Thinking about starting your own back garden beehive? 80% of new beekeepers quit after the first two years. So, why do so many give up, and what does it take to succeed? Read this article to find out how to avoid becoming part of the statistic!
In my opinion, the main reason new beekeepers quit is because they don’t prepare themselves with what they need to succeed in advance of taking ownership of their first colony.
Many beginners have the misconception that beekeeping will be easy because it doesn’t require a huge time investment and bees pretty much look after themselves – right?. While it is true that maintaining a couple of beehives takes only about a few hours per month, new beekeepers should expect to spend many more hours learning about what they should actually be doing in those few hours. There is no point being busy fools.
So, what resources should a new beekeeper look for?
Books are an excellent place to start. Don’t rely on a single book though, make sure you pick up a couple so that you can get an understanding of different methods. There’s never just one way to do something in beekeeping. When choosing a book, a number of excellent sources of information come to mind that can provide optimum information for new starters:
- The Haynes Beekeeping Manual
- The Collins Beekeepers Bible
- Keeping Bees with a smile
- Honeybee Democracy
With these 4 books you will develop a great understanding about keeping bees in both vertical and horizontal hives.
Local associations, Facebook groups & mentors are the single best resource for a new beekeeper. A mentor will not only give you support and confidence, they will teach you things specific to your region that you probably cannot find in a book. I do, however, recommend that you read a book before you attend a group meeting or approach someone about mentoring you. If you have a problem that you want help with its important that you can articulate the problems along with your observations and understand the issues
If you need help t any time you can contact me and if I can’t help you I should be able to point you in the right direction
Documentaries & YouTube are great sources of visual information and an excellent way to get information on every aspect of beekeeping in a practical method. Want to know how to catch a swarm? Watch a YouTube video. Want to know how to do a split? Watch a YouTube video. Most things are easier to understand when shown visually.
Blogs, social media groups, podcasts & forums are great interactive learning tools for beginners. You can often ask questions and get answers from several different beekeepers. Following a beekeeping-themed social media account or blog is also a good way to infuse a daily or weekly dose of beekeeping knowledge into your life. It makes the steep learning curve a little less painful. You may also want to search hashtags on Instagram to help you find helpful accounts.
To be successful you need to learn, learn and learn more. You need to put in the time and effort but above all else you need to thoroughly ENJOY IT!