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Thread: advice to a potential beekeeper

  1. #1
    Jimmy's Avatar
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    Default advice to a potential beekeeper

    Hello
    I retire in a few weeks and was thinking of starting beekeeping (Preston Lancs).

    When I look on the net all I see is courses for 80 or more.

    What I need is
    1) Someone to look at my garden and tell me if it's possible with my layout.
    2) A cheapo start !

    Perhaps I am too much of a scrooge for beekeeping.
    Thanks
    Jimmy
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    Go along to a few of these meetings and have a chat with the members. Preston BKA diary
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    I did an introductory course for 80 and it was incredibly good value. You owe it to your future bee pals to at least have some idea what you are doing!

    On the course, they did say that the initial outlay for suit, hives, bees, fondant etc would be around 700, so I think you have to be prepared to part with some cash...
    He-Pep!

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    When we started, we let a beekeeper site a hive in the garden and we learnt from him how to manage it. We bought suits (white overalls with zipup fronts - cheap) and veils (for me, an old pith helmet with a cheap beekeeping veil over it). We also bought a smoker. After a year or so of "helping" the beekeeper, he gave us the hive and colony and we built 3 more hives to sit alongside it.

    You need to make friends with your local beekeeping association - they're the best ones to help start you off.
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    nickdub is online now Early Fruiter
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    Good advice from others on various things, so I'll mainly just address the issue of "is my garden OK for bees ?". Generally any space which is big enough for you to stand on will be able to accommodate a hive of bees - so even the tops of Cathedral roofs in a city have hives on some of them.

    The problem of where to keep bees relates more to "will my bees cause issues for people nearby ?" Bees fly out of their hive and then generally up and the reverse on landing, so if the hive is near ground level and people walk within say 10' of the front with no barrier between the entrance and them, sooner or later someone will get stung, and one sting sometimes leads to 2 or 3. So the edge of a large garden with no footpaths nearby is easy (that's my situation), but the smaller the garden and the more people around, the trickier it gets, unless you have a convenient flat-roofed building on which to put hives, in which case you can do more or less what you like as long as weight is not an issue.

    In terms of cost you can, and I have, do things relatively on the cheap by buying some second hand kit, making some of your own hive parts etc. - but knowledge is the most valuable part of this hobby and any time/money spent gaining that when you start out will more than pay for itself in the long run.

    PS to keep going for more than a year or so you should plan on having at least 2 hives at some stage.
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    Another thing to think about is orientation and elevation - from what i understand, I think bees prefer a sheltered spot where the hive is warmed by morning sun, but not in direct sunlight all day, and anywhere lying in a frost pocket is not recommended. Overhanging trees are also best avoided.
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  7. #7
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    Thanks
    Might contact Preston BKA diary
    Also why do you need a suit.
    Would jeans tucked into your socks or bicycle clips not work ?
    Jimmy
    Expect the worst in life and you will probably have under estimated!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy View Post
    Thanks
    Might contact Preston BKA diary
    Also why do you need a suit.
    Would jeans tucked into your socks or bicycle clips not work ?
    Jimmy
    Yes, that would work, along with a colander sellotaped to your face.
    He-Pep!

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