Should You Try Beekeeping?
There is an art to beekeeping. While there are plenty of rewards to entering this buzzing ag industry, it’s important to go into it fully aware. We’ve put together some reasons why you should and should not add beekeeping to your list of daily chores.
Think Beyond the Buzz
Like any crop or livestock, there are risks with beekeeping. Even if a beekeeper does everything right, an entire hive can get sick and die in a matter of weeks. Before you buy any bees or put on a suit, learn all you can about hive health. You’ll also want to talk with other beekeepers in your area about their struggles as well as their wins.
Don’t Do it for Money or Honey
Sure, harvesting your own, organic honey can be a wonderful thing. Plus, your friends and family will appreciate it. But ask any beekeeper and they tell you that honey from the supermarket is a lot easier and cheaper.
As for making money, unless you have hundreds or even thousands of hives that you rent out to farms across the country, your beekeeping endeavor will not be a profit center. What it will be is a fun, enjoyable, and new way add purpose to your day.
While there isn’t a lot of money to be made in small beekeeping operations, some bee aficionados are able to make enough to keep up their hobby and supply their family with honey. Check out Making Money with Bees for more.
Befriend a Beekeeper
There are plenty of bee groups where you can find others who are willing to teach you the ins and outs of beekeeping. In Oregon, contact the Oregon State Beekeepers Association (orsba.org). If you live anywhere in Washington, try Puget Sound Bees (pugetsoundbees.org). Both websites feature links and information about beekeepers in your community. You can also join the Art of Beekeeping Facebook group in Oregon and Washington.
Coastal Tip: once you have a hive of your own, invite an experienced beekeeper over to double-check your work and ensure everything is set up correctly.
Do You Have Room?
When a box is filled with bees and honey, it can weigh just over 6o pounds. That’s a lot of weight to move. As you can imagine, finding the right location for a hive is essential. Experts suggest putting it somewhere with easy access and some protection from the elements (wind, etc.). Also be sure it is not too close to an area where you like to enjoy time outside, but not too far away that it becomes a chore to work your hive. If you live in a city or suburb, check with your local government for regulations and legal restrictions. And be sure to check with your nearby neighbors to ensure there are no issues with allergies.
Coastal Tip: Check out Four Good Reasons to Keep Bees, which include time, honey, some money, pollination, as well as the benefits of a part-time hobby.
How to Start Your Hive
You’ll need the right gear, plenty of knowhow, and bees. The list of gear you’ll need to start beekeeping is pretty simple, including:
- Hive tool
- Boxes, frames, lids, perch, and screen bottoms
- Gloves, veil and hat, and beekeeper clothing
Learn more in our article Starting Your Own Beehive.
Coastal is Your Beekeeping Headquarters
Your Northwest owned and operated Coastal has all the gear you need to start your hive. We’re even the place to order your bees. Stop by today and bring along all of your questions. We have experts who can steer you in the right direction.