Keeping bees is a remarkable, fascinating and peaceful hobby. 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 choose to keep bees for the products of the hive, the most obvious being honey but also wax, propolis and royal jelly are useful in a variety of ways. 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 you will be doing most of your beekeeping in your own time with your own hive of bees, experienced local beekeepers are happy to share their considerable knowledge with beginners. 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. Some people are 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 bee suits you can borrow to accompany an experienced beekeeper and our summer meetings are a good opportunity to see members’ apiaries and get some hands-on experience.