Somewhere, somehow, you’ve had your interest peaked about honeybees and how to become a beekeeper. Maybe you have a local farmers market with a honey vendor. Maybe you see white boxes stacked at the edge of a field while driving to visit your in-laws. You decide to stop just thinking about it and look into it. But, like so many of our well-intended plans, it gets put on the backburner. Months, maybe even a year, pass by and you finally get around to learning more about beekeeping. After only a few minutes of reading online, your head spins with questions. Who does it? Is it hard? Does it require a lot of time and money? How much space is required? Where do I get the equipment? How do I get bees? I don’t think I’m afraid of bees, but maybe I am? Could I even possibly do this with my family, work, and life responsibilities?
You CAN become a beekeeper
The simple answer is yes, you can become a backyard beekeeper! Having just a flicker of interest means you have what it takes. When I started, my husband and I were living in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio with our three kids. I found a local beekeeping association and registered for their annual beginner beekeeping class series. I knew absolutely nothing about beekeeping at this point. No one in my family ever kept bees and I didn’t have any neighbors who did so. I had never even seen a hive up close. I was truly a beginner. My husband and our three kids thought I was crazy. They each declared they wanted nothing to do with the bees, but they supported me on this adventure.
Beekeeping works almost anywhere
That was 12 years ago. As our family has moved for job relocations, I have kept honeybee hives in three different states, extracted hundreds of pounds of honey, given presentations at schools, nursing homes, county and Earth Day fairs, and have started many new beekeepers in their first season of beekeeping.
Backyard Beekeeping is a family affair
After attending the first class with me back in 2009, my one son decided it was all very interesting and wanted to be a beekeeper as well. He was 9-years-old. From our very first hive to now, as a 21-year-old, he has been by my side beekeeping. Our oldest son became my photographer. As he stood by during my inspections, he found himself standing closer and closer to the hives and listening to all the observations I made. Same for our daughter, who was quite young when I began. They both have gained a lot of knowledge about honeybees and over the years I have heard them share it with friends. Even my husband has taken an interest. He helps me when needed and I often catch him crouched in front of a hive observing the bees up close as they do their honeybee activities.
I became a beekeeper while raising a family in the suburbs. The cost of equipment and bees was not prohibiting as I found a fantastic supplier. The 30 minutes required every 10 days has been manageable and enjoyable. This beekeeper has kept bees on a one-acre suburban lot, a rural Texas ranch, and a tiny sliver of space behind our garage at our very urban home. I learned I am not afraid of bees; I find their buzzing around me to be comforting and special. I do get stung, that is unavoidable. Each and every sting I have received over the years has been my fault, caused by me making a mistake that provoked a bee to defend her colony.