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How Can I Start Beekeeping?


Just the thought of becoming a beekeeper might seem impossible and overwhelming. For sure, it's not a project to take on lightly. However it may not be as difficult as you might imagine and if you have the time and the space to start beekeeping then it can be extremely exciting and rewarding. With some success you could even end up turning into a business!

While it would be impossible to walk you through every step, we can offer some advice, some things to consider, and we can also point you towards people and organisations that will be happy to help you on your journey. There are lots of resources available online and people have made excellent YouTube journals of their own experiences starting beekeeping which is a great way to learn what to do and sometimes what not to do!

Can I really start beekeeping?

The short answer is “Yes, you can!”, the longer answer is slightly more complicated. If you are determined to become a beekeeper then it's certainly possible for almost everyone. Even if you live in a flat or are without a suitable garden or land yourself, it may be still possible by using someone else's land. It might be easier if you live in the countryside but there are beekeepers even in busy cities!

Where to start?

Before you actually start contacting people or buying equipment we would recommend reading a good and current book on beekeeping to give you an overview on what is involved. This might be enough to help you decide if you want to go further. If you do continue on your beekeeping journey it will also provide you with a valuable resource for the future.

The book we would recommend first is the 'BBKA Guide to Beekeeping- 2nd Edition”. It is available directly from the BBKA (British Beekeepers Association). It's a really great price at £15 with free postage in the UK. You can find it at the link below.

It's the perfect book as an introduction to beekeeping and covers everything from hives, acquiring bees and what's involved all aspects of beekeeping. Even if you decide beekeeping isn't for you, then it's still a great read and brilliant for kids who want to learn more too!

Recommended YouTube channels

YouTube is a really great place to experience what it's like to keep bees. These are just a couple of our favourite channels and videos on the platform. (Be sure to 'like' and subscribe!)

Just Alex –

Alex's channel has a lot of beekeeping videos including our favourite Becoming a Beekeeper - Day 1 till Day 365 - my first Honey Harvest - 1 year of Keeping bees”

It's almost 1 Hour and 45mins long so make sure you settle down with a cuppa and a sandwich! If you want to watch all the ups and downs and the learning process of a complete novice starting beekeeping then this highly recommended. It's funny at times and he's a really likeable chap which makes it a very entertaining watch.

Maddie Moate -

Maddie's channel is a lot more than just beekeeping and is a fantastic channel for all different kinds family friendly educational videos. Her beekeeping videos are really fun though and packed with bee knowledge and facts. Below is a link to all her Beekeeping and bee themed videos in one playlist.

Beekeeping with Maddie

These are highly recommended for family viewing, especially if you would like to get younger children interested or involved in beekeeping. Maddie's natural enthusiasm is so infectious it could turn anyone into a beekeeper!

Get in contact with local people.

These days it's very easy to find local beekeepers and beekeeping groups in your own area online.   If you join a local BBKA affiliated beekeeping association they will also be able to provide training and support for new beekeepers.

To find a local BBKA affiliated group follow the link below, find the nearest bee on the map to your home and click on it to get further details.

You can also try approaching a local beekeeper directly if you know of one and asking them for some advice. Most beekeepers will be very happy to talk about beekeeping (providing they aren't busy of course!) and point you in the right direction for local help. If you are at local farmers market and see people selling local honey, then buy some of their honey and strike up a conversation about your interest in starting beekeeping. Having a good local network is invaluable for new beekeepers, because there will almost certainly be times when you need help and run into problems that you aren't sure how to deal with. So don't be nervous, be pro-active and get out there and meet some beekeepers!

If you'd like to find people for advice online then you can look for local groups of beekeepers on social media such as Facebook, for some this might be a less intimidating way to make first contact with people you don't already know. It's also worth spending time having a really good look around the British Beekeepers Association's website because you can access a lot of information there without becoming a member.

Beekeeping Courses.

The Bee Centre in Lancashire is a multi-award winning centre of excellence when it comes to providing general education and awareness regarding honeybees and beekeeping. They also provide practical hands-on courses on beekeeping for beginners. Check out the link below for availability of their introduction to beekeeping 1 day course.

Many of the BBKA affiliated associations will also have 'taster days' that you can go along to and get your first taste of beekeeping and most will also offer a very useful 'introduction to beekeeping course' too.

Hives and Supplies.

Another really good reason to make contact with other local beekeepers is that they may have some older equipment that they are looking to sell. Bees aren't that fussy and won't mind if you start with an old slightly worn beehive. The cost can escalate quite quickly if you dive straight in with all new and shiny equipment.

For an idea of the cost of new hives and other supplies, check out the online stores below that have stocks of everything you can imagine for the world of beekeeping.

You can save a lot of money by using second-hand items and we would advise this especially for the start of your beekeeping journey. We would also suggest starting small with a single small hive to learn the skills of beekeeping before you start piling the supers up high and dreaming of mass honey production.

Beekeeping is a very rewarding pursuit that will always fascinate other people when you tell them that it's what you do. We really believe it's one of the most rewarding and genuinely amazing things that anyone can do with their time. If you have read all the way down to here then you probably share that passion too, so make that first leap and you too can become part of the long line of beekeepers that dates back over 4,000 years! 

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