Okay, so we have established some sort of an interest in bees.. but now what?
Going in blind did not seem to be a wise idea, especially when it involved invading the homes of stinging insects.
As I set out to research I honestly thought it was going to be a breeze. Few articles here, a youtube video there and presto: Bee Expert.
How hard could it be to become a beekeeper, especially as a hobby?
But as much information as I found it all seemed scattered. Helpful tips and hints and how to do certain things but no straightforward "How to Keep Bees as a Hobby". It started to feel like I had my work cut out for me. The more I looked into beekeeping the more intricate it started to feel.
What am I getting myself into?
I decided to take a step back. Instead of delving in and losing myself to the depth of bee knowledge, I opted to get a lot more comfortable with the basics. A steady grip on starting out would make it a lot easier to get my head around the complex stuff. Time to hit the books.
I started with web articles, YouTube videos and TED Talks. These broadened my horizons and made me understand how big the worldwide beekeeping community is. A lot of videos, however, were very specific.
I had to really search to find broad beginners-type information.
I eventually found the most helpful sites and videos and started off on my research journey. Videos have been my favourite tool thus far in getting a really good visual idea of things. Photos help as well but the videos really bring it to life. I am still researching and watching new videos to gain all the basic knowledge I can.
The next type of researching I went for was books. Debating between buying books on Amazon or saving the cost and hitting the library, I opted for the latter and ran down to the local library. Surprisingly, I did not find many books on beekeeping. I actually went to two branches with not much luck on variety.
I did, however, stumble upon a few books that have been goldmines of information.
My absolute favourite being "Homegrown Honey Bees" by Alethea Morrison There was loads of information and very well taken pictures. My favourite part was that it was an up to date book (published in 2013) so it had a modern flair the older books lacked.
Though the older books did not disappoint. They provided tried and true methods in detail and helped me really get an idea of the background of beekeeping. Each word I read from every book reinforced my desire to learn more. I got my journal out and took tons of notes on useful information we could use to start up our hobby.
The last and most helpful means of research I used was to contact a local beekeeper.
I found my contact, Mark, through his local beehive making business and originally went in to check out his products and hopefully pick his brain. What I left with was a ton of basic bee knowledge and possibly a new bee friend.
The most important tip, something I hadn't even thought of yet, was the importance of our climate. Being a wet and mild area, he gave specific insight into how to cope with things that may arise. He sent me off with his card if I had any more questions and a bee calendar made by our local bee association with so many tips and tricks for our local climate and seasons. He seemed to be our secret weapon of knowledge and I hope when the time comes he could help us get started.
Through all these tools I could sense my bee research going from absolute beginner to somewhat novice - at least in the knowledge department. My exploration continued to trigger my interest.