Newbees and old Beeks

More and more on this site I’m seeing people who seemed to have jumped on the Bee band wagon because they think they can make money like honey.

I have always been interested in ecology, science, cooking, gardening and I read voraciously.

Added to the wonder of the Flow Hive system all my interests came together. Thank you @Cedar and @Stu_Anderson

Many old Bee Keepers pooh poohed the idea of so many WannaBee’s and now I can see why.

The number of new WannaBee’s that have bought hives and think that Bee Keeping is just buying a box of bees and putting them in a hive and walking back when the honey is there, are making a laughing stock of a craft for looking after and caring for the Bees with good husbandry and understanding.

I did not come into Bee Keeping with my eyes closed - I spent 6 months and immersed myself in all things Bee Keeping before I bought my first 2 nucleus hives from a Bee Keepers who follows good practice and had the bees inspected while I was there. They were disease free and in good condition with an official seal of approval.

Many Older Beeks have quite set ways and feel their way is the only way and that is fair enough if it works for them, but me being who I am I want to know the whys and wherefores of how this thing works and I turn to science to backup or refute what I hear and learn - some bad practices are out there because “That is the way I was taught” attitude - if there is a better way I will dig it out and look to the science.

The Bee community is proud that 3 Bee Keepers will give you 5 answers but have you ever wondered why? Mostly I find because the persons understanding of what they are trying to ask is skewed due to lack of knowledge - and that is fine - we are all learning. What I do find hard is the Beeks trying to “help” are not asking all the relevant questions and so the answers they give are “OK” for a certain set of circumstances but are often knee jerk reactions to the questions being asked - I’m guilty of this just as much as the next person.

Can I say to all the new WannaBee’s out there Bee Keeping is a passion, it is addictive but it is not a thing to be taken on lightly. If you are serious about becoming a Bee Keeper you have to be prepared to be Stung!! Not just from the Bees. You need to spend a bit of money, learn a few carpentry skills for basic hive assembly, understand the bees and their life cycle, know you area in terms of crops, flowers, and how your next door neighbour may poison your bees unwittingly. JOIN A CLUB!!! Get to know other Bee Keepers, look at the different styles of Bee Keeping - not just the box set up but the ethos behind bee keeping practices - there are methods in the madness and grey areas in between.

If you are serious about Bee Keeping, you need to understand the Bees, Flowers, Agriculture, Science.

“It’s not just Bees in a box”

I have been on courses - and continue to do so.
I have spent a heap of money on beekeeping - £4,000 so far
I have bought books, read brochures, beekeeing magazines - have 3 subscriptions here in the UK - my local Warwickshire newsletter, BBKA magazine and BeeCraft,
I’m on the mailing list for several websites and facebook pages of Bee discussions, scientific discoveries, entomology studies and agricultural sites for information about current uses of pesticide, fungicides, herbicides, and fertilizers used in the agricultural field
I’m concerned about residues of agricultural substances being consumed by us and the bees in the plants we eat
I know there are 7 (a new one has been added) Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow, BASF, Bayer, Dupont, and now a Chines conglomerate) these people are slowly killing our world as we know it, to make megga bucks and line their pockets at our expense and health


Hi Valli,
I’m replying to your post in the hope that my experience will lessen some of your concerns with regard to new people jumping on the Bee band wagon.

I’m a new bee enthusiast. I can’t call myself a new beekeeper as I don’t even have any bees to keep.

Last week I did a final overtime shift at work which will mean I have enough extra money to order my flow hive classic 6 frame cedar set up.

I have already ordered a 3 box 8 frame langstroth hive system as I have worked out that having 2 hives has benefits over having only a 1 hive set up.

I have completed a beginners bee keeping course which has provided information on what is required in setting up and running of a hive, as well as hands on experience on inspecting a hive, identifying a queen, knowing what a healthy frame of brood, pollen honey etc. should look like.

I have joined my local bee keeping association and have attended a number of meetings which I have enjoyed, as well as increasing my knowledge and understanding of beekeeping. Plus I have met a number of hobbyist beekeepers in my local area.

I have paid a deposit for a nucleus hive that will be ready in the spring of 2016. I’m still deciding whether to populate my second hive by a swarm, hopefully obtained through the local beekeepers association, or purchase a second nucleus hive.

I have bought a couple of books about beekeeping, including all volumes of the Practical Beekeeper, which I read and learn from every day.

I have joined this and a couple of other beekeeping forums to ask questions and learn from the answers provided, plus I attend the university of YouTube on a regular basis.

