Beekeeping 101

Interested in keeping bees?

Here’s how to start:

1. Make contact with a local beekeeper.

2. Join the Blount County Beekeepers Association — or at least start coming to our meetings. Check out the schedule.

Beekeeping in Tennessee
Beekeeping in Tennessee

3. Attend the association’s full day short course in February as we introduce the basics of beekeeping and what you will need to think about when you start.

4. Think about where you want to keep your beehives. Will the bees be able to gather enough nectar and pollen to sustain themselves? Will they have a good source of water?

5. Think about you and your commitment. Beekeeping is fun, exciting and interesting. But it can also be occasional hard work, frustrating and confusing. At certain points in each season, it can take up a lot of time. Are you ready for all that?

6. Read a book or two about beekeeping. We have a number of good ones in the association’s collection and will be happy to recommend one to you. In particular, you should read the University of Tennessee’s excellent publication title Beekeeping in Tennessee. You can purchase the book for $10 from the UT Institute of Agriculture or you can download it for free from this web site as a PDF file (or click on the image to the right).

7. Repeat step 1 — but this time, ask lots and lots of questions.

And while you’re doing all this, you might want to check out some of the following sites:

UT Institute of Agriculture: Bees and Beekeeping. This site contains a wealth of information, publications, videos and links to other sites that can help you know more about keeping bees in Tennessee. The site is maintained by Dr. John Skinner, the state apiculturist (and also a Bount Countian and member of our association).

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