One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is – “Is beekeeping easy?”
The short answer is NO. Sorry to crush some dreams here. But stay tuned, because it gets better!
The long answer involves much more than one word. When I have time to answer this question more thoroughly I will explain to folks that any lifelong hobby worth sticking to is often not an easy one. If it was easy, we would get bored and move to the next thing. If beekeeping was easy, then there wouldn’t be crazy stories about bees in the news. If beekeeping was easy, then we would all know way more people involved in the hobby. It just frankly isn’t easy. There’s a learning curve involved, and it’s a steep one that involves making mistakes. If there’s one thing beekeeping has taught me, it’s how to deal with failure. (Wow, this is sounding like a sad story).
I can follow every textbook example of good beekeeping and sometimes the result is still less than ideal. I can follow the lead of experienced and successful mentors and find that they get to the same result through different methods, leaving it up to me to decide my preferred course of action. I always base my beekeeping decisions on two factors:
- Science. I find credible sources and follow their best practices.
- Notes from local mentors. I make mental notes from shadowing experienced mentors in my area and mirror their successful behaviors. In general, this decision-making system works. But, it took me a while to figure it out!
And, still to this day, beekeeping isn’t easy. New challenges arise, such as a harsh winter or mites forming a resistance to a treatment that once kept the bees healthy. Good beekeepers must adapt to these challenges and persists despite failure that still hits even the most versed beekeepers. Doing so is vastly rewarding and has allowed me to see the planet in a more interconnected way than I had ever imagined.
Is beekeeping easy? No, but it’s so worth the opportunity to constantly be connected to the world around me through the eyes of a honey bee.
Keep your bees buzzin’ y’all