My husband and I live in a semi-rural area of Southwest Michigan. We have two boys who love bees, mud, and running wildly. We’d love to be hobby farmers someday, but as a start we have a garden, some chickens, and the bees. We’ve raised bees for a year and a half now. It began as an experiment I was nervous to embark upon. We attended a “bee school” at our area nature center and I was completely overwhelmed by all the information. We bought a book (which proceeded to further overwhelm me), but my husband was hooked. He began watching youtube videos and reading online. We took a leap of faith when we ordered that first nuc and, so far, we’ve had great success. We are constantly told by fellow beekeepers not to get too excited because young hives are doomed to fail, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed!
We started with one nuc hive in the spring of 2012. It was strong and produced an abundance of honey (to our surprise) last fall. Early this summer we split our original hive twice, so we went into the winter with one large, strong hive, a second fairly strong hive, and a small nuc hive. We allowed the bees to requeen the new hives and they did so with great success. Our main hive still remains the strongest and this year, between the three, we processed about 70 lbs of honey! Our original goal was to simply keep these bees alive and if we could get some honey, that was merely a bonus, but now we have so much we are able to sell a bit of it!
Most importantly, we don’t really know what we are doing. We take our cues from nature and from the bees and supplement our knowledge with books and videos. We have learned that beekeeping is not an exact science in any way, shape, or form, so we hope this blog will give new beekeepers some direction, but also hope that you’ll keep in mind that we are still learning too.