All of this has occurred because I watched a program on TV at the end of last year about the flow hive. The information I obtained from the program about the issues facing bees and the activities of being a beekeeper were not new. But because a new product was available, media companies were willing to present this information. If I hadn’t switched the channel over to the program on the flowhive, I would never have known about bees, the issues they are facing, or the benefits in becoming a beekeeper.

I understand that there will be people who jump on the flow hive band wagon, and just as quickly jump off again when they are confronted with the reality of beekeeping. But I believe the majority will be “stung” by the bees and their addictive way of life and will provide a positive outcome with the issues currently facing bees and beekeepers.


There are a few of us out there hopefully the majority of new beekeepers that are jumping into this trying to get a proper education. I for one locally have responded to a few new Flowhive persons that it’s not as simple as they believe and they need to stop pull back and learn so the comment above posting from Valli is right on track from my experience thus far

One guy posted that he put his bees in the box with the Flowhive forum and wonder why Honey wasn’t already coming out. Photograph of his bees, they were anorexic no feeding he basically killed the hive. He thought it was that simple had done no reading no investigation I felt so sorry for those bees


Being a newbee I will chime in also.
@Valli, it is plainly obvious that when you set your mind to something you go the full hog which is great and that works for you. When I first joined this forum to get information on bees and bee keeping I asked how often I need to inspect the colony. I was told by several members that if I didn’t want to inspect then I shouldn’t keep bees. At no stage did I say I did not want to do inspections yet it was assumed I didn’t because I was a newbie.
I am not in a club and I do not have a mentor (apart from everyone on this and other forums :wink:) and I have two colonies and am getting two more in October to complete my apiary.
I am a member of 4 beek forums, have several bee books and have a life. My world does not revolve around bees. To me it is just another hobby.
I do enjoy opening up the hive and having a look at what’s going on as much as I like pottering around our garden, riding my bike, playing sport among many other things.
Just because I don’t immerse myself in everything bee doesn’t mean I’m going to be a bad beekeeper.
Sure there will be peeps who don’t realise there is actual work involved in bee keeping, I was one of them when I pledged, and some won’t last long and this is no different from any other hobby that people start and lose interest in. Life is like that and will always be like that. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
I suppose we shall see where I’m at in a couple of years whether I still have an apiary. After all the money I’ve spent on this hobby I’d be surprised if I didn’t!
Us newbees need support and encouragement to succeed which for the most part we receive on this and other forums with much gratitude.
Let’s not paint everyone with the same brush.


@Mattress Well Done!!

@Martydallas Marty you and I have had “conversations” and you’re like me, getting into the bee thing, well and truely. Hook, Line, Sinker, and Caught the Bee Bug.

Some of these WannaBee’s are the ones I worry about.

My concern is for the NewBee’s such as Marty mentioned, the ones who don’t read before they ask questions, therefore the question is not the problem but their lack of understanding, lack of research, and expecting the answers to be spoon fed to them as they occur. Often the questions show the lack of understanding and the Stock answer has to be

Can I have bees in my area - No
1 - "Join a Bee Club"
2 - Read up about types of bees
3 - Bee life cycle
4 - What Bees eat
5 - What each season brings
6 - Where in the world you are located
7 - What the local is like
8 - What bees do best in your circumstance
9 - Pests, disease, what to look for
10 - Not everything on the internet will be good more a lesson of what not to do - knowing the difference
11 - How do bees in your area over winter
12 - What and what to feed the bees, Why, How, recognising the symptoms/season/expectations
13 - What not to feed the bees and why
14 - When to harvest, How much, - what happens in your area
15 - How do the Hive you have equate to what bees in your area need
16 - How much food/stores do the bees need over winter
17 - What are Winter Bees and why are they different
18 - What should you wear to protect yourself
19 - What equipment is minimal
20 - Ways to make equipment to save money
21 - Swarming
22 - What Queen?
23 - Who is the Honey for Can I sell my honey
24 - What regulations are bees Cover by locally
25 - Insurance - Yes you need insurance - what type depends on what you want to do

This is a random selection I’m sure there are more

You should be able to answer 1/2 of these questions if not all before you get bees

Yes I did do my research - just like buying any animal - You need to know what you are getting into

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People learn in different ways, not everyone will do it your way. Don’t judge or discount how people arrive in this forum - the fact that they asking is a step in the right direction.
Nobody has to respond to questions if they don’t feel the question is valid but I think it’s very dangerous to place what one person requires for themselves as a measuring stick for everyone.
The main objective of a forum should be to get people through the ‘‘front door’’ so they can be educated - if you don’t get to talk to them you can’t help.


