hands on experience.


I would also advise that you join a good beekeeping forum. The members have a wealth of knowledge and are very generous with their knowledge and advices are the members of this forum.
I have been a member of beemaster forum since 2009. I started with a distant mentor and a book. It was an accidental introduction to bees and beekeeping. My daughter arrived home on her 18th birthday and gave me the news that there were some bees making a nest in a small shrub on the opposite side of our street. That was 23 years ago and I have kept bees in my suburban backyard ever since simply as a hobby. I tell you this history because I found that the long distance mentoring wasn’t working and the book wasn’t much so I muddled along making mistakes but getting enough honey from 8 hives to keep me happy. But I didn’t have a very deep understanding of the hive and it’s occupants.
So the beemaster forum became my mentor and it has expanded my knowledge and understanding of beekeeping and I am a lot better beek because of it.
By the way, Busch and Chikn have given good advice and worth keeping in the back of the mind for when you take the step.



Beekeeping isn’t like it use to be, where you would put the bees out in bee yard somewhere and visit them once a month or so. It is very important to have the time and want to put the effort towards your bees. This can be hard work in very hot weather with hopefully heavy supers of honey. The key to all of this is to be a BEE KEEPER. and NOT a BEE HAVER.


That’s a great point chikn! My mentor saved my butt on several occasions and taught me a ton in the process. I like the idea about working for an established beekeeper for free. You would learn a ton that way.


I waffled about it as well but put my reservations behind me and jumped right in. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made. My bees bring me a ton of enjoyment and fresh strained honey is incredible.


I look forward to it but the start up costs and the time investment are not there yet. Me and my wife are expecting our first child in a few months so between that and the lack of experience it seemed a good idea to not rush into it.


If I could pick one thing that has been my biggest downfall, it is not having a good mentor. @Chikn has been more help to me than he will ever know- much more than my local, so-called, mentor. He is a great person with a good heart, but its obvious that he doesn’t know much more than I do in the end. He only has 6 hives so he is certainly not a professional, so I probably just expected too much from him. But 9 of 10 times its been Phil and other good folks here who have answered my questions. Let me also offer a hardy “AMEN!” to what Mick said:

Phil sent me an incredibly good book and I love it. But you really, really do have to have hands on and someone good who can occasionally come and look at your set-up. As great as everyone on this thread has been, the biggest problem I have in many cases is trying to explain my problem or what I’m seeing or so on. Part of the problem is I don’t yet know “bee talk”; ie definitions and names for things and so on. But also, some things are just hard to describe of differentiate. How do you explain things like the color of the comb, or that you have a “lot of bees”, or that “many of my bees are carrying pollen today” or “my bees are acting strange”. There are just so many things that someone really has to see and/or show you in order for you to understand and learn.

All this being said, I still haven’t gotten involved in the local BK association as me and now you have both been advised to you. I want to say I’ve been too busy but we all know we have time for what we WANT to so I need to do it! Anyway, I am far from knowing enough to even begin to offer any advice, but from one NEW BK to another I just wanted to say 1) the folks here are incredible and will be one of your best resources and 2) Get a local mentor. Good luck…


Count me in for not having a mentor. I don’t have anyone close to me that cares about fruit trees, grafting, fruit breeding, propogation, Etc. That’s the reason I’ve screwed up so much. It ain’t for lack of effort. It’s for lack of execution. :yum:

My only fruit tree mentor is this forum.


It’s hard to replace having an expert come over to your house and give you advice but this forum is pretty darn close.


I also think a good mentor will save you a lot of headaches and shorten the learning curve. You can do it own your own but it requires a lot effort and determination along with learning many lessons through trial and error. Looking back I wish that I had a mentor.


My hives both are empty so I’m going to have to buy new bees this year. Just today I found a place that is 30 minutes from my house that sells bees, which is great! I contacted them to ask price and they said a 3# pkg is $120 and a 5 frame nuc is $160. WHich should I get for my 2 hives? I’m not sure I completely even understand what a Nuc is.



If you can afford it, always the nuc. It’s a small started colony, brood in all stages, stores, a healthy, laying queen and bees to cover. When you go to pick up your nuc, pronounced like the knuckles on your hand, have the producer show you the queen, brood, and stores. The queen should be vigorous, much larger than the workers, and attractive to the eye. The eggs should be singles and stand upright in the middle of the cell, the cappings will all be the same brown color in the colony, will only have a few empties, and have no shrunken or chewed cells. You should get 5-10# of capped honey and some pollen and the workers should be uniform color and move quietly on the comb with out popping against your veil. If some workers are differing colors, the queen may have changed within the last 2 wks. Genetic changes in the colony can be bad or good.


fascinating, and appreciated. As long as I’m asking dumb Q’s I should know the answer to, let me try another:

The hive that had bees in it almost all year still has a lot of drawn but empty comb. Some of it looks really dark brown and old, and some of it looks much whiter and fresher. There are probably a total of about 16 frames with comb- about 8 in one box and 6 in one and 2 in one. This comb and this whole hive has been outside all year. I didn’t put it in a bee-proof area as was suggested because it wasn’t completely empty until about a month ago.

Based on the above info: I THINK having drawn comb in place is a good thing, right? Is this true even if I get new bees? Will new bees use other bee’s drawn comb? If not, I can throw it all away and I already have wax foundation sheets I can put back in. But if I’m right and it’s good to have drawn comb already present, I’m afraid I might have other things in that hive since its sat empty outside for a month or more- mites, moths, diseases, etc. If so, what can I do? No way I can get even 1 box into my freezer if that is what you’re going to say! :slight_smile: One thing I saw in my other hive was an abundance of those black spiders that can jump like crazy. They had spun little 1/2 inch webs all over the inside of the hive and each spot that had a little web- almost like a cacoon- had a black jumping spider inside the web. If none of this makes any sense, I guess I’m just unlucky. But I’d still like to know what do do with my drawn web and 3-4 box hive that has been outside all winter and empty for over a month.



drawn comb frames are great for helping new hives get off the ground. to deal with pests and disease i freeze all of my frames after they are pulled from a hive. if there is a lot of gyk ill scrub them, dip them in boiling water (i do this outside since wax us flamable) then toss them in the freezer to kill anythung that is left.


I’m building nucs today. Any one interested in learning this, please leave a like and I will do my best to describe the equipment and procedure and send some pictures.