While I would love to post the video I hinted at, I haven't gotten a chance to make the video. I will hopefully have the video up next time my camera woman is up to visit. The video will include my hives and hopefully one or two more things that I think are pretty cool. Stay tuned for it!
In the meantime I would like to talk about local bee clubs. I attended my first meeting of the Northern Piedmont Beekeepers Association (npbee.org) and I was very impressed with their setup and would recommend that any beekeeper should join a similar organization in their area. The information I received last night was not useful to me (since it concerned nucs and I am going with packages), but the quality of it was something you cannot get in a book or youtube video.
HOWEVER (notice the capitals), I was very saddened to see that after two classes the newbees (like me) who signed up for classes (unlike me) knew far less about beekeeping than they should. I am new just like they are and I am always asking questions to people, but some of them were the kind of thing they would have easily known if they had read one of the more comprehensive books on beekeeping. While I am glad I didn't spend the money on classes (like some apparently dishonest merchants that I will no longer do business with told me I should), this seems a great tragedy because it will ultimately discourage people from getting into beekeeping. That extra $75-100 is a cost they will not recoup and will make the ultimate price tag be higher their first year than it needs to be. I know when I look at how much I have sunk into beekeeping if I actually sell any honey this year it is going to make it a lot easier for me to give up if I think beekeeping is a money sink - and I doubt I am the only one that will think that way. It isn't the bee clubs fault - they need to make a living like everyone else and considering how much time they spend setting things up and their experience it probably is a pretty fair price. It is the people's faults who decide they are going to get into something like beekeeping without sitting down and doing research on their own.
I am going to end this rant by imploring all of my readers to please read a comprehensive book or two (or 5 . . . ) on the subject of beekeeping before you spend any other money on it. Here are two really good examples of introductory books on beekeeping:
Either one of these books will tell you what you need to know to get started. I would however recommend getting both because they both have wildly different opinions on beekeeping practices. If you get only one and treat it like gospel you are going to soon find yourself confused on why everyone disagrees with you on something about beekeeping even though you are just going by what you read. I doubt the authors of these books still agree with everything in them anymore and they are both fairly recent (one or two years old). Read them both if you can and do some research on youtube and beesource.com and then make your own decision on what is the best thing for you to do. I wager if you read both of these books and take a class in beekeeping you will feel like you wasted your money.