If you’re new to beekeeping you may feel really overwhelmed right about now.  For many of us our new packages are showing up in a few weeks and while putting the package into the hive is a bit frightening the prepping is simply overwhelming.  Here’s a nice list from Ron on what you should be doing and thinking about right now.

  1. Location, Location, Location – where are you going to put your hive?  Make sure that bees have a good clear flight path (just like an airplane!), that you’re not too close to your neighbors or your patio, that the bees get good morning sun and not too much shade in the winter and most importantly decide for sure where you want it to be.  Moving the hive later is extremely difficult, even just a few feet can be a disaster so make sure you like your place and figure it out now so you can think through the benefits and drawbacks of your chosen location.
  2. Gear-  While many of us spend the night before we get our packages assembling gear we always promise ourselves that we won’t do that again this year so let’s not!  Put everything together now, get it painted and ready to go.  Here’s how to put our Beekeeping Kit together.
  3. Look Out Buying Someone’s Old Gear- While it’s tempting to purchase hives that are already made and used some pests can live in wax for decades and used gear might have chemicals that will still be in the wax.  You’ll want to consider this if you’re thinking about used gear.
  4. Safety Gear- Do your friends really want to come over to see your bees?  GREAT!  But what about their gear?  Do they have their own veil?  Probably not so now is a good time to put together a visitor kit with an extra veil, jacket and/or suit and gloves.  If you have kids that come over make sure you have gear that will fit them.  We all want to encourage kids to learn about bees and they’ll love putting on the gear and becoming a beekeeper with you.  And just in case, get an EpiPen prescription from your doctor and have that EpiPen in your house.  Many may not know they are allergic and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
  5. Sugar Sugar- You’re going to go through a lot of sugar feeding your bees once you get the package so go get a BIG bag of the stuff.   Now is a good time to practice with your feeder too.  Make the syrup (it won’t go bad) and learn what it’s like to change it out now, before it’s an emergency.  Here’s a video on how to feed your bees.
  6. Review and Refresh- You’ve watched the basic beekeeping video but it’s time to watch it again.  Get out the emails, poke through the website and fill your brain with the information you’ll need to feel really comfortable once your package arrives.
  7. Go Out There and Make a Friend- Find people in your area or online that you can talk to.  You can find our map of beekeepers here (make sure to add yourself!) and/or post on the forums if that works better for you.

What concerns you most about starting with bees?  Let us know!

4 Responses to “Seven Vital Beekeeping Steps for Spring”

  1. Jeff Deck

    Do you have any information on top bar hives?

    P.S. love every thing you are putting out.

  2. Dean Brannan

    Greetings all. I’m very excited about starting a hive this year. What is the latest that I can start a hive here in Northeast Texas? I have already picked a site out but I have fire ants in the area. Today I go out to clear and burn the site off and treat the soil so as to make sure there is no chance of anything disturbing my babies. I also have wild hogs in the area and I’m seriously comtemplating fenceing the site off. I think this would just be a prudent measure and worth the extra cost and time as a little added insurance and protection for my babies. My point is that this takes time and I want to know if I will have time to start a hive this year. I want the best opportunity for my hive to get a good start and be safe and healthy. Please let me know what is the deadline for getting started this year to insure my hive has the best opportunity to survive. If I can’t start this year so be it. I can wait until next year, I would rather wait and make sure they have every opportunity and advantage to thrive. Thankyou, Dean Brannan

    • Jessica

      Dean, that’s a great question. To be honest it really depends on how much time you think it will take to do the things you’ve described. More importantly though you need to see when packages of bees come in to your area. Our blog post today talks about ordering bees for each area. Here’s a list of beekeeping organizations in your area you could ask about ordering bees: http://texasento.net/TXBee.htm If you are too late to order a package then it’s too late to get started and while it would be nice if you could get a package at any time of the year the truth is for each area there’s usually a pretty small window. If you’ve missed the window it still could be possible to get a nuc from someone locally and likely your local beekeeper association can tell you who in your area is selling nucs. Best of luck and let us know how it goes!


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