How to become a beekeeper
Ever fancied BEEing a beekeeper? Here’s how…
Alrighty bees! How’s Monday going?
We couldn’t wait to share some news with you... Gu ess what? This weekend we got our first honey of 2017 from the Just Bee hives. And oh my, it is absolutely delicious! If you have ever tasted fresh honey from a local beekeeper, you’ll know how different it is from the stuff in the supermarket. And we’re not just saying this, we urge you to try some – you’ll find it at your local farmer’s market!
Does the promise of yummy honey inspire YOU to try beekeeping!? Some of you may have thought about it, but passed it off as a pipe dream. Or maybe you’re just curious to know more. Well, this week we’re going to share a few tips on how you can learn more about this wonderful hobby, meet some local beekeepers or indeed get started with your very own hive!
The British Beekeepers Association
Ok, so the first thing we recommend if you’re interested in becoming a beekeeper (or just interested in finding out more about what it involves) is to contact your Local Beekeeper Association. Currently, throughout England there are over 66 local area associations who provide local support and education to get you started. They also promote responsible beekeeping and raise awareness of the issues affecting bees.
You can find your Local Beekeeper Association here: https://www.bbka.org.uk/about/local_associations/find_an_association.php
Introduction to Beekeeping Course
On your local association website, you’ll find out when the next ‘Introduction to Beekeeping’ course is. This generally involves a 1-2 days of theory training plus a visit to the local apiary (a collection of beehives) where you can get all dressed up in the beekeeping suit (yes, this is as exciting as it sounds!) and have a practical lesson before you make the leap yourself and invest in the equipment and bees!
Just Bee Co-founder Joe has been shadowing his beekeeper dad (‘Pa Harper’) for a few years, but wanted to learn some more theory: “I learnt so much! You cover the life of a honeybee, the different jobs they have and how you look after them, then you get into the beekeeping suit and carry out various tasks with an experienced beekeeper watching. Highly recommend!”.
Monthly Meet Ups
Once you’ve attended an introductory course, you can become a member of the local association. This entitles you to take part in monthly meet ups with other beekeepers (experienced and other learners). You will get the chance to help out with jobs in the apiary and learn from everyone else.
As Pa Harper puts it: “it allows you to see other people’s bees and what they are doing. You can then compare to your own to see if they are behind or not.”
However, he goes on to tell us there’s a familiar saying amongst beekeepers…“if you ask 12 beekeepers a question, you get 13 answers” he chuckls and explains, “at the end of the day, every colony is unique. You never know what you’ll come across; so, meeting other beekeepers is a great way to share knowledge, tips and experiences.”
Pa Harper then shared us a story from a recent visit and we couldn’t resist sharing it with you as shows how beekeepers should always expect the unexpected!
Usually the queen bee is marked with a small dash on her back so the beekeeper can easily identify her. When checking the hives at his local apiary, Pa Harper noticed something bizarre. He saw the queen bee, then two minutes later he saw another queen bee – ANOTHER queen in the same Hive! FYI: this is highly unusual, just like in real life, there can only be one queen! Usually if you have two queens in one hive they fight it out (to the death!) and only one will remain, however, this hive appeared to have two! When Ron spoke to the other beekeepers, he found somebody had lost their queen! Luckily she was spotted before she bumped into the other queen and popped back in her rightful queendom / hive! Phew!!
Ok, so there you have it! The excitement of becoming a beekeeper is not only the bit where you spread your first batch honey on your toast… If you have been inspired by this blog post, we encourage you to seek out your local beekeeper’s association and find out more! For any newBEEs or current bees, feel free to send over any pictures of your beekeeping antics – or just of bees or flowers in your garden (we’re not fussy!!). We’d love to see what you’re up to at this time of year. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us on our socials @justbeedrinks. We’ll send our favourite beekeeper related snap a gift box of Just Bee!
Until next week bees,
Blogger Bee x