Is beekeeping hard? Well, it's not easy. It's nature and so it's not an exact science. After 10 years, I am still challenged and see new things. Does that make it hard? Personally, I think that's what makes it fun!
I'm going to break down the things that I find hard about beekeeping, what's easy about it and ways you can make beekeeping easier, especially when you're first getting started.
What's Hard About Beekeeping
- The heat. Wearing a full length suit, veil and leather gloves while standing in the sun in the Summer is not easy. You can open a beehive up earlier in the day, when it's not so hot out, and when you're more comfortable around the bees, you can wear less protective gear, but when getting started, expect to have some hot days.
- Getting started. You need to buy equipment, you need to buy bees and you need to learn a lot about bees and beekeeping. We have a free getting started guide to help beginner beekeepers out and a video about getting started, but it's still work! Expect to spend a few months getting it all ready and learning how to become a beekeeper.
- Letting go and listening to the bees. In my opinion, I think this is the hardest thing for beekeepers to do - trust that the bees know what's best. Instead of telling the bees what you want them to do, you have to listen to them, see what they're trying to do and figure out how you can help them do this.
- Being treatment free. You don't have to be a treatment free beekeeper, but it should be something you work towards. There's a lot of false information out there about treatment free beekeeping and a lot of it depends on your bees' genetics. Without getting too detailed about it, just know what this can be a process that takes years.
- Finding a good place for the bees. Many people assume they'll just put bees in their yard, but what they don't know yet is whether their yard is a place where their bees with thrive. If you find your bees struggling to bring in enough food, a reason why might be the lack of food. If you are in a farming area, you may also deal with pesticides poisoning your bees.
- The Winter. The hardest part for many beekeepers is getting their bees to survive the winter. Insulation, ventilation, mite free and plenty of food are the top things the beekeeper wants to make sure their hive has.
The first few years are the hardest as the beekeeper figures things out and makes mistakes.
The good news is that it gets easier! You get more comfortable around the bees and can take your gloves off so you're cooler. You have a plan for the Winter that works. You are familiar with the mite treatments available and how to use them and what's left are the weekly inspections and occasional problem.
Ready to be a beekeeper?
Enroll in our online class, Beekeeping for Beginners. We'll show you how to keep bees!
Here's What the Beekeeper Does Week to Week
- When its over 60F, the you spend 20-45 minutes inspecting a hive. See the form below to download our hive inspection sheet.
- If there's a problem, you fix it. Sometimes fixing a problem in the hive will take another hour or more. If you don't know how to fix the problem, close up the hive and do nothing. Ask an experienced beekeeper for advice. Post the question to your bee club if a meeting is coming up soon or contact your teacher from your beekeeping class. Here's a list of beekeeping associations in the U.S. according to state. Many are having meetings via zoom which makes attending a lot easier! Here's my go to beekeeping forum when i have a question.
Having someone you can go to when you need help will make beekeeping so much easier! When you have to learn the hard way and figure it all out yourself, beekeeping will be considerably harder and not as enjoyable.
Here's a list of over 70 beekeeping blogs for you to learn from.
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