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Finding support as a beginner beekeeper

Beekeeping is quite a learning curve and it’s very important for the beginner to understand the unique practices necessary for their region/climate.

The amount of learning resources available online can be overwhelming and confusing, and difficult for the beginner to discern what techniques are relevant to their location. The scale of differing practises range widely across the world.

Local beekeeping clubs can be a great outlet for beginners as members are able to connect with other beginners and offer support over their shared learning journey. Clubs often hold meetings and workshops, which are great for initiation’s too. There is opportunity for seasoned beekeepers to offer their advice, preferences and opinions, but this support may only last for so long.

I personally find that the best support a beginner can source is a local and experienced mentor. Ideally this person is available throughout the journey to advise and support the critical steps of establishing a hive and is knowledgable enough to pass on adequate and correct information to support a healthy and thriving colony.

In the ideal world, for optimum learning conditions, I’d recommend a combination of a quality local mentor with a blend of quality beekeeping books and web info (forums, Youtube, thebeekeeper.org). There is a lot of value in understanding the different beekeeping practices across the world, such as the why, in order to recognise and understand what your bees need.

Obviously many people don’t have the privilege to choose from all of the above but I would love to know what experience others beekeepers on the forum had or would recommend.

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@Bianca

Hi Bianca, It would be fantastic to have a local mentor here in Canberra and I have tried to reach out to clubs and other beekeepers in ACT (even the place I bought my nuc from hasn’t got back to me). Everything seems to be hush, hush (I don’t mean that in a nasty way), and they want you to join the club, pay an amount of money, before offering any advice to a newbie. If I have to join every single local club to get advice than that is really a shame, as I can’t afford it. I love this forum because every one is open to my sometimes really silly questions and learning new things. Keep it up as I really enjoy reading about everyones experiences :slight_smile:

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Hi Karen, I doubt if you could come up with a question (bee related) that can’t be answered or hasn’t already been answered on this forum.

Don’t be frightened to ask any question. It’s better to ask a question, then hopefully find a solution, than for your bees to come to grief.

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following (as a relative bee-ginner) :slight_smile:

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@KSJ Karen, have you paid your ABA membership, as part of that payment is then sent to a beekeepers club, which installs you as a member.
Be aware, that there are many opinions, regarding beekeeping, from leave them alone and they will come home, wagging their tails behind them, to bringing your hive inside your home, into the spare bedroom with the opening to their hive facing out the window, and everything in between. I believe, the easier that you make it for them (hive conditions wise), then the more honey they will provide in return. What I mean for example is, the harder it is for the bees to keep their hive at a good temperature, the more honey they will use to do so, thus the easier it is for them to do so, then the less honey they will consume, thus enabling them to deliver more honey to you. So it’s my opinion that leaving them to rough it, isn’t a good idea AT ALL. Though, not in the spare bedroom either​:crazy_face::crazy_face::crazy_face:.

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@Buzzing-bees Trevor, I am in Canberra (ACT) so not too sure that ABA NSW membership is for beekeepers out of NSW. I had a quick look at their webpage and there is not even a club in Queanbeyan which would be the closest to where I live in the ACT.

@Christopher_L_Meyer Chris, I am only just a head of you, getting my nuc in mid November 2020. I can’t believe just how much trouble oops no, fun and things that there are to know about bees, and how interesting it is owning a bee hive can be. One is, that I have 1 very bossy (not to me) guard bee, as on a number of occasions I have seen her hurrying up reluctant foraging bees, each time nudging 1 of them towards the edge of the platform, until said bee flys off. Even one day watching stupid robber bees try doing that at my hive, they got short shafted very quickly by the guard bees, and I’ve not seen them back since. Though the most exciting moment of all, has to be the first sighting of my Queen bee, just 2 weeks ago, also the first time that I’d seen a Queen bee EVER!!! She is so big!!!
I hope that you are also enjoying your bees TOO!!!

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@KSJ Karen, that’s disappointing, I have to travel 33kms each way to attend the Wagga Wagga Amateur Beekeepers Club. Though I must say, that I have learnt so much more here on this forum.

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I must say this is the case for me too, even though I still strongly believe beginners should have a real-live mentor if possible!

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@Eva @Buzzing-bees Agree, this forum has been a fantastic learning support. If it wasn’t for this forum I would have made so many mistakes. I have learnt so much, keep it up :slight_smile: :honeybee:

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I agree with @Eva that a real live mentor would be handy, even if it was just a couple of hours. The best option might be to offer to pay a commercial beekeeper to spend some time with you to show you what goes on inside a hive. However, if you can’t find such a person or you don’t want to pay someone for their time, you’ll still be fine with the help you get here.
cheers

PS. Just a tip for new beekeepers: Don’t offer an experienced beekeeper around for a cuppa & ask him/her to bring a bee suit.

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I am absolutely enjoying my bees! Yes, it’s very exciting!
I built my own hive and installed a nuc prior to my hip replacement surgery in January. They’ve already filled the blank frames with nectar, pollen, babees, and glorious honey! I’m in the process (slowly) of building a super for the hive. Going to be putting another brood box on for them so they’ve got room to grow and thrive.
Our first hive (flow 2) is going gangbusters too!
I love spending time with them and just watching. They are simply THE most glorious creatures!

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FlowHive UK group has a spin off group purley dedicate to help anyone looking for a mentor. Great group for anyone starting out or looking for more experienced help.

Post your looking for a mentor and if there is one in the group from your local area they contact the poster direct.

No drama :ok_hand:

I also mentor anyone from work looking to start out or interested in helping out in the apiary’s.

We also have a beekeeping forum on our intranet Yammer

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Canberra Bees has a forum. It is not as busy as this one but there is a bloke from better bee hives that posts regularly.