How do you become a beekeeper??

That is a good question and you will get different advice from every beekeeper you meet. Below entails some of the things I would say.

 

I would suggest you go to bushfarms.com and check what Michael has to say about starting beekeeping. 

Beesource.com has a whole section devoted to beginners starting up. The advantage there is that it is a combined advice column from many beekeepers put together.

When do you start?
 You will want to purchase package bees in December or January so that the supplier doesn't run out although you may be able to get them as late as april if you are lucky.  After you book your bees, I'd start reading.

How to get bees

1. Contact the local beekeeping club or bee supply store near you

 

2. If you don't have a lot of money and are not in a big hurry you can definitly swarm trap It may take a couple of years to get started though

-- I suggest starting with two packages because having two hives helps you understand if there is a weak one.  Any problems with the queen or buildup of honey or laying patterns will be more obvious if you have something to compare to.

Equipment --  Here's what I suggest you get for a hive

 

Eqipment philosophy

 

Costs                                  Build your own                  Buy

  1. 5 medium supers            $15                            $90
  2. 1 pull over suit                  $45                             $45
  3. Smoker                              $5  (for billows)       $40
  4. 2 hive tools                       $10                              $10
  5. 5 gal bucket                     $5                                 $5
  6. Frames for 5 supers      $35                              $35
  7. foundation                        $3 ( popsicle sticks)  $50 (foundation)
  8. Honey gate                       $10                              $10
  9. Escape screen                 $5                                 $9
  10. Bees                                  $0 (swarm trap)          $95

 

  1. Total                                          $133                     $379

Discussion

 

Using Middle or top entrances

top and middle entrances help ventate hive in summer and winter, keep mice out better, and make less bee travel over your honey comb so it's better looking comb.

Making a top entrance is easy.  Close the bottom entrance and insert stick between boxes you would like them to enter from.  For reducing the entrance just get the stick to one side and use a smaller one.  Notice the second from bottom super is a dresser drawer.  It already had a handle so I didn't bother putting one on.