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Axeman002 

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Hi all, my names Gary, I'm from Durham UK.

I've always had an interest in beekeeping since a young age when I used to go hunting and the farmer was a pest controller who also owned about a dozen hives, I used to love watching him working on the frames and his wife would spin the honey etc it just fascinated me.

Fast forward around 30 years and I finally feel its time to have a try, I own a double allotment beside a farm where I grow my own produce and have a lovely floral area which I think in five years has seen about a dozen honey bees that I have seen, so after a two/three year fight we finally got our allotment comitee overruled by our local council to allow us to own hives on our plots!.

Now begins my learning journey as the requirements are quite lengthy but understandable as its public safety, so I need a certificate in beekeeping, I have to be a member of the national beekeepers association as well as a local beekeepers association, I an in no rush for my first hive I've set out about a year and plan to have all my paperwork in order to then get a hive (I forgot to add another guy on the site has owned bees for 40 years so I shall be bugging the life out of him for information too! Haha)

So as I type this, this is day one!, I have zero knowledge on beekeeping, I would like to make my own hives as before my current career (paramedics assistant) I was a time served cabinet maker so i enjoy dabbling in woodwork.

I look forward to getting to know folk and thank you all in advance for the information you have already put into this site which will be invaluable.

Many thanks
Gary
 
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Erichalfbee 

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Welcome to a fascinating absorbing and pocket emptying craft. Welcome also to the forum. Just keep a sense of humour and you’ll gain much from the expertise here.
 

B+. 

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Although you have won a paper victory in getting permission to keep bees on your allotment, my advice to you would be that you don't.
Beehives present an easy opportunity for the inquisitive and malicious to tamper with something they shouldn't. Inevitably, someone will be stung and any goodwill you may have earned will quickly evaporate.
I have no doubt that some people may tell you it won't happen but, IMHO, it does. Don't put yourself in the position of needing to find a new home for a full hive (which will inevitably become 2, 3 or more) at the height of the season when they are big, heavy and not so easy to move. My advice to you would be to have a quiet word with the farmer and find some sheltered (from the wind) spot away from public right-of-way that you can get a vehicle close to. You will find it much more satisfying and the farmer will appreciate a jar, or two, of honey at the end of the season.
 
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:welcome:
Steep learning curve and we all make mistakes!

Put a pretty (ie WBC hive) on your allotment plot and even set it up as a bait hive.

My own experience, even with the nicest of calm and easy to manage native bees, is not to keep them anywhere in sight of a house, public access area , footpath or road.

Too many idiots around!

Hope you have deep pockets and even longer arms!
Chons da
 

enrico 

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https://beekeepingforum.co.uk/blog.php?b=13357
Read this. It is part one of a series. It highlights a few pitfalls. Bees and passing public do not mix. A few flowers in an allotment are not sufficient for a hive of bees but a hive of bees within a three mile radius will still visit.
I applaud your keenness but worry about what might happen. Being up close to bees is a little different to your memories too so try and get some hands on experience asap.
Good luck however it turns out and let us know how it goes
I really don't want to put you off!
E
 

Erichalfbee 

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Sadly B+ is right.
Much better is after having joined your local association and taken their course and had some practice on their bees is to ask if anybody has somewhere you can put your bees. Must associations have people willing to host hives rather than keep bees themselves.
 

Ian123 

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As others above have said think long and hard, I would personally not put any bees on allotments particularly as a beginner. Any you’ve peed off can cause mischief anyone getting stung will look first to your bees. All bees have bad days poor weather wasps the end of a honey flow are all periods that bees will get defensive. Open a hive in the autumn and you can cause robbing putting the bees on edge and making them very nosey. You may also end up with stroppy colony’s to deal with. All the above beekeepers deal with, learning how to deal with these situations or reducing them is not best done whilst in full view of the general public. If it was me I would look to a secluded spot or an association site whilst you get the basics sorted.
 

XYZ 

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Welcome to the forum Gary. I am a few miles south of Durham so there's a chance our paths will cross.

There are a few other local(ish) beekeepers in the area who are regular on the forum too.

Depending where you are - in Durham itself or in County Durham, there are a few beekeeping associations. Durham Beekeepers, Aycliffe Beekeepers and Darlington Beekeepers. I'd probably say join the closest to you so you have the most convenient out-apiary if you hit any bumps. Also it's easier to get to events if it's close.

All three of those have Facebook pages too so if you're on there you can join and get some more information on local things. You'll get the BBKA News magazine too which can be interesting. I have some previous issues I've finished reading if you want them?

It really is a fun hobby, although in my experience I have not felt so enthusiastic about it. I only started last year and I started by reading a recommended book cover to cover, attending an intro course in May, then getting a nuc. I didn't go much wrong by following what I had learned and the advice on the forum and I don't regret diving in head first with bees in my back garden. I did, however, check with the neighbours either side first. My house also does not back on to other houses.

I looked into allotments but the general advice was don't (although the gentleman I collected my bees from kept them on an allotment). Then the allotment committee banned beehives on allotments so that was that.

Take care, feel free to PM me about the BBKA News magazines, local associations or anything else :)
 

Axeman002 

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Thanks for the reply guys! Its good to see the site is active

i am under no illusions that this will be a huge and possible painful lol learning curve and the replies so far are all great, all appreciated and taken on board, with regards to my plot we have terraced houses along two sides (opposite side of the allotment site to me) who were all contacted via letter and held no opposing views to bees on our site, my plot opens up onto the farmland (the houses only have yards so hopefully the bees are more attracted to the farm fields than concrete gardens haha)

I live in Chester le street side of Durham so I would be looking for a club local, if I find I cannot enjoy it I won't buy into it, however this is something I have wanted to do for many years as I am very self sustaining and I do love a challenge!

