RAYMOND, Miss. (WJTV) – Mississippi State University (MSU) Extension Service bee specialist said people interested in beekeeping should take time to answer some important questions and develop a plan before beginning such hobby.

One of the best ways people can learn about the hobby is to join a beekeeping group, said Jeff Harris, Mississippi State University Extension Service bee specialist.

“Local beekeeping clubs often have members with many years of beekeeping experience, and they are absolutely a great way for you to learn about the hobby before you begin,” Harris said

Beekeeping can be done in cities and rural areas, but Harris recommends checking local ordinances and laws before beginning, no matter the location, because rules vary. Some places may limit the number of hives a person can have, and some states may have laws regarding hive registration.

The next step is to think about the everyday logistics of beekeeping, including where the hives will be kept and when the hives will be worked.

“Even if there are no laws restricting beekeeping, all new beekeepers need to consider where they want to keep their bees,” Harris said. “The most problematic issues can be with neighbors in urban and suburban settings who fear your bees. Honeybees can be safely kept in these areas, but careful consideration about how best to protect your neighbors, and therefore, future problems with you, should be a priority.”

Keep hives in an area that are shielded from view, such as behind trees or shrubbery. Make sure they are kept away from pets and high traffic areas, such as where children play. Confined pets are especially susceptible to a swarm of upset, stinging bees.

Place hives near ample food supply and easy access to water. Provide water sources close to the hive, such as shallow pools or dishes filled with pea gravel and water. Consider installing a drip irrigation line to keep the water sources filled.