To all Potential Newbies


#1

I have been reading with interest all of the recent posts from new beekeepers. I must admit to being horrified. This is not the internet and you just can’t pick up all of your knowledge in a couple of posts. I have been beekeeping for 68 + years and I still find I have so much to learn.
MY ADVICE

  1. Attend one of the Canberra Beekeeping Associations courses
  2. Get a good book and read it I would recommend Robert Owen’s The Australian Beekeeping Manual. as a good book to obtain the practical aspect and “feel” of beekeeping.
  3. Then through the beekeeping association or this forum find somebody willing to mentor you and walk you though your hive.

You will then find beekeeping to be less stressful and a worldly experience.


#2

Very good advice, Mervyn.
Way too many newbies “googling” for solutions when they have serious issues.


#3

Hi Mervyn, great points. I’m only maybe 4 years into beekeeping, so nothing like your 68, but maybe I can still give a somewhat noob point-of-view of the experience.

I should add to this discussion, that when I joined the Beekeeping Association (and started attending meetings and spoke to other beekeepers), I was dismayed by the 1001 different opinions I was given from the beekeepers there - many of them very long term beekeepers. It dismayed me that, even in person, the experience was not unlike trawling through the thousands of articles and opinions you find all over the worldwide web when searching for information.

As a result, I was somewhat put off the club experience. I did meet a couple of beekeepers whom I liked, and their opinions made sense to me. I also met others that I was not sure I wanted anything to do with. In the end, I have somewhat navigated this beekeeping experience by myself - with books, the ghastly WWW, and the occasional presentation given at the club (there are some excellent talks from time to time, and I remain a member - bit of a no-brainer). I have yet to attend a course - when I started in the hobby, they were pretty much all booked up or I was unable to attend whenever I looked into sessions.

I guess what I’m saying is, I still consider the WWW to be an excellent resource. I do not consider it particularly better or worse than speaking with other beekeepers (as I’ve said, they still have a wide variety of opinions and experiences). I understand that there is no substitute for real world experience, and in that regard I wish that sometimes I had engaged a more experienced beekeeper to give me their take (maybe when I went through a bad flare up of chalk brood, or determining when it was time to replace a queen etc etc).

I do have a couple of experienced beekeepers around who I can ask questions (maybe more like your level of experience) - though, I hate to say, they are kind of strongly opinionated (and are of differing opinions too). I’m more drawn to somebody who might tell me what they’ve found works, while still learning themselves and sharing that. I guess maybe I just haven’t bumped into the right people (sometimes I can be a bit of a loner too). If somebody is terribly fixed in their opinions, it tells me that they might continue doing something wrong for their entire life.

On an interesting aside, my grandfather kept bees (a long time ago). He was a fruit grower, and as such, not really so much of a beekeeper. They kept them in the orchard for pollination of the apples, and I suppose they ate the honey, and used the wax (on the hot iron apparently, which made it slick for ironing clothes. Eventually they got rid of the bees, probably because there were alternatives to extracting your own honey and using wax on the iron, and eventually there would have been more hives in the district providing those pollination services. Really, he probably wasn’t such a good beekeeper by today’s standards - but then, I guess there weren’t so many diseases around. They didn’t have the WWW around either. I’m glad I do - it’s an additional resource that’s simply invaluable.


#4

Hi Damien,
What you say is all very true. You can have a 101 opinions from either the internet or from a group of enthusiasts. This can be all very confusing to a newbie which is why I put all three suggestions together.
Whatever you ask you will get a range of opinions but if you have had the opportunity for some practical experience by looking through a hiive yourself with another beekeeper or in a group it will help you work out what you want to try.
What we have been seeing is too many questions like" I have got a bee what do I do next?".

That’s life all over for you whenever you ask there will be always be two opinions and like armpits often both stink. But with time we learn. I could not even guess how many beekeepers there are in the world most successfully keeping bees by many very different methods. Thank you for sharing your bit of history.