General information about hobby beekeeping

So you're thinking of keeping bees ...

A few pointers to consider BEFORE getting your bees.

  1. Bees are wild creatures and need your respect. They are not pets or tame insects.
  2. Eventually you will get stung – if bees didn't have stings everyone would keep them.
  3. Are you allergic to bee stings? If not, you may develop a sever allergic reaction. This will end your beekeeping adventure.
  4. Consider where to place your hive. Obstacles such as a fence, a row of trees or buildings will cause them to gather height before leaving your property. Flying bees should be above head height, especially your neighbours.
  5. The ideally location for your colony is to be receive the warmth of the sun during the winter months but shaded from the sun in summer if temperatures exceed 30°C.
  6. During the swarming period your bees will need regular inspections, every 7 to 10 days.
  7. Is there a beekeepers code of practice for your area, shire, state or country?
  8. Are there local council regulations?
  9. Consideration toward your neighbours. Aggressive colonies need to be requeened.
  10. During hot summer days bees will seek out a water supply. Neighbours swimming pools will be a problem and your bees will become a nuisance. During the Australian summer it is essential to provide them with water.
  11. Join the local beekeeping club. Its a great place to meet other beekeepers that willing to share their knowledge, experience and who are able to help you.
  12. Beekeeping books provide a how to. Practical experience is the best way to develop skills.
  13. Get to know your local flora. This might help in identify your honey crop.
  14. During prolong drought your bees may not produce a honey surplus. Be prepared to feed them if necessary during autumn so they can survive the winter months.

  15. You will need to purchase a smoker, hive tool, protective clothing, beehive components (boxes, frames, beeswax foundation, wire, floorboard, top-cover) paint, glue, nails and a few hardware tools such as a hammer. All up you might spend $300 to $500 setting up one beehive. That is a lot of money if all you want is a bit of honey.
  16. Additional equipment such as an extractor and uncapping knife ($500+) are not essential but will greatly assist with producing your honey crop. Consider hiring them for the first couple of seasons from another beekeeper or beekeeping supplier.