The Ultimate Guide to Beekeeping

Edited by Arenaflowers in house Apiarist Jackie.

The various sections which this beekeeping guide will cover:

About the Author

I first started beekeeping over 20 years ago when I moved to a house in the country with a large garden surrounded by rolling fields and dense woodland. It was a beautiful summer and the sight of the bees buzzing contentedly whilst going about their work inspired me to think about owning some hives so I could better understand and appreciate the life of bees. It seemed to be the perfect hobby in the circumstances but I certainly wasn’t brave enough to take the plunge and try to look after a colony of bees without instruction!

I was fortunate enough to know a local beekeeper who gave a short course on the theory and practicalities of keeping bees at my local college and then, having completed my 6 weeks of theory, she encouraged us all to become members of our local beekeeping associations. There, experienced beekeepers give up their time to run practical courses for beginners who can learn whether the sight of so many bees is something with which they can be comfortable and help them build up their confidence to embark on a beekeeping career.

Having learned all I could, I took the plunge and ordered my first hive and then, having put my name down on the association’s ‘swarm list’, I waited with great excitement for my swarm to arrive. I was called by a ‘swarm collector’ from the association and met her where the swarm had been reported and helped her collect ‘my’ bees from the tall tree where they were hanging from a branch. Driving home and rehousing the bees in my new hive was so exciting and studying them as they settled in and expanded their colony fascinated me and has continued to do so.

I began beekeeping in the early 1990s which was just before the first varroa mites were discovered, by an amateur beekeeper, in the UK. Beekeeping was more straightforward then than it is now and, sadly, it is almost certain that there are no longer any feral colonies of honey bees in the UK. This means that it is not usually possible to acquire bees free of charge these days – although some bees do swarm from other apiaries. But any cost associated with starting to keep bees is money very well spent for the hours of pleasure that this fantastic hobby will give you!

ArenaFlowers in house Apiarist Jackie.