I have been keeping bees in Switzerland since last spring 2010. I started out with a colony that I borrowed from the bee course that I am taking (it is a two year course). I gave it back after the first year because I had caught two swarms: One that flew right into my carport and the other one that settled down on a very low branch of my neighbors apple tree!!! What a lucky duck!!!!
I now have 5 colonies and have just finished a Queen rearing course and have raised 7 Queens so far. Two of the Queens were raised during the course from larvae and the other 5 were raised in mating nucs from supersedure cells that I cut out of one of my hives.
There is a lot of beekeeping terminology that I only know in German (That is the language that my beekeeping courses are in) so it takes me a while to figure out the equivalent in English....even though I am a born and raised, 100% Kentuckian. So, I hope that I don't sound too silly if someone asks me a question and I don't know exactly what to call the procedures or equipment that I use. I am just now reading and learning about all of this in English....and we do have many different procedures and ways over here.
I became interested in beekeeping a few years when I took my children to a friend's farm to see his pigs and cows and learn about how he raised them. As a nice little extra, he showed us his bee house with his hives (most Swiss have cute little bee houses and they don't use the magazines that are so popular....I will try to post a picture sometime). Soon after I was able to watch a beekeeper catch a swarm and then I was hooked. It took me quite a few years to finally sign up for a course and get started but here I am, enjoying all my lovely bees.
During my course it was suggested that we hook up with an experienced bee keeper for at least our first year so that we could look over their shoulder and help out and we could reinforce what we learned in the class by practicing with our "Bee God Father/ Bee God Mother. We were also encouraged to join our local bee keeping association. I did both of these and boy, what a great Bee God Father I got. I learned soooo much working with him. I don't think that I could have learned so much in 10 years as I learned with him that first year....and he had only been keeping bees for 6 years. So, to any of you "seasoned" bee keepers out there wanting to encourage new bee keepers...consider taking one under your wing for a year or two. You will be passing on your many years of experience and wisdom and you will be helping to keep bee keeping alive.
Ganz liebe Grüss