Bees. I keep them.

I always liked the idea of beekeeping, but it was something I didn't really consider until I had a yard big enough that they wouldn't discourage me from getting out in it (if you have a small courtyard, a beehive will probably stop you going out there as much as they get protective and you don't want to be too close too often!).

Add to that, I have a bunch of plants and fruit trees, which all benefit from the angry little pollinators, and I make a bit of mead on the side, so having my own honey makes it a lot cheaper and that little bit more fun/interesting/source of pride.

Now, I'm a novice. A noob. A beginner. The above hive is just on 2 years old now - which means this is only my second season on beekeeping, which is nothing. My hands on time - actually handling the bees - can be measured in hours, without even counting toes. So when people tell you they have been backyard beekeeping for a few years - translate that to a lot of time build, painting, planning, and researching, but only a small amount of time of actual beekeeping. Most of what I 'know' is self-taught (You can learn anything online, just not experience.)  

There's a few things I'd do different, with the benefit of hindsight, but again only having a little experience under my belt (don't worry - I'm not doing a 'top 5 things to blah blah' listicle.) not least of which is more bees.

Counter-intuitive, right? You'd think more would be overwhelming for a beginner, but it's about (to put it bluntly) redundancy, and for learning/management. If you have the one hive and things go poorly, that's it - start from scratch. If you have two hives then you have more chance at saving a poorly hive (e.g. donating from the strong to the weak), and if you can't you've still got the second colony to focus on.

Man in a full length white OzArmour beekeeping suit
That's not me. OzArmour beekeeping suit

One thing, I think, I got right was spending money on the suit. For a beginner - especially doing it all by your onesie - opening up that hive and agitating a big colony can quickly get the nerves up. But if you feel bulletproof, it doesn't matter if you've covered in angry bees trying sting you through the veil - if you know 100% that they cannot get you, then you're not going to loose your nerve at the fist sign of trouble, close everything up quickly and have a bad (and possibly lasting) experience. Add to that, when you're nervous, you're not passing as close attention, and you're not certainly not learning a thing. There's plenty of options out there for a 'stingless' bee suit (all that means is that the material the suit's made of is thicker than a bee stinger. So when they sting the suit, it's not long enough to get through all the material, and so they literally can't sting you.) so do a little research and pick one you like, has some good reviews and has lots of pockets! Also - the mesh/ventilated ones are great - gets hot and sweaty (regardless of the weather) pretty quick, so the mesh ones mitigate that (not easy to take of that jumper you thought you needed, half way through an inspection...)

Make sure you pick your spot well - read 'future-proof'. Nothing worse than getting a hive established and then realising you need to use that space, or plant that garden bed right behind it or the neighbours complain because it's too close to their boundary. Whatever the reason, try to avoid this from the get-go with a little bit of planning. Try to pick a sunny spot, sheltered from the winds, and free from obstructions/garden beds/high traffic areas/annoying neighbours - or a spot that ticks as many boxes as you can manage. Of course, you can move an established hive, but it's a whole thing and to be avoided where possible - annoys the bees, reduces production for a time, you'll loose some numbers (they'll get lost or confused or just die depending on when and how well you move the hive) etc. Just try to avoid it.

Deconstructed beehive showing the main parts

Spares. If you have one hive, have enough spares to make a whole second one. If you have two hives have at least enough to make a whole 'nother. Boxes, frames, baseboard, lid, etc. Wax foundation - you don't need to have 50 spares (and unless you store them well, they'll dry out) but have enough (10-20) deeps to replace brood frames where needed, and another 10-20 ideals for your supers (when you don't have spare supers during a nectar flow, then you can just replace the the full frames to keep production chugging along). Also it's of course handy to have spare everything for the unforeseen - pests, extreme weather, wildlife - everything will want to break your stuff and get the honey, if given the chance.

Get used to Googling, join some choice Facebook groups (there's bound to be a local one for you), and the Reddit community. They're invaluable for quick answers and (generally speaking) the community members are switched on and genuinely want to help - I suppose you don't get into beekeeping if you don't give a stuff about their survival (whether they're you bees or someone else's!)

My first BeeHive