Bee Keepers Diary

The purpose of this blog is to document and share my experiences as I venture into the world of beekeeping.

First let me try and answer the question that all my friends and family asked when I announnced my intentions to start keeping bees.


I have a highly stressful but rewarding occupation that I find difficult to switch off from at the end of the day and at weekends.

I felt I needed a distraction that would occupy me both physically and mentally without becoming a binding chore.

In Bee Keeping I think I may have found the perfect hobbie.

The intriguing and fascinating life and subsequent care of the humble honey bee provides plenty of opportunity for mental stimulation. Whilst the friendly and supportive community of Bee Keepers that I have discovered in my local area provide a social network of warm and interesting people.

(They are not all eccentric throw back hippies of the 60's)

So to bring you up to date my venture began back in the winter of 2009 when one saturday morning I woke with a throbbing headache having spent the night vividly dreaming about work. It was then that I decided I needed a distraction that would take my mind off the sresses of work.

Why beekeeping came to mind I'm not sure. I suppose I have allways had an interest in wildlife, gardening and food and this seemed to draw all those elements together.

So full of enthusiasm and keen to get started I headed for the internet to find where I could get hive and and a load of bees!

I had a romantic idea in my head that I could get one of those quaint looking hives that you see by the dead bodies in Mid Summer Murders. That I could place it at the end of my small terraced garden and sit and watch the bees come and go as they make me bucket loads of honey!

Fortunately whilst reading on the net I came accross the name Wally Thrale of the Bedfordshire Bee Keepers Association and having read several conflicting articles relating to the keeping of bees in small gardens I decided to give him a ring to get some first hand advice.

I got the impression that Wally was not very impressed with my naive enthusiasm but non the less he was polite and friendly as he firmly imparted his words of wisdom.

"Stop! don't buy anything get yourself on one of our courses. Have a go at handling the bees at the Luton Apiary and if you still think its for you only then but your hive. Oh and don't buy a WBC or that Omlette thing!"

Taking Wally's advice I signed up for the course and put my enthusiasm on hold as the courses didn't start untill January.

January came and for six consecutive sundays I had my eyes opened to the world of beekeeping and its intricacies. My initial reaction was undoubtedly "Hmmm this is a lot more complicated than I thought" but as the weeks continued and I listened to the enthusiastic and knowledgeable presentations from the range of amateur beekeepers I became more and more intrigued, fascinated and hooked!

Towards the end of the theory course I took the plunge and began bidding on ebay for a national Hive and was eventually successfull in purchasing a Cedar National Hive with two supers and all the required frames for £160.00 from honeypot.

On completing the Theory course I followed Wally's advice and signed up for the practical course. My first close encounter with the bees was on Sunday 18th April at the Stockwood Park Apiary, Luton. I was told this was often make or break time as it is only when you get in amongst the bees that you can tell how you will react.

No problems for me! I loved every second and so its full speed ahead.

There are basically two avenues for aquiring your own bees. Option 1 is you sign up to receive a swarm which, if you are feeling confident, you can either collect yourself or receive from a registered swarm collector, or option 2 you purchace your bees from a trusted source recomended by the Bee Keepers Association.

The first option is obviously the cheapest but comes with out gaurentees. i.e. the condition of the bees or their availability.
I opted for option 2 and am currently waiting for my bees to be ready for collection. Hopefull in the next couple of weeks.

Whilst I wait for my bees I continue to visit the Stockgrove Apiary to pick the brains of the pro's and get my hands dirty. As with learning most new things there is no substitute for practical experience.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Preparing for my new arrivals

Built my Hive stand,.

It's pretty crude but functional and has room to work and expand alonside.

Tomorrow I will be taking the hive and stand to Stewkley to set it up on location.

Looking forward to introducing my bees to their new home in the next couple of weeks.

I am told the Queen is laying but that due to recent veroa treatment this may be effected and that it's best to give her a week or two to settle again before trying to move them.