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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Haymarket, Virginia
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    197

    Question Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    First time poster here.

    My husband has convinced me to be VERY interested in beekeeping, but we don't have the money to get involved just yet, nor a place to put the bees even if we had the funds (we are diligently trying to change our situation) - and, the local bee club's 2013 course is already full. We're not looking for sympathy or free stuff, just an opportunity to learn from real human beings in addition to what we find online.

    We're thinking of finding/asking established beekeepers to letting us newbies observe them in the field. This way we could still bee involved, get experience, etc. We also plan to go to club meetings, but I'm definitely more of a hands-on person.

    Any other suggestions for getting involved?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Westland Mi
    Posts
    122

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    Well I would start reading and learning as much as you can from that. I would also get involved with the bee club and I am sure there will be someone there willing to show you the ropes in exchange for some muscle.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,590

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    The bee school may be full but attend the meetings.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Leominster, MA USA
    Posts
    169

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    Read and study as much as you can to learn vocabulary, terminology, bee biology, basic management, etc. There are lots of free resources online. Hands on is always best but it will be easier for you and the beekeepers you shadow if you have some basic understanding.

    Go to the meetings and meet the beekeepers. Start making friends. Show you are learning on your own before you ask if you can shadow.

    Bee school may need volunteers for snack table or other jobs. See if you can get in that way.

    Volunteer at the club. Show that you are a good worker and not an energy drain.

    There are different styles to beekeepjng - try to shadow more than one beekeeper-you'll start to see where things are similar and different.

    By spring you should have enough knowledge and friends for some real bee experience. Shadowing for a year is a great idea. You'll have a better idea of what to expect before you spend any money.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,219

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    Did you try the employment forum? Many beekeepers barter. Can you construct a hive, hunt for scrap materials?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    741

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeCurious View Post
    The bee school may be full but attend the meetings.
    Thank you so much for posting that! These folks are talking about the bee school from our club. We really encourage folks to do exactly what you posting but for some reason most folks are slow to follow through- which always makes me wonder about how interested they really are in beekeeping if they can't even attend a meeting to learn something. This year we had a little bit different dynamic. We had up to 10 folks who stayed in touch with us all year, and when our registration opened, they got first dibs. so for all you wanna bees- attend a bee meeting at at local, state or regional level and start learning that way!
    karla

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,219

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by winevines View Post
    which always makes me wonder about how interested they really are in beekeeping if they can't even attend a meeting to learn something.
    Most clubs have some nominal dues associated with being a club member and taking part in its benefits. I can see where someone would be reluctant to accept the benefits of a club if they know they cannot afford to pay dues. This club (beesource) is free and has a wealth of information to any beekeeper. As a resource I rate it much higher than a local club even though I know there are benefits to belonging to a local club. And I am not suggesting not to belong to one.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,071

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    Ask to hang out with beekeepers while they are working. I've never turned anyone down. Many options will open up to you as well as gaining an understanding of what's involved.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Denison, Texas
    Posts
    510

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Most clubs have some nominal dues associated with being a club member and taking part in its benefits. I can see where someone would be reluctant to accept the benefits of a club if they know they cannot afford to pay dues. This club (beesource) is free and has a wealth of information to any beekeeper. As a resource I rate it much higher than a local club even though I know there are benefits to belonging to a local club. And I am not suggesting not to belong to one.
    Right Ace. Stay with this website. It has helped me enormously. It's FREE. It is a massive archive of information that's been acumulated by thousands of experianced and new beeks over decades of participation. If it involves beekeeping, it's here somewhere. If you have questions, it's easy to do a search. And don't be affraid to ask if you don't understand or can't find something. There's alot of us who are just waiting to show what we know or tell you how we'd do it. I just recently bought a $50 dollar book from an expert with a doctorate, and got no new information from it. I already had it from, or had seen it here on BeeSource.
    Last edited by Steven Ogborn; 11-19-2012 at 10:25 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Haymarket, Virginia
    Posts
    197

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    Thanks so much for the positive feedback! We missed the November meeting due to my husband's class schedule, but it shouldn't be an issue next semester. We definitely plan to attend club meetings starting in January and continue studying books/videos, etc.

    Volunteering with activities is a great idea. I'm not sure why that didn't occur to me...probably too many bee videos. Trading labor is another good suggestion, after we get to know people.

    How do you guys deal with us eager newbies?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by urbanoutlaw View Post
    snip...[*][*]Consider DIY top bar hive instead of Langstroth (need lumber pricing; find out considerations for management, especially in subsequent years)
    Snip...
    I have RA, so lifting anything heavier by myself is a no-go without my other half. (I'll have to do some research on the top-bar hive to see if that might work out.)
    Snip...
    Are there any ways to potentially save money when buying packages or nucs? I'm kind of assuming that we don't want to skimp on bee quality, but have to ask.
    For info on cheap DIY top-bar hives check out Phil Chandler's biobees website. If you have access to some simple tools you are supposed to be able to make them from scrap wood. I made a temporary three foot long one in a night with scrap lumber I had on hand. Check out the top-bar hive section on here too. You'll learn about some of the pros and cons on them, and some modifications to the Chandler design that most make. It may be better for your RA because there is no box lifting.

