Bees have been around for millions of years but their recent decline proves that they need our help to survive. Caring for bees is like caring for any other livestock. They may require medications, feeding, hard work, and important decision-making that may impact the survival of the hive.

The initial startup cost is usually at least $500 once you factor in equipment, training, and the bees themselves. We suggest starting with 2 hives. If one hive starts to fail you can use resources from the second hive to help the first. It also gives you something to compare each hive to and realize if one is doing better than the other. 

We recommend that you have completed the items on this checklist or at least plan to before you pick up your bees:

  • You have taken a beginning beekeeping course taught by experienced beekeepers. You should be able to identify the different types of bees in a hive and be able to point out eggs, larvae, capped brood, pollen, and honey. 
  • You have determined a suitable location to place your hive(s) that is easily accessible and protected from pests such as skunks and bears. 
  • You have purchased or ordered hive equipment along with a jacket and veil or bee suit, smoker, hive tool, and a bee brush. Be prepared to purchase mite treatments for the Summer and Fall as well.
  • You have joined a local beekeeping club and found a mentor. Try to work with your mentor before you get your bees so you become comfortable around an active hive and gain some hands-on experience. 
  • You are able to dedicate a couple of hours a week during the Spring and Summer to inspect and maintain your hives.

Most first-time beekeepers give up by the third year. Make sure you are ready to take on the commitment and responsibility of keeping bees. If you enjoy always learning something new and being rewarded for your hard work, you will love beekeeping! 

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