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Beekeeping

Where to start…

There are many wonderful things about Beekeeping, it’s often hard to know where to start…

A FEW SHORT FACTS:  

  • There is alot to learn – but you don’t need to know everything straight away.
  • There is no EASY way to be a Beekeeper… so don’t fall for any marketing options that suggest they are giving you the easy way of keeping bees. I love Flow Hives, but having a Flow hive doesn’t mean you don’t have to do regular inspections. Also, Flow Hives don’t always work in certain environments…some honey produced by plants can crystalise in the frames and be super thick…making it very hard to ‘flow’ when you turn that tap.
  • There’s alot of information out there, how do you decipher what’s relevant to you and your bees…make connections with local beekeepers who can help you!
  • A good mentor will be your saving grace…one that doesn’t mind you messaging and sending photos at any time of the day/night.
  • There are many options and many variables with beekeeping – you will learn what suits your bees, what suits you and what suits your environment.
  • HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? There are affordable options, but it’s not necessarily going to be cheap or easy…you don’t have to buy everything at once…if you did, you’d probably be looking at getting some change out of $3000…but there are economical ways of doing it also. I’m not going to list everything you need here…that will come once you have digested all this information and made the decision to continue. 

REALLY IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW/CONSIDER:

  • Why do I want to keep bees? Honey production, pollination of my fruit and vegies, to help the dwindling population, as a sideline business, please remember that it’s not all about the HONEY. 
  • Where am I going to position my hives? location location location…it’s really hard to move a hive a short distance, so how do you choose wisely…keep reading!
  • Do I have enough FOOD for them, or will I need to plant more? The answer is always = plant more bee food!
  • Can I give them the TIME they need. Spring, when the weather warms up is a crucial time, are you going to be able to stop what you’re doing in order to check your bees and prevent them from Swarming? An hour is all it will take. BEEKEEPING IS NOT A WEEKEND HOBBY!

REALLY IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO:

You are about to become a Farmer, but on a mini scale, so you need to Register with your states Agriculture Department. You have a biosecurity obligation to our industry to adhere to healthy beekeeping practices.

  • Registration is easy, and free for less than 5 hives. Simply follow this link to the Victorian Agricultures website – click here. 
  • Keep good records of your hive inspections…this is a requirement of the Ag Dept. There are many options of how to go about this: a notebook, a diary, an excel spreadsheet, BEEMAX (Vic Ag Webstie), a google form (instructions on how to create that is here), as well as many Apps. 

READ: 

  • IMPORTANT: The Victorian Agriculture’s Honeybee section on their website – click here. 
  • IMPORTANT: The Apiary Code of Practice, actually a very interesting, and not tedious read – click here.
  • IMPORTANT: The Biosecurity Code of Practice, again, really interesting – click here
  • www.beeaware.org.au – a really good resource for understanding pests and diseases and how to manage them.
  • Get a good book – highly recommend The Australian Beekeepers Manual by Robert Owen (I have them in stock occasionally, but if I don’t, please ask your local bookstore to get it in. You may even find it in your local library, but it’s a book that you’ll go back to time and time again)

SIGN UP: 

  • Do an introductory course – many are run by private beekeepers, community groups and even Educational Institutions. Whichever you choose, there should be a large component of hands on experience on the day. Alternatively, why not do one of my Beekeeping Experiences, tailored to suit where you are in your beekeeping journey.
  • HIVE BUDDY is a supportive, inclusive, positive online community with a free and paid mentoring component to it, and you have access to some Beekeeping Mentors in there with many years of experience, willing to share. Check it out – click here.
  • Join your local beekeeping club – in this current climate, that looks alittle bit different…but make contact with them none-the-less. Most are on Facebook and some have websites…do a quick google search, or ask me for some guidance to one in your area…. I am going to write another page listing all the Bee Clubs in Victoria…stay tuned for that one.

There is certainly lots of information out there, and I find it easy to become overwhelmed by it all. You can keep an eye on my Facebook page for links to these blogs when I start going through alot of my favourite resources and useful information. @comeflywithmebeekeeping on Facebook or Instagram.

Being a Beekeeper means my work is completely governed by the weather, I may at times seem as busy as a bee but I like to think I always have the time. Time to spend with people to help them realize their potential as a Beekeeper.

Thanks again for your interest, and thanks for supporting small, local business and the Honey Bee Industry.

I look forward to being able to help you on this fascinating journey. No doubt, you have quite a few questions…. why not book in a SITE INSPECTION with me and we can discuss your individual needs further.

– Caroline

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2 Comments

  1. Shell says:

    Lots of information, but in a fun read!
    Thanx 😊

  2. hello there, your article is very good.Following your articles.

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