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So You Want to Keep Bees?

Beekeeping is a form of animal husbandry dating back over 5,000 years to the Ancient Egyptians who kept bees solely for their honey. In the UK, beekeeping dates from pre-Roman times. 

Honeybees play an important part of the pollination system for successful seeding of flowering plants and food, such as fruit and vegetables

Before you dive into this ancient craft and buy all the gear and equipment, it is wise to know all that is involved and certain that beekeeping is for you. Keeping bees requires time (especially in the spring and summer months when hives are most active), good management, bees are wild animals after all and, knowledge.  You can't just set up your hive, walk away for a few months and expect lots of honey.  

Lets start with some basic questions:

  • Where will you keep your bee hives? Hives as in plural, as for good management, you will need at least two colony's or hives.  Location is also important as bees need access to sun and shade, water and privacy - away from people and animals.

  • Do you have enough space for an apiary in your back garden or will you have an out apiary?

  • Do you know the equipment you need and how much you're likely to spend to start up?

  • Do you have the time to dedicate to beekeeping tasks such as regular hive inspections and feeding during the leaner winter months.

  • Will you know what to look for during a hive inspection?

  • How does the local climate influence the local beekeeping year?

In reading this, you're one step into your beekeeping journey. The next step is to learn as much as you can about honey bees to become successful beekeeper. There are many influences that affect honeybees and so you are likely to see something different every time you carry out a hive inspection. In order to make appropriate decisions, beekeepers must be able to figure out why bees are behaving a certain way and the options available to help the bees. 

To see if beekeeping is for you, come along to a taster session at our teaching apiary.  These are usually held at the start of the beekeeping year in March/April. Click here for more information and how to book.  

Before you make any purchases or get any bees, we strongly recommend that you join our association where you will be able to take our basic beginners course with practical handling sessions and find a mentor. 


Can you identify a honey bee from a wasp or a bumble bee?

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