New Beekeeping Basics

There’s a lot to learn, so in your first year, focus on the basics.


Basic timeline for new beekeepers:

 Fall before getting your bees: 

  • Attend classes
  • Read books (Diana Sammataro and Alphonse Avitabile’s The Beekeeper’s          Handbook and Tom Seeley’s Honeybee Democracy are two of our favorites)
  • Join the Marin Beekeepers Association  


Winter before getting your bees: 

  • Order equipment and bees



  • Get your bees!
  • Learn how to inspect your hives and prevent swarming.
  • Attend classes and get as much info as possible



  • Monitor your hive to control swarming.
  • Learn to recognize when – and what – to feed, if necessary.
  • Help protect (and prevent) robbing by yellow jackets, ants and other bees.
  • In late summer, start to monitor varroa mite levels.



  • Continue monitoring % infestation of varroa mites
  • Learn about mite management options
  • Harvest excess honey not needed by the bees for winter. (Not always                             possible in your colony’s first year.)



  • Clean up equipment from dead out colonies.
  • Learn to identify American Foulbrood.