Becoming a beekeeper
Becoming a beekeeper is a brave step for anyone because as soon as you start to think about it millions of questions flood the mind straight away.
At one time, every hamlet, village and country district would have a beekeeper. The local people relied on him for sweetness and medicine, as well as wax for lighting and many other uses. beekeeping was one of the mainstays of pleasant life, in a time when sugar itself was not heard of, and fruit was the only source of sweetness. The local beekeeper provided luxury for the village, and this is one of the reasons why so many of them were clergymen.
The development of beekeeping through the Victorian period paved the way for the commercialization of beekeeping, and consequently the craft suffered a decline.
So although it is one of the up and coming things to do – keep bees, and even though we are in the middle of great demand for courses and beekeeping equipment, and bees themselves, we are a long way behind how things used to be.
Around the world beekeeping is having a great resurgence. Whereas , at one time, people worried about the future of the craft, associations are now struggling to squeeze people onto courses with demand outstripping supply many times over.
How many of the would-be beekeepers will end up with bees is not really known, but if you are one of those thinking about bees you are about to embark on a rewarding and absorbing lifetime of study.
Dip your toe in
You might read a lot about beekeeping, but none of the books on the subject are as good as donning a suit and actually going to a colony and getting stuck in.
I would like to point out that my first encounter with bees was so troublesome (for me) I ran away from the hive. Fear is not an unusual reaction to anyone coming into contact with bees for the first time, so if you do run away (like me), what you might think of as a failure early on can easily be overcome and you can become a beekeeper.
The really important point is you need support in keeping bees – a beekeeping mentor, and this is found by first going to a local beekeeping course run by a beekeeping association. Membership of these associations bring not only insurance for your bees but expertise and help.
Training takes place in the hive
You will go into a hive many times during your training, picking up how to find the queen, what is happening in the hive, what individual bees are up to, how they store honey and cap cells with little wax doors. You will see eggs and grubs, and learn how to use a smoker, and then you will find a time will come when you do it for yourself for the first time.
It is then that you will need even more help and advice as you try to remember what to do when. You will need someone to come along and tell you (or remind you) what is going on in the hive and what actions might be necessary. For this reason it is important to find your local beekeeping group and become a member, enroll on a course (there is often a waiting list, but you can attend meetings and watch beekeepers at work) and maybe pick up quite a bit of second hand kit, as well as a lot of knowledge at the same time.
You need a friendly mentor to help you through everything.[ratings] Becoming a beekeeper is a step that many people contemplate. Here are some notes to help you start to think about it.