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How Hard Is Beekeeping?

Last Updated: 09.04.20

 

This depends on your level of knowledge in this activity, your willingness to learn, and your overall feeling about it. Having the right beekeeping supplies also helps make things easy. People who started an apiary as a hobby did not find it difficult at all. 

 

Think first!

The idea of beekeeping may be fascinating to many. Others are attracted by the potential for all that marvelous honey. However, before setting out on this amazing path, do it for the right reasons! Moreover, it is important to be completely aware of what this activity involves. 

Before we go any further, we are going to share some advice regarding why you should not choose this activity. First of all, you should not do this for the honey. If you want a lot of honey, you can just swing by your local supermarket and buy as much as you like. 

This is a much faster and certainly a much cheaper way to get honey, with less work. There is nothing compared with enjoying the honey extracted from your own hives but if this is your primary motivation for starting an apiary, we would discourage you.

Beekeeping takes a lot of time and effort. If you think that you don’t have to do much and it is a very simple activity, you should find another hobby. Beekeeping challenges you to keep learning. Moreover, you should know that no matter how experienced you become, it is going to frustrate and upset you at one point or another.

If you think that you can make a lot of money by selling the honey, you need to think again. You can make money from honey, but you should consider that even though beekeeping is not the most expensive of hobbies, the costs are not trivial either. 

Now, that we’ve gone through some aspects of why you should not start beekeeping, we will go through a few right reasons. The primary reason for starting this activity should be your fascination for it. Did you know that about 70% of the new beekeepers do not get beyond the second year? 

This is a wonderful hobby but should be practiced only if you are fully aware of what it involves and what to expect. If you are willing to do a lot of research, to learn everything there is to know about bees and beekeeping, and if you think you can be among the 30% who do get past the second year, it is worth to try it. 

 

 

Research

As previously mentioned, there is a lot of research involved when starting such an activity. You need to learn as much as possible about bees and about the type you will get. Then, the hive style is just as important. You get a lot of options if you start looking for these products. 

You need to find the one that is most appropriate for you. Our recommendation is to start your apiary with one or two colonies. However, before you do that, you need to make sure you also know the local codes regarding beekeeping. You need to know if you have enough space to accommodate your hives and if the distance from the property line to the hives is appropriate. 

Also, depending on where you live, there might be other legislations concerning this activity, and you should be aware of all of them unless you want to pay fines. After everything is clear with the legislative part, and you do your research about the type of hive or hives you want to get, you should know what tools and equipment you will also need. 

You can buy a full suit, but you can also use a normal hat with a veil, and a light jacket for example. Gloves are also a necessity. Moving on, there are certain tools you will need. For example, you will need a smoker to calm the bees when you work in the hive. The hive tool is another item you will need to purchase. 

Furthermore, there are various consumables you also have to think about. Therefore, when we say research, we do not mean just getting information about how to start an apiary. You need to know everything from the bees’ behavior, to what equipment and tools you need, and how to maintain the hives. 

There are beekeeping books that can help you a lot and you can also find a lot of information online. There are various websites and forums for beekeepers where you can find many interesting and useful things about this wonderful activity.

 

Costs

Unfortunately, having the necessary knowledge is not everything. It is also very important to consider the costs. When it comes to beekeeping, there are initial costs, and there are regular ones. 

The initial cost involves the bees, the hive, protective equipment, and the necessary tools. Depending on the materials used, the quantity, the supplier, and shipment, if that is the case, the initial costs can be anywhere between $200 to $800 for one colony. 

The regular costs come from the consumables like the fuel for the smoker, the mites treatment, pollen supplements, sugar, and batteries for the vaporizer. Again, prices may vary based on the quantity, frequency, and supplier.

There are also ways to reduce the cost. For example, if you are a handy carpenter, you can build your own hive. You do not necessarily need to buy an expensive protective suit if you have an appropriate hat and a veil you could use. If you have clothes that can protect you from stings, you will be as protected as with a specially designed suit. 

For the consumables, you might get better deals by buying larger quantities that will keep you covered for a longer period. If you have a local supplier that you trust, you can also get rid of shipping costs.

 

Availability

So now that you have all the necessary equipment and the bees, do you think you can just throw them in the hive and let them sort things out? It is not that easy! You need to know that bees require various tasks depending on the time of the year. For example, in the winter, you will have to do some general hive maintenance and safety. 

In the spring, however, you will need to do a lot more to keep the hive operational. Then, it is time to collect the honey and get the bees fed in order to prepare them for winter again. In other words, how much attention you need to pay for your hives depends on the season. 

Also, you will need to be ready for anything because you never know when nature throws something extra at you. This may sound like a lot of work, but it really isn’t. Some beekeepers state that the total amount of time with one hive comes in at around 15 to 30 hours per year. Others mentioned half an hour per week for beginners. 

Of course, there are multiple factors involved and nobody can tell you priorly exactly how much time you need to spend working with the hives. What is important to know is that even though the time involved is not that much, you need to make sure that you can dedicate it to your bees.

 

 

How hard is beekeeping?

Well, if you ask five people this question, you will probably get five different answers. Some will say that beekeeping is not hard at all. Others might say that it is a never-ending task that is so hard to do. To be honest, the activity itself is not hard. 

However, anything can be really difficult if you do not like it. Is football hard? I mean, there is so much training involved and you get hit in the field, surely it must be hard!. A football player will say that it is not hard and that he enjoys his time training with his mates. 

The bottom line is that you need to like this activity. You need to like learning about bees, their behavior, necessities, and how to raise them. You need to enjoy the time you spend maintaining the hives or extracting honey. 

If any of these aspects are not among your pleasurable activities, you might find beekeeping to be hard. And if you believe that maintaining an apiary is difficult, maybe you should think about giving up and finding a new hobby that actually makes you happy.

 

 

 

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