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OUTONAWIRE 

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Hi all,
I'm curious, i have always wanted to keep bees, but i don't like doing anything unless i know for sure i'm going to be able to manage it, especially when it comes to living things, so, exactly how difficult is it to keep bees?
 

Nellie 

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Depends on how you term difficult.

I guess the first point to stress is that you're taking on livestock and the responsibility that comes with it, both to the bees and your neighbours. How prepared are you to go head to head with your other half that you can't go away this weekend because you need to sort something out with your bees and can we please put off the summer holiday until the end of August/september instead of July?

An obvious first course of action to suggest is to contact your local association and ask if you can go to one of their apiary days, get a chance to talk to some local beekeepers, see what goes on, find out about beginner's courses and so on.

While it does have a heavy US slant I do think Beekeeping for Dummies gives a reasonable flavour for what's involved in beekeeping on a week to week basis. I wouldn't buy it as it's not that good as an ongoing reference but if you can borrow a copy then it's worth a look.

Where have you got in mind to put bees?

How much time are you prepared to invest learning and then doing?

Why do you want to keep bees?

How much money are you prepared to spend getting started? However you start out it's going to cost you cold hard cash to get your first hive and bees.

If it sounds like I'm trying to put you off then you'd be right, in some respects I am. It's a fascinating, rewarding hobby but it can also be time consuming, messy, frustrating and expensive all at the same time.
 

andypigeon 

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i find it only takes an hour a week to go though them with just a few hives so time is no prob unless you are planing on having a lot of hives, but you need to know what your doing, so go along to local meetings or find a beek nere you and see if you can help them out
 

victor meldrew 

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How long is a piece of string ?
The pleasure/ pain of beekeeping depends largely on careful preparation.
Unfortunately modern man has an "I want it now" attitude , this leads to obtaining equipment and bees before properly assessing what the term 'beekeeping entails'
I advise all newbies to attach themselves to an association , get on a course, find a mentor (good associations provide same) before contemplating spending any money .
The best way into the craft by far ,is to work with an established beekeeper for a full season, this way you will quickly learn whether or not beekeeping is for you bee-smillie.
Too many I'm afraid jump in too soon, get themselves into all sorts of difficulties, upset neighbours , become thoroughly disillusioned and look to off load their bees :mad:.

You have made the correct start by asking your question ,I'm sure there will be an association close to you (most of the country is covered).
You'll be surprised how many beekeepers are close to you , we are a canny lot and tend(for security reasons) to keep a low profile with reference to hive locations .
I hope this helps .

John Wilkinson
 

Midland Beek 

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Oh, keeping bees is difficult.

The most striking thing about the activity is, I think, the challenges it offers. You really have a responsibility to read and learn things or else your beekeeping will go from one failure to another, but at some point your decisions and actions will start to work and there is the potential to get quite a lot of satisfaction from keeping bees, and even if you only have two or three colonies.

You can't really 'dabble' with beekeeping. You do need a certain level of committment.
 

thedeaddiplomat 

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sadly, no more!
I got into all of this because I listened to an old beek.

He said that bees were simple to cope with. They didn't need to be taken for walks: they didn't expect to be given individual names: they could amuse themselves: and if they got sick, they tended to die without the assistance of a vet.

He forgot to mention the dozens of volumes I would need to read, the hours and hours of watching experienced people showing me how to do it. The aggravation I would cause my own bees by being hamfisted and not knowing exactly what I was doing. The intense frustration. Or the stings.

...Or, for that matter, the momentary feeling of ecstasy when I finally (and most unusually) got something right. And which makes up for all of the above.
 

Rosti 

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What TDD said!
Add to that, that if you are entering 'hobbyist' beeking to make monetary gain via a honey crop then it is definately cheaper to go to Tesco and the wrong reason for entering the hobby. I have come to the conclusion that a decent honey crop for a hobbyist is simply confirmation that you must be doing something right, some of the time!
 

