Have you always wanted to raise bees but didn’t know where to start? There are so many questions for the new beekeeper and it’s hard to find a reliable source with all the answers.
I’m here to help answer those questions for you, and many you never thought of.
All of this information can be found in my new book, Beekeeping For Beginners.
My Beekeeping Journey
When I decided to write Beekeeping For Beginners, I tried to place myself at the very beginning of my beekeeping journey. When I knew NOTHING about beekeeping.
Well, I lied, I knew two things. One- bees make honey, and I LOVE honey. Two- I was allergic to bee stings and they die if they sting you.
Although I took a course on beekeeping from the local extension agency, most ALL of my knowledge comes from trial and error.
I remembered each horrible mistake I made those first few years of beekeeping and all the questions that I had back then and share them with you in this book.
I’ve included some of the most popular questions new beekeepers have as well as what others have thought about the book in this article.
From those that know nothing about beekeeping to those who’ve raised bees for years, there’s something for everyone.
How Much Does It Cost For Hobby Beekeeping?
Beekeeping isn’t a cheap hobby to get into right off the bat. In fact, the up-front cost can be a little hefty. However, after your initial investment, you rarely have to spend money on your bees.
When we purchased our first two hives, bought the basic beekeeping suit, vail, etc. our initial investment was just over $1,000.00! Ouch.
Keep in mind, you probably won’t see a return on your investment for the first year. Meaning you probably won’t extract honey until year two of your beekeeping adventure.
Before you start to close the pocketbook and give up on the idea of becoming a first-time beekeeper, I have some GREAT money-saving tips for you.
I’m a frugal kinda gal and wrote an article to show you how to save a TON of money on your start-up cost.
How Much Does It Cost To Start Keeping Bees For Beginners?
As I mentioned above, beekeeping supplies can be a costly (but worthy) initial investment. In addition to all the equipment, you also have to purchase the actual bees.
Depending on what type of bees your going to order and how many hives you want to have, the cost of bees can range anywhere from $75.00 – several hundred dollars. Just purchasing a single queen can set you back $45.00.
The good news is there IS a way to get free honey bees, or at least cheaper than paying full price.
If you are tight on budget or like to save a dime, my Top 5 Ways To get Honey Bees For Cheap or Free is just for you.
Can Beekeeping For Beginners Be Profitable?
Can bee be profitable? In short, the answer is an astounding YES. Although you can’t make money without spending money, you can make money from honeybees after your hives are established. Even if you’re a hobbyist backyard beekeeper, there is still money to be made.
I have some friends back in South Carolina that bought a blueberry farm and wanted to grow and sell blueberries.
They soon realized they needed bees to help pollinate their plants so they bought some hives and added honeybee’s.
Their blueberry flavored honey became so popular they decided to sell honey full time and their blueberries took a back seat. True story.
Some of the ways you can monetize your beekeeping are by selling bee products such as
- Honey– raw honey sells for a lot more than commercial store-bought honey. Not to mention it’s often in high demand.
- Bee Pollen
- Products made from honey like Honey Straws (I have a step-by-step article about making honey straws).
- Raising Queens
- Selling Bees
What Do Bees Eat?
We all know (at least I hope we do) that bees forage on flowers and plants. Those plants provide the bees with nectar and pollen. Unfortunately, nectar isn’t always available when the bees need to eat. In times like these, we need to provide our honeybees with food to hold them over until nectar becomes available again.
I’ve provided a snippet of my book with my recipe for the basic bee food below.
Can You Keep Bees In A Residential Area?
This is a hard question to answer as it’s different for everyone. Depending on your state’s laws, your county, your neighborhood even, beekeeping may not be legal in your area.
The first place you need to check is with your state’s regulations about beekeeping. From there you will want to contact your county building and zoning department.
If both of those have given you the green light to keep bees, next you need to check with your HOA or POA if you have one.
If you live in a neighborhood with an HOA or POA, their rules over-rule the counties. Even though the county may say you can raise bees, your neighborhood may have rules against it. Always ask first. Trust me. This too was a hard lesson I learned.
