How To Start the Art of Bee Keeping
To start off your beekeeping you need to take a theory course and join an association who will help you start with a nucleus of bees and give you support.
By becoming a bee keeper you will be helping the environment because without bees, we would have a lot fewer food sources. To start off with your beekeeping, the way is to buy an established colony from our Association.
Beekeeping management is generally based on natural nectar flows. Beekeepers want their colonies to reach maximum strength before the nectar flows begin. In this way, the bees store surplus honey which can be harvested by the beekeeper.
As a beekeeper, you will need either to invest in the honey extracting equipment, or you can borrow from fellow beekeepers or use an Association extractor.
The First Steps
Simple - join our Association. (SCBKA)
Learn About the Bees
The next crucial step in becoming a beekeeper is to learn about bees by attending a theory course, a practical course and reading as much as you can. On the theory you will discover there are many different types of hives available, and the best idea is to select a hive type to suit you. SCBKA use National Standard, 14x12 National and Commercial hives.
The vast majority of bees in the UK are now hybrids which are a mixture of both indigenous and imported races. Their colour, prolificacy of the queen, frugality, quietness on the comb, and temperament can be variable.
There are three types of honey bees, the workers, the drones and the queen bees. The workers (female) basically do all the work for the colony, a colony may have as many as sixty thousand workers. The drones are the male bees and they fly from the hive and mate on the wing with queens from other colonies. The queen is the only female in the colony that produces eggs.
Beginners should start with a nucleus, which is a small colony with 3-5 frames of bees. It is easier for a beginner to handle a small colony, BUT REMEMBER, they won't stay small for very long. Every beekeeper should know the life cycle of each caste. This will help the beginner to assess the behaviour of the colony and to help prevent and control swarming.
Many gardens will accommodate a couple of hives providing they are sited sensibly, but don't risk problems with your family or neighbours. Some people have a fear of insects and may not share your enthusiasm, so please be responsible. Many people in towns and cities keep bees, often unknown to their neighbours. Before investing in equipment, it would be a good idea to attend a practical course to make sure you are comfortable handling bees.
The following is an absolute minimum requirement when starting out:-