Originally Posted by larry_stewart
There is a local " Bee Keepers Club" here, and each year they offer classes to learn the basics on Bee Keeping. Ive always wanted to take it, and starting next February my son and I will take it together. Im looking forward to it. Ive always found it fascinating.
Do it. I've learned a couple of useful things. One is that beekeepers, like people in a lot of activities, individually will profess particular things as fact that either may not be so important or that are necessarily true for everyone. Let the bees be your guide for a lot of it. And relax. They've been doing what they do for a very long time, and given a reasonable chance, they'll do fine.
I like top-bar hives, Kenyan and Tanzanian types. They're not a big a honey producers, but I think they're a more natural environment for the bees, being very like the hollow logs that they emulate. Plus, they're easier, I think, to work with. Plus, they lend themselves well to installing a window down the side with a cover you can fold down and see what'a happening inside without disturbing the bees. That's a big plus for me. A lot of the conventional keepers sneer at them, but read up on the Web and see what you think.
I also chose bees from a supplier where they had been bred by neglect to be naturally resistant to pest and disease. They began with English Buckfast bees (Buckfast Abbey) and left them alone. Many, many colonies died, but the survivors need little care. I never medicate or treat. I just make sure the area under the hive is a bad environment for their pests.
You'll pretty quickly discover the normal temperment of your bees. I never have to wear any protection. But I also avoid messing with them if it's not a bright, sunny day. They all get angry when disturbed on an overcast day. It's very nice to be able to work with them without all the suit, veil, gloves, etc.
I'll put in a second hive in the spring, to give me a bit more honey.