Mistakes are inevitable parts of trying something new, and beekeeping is no exception. There are plenty of ways to mess up as a first-time beekeeper. Fortunately, mistakes give you the opportunity to learn, improve, and turn your next attempt into a complete success. You can also learn from others’ mishaps. When you’re aware of the most common mistakes novice beekeepers make, you can learn how to spot and avoid them with your own hives. To make your first year as a beekeeper a success, read our list of common beekeeping mistakes and how to handle them.
Skimping on Equipment
A lot of tools and equipment will prove useful in your beekeeping career. You might think the full protective bodysuit or toolbox full of scrapers, brushes, and other utensils is a little overboard. However, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your equipment. Wear protective gear when you’re starting out—and always wear a hat and veil, no matter how comfortable you become with your bees. Be sure to make the most of your other equipment as well. A smoker is your best friend when it comes to keeping a colony docile, so don’t neglect it just because you think you can keep your bees from acting up.
Feeling Nervous Around the Bees
You may feel hesitant or nervous during your first few times around the hives. After all, bee stings can hurt! However, your bees can pick up on your emotions. If you’re anxious or uncertain, they’ll sense it and become agitated. Remember that confidence is key, and the key to confidence is knowledge. Learn how to safely handle your bees, perform efficient and effective hive inspections, and generally move more confidently among your bees. The more you know—and the more experience you get—the calmer you’ll be when working with your hives.
Collecting Too Much Honey
Many people get into beekeeping for the delicious, golden honey they receive at the end of the season. However, one of the most common mistakes novice beekeepers make is collecting too much honey from their hives. That honey isn’t just for you—your bees need it to survive the winter and come back strong next spring. In fact, most first-year colonies aren’t large or strong enough to produce excess honey after one season. Be patient, and let your bees keep their food supply. The payoff will be more than worth it when you start the next year with a thriving colony that can produce plenty of excess honey for you.