I am luck that my Uncle is a beekeeper and was more then willing to let us come for a visit. You see my hubby doesn't like bees... well, that's not true, he likes them but is a tad afraid of them. While it was HIS idea to put in a hive, he wasn't sure if he could handle it. So we visited my Uncle to see what beekeeping was like, hands on.
I stood a distance away as they fired up the smoker and began to open the first hive. The bees remained calm, so I moved in closer (I did NOT have a bee suite on.) I stood about 4-5 feet from the hives as the men folk set to work doing health checks on the hives. The bees zipped around, coming and going, but I did not receive a single sting. My Uncle would walk frames over to me so I could see and photograph them. It was amazing to see so many bees going about their business!
My hubby stayed with my Uncle checking the hives for about 2 hours in 90 degree weather and had a ball. We learned some very key things about beekeeping during this visit to my Uncle's apiary. There is MUCH more to beekeeping then just putting a hive in your yard and walking away! Well we knew that but we now know how much work it will be. More then likely he said we would kill our bees the first year (because most people do) but that if we were really interested in trying beekeeping, he would set us up with hives and bees to give it a go.
He explained we would need two hives instead of one because that way we would notice the differences in the hives if one started to weaken. He told us most people set up one hive, not knowing what they are doing, and by the time they realize something is wrong with their hive it is too late. But if you have two hives you can see when one is weakening verses the other and be able to adapt quicker. So maybe we will not kill our bees!!!
So it looks like, this winter we will be doing a lot of reading and learning. And thankfully we have my Uncle (though almost two hours away) to mentor us through this new adventure. And who knows, maybe, just maybe, we will not kill our bees. Our garden will have pollinators. And if we are truly lucky, maybe a little honey in our future too!