Want to Start Beekeeping?Many people ask me how to start beekeeping. It's certainly a hobby which most people find fascinating. When I go to collect a swarm or an established honeybee colony, invariably the householder, neighbors and their children want to watch and take photos.
I always encourage this, although it's a little nerve racking being observed doing something like this, I suppose I like to show off a bit when I'm collecting a swarm. I also think it's important that the more people who learn about the incredible honeybee, the better it is for them and the bees. Without becoming too lyrical, it's as if there is something almost mystical in the idea of keeping something so 'dangerous' as honeybees.
Another way of starting the pastime is to buy an established bee hive from an experienced local beekeeper. This is of course a much faster way of getting your 'hands dirty' but needs to be done with caution.
I do talks to groups of people and demonstrations, including an observation hive. Fees depend on what is required and the distance involved, discounts for non-profit organizations. Send an inquiry from the Contact Page and put Group Demonstration in the subject line. I also offer a consultancy service which includes setting up conventional beehives, top bar hives and observation hives.
Of course it isn't really dangerous to keep bees, but precautions must be take to limit the effect of those sharp stings on you and your neighbors. I get many calls and emails from people with questions. I try whenever possible to answer those questions. I do this free of charge, although any donations are always very welcome.
I've found that some people want more practical, hands-on experience. I can therefore offer one-to-one tuition locally, in north county San Diego, at $75 per hour, with a minimum of two hours. Travel is changed at 50¢ per mile. Send me your contact details from the Comment Page put Start Beekeeping in the subject line and tell me the type of information you're looking for, be sure to include your phone number.
You can benefit from my 20 years of experience and learn how to start beekeeping. Perhaps you have honeybees on your property in the form of a swarm, or an established colony in a shed. If you would prefer to remove them yourself under my guidance I'd be happy to do that. You do the work, I just supervise, hold the ladder and help you get to grips with the basics. I can't teach you everything, only the bees themselves can do that, and they'll take a very long time to do that.
You will need some basic equipment, a hive with roof and floor, containing frames, a smoker, a hive tool, bee brush and bee suit. I'm happy to supply these or you can get them mail order from many different places.
Collecting a swarm often entails the hi-tech solution of a cardboard box. The swarm, if possible, is shaken into the cardboard box, then emptied in front of the hive box. The bees are attracted to the dark cavity of the box, entering quite quickly. A number of worker bees position themselves outside, head down, tail up, their Nasonov pheromone gland (white-at tip of abdomen) open, fanning the pheromone outwards to signal the whereabouts of the hive entrance.