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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Haymarket, Virginia
    Posts
    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
    3,655

    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
    174

    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
    9,774

    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
    764

    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
    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?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,774

    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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    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

  10. #10
    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.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    192

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

    Another area to watch for is helping at state fairs or other public information opportunities. There is setup required, and manning tables and other activities you can help with. I also agree to read, read, read, and look at videos too. It is always amazing when I hear 2nd or third year beekeepers ask what supercedure is, or something like that. There is so much information available. Everyone has a different opinion too. You will need information to try to make good decisions about how you want to keep your bees.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    145

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

    Not having the money to get started in beekeeping is always rough, but hearing about classes being full or people that can't find mentors always bums me out. On the other hand it's nice to hear there is that much interest out there in beekeeping.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,976

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

    With so much info available about swarm traps and top bar hives, I really don't see a lack of money being a real barrier to hobby beekeeping. I've seen professional beekeepers inspect hives with just a mosquito net for a veil. I've seen how-to's on making a smoker. there's no end to reclaimable lumber...

    If you don't have space, put an ad on craigslist and ask. Tell people what you're trying to do, and they will respond.

    I live in the city with a tiny space.

    I caught a swarm in my own trap this spring, and I have bees in three yards. I have heard from many people offering me space to put hives and traps after I posted a couple of free ads online. I even had the local news calling me wanting to do a story. I got 8 deep hive bodies and a bunch of frames for $20 from a guy (which I turned into swarm traps), and I got enough gear for 6 full langstroths from another person who wanted me to keep bees in his yard, and had a bunch of gear.

    If money gets in the way, get some enjoyment out of going around it.

    Adam

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,925

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

    I find most of the $$ goes to keeping up with the bees, not necessarily aquiring them, although that can be a major cost if you can't find a swarm or someone giving them away. Come to the chatroom in the evening, you'll learn everything you want to know.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Posts
    303

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

    Don't even give up on the hives and bees.

    Found a nice Kenyan Top Bar Hive plan that I might be trying out in 2013 for a third hive of bees - if I get a 3rd from a swarm - it would mean free bees and a very cheap but workable hive.

    http://www.hive-mind.com/2011/03/kenyan-top-bar.html

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    145

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

    Do your homework. There are lots of discussions out there regarding what hive to start with. One advantage of the top bar hive is that it can be built very cheap if that is a requirement for you.

    Go to the club meetings. Be friendly. Someone will take you out to their apiary.

    If you're strapped for cash, spending hundreds of dollars (or many hours building equipment) when you haven't even opened a beehive could be a risky investment.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
    Posts
    1,852

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

    I say find a local commercial or sideliner that could use some help. Go out there and get into the hives with the sideliner or commercial operator. They can show you alot more than you can read in this forum or out of a book. Meetings at local bee clubs is also good. You will learn from them as well.

    I have seen folks join these types of clubs and actually never participate in the purpose of the club. Just so they could educate themselves on the happenings of beekeeping. Who knows maybe your local bee club has an annual raffle for a package and woodware for bees.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    145

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

    Quote Originally Posted by BMAC View Post
    I say find a local commercial or sideliner that could use some help. Go out there and get into the hives with the sideliner or commercial operator. They can show you alot more than you can read in this forum or out of a book.
    Commercial and sideline beekeepers know a lot. If you want to go into the business of beekeeping, I recommend you learn from them. If you just want a few hives in your backyard, it is best they are not your only source of experience. They have equipment that you can only hope to have access to once you start. They may not care to answer questions about crush and strain, or wearing gloves, or copper hive covers... which are valid questions for a backyard beekeeper.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    257

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

    There is nothing like just keeping bees. Put an ad on Craigslist looking for someone who has the space and will buy all the stuff, but wants you to do the actual beekeeping. I am betting you will find someone. Older people who can't lift the hive boxes any longer are often open to this sort of arrangement.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Santa Rosa County, Florida
    Posts
    407

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

    Old beekeepers can always use someone with muscle.Don't ask me how I know that.If you attend club meetings you may find that old beekeepers fall into two categories...friendly and helpful and
    then the other kind.

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