As a hobby, keeping bees is a most remarkable, fascinating, and peaceful pastime. Watching the busy bee going about her business is a great way to occupy spare time, or wind down after a hectic day. There is a seemingly endless amount to learn about the bee, and an opportunity for varying levels of practical tinkering with bee related paraphernalia.
Some people chose to keep bees for the products of the hive, the most obvious being honey, but also wax, propolis, and royal jelly which are useful in a variety of ways and expensive if bought directly from the shops. Others are attracted to the bees themselves which are fascinating creatures in their individual habits and remarkable social colonies. Few beekeepers fail to be amazed by the capabilities of the bee as a communal creature, and many of us look for similarities within the world we occupy.
Keeping bees is not something to undertake alone. While most of your beekeeping will be conducted in your own time alongside the hive, there are local nuances and experiences that you would do well to learn from people like you who have learnt that lesson - sometimes the hard way! It also helps to have a safe spare pair of hands to call upon for some jobs throughout the year.
Being a successful beekeeper requires a couple of hours a week of your time, a modest investment in beekeeping equipment, a suitable location to keep the bees that is safe for you, the bees and the general public, and a willingness to learn the basics of the craft.
There is no license and typically no formal approval required to keep bees on your land. Membership of the association includes insurance cover for your beekeeping activities.
Get some experience before getting some bees. We have seen some people initially enthusiastic about the idea of keeping bees only to have that enthusiasm evaporate rapidly when stood next to an open hive of 50,000 bees during an inspection.
The association has some guest suits you may borrow to accompany an experienced beekeeper, and our summer meetings are a good opportunity to see members’ apiaries and get some hands-on experience.
Even if you are not interested in joining the association, you can contact us to discuss your ideas for keeping bees, and get advice whether a particular location is suitable for one or more hives.