Here are some thoughts from a beekeeper (me) on beekeeping.

Beekeeping is a somewhat demanding hobby. The bees must be checked regularly to see that the colony is thriving and making honey. The enterprise also requires some money – the cost of hives, frames, equipment, a bee suit and the bees themselves can add up to several hundred dollars. But to be invited into their world is richly rewarding, even if the price is also a sting or two.

My favorite book on beekeeping is “The Beekeepers Handbook,” by Diana Sammataro and Alphonse Avitabile.

Some beekeeping clubs hold courses for beginners in late winter and early spring. This is in advance of the time you start a new colony. Registration would typically be in December, though it may be earlier.

Laws governing beekeeping vary by jurisdiction. They dictate such matters as lot size, hive numbers and locations and other requirements. In Fairfax County, Va., for example, residents can keep up to four hives on lots smaller than 10,000 square feet.


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