So you are keen on getting into Beekeeping, well you have come to the right place. Here are seven steps to becoming a Beekeeper.
We get a lot of queries from first time beekeepers with questions on how to start a beehive in New Zealand. Here is an article about how to get started in beekeeping. We hope you find it useful.
Beekeeping 101 – Presentation
We were asked to present this information to a group, here is a short presentation of the material in this article.
Buy a good beekeeping book
A beekeeping book is a great start, you will learn the jargon and the terms used in beekeeping.
A book should tell you about what to do throughout the seasons in a beekeepers year, be aware that the northern hemispheres seasons are six months behind ours, so don’t take notice of the calendar month. Just use they seasons as a guide.
A good book to get your started is “Practical Beekeeping in New Zealand by Andrew Matheson and Murray Reid“.
Attend a local beekeeping course, seminar, or workshop
Look out for beekeeping courses that are being held at Night Schools or via Bee Clubs.
These can invaluable in getting you started in Beekeeping. Try and find a course that involves a practical aspect, as with lots of things you learn by doing.
We run Beekeeping courses in Auckland here:-
Join a local Bee Club
A beekeeping club is a great place to get started. It will give you a chance to talk to more experienced beekeepers and get your hands in a hive.
It’s a good way to build confidence in handling the bees, before you have any bees yourself.
We maintain a list of all the current ones in New Zealand Here:-
Get some Beekeeping supplies
The next step is get yourself a beehive or beehives, at this stage it’s much better to get new equipment. Unless you can be sure the equipment is disease free. Diseases such as American foulbrood can exist in second hand hives for up to forty years.
Visit your local Beekeeping supply or check out Our Shop.
Getting some bees
The next step is to buy some bees.
Bees are sold as a Nucleus Colony or a fully working hive in New Zealand.
A Nuc is a small colony usually consisting of four or five frames of bees. This colony is ready to be put into a full sized hive (9 to 10 full frames).
Overseas countries you may also find Bees sold as Packages. Which consists of a Queen and bees.
Try and buy your bees from a known beekeeper that is Deca certified, so you can be sure the bees are disease free. A Deca certified beekeeper has been certified to be able to check for diseases of the hive. We recommend you investigate a class near you, after you have had bees for a few months.
Bees are usually only available at the start of the season, so its normal practice for beekeepers to take orders for bees. So our advice is to get in early to avoid disappointment.
Here is a list of people that Sell Bees Around New Zealand.
Get a local Mentor
Getting a local mentor is another great step; you can ask questions that are not covered in books or online. There is also an old saying “All beekeeping is local”. Meaning that things that work in your neighborhood, may not work across town. So getting someone local is more beneficial, and cheaper on petrol.
Some bee clubs have mentioning programs, so ask about them at the next meeting.
Other things to do
- Follow some good beekeeping blogs or podcasts. Have a look at our list of beekeeping podcasts HERE.
- Join a local forum, your local bee club may have a forum or find one in our area. in New Zealand the NZ Beekeepers forum can be a helpful forum.
- Find a local Facebook Group. These can be very useful for your local area. We run one called the “Bees Knees Club“.
Well we hope you found this useful, we would be keen to hear any feedback you have about it. We will update this article as things change.
If you are an experienced beekeeper. What helped you get your started?