Another good resource about beekeeping in your area is with the local Beekeepers Association or state Extension Agency. Both of these organizations should be able to help guide you in getting the answers you need about the legalities in beekeeping.
How To Start Beekeeping For Beginners
I had the great pleasure of being asked to be a guest speaker on the podcast with Melissa Norris about beekeeping. She really dove in and asked some wonderful questions that all new beekeepers want to know, such as
- How did you get started beekeeping and what advice do you have for other beginner beekeepers or for anybody who’s considering keeping bees?
- For someone interested in beekeeping, once they’ve checked to make sure it’s legal and have maybe found a mentor, what are the next steps?
- What kind of setup should someone have?
- What’s the process like when it comes to actually looking for and purchasing your bees?
Melissa has the podcast in type form so you can read the interview or you can click to listen to the entire chat. Melissa’s website for the article, How To Start Beekeeping.
Do Bees Poop?
Yep, bees poop and pee!
Betcha never thought about that little detail before? Much like in humans, if bees are sick, their excrement will be a tell-tale sign.
Bees don’t use the bathroom in their home, they like to take their business outside. Little brown streaks all over the front if their house is a good clue someone (or many someones) aren’t feeling so well.
Laurie from Common Sense Home had this to say about my book
Beekeeping for Beginners is filled with interesting snippets – like how bees poop, and what to look for in healthy hive toileting habits. Two pages of old time remedies and natural remedies for bee stings give you plenty of options for pain relief, should your ladies decide to take offense.Common Sense Home Beekeeping
Not Just For Beginning Beekeepers
Our friends over at Oak Hill Homestead have been beekeepers themselves for a handful of years and still had takeaways in reading Beekeeping For Beginners. This is what they had to say
When I first became a beekeeper three years ago, I took a day-long class that covered the basics, taught by the commercial beekeeper from whom I bought my bee package.
Then I took an online beekeeping class that lasted several weeks. It reinforced what I’d learned in the first class plus I learned a few more things. Beekeeping is an intensive subject and there is always more to learn.
So I expected to learn a bit more from Beekeeping for Beginners, but I have to admit that I learned more than I expected to.Oak Hill Homesteading Beekeeping
Another homestead friend, Jennifer from The Everyday Farmhouse, who also keeps bees, included this is their article
Beekeeping for Beginners by Amber Bradshaw. I got to pre-view a copy before it goes up for sale. Let me tell you, it is SO GOOD! It is beautiful and incredibly informative. I had my beekeeper son read it too, and he gave it a definite thumbs up!! So if you are thinking about getting into beekeeping, pre-order this book. You will be glad you did! The book officially launches June 25th.Everyday Farmhouse Beekeeping
Free Beekeeping Resources
Who doesn’t love FREE? Am I right? Our friends over at Souly Rested compiled a great little list of free beekeeping resources and included our book as a must-have for those that want to continue their education beyond the free information available.
If you’re seriously in the mood to have everything you need to know about beekeeping in the palm of your hand, you definitely want to snag your own copy of this amazing book, written by my friend Amber Bradshaw, who has an amazing off-grid, built-it-themselves homestead in Tennessee and knows everything about bees.Souly Rested Beekeeping
What The Experts Are Saying About Beekeeping For Beginners
The information above is just a brief overview of what you will find in my book, Beekeeping For Beginners. not only do I provide you with everything you need to know to get started, I also have a beekeeping group on Facebook where we discuss bees every day.
If you ever have a question, need help, or just want to chat about bees, we are there. You can join the group, My Homestead Life- The Beginner Beekeeper here.
In addition to the articles above, other homesteading experts have shared their review of my book
- Simply Canning by Sharon live video review
- North Country Farmer- The Scott Terry Show
- Modern Homestead by Victoria P
- Busy Hands Quiet Hearts by Pia
- Homestead In The Holler
- Common Sense Home
- Melissa K Norris
- Souly Rested by Michelle
- North Country Farmer