We get that question a lot at World of Beekeeping throughout the year and for most areas the answer now (halfway through July) is yes. It is too late to start because most places aren’t selling packages anymore but further, starting now wouldn’t give your bees time enough to bulk up their numbers before winter. Now if you live in an area that really doesn’t have a winter there might still be time to get and keep bees, but again, that will largely depend on your ability to find bees in your area.
All that said this is a great time to start your beekeeping journey. I know, you’re thinking “what are you talking about, you just said you can’t keep bees this year” but of course there’s more to keeping bees than just getting the bees. Here are some things you can be doing right now to prepare for beekeeping next year.
- Get our Basic Beekeeping Video and watch it. This is a great first step as it will help you determine if you actually want to keep bees. Might as well figure that one out before you get invested! It will also get you on the right track to prepping for next year and your first true beekeeping season. Beekeeping is as much about learning and studying as it is about the bees so don’t overlook this important step.
- Once you’ve decided you want to keep bees start looking at what equipment you’ll want to buy. Do you want a full suit? How many hives do you want to have? Start planning for the equipment purchase now so you’re ready and not missing bits and pieces you might need.
- Order the equipment. Depending on where you are in the country costs from one supplier to another can vary greatly. Check out different costs and compare to see what works best for you… and don’t forget shipping! With the weight of the woodenware that can really add up!
- Get your stuff and get to assembling! Each frame will need to be assembled, each box needs to be nailed, glued (if you want) and painted. This takes a while so get started on this process early.
- Figure out where you want to get bees. Do you have several options available to you? Talk with folks in your area to see where you should get bees and mark your calendars for the time to order.
- LEARN! Again, beekeeping is a hobby that requires constant learning. No matter how long you’ve been beekeeping you’ll never “know it all” so keep reading these blog posts, check out our forums and keep the learning going while you wait for next season.
- Volunteer! Really itching to keep bees this year? See if a local beekeeper or local organization has field days or needs help. You can start learning and getting comfortable this year by simply helping another.
While it’s too late to actually keep bees this year for most people it’s the perfect time to start your beekeeping journey. Start doing these things now and you’ll not be a last minute beekeeper, assembling gear the day before your bee package arrives!