OXFORDBEE 

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How long is a piece of string ?
The pleasure/ pain of beekeeping depends largely on careful preparation.
Unfortunately modern man has an "I want it now" attitude , this leads to obtaining equipment and bees before properly assessing what the term 'beekeeping entails'
I advise all newbies to attach themselves to an association , get on a course, find a mentor (good associations provide same) before contemplating spending any money .
The best way into the craft by far ,is to work with an established beekeeper for a full season, this way you will quickly learn whether or not beekeeping is for you bee-smillie.
Too many I'm afraid jump in too soon, get themselves into all sorts of difficulties, upset neighbours , become thoroughly disillusioned and look to off load their bees :mad:.

You have made the correct start by asking your question ,I'm sure there will be an association close to you (most of the country is covered).
You'll be surprised how many beekeepers are close to you , we are a canny lot and tend(for security reasons) to keep a low profile with reference to hive locations .
I hope this helps .

John Wilkinson
Very good advice.
 

taff.. 

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Add to that, that if you are entering 'hobbyist' beeking to make monetary gain via a honey crop then it is definately cheaper to go to Tesco and the wrong reason for entering the hobby. I have come to the conclusion that a decent honey crop for a hobbyist is simply confirmation that you must be doing something right, some of the time!
agreed, IF I break even over say something like a 5 year period I'll be happy :)
 

Drew 

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agreed, IF I break even over say something like a 5 year period I'll be happy :)
What is this "Break even" of which you speak??

Hive.... Frames.... Boiler suit.... Hat & veil.... Smoker.... Hive Tool.....
......
Bees......
............
New Outfit - cos Boilersuit plus Hat&veil uncomfortable in "real life"....
............
New Hive Tools - cos they look "useful"....
...........
Jars and Lids etc.....
..........
Pots... pans... buckets....
..........
Few pounds of Honey - Yeah!! Yee Ha!!..... All given away...
.........
Decide Next Time I:
Need "bigger and better" pots and pans etc.....
Need more Jars lids etc....
Need "bigger and better" - Extraction stuff
Need "bigger and better" filters, warmers
.........
More Frames and stuff......
Possibly more hives.....
More "bigger and better" - well Stuff!!!!

Break even!!! Hah!!! Do you think I'm hooked??
 

taff.. 

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lol, buy cheap buy twice :)


my budget manager insists on a business case to justify all expenditure to ensure all purchases are properly considered.

god help me when she finds the big pile of boxes in the workshop :smilielol5:
 

jimbeekeeper 

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its what you dont know what shes allready bought for herself, that she will blame you for, because you have all them boxes and 1 extra bike.:toetap05:
 

shonabee 

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Y'know the expression "it's easy when you know how"? I reckon it's probably true that with beekeeping, as with everyhting else, it is much easIER when you know how. So joining a local assoc, going to meetings, beginners course, reading, etc before taking the plunge is definitely the way to go.
If you've always wanted to keep bees, then the learning part should be a joy not a pain - anything you enjoy is automatically easier than the stuff you loathe doing.

Husbands way easier to "manage" when it comes to cost of beekeeping - they've no idea how much beeswax candles cost and never go into the shed.....
 

iball 

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I've wanted to keep bees for over 30 years but never got around to it. 12 months ago I thought now's the time or I never will.

Last August I joined my local BKA, read the books, surfed the net, read this forum, did the course, assisted and watched in the club apiary, made up 2 hives from flatpacks, filled with frames as appropriate, again which I put together and 19 days ago took delivery of my first nuc. :hurray:

After 12 months of intensive learning, I'm still asking silly questions :eek:, Having said that I'd rather be silly on this forum for 5 minutes than for ever in the apiary.

So as others have said, do your homework, join a local BKA and then decide if it's for you.

Good luck

Ian
 

OUTONAWIRE 

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Well thank you....

Thanks very much for that, it's not someting that i want to do for the money, it's mainly down to the fact that my eldest son has a severe nut allergy, so we make everything from scratch, bread, biscuits, cakes, ice cream, meals, etc. We hate supermarkets and only use them if we absolutely have to. We grow our own veg, keep chickens & quails and use a small farm for our, (properly butchered), meat. He loves honey, simple as that, along with the fact that it has always fascinated me since a friends Dad kept them years ago and i used to watch him out in the meadow.
I shall certainly take on board all that everyone has said,
Many thanks.

Ben.
 

mbc 

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Great thread,
Perfect alltruistic incentive from Ben outonawire, I wish you all the very best of luck getting up and running with bees, and Taff's post made me piss myself !
 

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