From what I’m reading I don’t think anybody is judging anybody, just concerns and anybody on this forum I don’t believe Valli was making comment about I think it’s just a general statement on some. And yes I learned by touching and feeling and being with a mentor

I am going foundationalist and yesterday while going through my beehive I broke an entire frame apart. Made me sick at my stomach, but I learned


And yes with the anorexic bees we saw photos of everyone of us gave the guy basically the same suggestion feed them, feed them, feed them and he did not understand hopefully he read more on this forum

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@Cowgirl some people think they will make money selling honey - unless you are a commercial outfit it is just a day dream

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I too am new to this hobby thanks to the Flow hive invention. Still only an enthusiast as I have my WRC hive but no bees, not until Sept 2016 so I am seeking further knowledge each and every day, should be an expert by the time Spring comes along. By the way, does anyone want to buy my honey for $10 a kilo plus postage. :grinning:


The secret to making a small fortune from beekeeping is to start with a large fortune.


And boats ; -)

Everyone comes from a different starting place, with different expectations and with different circumstances, different climates. It is true that you can get a wide variety of answers to any one question. Some answers seem more useful than others, but you can learn something from all of them, if only how not to do something!

I got my swarm last night, from an old beek. He brought them over in a nuc and we placed it in the back yard next to my hive, ready for me to move into this morning. We were chatting and I invited him in to visit. He asked me a number of questions as we don’t know each other except in passing, clearly wanting to be sure I knew what I was doing. He didn’t want to leave the bees with someone who didn’t have a clue. Finally he asked about extraction. At that point I mentioned the Flow. He of course knew of them, but not anything about them. And was of the ‘You know it’s a very controversial topic’ mindset.

He stayed an hour while I showed him the frames and demonstrated the functioning and the details. By the end of it he was reassured that they were not a ‘bad’ thing and is interested to see how I get along with them. He saw how clever they were, thought they looked well thought out and sturdy. He right away wanted to know about robbing all the frames at once, since for him, one frame at a time would be too slow. I described the manifolds people have been making and he got it right away. Thick honey isn’t an issue in our area so that didn’t worry him. We talked about beekeeping ‘fads’ and screens coming and going etc. He clearly is interested in the Flows but isn’t ruling out the ‘fad factor’ which is fair enough. He was open minded which is all I ask for ; -)


Valli makes an interesting point. I got interested in beekeeping when my hubby and I moved to an area with open space and on our walks I was mesmerized by an old tree with an active hive of bees coming and going. I knew the plight of bees, but wasn’t sure I really wanted all the hassle of extracting honey, spinning, the mess, etc. Along came Flow Hive and I thought, now, I might be able to do that! I can promote some bee growth, maybe give away some honey if I get some…Started going to the Santa Clara County Beekeepers Guild for a year before my hive arrived…So, I’ve been reading,studying,and hope to do a half-decent job.
Will it be the center of my universe? No. I hope to do no harm. And I will try my best. And I have been researching and reaching out for classes and information as much as possible. Hopefully, I will learn from the community as well and we can all help each other. In the end, I hope we can help re-build the bee colonies and continue to educate the communities on why bees are good for us and how not to use pesticides to kill them.
Thanks for the help and pointers everyone! I’ll take all the help I can get! And hopefully I won’t be judged too harshly for the mistakes I do make along the way.


There are also a lot of Flow hives in the hands of existing beekeepers…who will run the Flow alongside their other bee colonies. I don’t know how many of those beekeepers use this forum but their expertise benefits us all if they choose to share and advise new beekeepers.


Sort of what I thought when Flow hives came along - I was given seed over several years to “save the Bees” from the Co-op and I think the other was friends of the earth - I knew a local guy was (and is still) a Bee Keeper but never dreamt in a million years I could do more than buy honey, and grow flowers - now I feel like I’m taking a more active roll in helping the Bees and the world.

I mainly posted to start a discussion and positive debate - I’m not criticizing anybody’s method of learning, yes I throw myself into things - it is just my nature - it was more to outline my journey so far - My Bee Keeping course ended today and my next one begins - I’m taking some basic exams in July - but that is just me and my journey.

I’m just hoping people will take the journey, learn and help the Bees. I get the feeling one or 2 have bitten off more than they realise.

One of our older Beeks lost 25% of his hives this winter - and it is saddening - it makes him want to scale back now and just doing it for a hobby - up until now he had been able to sell his Honey commercially, but is getting tired of all the work and hassle and only gets a small wholesale price for his wares - he must be in his 70’s but we need young blood coming into Bee Keeping.

