Like about anything else one might try be it a hobby or the beginning of something more serious, Beekeeping has a few basic elements one should consider as interest the activity grows. The following fundamental outline could be a start.
Location. As one begins to think of having bees, where would the hive/s be placed? A few things to consider are: easy access, neighbors, pets, water. Planning for such considerations as well as others in placement is much better in the beginning rather than having to make adjustments later. Here in New Mexico, people oftentimes choose to keep their hives under deciduous trees that lose their leaves in the winter and have leaves in the summer. The hives are shaded in the hot summer and are in the sun during the winter.
The Hive. Two kinds of hive are readily available: Langstroth and top-bar (primarily in the form of plans). Both work quite well. Investigate the literature on hives, talk with local beekeepers, visit area apiaries. Each style has unique features to consider. You can find plans for the most common top bar hives here in NM at: Top Bar Hive Plans
Equipment. What are the necessary ‘tools of the trade’? A list for the new apiarist might look like this: veil, gloves, smoker, and a variety of hive tools (standard hive tool, frame lifter, scraper, bee brush). Other elements of equipment will become important through experience. You can find equipment locally here: Where to Buy Hive Gear in NM
Mentor. Where does one go for help? Where are some examples of hives, tools, equipment to consider? What does one do next? Seek out an area beekeeper willing to be a mentor. Not only will one find answers to the basic questions of beekeeping by having a mentor, one will gain the value of experience in the day to day routines necessary to having a successful apiary. Besides a mentor was once a ‘new’ beekeeper, too.
Club. Research, clinics, training, trade information, associating with other beekeepers are just the beginning of the features available by joining a bee club whether it be local or area in field. A check with local beekeepers or contact with the state Department of Agriculture will provide information on bee organizations. If you are a beekeeper in Albuquerque, you can find the Abq Beeks at: http://abqbeeks.ning.com/. If you are in Northern NM, you can find the Sangre De Cristo Beekeepers at http://sdcbeeks.org/.
While beekeeping may not be a mystery, the basics of beekeeping may fall into that category as diverse beekeepers will consider the task quite personally. However the ‘basics’ have a common thread running throughout the practice. Locate that ‘thread’ and follow where good judgment will lead.
And, then there is the Bee.