So, You Want to Be a Beekeeper?

| 1/6/2015 9:33:00 AM

Tags: beekeeping, honeybees, Oregon, Ron Lane,

As I sit down to write this article the thermometer reads just one degree. Last night’s low was 3 degrees and tonight it’s supposed to be a few degrees below zero. I can’t help thinking of my girls outside in their hives, shivering their wings to maintain a temperature of about ninety degrees within their cluster.

They are amazing little creatures and all of them have already survived temperatures of minus 17 degrees this winter. How do I know they survived? During a break in the winter weather I saw bees flying from most of the hives, while others were visiting the dog’s water dish. What about the hives that had little or no activity? A simple test can give you a good read on what’s going on inside without opening the hive, which you do not want to do in the dead of winter. I put my ear to the side of the hive and listened for a familiar buzz. The three hives that were less active all had a nice buzz to them.

You might think that January is a little early to be thinking about taking up beekeeping, so it may surprise you if I said you might be a year behind. Beekeeping is becoming more popular all the time, but long term success has not been the result and many abandon the hobby after only a few years. So contrary to the many articles you can read that encourage you to jump right in, I hope, not so much to discourage you, but to help you make an educated decision about whether beekeeping is right for you or not. Would you make a good beekeeper?


Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Begin Keeping Bees

Let me ask you some questions first.

1. How much reading have you done? You may be surprised at how much you really don’t understand about bee culture and how the hives function. Do your homework.

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