One Lad on the course is about 14, we have 1/2 dozen under 20 at out club, it is nice to see the young kids doing something constructive. He was along side all the adults making frames today and learning, asking questions and people were more than willing to help.

The Old Beek was showing me how to make National frames - Mine are mainly Langstroth and I leaned a couple of things that I can do differently. Also I will be tested on it for my exam in July - only thing I will still do differently - my Gimp Pins are 50% longer than the ones the club use and are easier to nail without trapping fingers with the hammer.

I also got to try a Pin Tool - Panel Pin tool - I found I prefer to hammer- that saved me buying a tool I don’t like using - I broke a bone in my wrist years ago at Karate and it is not the tool for me as hurts my wrist.

Another reason to join a club - you can try out different methods and not cost your self a wasted effort.

The Club has bought it’s own Poly National Hive they were showing us today - they differ from Langstroth poly’s a there is a lager cut out area in the sides to look like nationals - all I could see was a larger area of thinner wall to leak more warmth out. There was also a discussion about the poly carb clear sheet - which I use on my Langs and there was a discussion about the pros and cons of Polly Carb, crown board or glass cover sheets

I suppose what I’m saying is having the contact with other locals apart from saving you buying equipment and finding it doesn’t suit you, you can have one on one or group discussions about methods, equipment , ideas we were also discussing the local weather, forage and what other Beek’s were up to - so in 1 hour (we didn’t stop long it was cold and starting to rain, we did get tea, coffee, and cake (One thing our club does at every meeting) and we were pre-warned it was too cold today to look at the Bees.

But it was a good session, lots of little snippets of information, swapping and discussing ideas and when the Flow has some honey to extract they want to see it in action.

Everyone has something to offer

You CAN make a small fortune from beekeeping. Start off by keeping your costs down, find a couple of mentors with proven histories & study, study, study.


Yes, you can Jeff, but if you are here and are starting with a Flow and only have a few hives then what you have is a relatively expensive hobby, compared to the expected concrete return on investment.

Like I told the spouse; we will have the most delicious honey in the world, but it will also be the most expensive ; -D

After all, at this point at least, the Flow breaks your first rule; Start by keeping your costs down. We have all failed on that one right out the gate!


Hi Sara, I keep using the gold rush days as a kind a parallel. During the gold rush days, as it turned out the people selling the shovels made the most money. It’s kind of similar in beekeeping, the people selling the beekeeping equipment appear to be making the most money.

However, for me beekeeping is a passion & I’ve been able to turn my passion into my occupation. By doing everything by hand, I’m basically working for wages. So for me, working for wages & being my own boss is kind of my “small fortune”.


There are three types of people in the world when it comes to methods of learning maybe four but I remember 3 from my sociology classes. There are those that get everything understood by seeing how things work and can carry on, then there are those that get it by hearing and carry on just as well. I fall into the last category, those that learn best by doing. I can read, listen and come to knowledge of a certain thing as well as the next, but for me the art of Yo Se or I KNOW, is when I actually do something hands on. Experience is my best teacher. I muddle in and do well, my ideas come from trial and error and align myself with same thinking individuals. I am not a “clubber” so I don’t join them. It doesn’t mean I’m not willing to listen but I am not a dues-y paying kind of guy and don’t necessarily advocate it either. It might be well and fine for others but for me it’s not. I have been accused on this forum for promoting disease and other maladies that bees might get because I do things differently. I for one don’t care about those accusations because there is no truth to them. Yet when a newbie comes to me for help I share freely what I know and expect nothing in return.

Beekeeping for me, like for JeffH; is a passion. Yet I also am doing it for the money involved. Which is why I am quadrupling my colonies this season and next year will be doing the same if all goes well. I do bottle and sell my honey and the profits are pretty darned good, but then there are several expenses to deal with as well and I spend that amount as needed because I wish my bees to have long and healthy lives. I am not an advocate of giving my bees medications when they show no signs of needing them. As it is I only had one colony turn up with Varroa mites. My in-process-solution has been to move them to an isolated location, not split their hive and start a regimented treatment. We will see how it works.


Hi Tony, I’m a bit like you in that I’m also not a “clubber”. I’ve never been to a club meeting. One of my honey customers who kept bees at one stage belonged to a club. This bloke had a bit of land. He told me how one day they had a big fire on his property with a lot of club members hives that got slymed out with SHB. I don’t want to belong to that club. I’ve never burnt any boxes or frames on account of SHB or even AFB, for that matter.

This bloke reckons he still has one hive on his property but he doesn’t want to touch it. So he keeps buying his honey from me.

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