    I second the swarm recommendations. Free Bees! You can requeen them in the future if you need to but at least you would be hands-on learning! I missed out on one at a friend's house this past April because he didn't know I was starting beekeeping. Major Bummer! If you don't manage to lure one into whatever hive you have set up (check out the swarm/trapout section for pointers on that) you will be ready to go if your name comes up on the swarm list or something.

    Good Luck! (And keep in mind it is my first year and I know next to nothing about beekeeping -in context of how much there is to learn.)

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Haymarket, Virginia
    Posts
    197

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    Thanks for the link. We will read up on the pros and cons here as well. I'm not sure how much the RA will come into play other than I know having 10-frame deeps is out of the question. It's nice to see how much flexibility there is in beekeeping.

    Please don't think I was ignoring the swarm advice. I hope we get lucky in that regard, but I won't get my hopes up until we've made some contacts. Our immediate area seems so monoculture central: Mostly stunted trees and sterile, well-manicured lawns with a choice of maybe 5 different plants. It's not my thing, but the rent is unbeatably low. I'd pity the honey bees that wander near this place! Though beekeeping is prohibited in the covenant, we do our best to help by growing a few pollinator-friendly herbs and flowers.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by urbanoutlaw View Post
    Thanks for the link. We will read up on the pros and cons here as well. I'm not sure how much the RA will come into play other than I know having 10-frame deeps is out of the question. It's nice to see how much flexibility there is in beekeeping.

    Please don't think I was ignoring the swarm advice. I hope we get lucky in that regard, but I won't get my hopes up until we've made some contacts. Our immediate area seems so monoculture central: Mostly stunted trees and sterile, well-manicured lawns with a choice of maybe 5 different plants. It's not my thing, but the rent is unbeatably low. I'd pity the honey bees that wander near this place! Though beekeeping is prohibited in the covenant, we do our best to help by growing a few pollinator-friendly herbs and flowers.
    RA shoudnt be a factor-i just use one arm and manage by taking the frames out one at a time until the deep is empty,then move it. put the removed frames in a cardboard box,cooler,spare deep,etc.
    practice undercover beekeeping to get around the covenant-put the frames in a cooler,hide the whole hive in a doghouse or storage building,camoflage/screen with vines/bushes, use your roof or attic.
    i would consider such arbitrary rules and financal limitations as a challenge to be overcome.
    if all else fails,deny,deny,deny and claim the bees are wild and defy them to prove otherwise.
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    For the welding gloves, it sounds (from your veil question) like you can sew. If you have some canvas or cotton scraps and elastic you could make extensions for the gloves that go up to mid bicep. Simple loose tube gathered at the end so the bees can't get in. My purchased gloves have them and they look simple enough to replicate.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Aguadilla - puerto rico
    Posts
    152

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    FIRST LET ME SAY WELCOME!. two you are among a bunch of great , and helpful people here , 3 we have a chat room that fun to be ,but sometime it get a little crazy there,lol,, and we do have experts in this forum some even have books out on beekeeping, you will learn alot in this forum , because im a newbie and started beekeeping in 2012 got my first swarm on april and just got just got my second swarm last week small swarm about a 1000 africanized bees, here in Puerto Rico, i am in a very tight budget also ,and the way i got around it is i made my own hive , made a top bar and noc hives and trap which are easy to build , here the link to the spec on diff hives you could build yourself from beesouce , http://www.beesource.com/resources/e...-hive-designs/ also you tube has tons of infor on beekeeping and building your own hives , one guy come to mind that show all about beekeeping and gear is outofabluesky on youtube, as for gloves use the dish washing rubber glove are ok welding gloves are way to thick to work with. first thing you need to fight is fear when you working with 10,000 to 30,000 bees , you just have to respect them, and it best to start with two hive not one ,that way if one is weak , you could take blood from the other hive or eggs laves , good luck!


  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Haymarket, Virginia
    Posts
    197

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    Thanks for the welcome, Rafael, and congratulations on your swarms! I've been watching YouTube videos of swarm captures and will be putting out a trap this spring. As far as I'm concerned it's not "beekeeping activity" because I'll be doing the HOA a favor by removing the "menace" of honeybees (lol) and relocating them somewhere they'll be properly appreciated! Everything we see points to starting with 2 hives. Perhaps this will save money AND give us bees suitable for our area.

    I'm in the process of sewing bee veils. They will probably get a few laughs (tulle is a pain to work with), but are only costing me $1.50 each!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lititz, PA, USA
    Posts
    708

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    sewing your own veils? you've got the beekeeper mentality already

    At that price I'd suggest sewing a few backups. Unless your tulle is pretty high-strength stuff, I'm imagining you're going to get a tear sooner or later, and it will inevitabley come when you're standing over an open hive and the girls have decided they don't really want to be inspected that day. Being able to hold the tear shut, calmly walk away, and then come back w/a new veil in a minute or so will make that experience low stress on everyone.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    239

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    I agree tulle is not an optimal bee veil choice, but if you use it, choose black as it is easier to see through.

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