DON’T GIFT NEW BEEKEEPERS A BEEHIVE

Posted December 19, 2023
by Hilary

Every year I meet at least one excited new beekeeper who received their first beehive as a gift. While this may seem like a wonderful present to give, it’s actually not a good idea to gift a new beekeeper a beehive. Read on to find out why!

Why Not?

Although the Langstroth hive is often considered the standard, there is an ever-growing number of hive designs to choose from. In my opinion, none of them are especially suited to new beekeepers. They all have pros and cons. That said, there may be a design that is better for a certain individual based on their climate, beekeeping goals, and physical capabilities. When a friend or family member purchases a hive for an aspiring beekeeper, they make a big beekeeping decision for them and they often do so without having done any research. This leaves the new beekeeper with a hive design they did not choose. I have had several students over the years in this exact situation who felt obligated to use the hive that was gifted to them, even though it didn’t meet their needs as a beekeeper. So, unless the beekeeper you are buying for has given specific instructions on the hive design they want, you may want to choose another gift for them.

What to Buy Instead

So, what should you give to a new beekeeper to support their exciting new adventure into the world of beekeeping?

Education

My number one pick would be education. There is nothing that will serve a new beekeeper better than a good beekeeping book, a local beekeeping class, or even a subscription to beekeeping magazine. My favorite how-to beekeeping book is Storey’s Guide to Keeping Honey Bees which goes great with my book Queenspotting for some extra fun. If you’re in San Diego, be sure to check out my classes and mentoring opportunities. I even have some online classes, but if you’re looking for a local hands-on class reach out to the nearest beekeeping club for recommendations.

Tools and Protective Gear

Every beekeeper will need a smoker, a hive tool and a bee suit so it’s safe to purchase these items. When looking for a bee suit, choose a full body ventilated suit which helps keep beekeepers protected from stings, but cool on hot days.

Fun Gadgets

Another great gift option for a new beekeeper is a data collecting device like Broodminder. This nifty sensor should work in most hive designs. It tracks the colony’s temperature, humidity and weight which are all linked to colony health.

Get Creative

If you want to help make your favorite new beekeeper’s foray into beekeeping even more memorable, how about booking them a photoshoot with a local photographer for spring. Wouldn’t it be great to have some beautiful images of them working their new bees?

 

filed under: Equipment, New Bees
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2 Comments

  1. Bees Nearby

    Totally agree with this! Unless the buyer is particularly well informed, I found that deciding on what type of hive would best suit my needs and desires was part of the fun! I actually did end up going with Langstroth hives as I preferred the idea of high honey production and simpler pest management than some other options. Though I was interested in some of the more estoeric options out there too.

    Reply
  2. BeeLife

    Time and knowledge are the best gifts an experienced beekeeper can give to a new beekeeper.
    Helping the new beekeeper get through the first two years without losing the hive is priceless.

    All the best!

    Reply

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My name is Hilary Kearney. I’m the author of the book, “Queenspotting” and founder of the urban beekeeping business Girl Next Door Honey in San Diego, California. I’m an artist turned beekeeper on a mission to help new beekeepers succeed and educate the public about the magic of bees!

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