“I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.” –Eartha Kitt, Singer/Actor
Did you ever have a dream that you’re back in high school and all of a sudden the teacher starts handing out a test you just know you never studied for? The horror of staring down at questions that barely seem to be written in a recognizable language flood your vision, and the panic rises into a scream that wakes you up from your chaotic slumber… I suppose you’re wondering where I’m going with this. I bet you think I’m going to compare this to learning about beekeeping or something.
A lot less dramatic…
The truth is you gotta start somewhere, and if becoming a beekeeper is your goal, your recipe for success starts with learning… and a cup more learning… and then throw in a dash more after that. You know what? Just keep the curiosity and will to learn. Reading that first beekeeping book after getting excited about bees, in my opinion, is always going to be the hardest. To me, it certainly felt like a bit of an information overload and that I was staring at a foreign language, but the drive to try something new, exciting and interesting outweighed any initial hint of discouragement.
Here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, you might hear that it’s never wise to swim alone when swimming out in water over your head. I think that’s advice that can be applied to many tasks in life, including beekeeping. I found and became a member of a local beekeepers’ club and instantly gained access to the knowledge of people who have been beekeeping for decades. Everyone has been super friendly, and the best part is we all share one interest: bees. It’s in this environment that one can find the information (take their beekeeping class if one’s offered) and guidance needed (maybe even find a mentor) to get them through the first year… and many years after that.
Also, the realization that I’m not alone in my first year beekeeping adventure has been extremely encouraging. Several other newbees are at the beekeeping association meetings, and I’ve heard from several of you online. I’m looking forward to sharing our progress and pitfalls with one another, as it’s not always easy being the new kid on the block. I’m hoping that we all have a successful year and gain a lot of experience. We got this!
In my humble opinion…
Seeking out education and immersing yourself in a beekeeping club is not a guarantee for an automatically successful first year. No amount of knowledge on a subject is going to make up for putting in some hard work and dedication. However, using your newfound knowledge and applying it to whatever comes your way and establishing personal connections with experienced beekeepers are two very large steps in the right direction for success. So I strongly recommend devouring up educational material, jumping into friendly discussions with your local beeks, taking a class or two, and finding a mentor. Learn the beekeeping, be the beekeeping.
I’ve been keeping a busy reading schedule, so I thought I’d include them below:
Krista’s Learn the Beekeeping Book List (in no particular order):
- Beginning Beekeeping by Tanya Philips
- The Beginner’s Guide to Beekeeping by Samantha Johnson & Daniel Johnson
- The Backyard Beekeeper by Kim Flottum
- The New Starting Right with Bees published by A.I. Root Co.