As a new beekeeper, the two questions I hear most are
1) when will you get honey? and
2) how did you get into that?
They say you don’t get honey until your second year. Spend your first year growing your colony and keeping the bees alive – THEN worry about honey! We’re from Maryland, just 30 minutes north of Washington DC. Not a great honey state, I’m told, because our flowering season is short. However, I have spoken to a few new beekeepers who said they got anywhere from 35 to-100 pounds of honey their first year. I’ve also been told that any honey harvested first year will be sugar water honey – not the best quality.
At this point, I have no expectations and the information is overwhelming, and often conflicting. Honey is secondary, and right now I’m drinking in the bee activity. In fact, it’s their activity that drew me in 2 years ago. I remember watching a set of hives while on a hop farm. There’s something so rural and relaxing about bees and their hives. We stood and watched them go in and out of the boxes, minding their own beeswax. So I approached our local beekeeping association at the county fair and expressed my interest and concern about time commitment. They assured me that bees are low maintenance and actually prefer to be left alone.
That was it. I signed up for their class and haven’t looked back. In most cases, my ability to retain information is ridiculously bad, but I absorbed those bee lectures like a sponge. This confirmed what my husband has always said – I pay attention to things I’m interested in. I soon ordered two nucleus hives (nucs) and all of my hive equipment from a beekeeping supplier located just 20 minutes away from our house. Kismet you say? I like to think so.