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Top Questions Beginner Beekeepers Ask

February 18, 2021

Top Questions Beginner Beekeepers Ask

Every year, we meet a lot of excited beginner beekeepers who ask us for advice on how to get started. Here are the most frequently asked questions we get from beginners.

1. How much does it cost to get started?

Many just diving into beekeeping as a hobby need to figure out a budget before they get started. To figure out your budget, there are few questions you need to answer before you can put an exact price to it. Figuring out the type of hive you want to buy, the number of hives you will keep and the equipment required is a good starting point. 

2. What type of hive should I buy?

This is a really good question, and the answer depends mostly on the amount of time you have to manage bees, how much weight you can lift and if you have help. You need to learn about each hive type and its management practices to find the right match for you. Each hive has its pros and cons. See What Hive Buy.

3. What bees should I buy and how do I transport them?

There is typically three options to choose from: package bees, nucleus (nuc) and starter hive. To learn more about each of these options, see our handy guideline on choosing live bees. When first starting out, you need to either purchase a nuc to start a colony or a starter hive. Both are great options for beginners.

If you purchase a nuc from us, you can either pick it up or have it shipped. If you have a pick up truck or can borrow one that is your best option for transporting bees on your own. Otherwise, shipping is much easier as it's brought to your door, and you don't have to worry about properly securing and transporting your bees.

4. Do I need to take a beekeeping course?

Yes! Everyone should start with a beginner course. It is a requirement in some cities like Edmonton. Beekeeping courses give you a solid foundation in learning the basics, and the opportunity to ask experts questions before you get started. You will also continue learning a lot every season too. It's important to have a good mentor and join local beekeeping groups.

5. Do I need a license or permit, and to register bees?

Every province and city has different regulations, but most require all or at least one of these. Beekeeping falls under agriculture and for important reasons. The government sets out regulations for the beekeeping industry, monitors disease and supports beekeepers with current information and inspections as needed. Check your provincial and municipal government websites to see what is required. Useful Links 

6. How many bees will I have?

Being a beekeeper means you will be caring for and managing thousands of bees, especially in the summer months. If your hive is healthy and thriving come May, your colony will expand. Every year we have beginners who are surprised that they are going to have bees in more than two boxes. Did you know Alberta's honey bees see one of the largest population explosions unlike any where else in the world? During the main flow, the colony can expand to 50,000+ bees! You need to learn and understand how bee colonies work to prepare for this expansion. If you don’t, your bees will do it themselves by swarming. Watch our video where we talk about splitting a hive in spring.

When starting out there is no bad questions to ask, and every beginner should find answers to the questions they have. Learn more with us anytime by visiting our video library and blogs. Beginning in April, you can learn all season long with us, online or in-person, at Meet The Beekeeper! 

Need help getting started or choosing supplies? Contact us at

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