The stinging argument was brought up by the allotment committee who unbeknownst to them had half a dozen wasp hives in various gardens which we kept quiet just to show that "aggressive insects can be on an allotment site and go relatively un noticed.

But by all means I'm not going into this with rose tinted glasses, it has to be safe for people around me, and for for me! I will be watching and learning from the guy on my site closely as he is installing hives now, just to see how he gets on with the site and public before I fully commit.

Thanks
Gary
 
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Welcome Axeman. If you fancy a long chat about bees and such like there will be a few beekeepers at Wynyard Farmers Market this coming Sunday, weather permitting. Just down the road from you. It's held next to the walled gardens.
Look for the stall with a bee on a bike and make yourself known, you will be very welcome.
 
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XYZ 

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Durham Beekeepers is closest to you then. They meet at County Hall. Nice bunch, I've met a few of them and had some decent chats. One of their members very generously gifted me my first nuc of bees.
I've been down to Wynyard Famer's market to chat to Beefriendly and Millet a few times. It's good, you'll enjoy it. I'll probably be there myself on Sunday :)
 

Millet 

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Welcome Axeman. If you fancy a long chat about bees and such like there will be a few beekeepers at Wynyard Farmers Market this coming Sunday, weather permitting. Just down the road from you. It's held next to the walled gardens.
Look for the stall with a bee on a bike and make yourself known, you will be very welcome.
I will definitely be there on Sunday on the hunt for a couple of those high rib steaks..the best i have ever had.
 

madasafish 

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I mentor three hives on an allotment (apart from my own bees and others).
They are in a small enclosure with a locked gate and 2M high hedges to force bees to fly above allotment holders' heads.

It is a community allotment and the allotment holders own the bees and get a share of the honey .. Honey sales revenues go to the allotments..

My advice to you as a novice : don't have bees on your allotment until you are a competent and experienced beekeeper. It is possible to do it successfuly but not as a novice . Far too many things WILL go wrong..


(Things still go wrong with the allotment bees: they swarm. And sting etc)
 

Axeman002 

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Durham Beekeepers is closest to you then. They meet at County Hall. Nice bunch, I've met a few of them and had some decent chats. One of their members very generously gifted me my first nuc of bees.
I've been down to Wynyard Famer's market to chat to Beefriendly and Millet a few times. It's good, you'll enjoy it. I'll probably be there myself on Sunday :)
I might have to have a look down on Sunday! I will certainly check out the Durham bee keepers, many thanks!
 

Axeman002 

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I mentor three hives on an allotment (apart from my own bees and others).
They are in a small enclosure with a locked gate and 2M high hedges to force bees to fly above allotment holders' heads.

It is a community allotment and the allotment holders own the bees and get a share of the honey .. Honey sales revenues go to the allotments..

My advice to you as a novice : don't have bees on your allotment until you are a competent and experienced beekeeper. It is possible to do it successfuly but not as a novice . Far too many things WILL go wrong..


(Things still go wrong with the allotment bees: they swarm. And sting etc)
Hmm I don't really have anywhere else to raise bee's, I might knock on a few local farms and see if I can try there first, thanks 😊
 

Poly Hive 

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The best way to find site/s is exactly that, go for a drive/cycle/walk and approach farmers. I have only been refused once and frankly I think he was too distracted to understand what I was asking.

However, don't walk up and say I want to put bees here have you a spot... because it's asking them to think of somewhere that is not going to be a pain because of... xyz... Far better to work out where you want them taking in access water and so on and then ask can I put bees there... x marking the spot.

Good luck

PH
 

Newbeeneil 

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Hmm I don't really have anywhere else to raise bee's, I might knock on a few local farms and see if I can try there first, thanks 😊
PH's idea is probably the best way as you can pick the spot you want but when I was after a site in a local town I asked on the local Facebook group if "anyone would like to host a couple of hives in a large garden, edge of a wood or corner of a field" within 1 hr I had 5 offers, with 24 hrs I had the choice of over 20 sites. People just love the idea of helping bees!
Some were not feasible due to access, proximity to public etc but some were really amazing! I only wanted one site but took two because they were so good.
 

XYZ 

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Just echoing what these guys are saying - I was offered a spot on a farm. It had "access" but in reality I needed a pickup or a tractor to get there. I could park 100-150m away and walk down to the corner of a field. The ground was really uneven, making for fun in wet weather. Apparently a beekeeper lasted a year or two there before moving on.
I ended up sticking them in my garden and it's worked out for a season so far.
 

Millet 

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I do not see all the mad panic about keeping bees on an allotment apart from theft and vandalism..also i see we have a fellow beek who has had bees for 40yrs and he keeps bees on the same plots and then we have the scenario that someone might be unlucky enough to get stung..how on gods Earth do we know who's bees stung who..my little niece was stung last year playing outside on the clover grass field..should i have went knocking on doors till i found someone with a beehive and then reported them to whoever..come on get real people..
Regarding the OP..go for it Axeman and ignore the negatives..while you are enjoying your allotment hives you can always go door knocking for spots if you decide to expand.
 

madasafish 

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I do not see all the mad panic about keeping bees on an allotment apart from theft and vandalism..also i see we have a fellow beek who has had bees for 40yrs and he keeps bees on the same plots and then we have the scenario that someone might be unlucky enough to get stung..how on gods Earth do we know who's bees stung who..my little niece was stung last year playing outside on the clover grass field..should i have went knocking on doors till i found someone with a beehive and then reported them to whoever..come on get real people..
Regarding the OP..go for it Axeman and ignore the negatives..while you are enjoying your allotment hives you can always go door knocking for spots if you decide to expand.

A combination of HSE and snowdrops -sorry snowflakes - are likely to make your comments impractical...
 
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