Over the past decade, beekeeping has seen a major boom. This began largely as a response to Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD, which first made news in the United States in 2006, but quickly hit bee colonies around the world.
While CCD no longer wreaks the same amount of havoc, honey bees still have to deal with a host of other dangers, like pollution, pesticides, and the Varroa mite. Fortunately, word has gotten out about the joys of beekeeping, and people wanting to help the honey bee are eagerly buying beehives.
If you're thinking about buying a hive, our Beekeeping 101 Guide is a great place to start. Read it before purchasing any equipment, then get in contact with your local beekeepers association to learn about legal regulations and climate considerations in your area.
At this point, you may be thinking spending a little time with our guide and getting in touch with a local expert are well and good for rounding up practical advice, but what about the things no one thinks to ask?
Fear not and read on. We've got you covered!
Like caring for any animal, beekeeping fosters a range of emotions. Knowing this ahead of time will help you head off some surprises.
On the high side, when working your hive, even the smallest backyard can start to feel like a nature preserve. People love checking on their bees and often fall into a hypnotic groove when doing so. In fact, stepping away from the crazy-fast pace of modern life can feel like a balm for your soul.
But be prepared for some lows, too, like the guilt that can happen if you accidentally crush a queen. Cycles of workers will die quite naturally, and you'll certainly find some of these dead bees around your hive. You'll also get stung at least once, and might end up fearing it will happen again, especially if you anger your hive.
Older beekeepers are known for warning people about protecting their backs when lifting and lowering a honey super, which can be incredibly heavy, especially when filled.
Thanks to our tappable hive, Tapcomb® takes lifting for honey collection out of the picture entirely, but you still have to check on your colony. If you plan carefully, you can do brood and health inspections at times when the super is easier to lift, like before the frames fill up with honey and right after a harvest. With some planning, you can ultimately do what's best for your bees and your body.
When you contact your local beekeepers association, you might want to consider asking if it's okay for you to hangout with one of the beekeepers next time a hive is being worked. Not only will you make face-to-face contact with a prospective mentor, but you'll get your first glimpse of how beekeeping can change your perspective on the world, particularly when it comes to the impact of humankind on the environment.
Once you buy a hive and set it up, expect to notice things you never did before, like certain flowers blooming at certain times of the year or the smell of pollen in the air. You may also become more interested in learning about how what you eat is pollinated and whether or not any pesticides were used.
The bottom line is that our planet doesn't benefit from a hive that fails, and neither does a beekeeper. Successful beekeeping means creating hives that survive in the long run. Because of this, helping new beekeepers get off to a strong start is a big part of the Tapcomb® mission.