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Would now be a bad time to get started?


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I recently picked up an interest in bees and beekeeping and I've been looking to give beekeeping a shot.

I'm in an urban area of Auckland, just wondering what peoples thoughts are on getting a hive around this time?

With winter around the corner I understand it can get a little tricky, just wondering how doable it is.

 

Thanks in advance!

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It's doable but it would be much easier and more rewarding holding off until you can buy a nucleus in spring. Any hive you get hold of at this time of year is likely to be a full size colony with bees for africa, and worries about "have they got enough stores for winter" which your lack of experience will exascerbate. If you get a nucleus your knowledge & skill can grow with it . Patience ! And welcome to the forum. How do you pronounce your name btw :lol

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Appreciate your response. I was afraid you would say that, I'm so anxious to get started I'm not sure I can wait till Spring haha.

You saying its doable means I'm even more likely to lose the battle of my patience, at the moment I'm just reading and learning what I can.

My name isn't really pronounceable, my nickname is Q :P

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Hi Q,

You really need to do an intro course so you know a bit about bees and beekeeping before you get a hive, bad experiences can spoil it for you for ever.

So, get on to the club, and there is no rush in keeping bees, just a series of sensible steps, and then it's really enjoyable.

Regards.

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Thanks guys, I'll take your advice and take my time learning and try hold off till Spring.

Are people/clubs likely to do field day type things this close to winter?

Auckland Beekeepers Club meets 2nd Saturday pf the month year round (not sure about 13 June though) . check the website per above link. @Martin Garside will have the date of the next meeting.

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I got my first hive in may and it did survive me looking in it every 5min over winter, but spring would've been a better time to get 1 as the learning curve is steep when starting. I joined the rodney bk club the knowledge you get from a club when you start is great and someone will always let you have a look in there hives.

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Hi Q,

Im a newbie beekeeper in Auckland too & had my hive only a few months.

Yes - i absolutely agree with the others - wait till spring to get them.

Use the winter to go to beeclub & do a few beekeeping nightclases or workshops if you can - i found those really helpful.

I got my nuc late & its still only small & its been hammered with varroa then robbing - not sure theyll survive the winter now.

Its been more stressful than i ever imagined.

I think the others advice to wait till spring is Very Very good sound advice.

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The problem with being enthusiastic at this time of the year is if you get bees theres nothing you can do with them apart from maybe feeding. You have to sit on your hands all winter and wait for spring.

 

use the winter to learn about bees, and buy a nuc in spring when you can be hands on right from the moment you bring them home.

 

@Kirsty has offered good advice.

.

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Very much appreciate the input all, I have a few more questions:

Is a single NUC enough? I can only seem to see them being sold as sets of 4.

And do they come with the frame? If so how do I ensure I have a nuc box/hive that will fit the frame?

What's the difference between a nuc box and a hive?

Are feral swarms any more difficult to start out with for a newbie?

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Very much appreciate the input all, I have a few more questions:

Is a single NUC enough? I can only seem to see them being sold as sets of 4.

And do they come with the frame? If so how do I ensure I have a nuc box/hive that will fit the frame?

What's the difference between a nuc box and a hive?

Are feral swarms any more difficult to start out with for a newbie?

 

You must go to the bee club where you actually see these things and understand what they are....go now

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Q - good questions...theres lots of confusion & terms & equipment & stuff to understand before your ready to forge ahead. Beekeepings a whole new world & not as easy as experienced beekeepers make it look. But its a fun & fascinating world. It can be quite expensive to set up depending on how you go about it.....youll find its alot more involved than you think.

I think youd find some night or weekend classes really really helpful where you can 'see' the stuff your asking about, & fiddle with it & ask lots of questions from your tutors. I found the classes brilliant & made me understand heaps better what i saw / heard at the beeclub as well.

Theres classes out West Auckland (Kiwimana) & some down South as well, im not sure about Central Auck.

What area of Auckland are you in?

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I'm on the shore. I'm trying to avoid classes if possible to save on cost.. haha

 

I will cost you more if you do not. The bee club maybe able to point you to someone to mentor you. It is like getting a big pet and you need knowledge or you will kill it. Once you get started you will be hooked if you do it well.

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I'm on the shore. I'm trying to avoid classes if possible to save on cost.. haha

Less I spend on that, the more I can spend on the actual equipment

I started about 6 years ago with an hour of time from a Beek and about a 1000 hours of reading and research.

However if you don't yet know the hive parts and how they relate to bee keeping your not yet ready to own your bees. Spend the winter getting the knowledge and equipment together and spring you'll be away and more likely successful.:)

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Personally, would advise going to bee club and get up close and personal with the hives which is included in your membership. The hive managers are generally excellent. Read everything, particularly "Practical Beekeeping in NZ', the AFB yellow book, and the green book by Dr Mark Goodwin on Varroa. Spent your money on these three, and keep going back to them - they will stand you in better stead than the classes, and start with a standard Langstroth hive - there are far more people able to advise you when you think you have a problem. The classes are a 'right little earner' for some. Tutors are also trying to sell you topbars, nucs etc.

I had a wide network of people who knew I wanted a swarm, so with that learnt at club days, and intensive reading, started with swarms I captured myself.

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I wasn't planning to, but you guys have convinced me to possibly go on a course and get some books.

Thanks for the specific titles I should look for.

 

Pity the Auckland bee club course is full, maybe I have to skip on that

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Budget on $2000.00 to get started...its not a cheap hobby to get into, go to bee club days get used to being around bees.. see if you can handle bee stings.

Have a think about where you might want to keep a beehive...The list is endless at the beginning :)

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