Our next Meeting is February 13th

Becoming a Beekeeper


 No matter the reason you want to start beekeeping, Here are some things to consider:

  • The work required for a few backyard hives (<5) is less then a dog, more then a cat. You will need to enter the hives to check on them from time to time, from weekly in the spring to a little less in other seasons. 
  • Beekeeping is very difficult to make a living on, and you may never get your investment back.It can also be very expensive, the first year you can expect to pay about $400 per hive for all equipment, bees and gear. Following years are not as pricey, and there is is many different options to save money even in the first year.  
  • Packages are 3 lbs of bees and a mated queen. The bees are not related and take longer to establish and have a higher mortality rate. Packages can run generally about $100 each. Nucleus or nucs for short, are small established colonies with a proven queen that generally cost between $150-200 each. 
  • The first two years can be overwhelming. A good support system of other beekeepers and a local club is highly recommended. 
  • TN State Law states that it is illegal to sell or give away used equipment without bees residing within. It also states that every beekeeper must register their hives. To register is FREE, and confidential. It protects you and your bees, and if there was ever an outbreak of disease or spraying that effects your colonies you will be notified by the state apiarist.  
  • Typically, honey should not be harvested the first year, as the bees need significant resources to maintain their colony throughout the year, especially winter. 
  • With over 2 dozen different styles of hives and thousands of different equipment variations possible, it is hard to know where to start or what will work for you. The most common is Langstroth hives. Remember always that these are your bees- and ultimately, your decision on anything. 
  • Honey bees have several different subspecies or breeds. Once they swarm (natural reproduction), the breed you thought you had is now intermingled with other races, so don't focus on specific breeds at first. 
  • If considering the FLOW Hive, do your research. They still require work throughout the year the same as any other hive as well as additional equipment.

The only way to fail as a beekeeper is to stop learning and putting to practice what you learn. 

Equipment Suppliers

Rossman Apiaries

Based in Georgia, Rossman's offers several options in equipment that they can ship or deliver to the nearest conference that you attend. A great supporter of Heritage Beekeepers. 

Poor Valley Bee Farm

Based in Hilton, VA, only 45 minutes from Rogersville, TN- Owner John has everything you could need at his store or he also ships if needed. Members of Heritage Beekeepers receive a 5% discount of all wooden ware. A great supporter of Heritage Beekeepers. 

Mann Lake

Based out of Minnesota , Mann Lake is one of the main distributors throughout the US of equipment. Shipping is free over $100. 

Where to get Honey Bees

Your local club would be happy to help  you source your packages or nucs. Most suppliers start taking orders from November and stop in March. Heritage Beekeepers begin taking orders from members in February. Most honey bees- whether nucs or packages- typically arrive in April, but is very weather dependent. All should come with a certificate of health from the state of TN- per law. 


Although all wooden ware is all "standard" sizes, different suppliers may not fit well with others. 

How ANYONE can Help

Plant Wildflowers


It takes 4.5 million flowers' nectar to make a quart of honey. Even a small bed can help local pollinators. 

Buy Local


Skip the grocery store and purchase your honey and hive products straight from a local beekeeper. Not only do you get honest products, but you are supporting a dream. 

Attend Local Meetings


You do not have to be a beekeeper to attend, and are always welcome to join as a member, regardless if you keep bees or not. 

Follow Instructions on 'Icides


If using pesticides, herbicides, insectides or other chemicals, follow all instructions on the package. Please contact your local beekeepers or club to let them know your spraying ahead of time so they can protect their colonies. Most spraying must be done before the sun rises or after it sets. 

Spread the BUZZ


Let others know about Heritage Beekeepers, the delicious honey you just purchased and the importance of honey bees in our area. Offer to put a club flyer in your church or place of business. Information is power and you have the opportunity to help others learn more

Offer a place for hives


Even if you do not want to maintain colonies,if you have land and/or pollination needs, consider offering a place for a beekeeper to place hives. Some may charge for their services, but you would be helping the beekeeper, and yourself as an advocate for all things honey bee.