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rommy2004 

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Hi everyone.

Im a complete newbie and I want to start keeping bees. I can't find a local course. Is there really any need for these courses bearing in mind all the online resources?
 

Silly Bee 

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If you can't find a course, find a local bee keeper, buy him/her a drink or two, and ask if you can assist.
 

psafloyd 

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Hi everyone.

Im a complete newbie and I want to start keeping bees. I can't find a local course. Is there really any need for these courses bearing in mind all the online resources?
Whereabouts in Essex are you, Rommy? Each local division of the EBKA (see http://www.ebka.org) runs courses. Mine last year through Romford had 28.

There is no excuse not to ge trained and there is no substitute for the practical experience of handling frames in a colony.
 
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Rommy2004 - I didn't do a course as I am housebound. I have read between 20 and 30 books (possibly more) and trawled every inch of the internet.

My advice...FIND ONE somewhere - or try as sillybee and psafloyd suggest. You needhands on experience before they are your bees not doing what the books say. Believe me, they will.

During this last 6/7 months there hasn't been a day I wished I had been able to do a course! I often feel that despite the books I don't have the silly 'basic' knowledge you pick up talking to other beeks face to face or at the association apiary.

By the way - Welcome and Good Luck, bee-keeping is a fantastic hobby, completely fascinating and endlessly expensive - but fantastic!!
 

Skyhook 

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Hi everyone.

Im a complete newbie and I want to start keeping bees. I can't find a local course. Is there really any need for these courses bearing in mind all the online resources?
Definitely- a course or something very like it, such as being allowed to 'assist' an experienced beekeeper. Apart from anything else, there's nothing like it for helping decide whether it really is for you. Of the people on our taster day last year, I think maybe half decided they did want to, which had dropped to perhaps a quarter actually going on to keep bees.

There's a lot more to it than appears at first sight!
 

thurrock bees 

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i will always recommend doing a course however if you cant find one then team up with a local beek and work along side him/her for a year so you can lrean and watch the hive build up, try to swarm, produce honey and shrink for winter.
All the best and welcome to a great hobbie
 

Vergilius 

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rommy2004,

I learnt the basics from a twelve-year-old friend (who was a beginner himself) and then just jumped in the next summer. Therefore I never really had a mentor or did any sort of course. As a result of this I have made a lot of mistakes in my time and my theoretical knowledge is poor for someone who has been around bees for three years (first one helping the friend and next two with my own).

I would recommend that you do any sort of course available.

Ben P
 

psafloyd 

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i will always recommend doing a course however if you cant find one then team up with a local beek and work along side him/her for a year so you can lrean and watch the hive build up, try to swarm, produce honey and shrink for winter.
All the best and welcome to a great hobbie
This is possibly the best course of action. I would have loved to have a beek I could have visited to see if I was one for the 'ladies' before I plunged in even to a course.

This is something I have mentioned at my division. Although people can organise for you to visit a beek, it would be easier if there was a list.

Is that something we might consider as a sticky? That way we could have a list of beeks happy to show the uninitiated some basic manipulations and get them on the right path before making any silly errors that might put them off.

There would need to be some minima, such as protective clothing, but despite my novitiate status, I would happily show people some very basic stuff (already have a couple) because the fascination and curiosity can be both the motivator and the initial Obstacle to getting started.

It could be as simple as a list of beeks names, region and a day they might find time for a newbie. They could then be PM-ed to set up a meet.

Of course, if people didn't fancy that, it might be something admin could hold In case these questions arose and they could be PM-ed off board.

I'm sure someone has suggested this before, so I'll wait to be shot down in flames.
 

thurrock bees 

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hi psafloyd
Im a member of romford divison also, my teachers were the late fred, pat allen, jim mcneil and john. Where abouts are you?
 

essex paul 

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i have been doing introductory beekeeping taster sessions for 3 years now. I have adverts all around thurrock and they don't cost a penny. d
 

oliver90owner 

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We had a chat from the local bee inspector last night and he really lambasted the media for all the 'glossy' hype for people considering keeping bees.

He said they all give lots of reasons to jump in and go ahead, but none give time to explaining any of the difficuties likely to be encountered by new beekeepers (without any training, or experience whatsoever). Bandwagon job. He has the experience of meeting some of them when they are deep in the mire. Also is it fair to practise blind on a colony of bees without really having practical experience of one? They surely deserve better than that?

Regards, RAB
 

MrB 

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Welcome rommy, this is my first year of beekeeping, read loads of books, trawled the net but as everyone else has said. there is no substitute for hands on! (before you get your bee's)
 

psafloyd 

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hi psafloyd
Im a member of romford divison also, my teachers were the late fred, pat allen, jim mcneil and john. Where abouts are you?
I'm in Seven Kings, slap bang between the Romford, Wanstead and Epping Forest divisions, but I found out about Romford first and Pat was a great help.

Jim is my mentor and I got my bees from his out apiary.
 
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I think Psafloyd's idea may have legs. I'm sure many on here would willingly show interested beginners their hives and explain the basics. If someone has gone so far as to join the forum, they must be quite serious.

I am in East Devon, a relative newbee - but if anyone wanted a 'this is a hive, this is a bee talk' I would willingly jump in...rather that than let them drown alone!
 

Hombre 

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I'm very sure that Queen59 would be more than willing to share her beekeeping experience for a little bit of box shifting in the future. Learning is synergetic and the resultant dialogue ensures that development is much faster than being on one's own.

Due to inexperience, it's best to stick to standard ways in order to maximise the availability for remote assistance or corroboration should any difficulties arise.

Q59, I'm sure you would make a mean cup of tea for your new bee buddy. See, it's working already. bee-smillie

Rules of the game, provide your own protective equipment and be prepared to use the hive tools that the beekeeper specifies, not your own. Gloves and tools wash down in washing soda solution after use.

I keep gloves for my bees and different gloves for when I'm out working other bees and keep my kit clean (it can be a sticky business) frequently wearing an occasional veil with my own bees.
 

rommy2004 

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Whereabouts in Essex are you, Rommy? Each local division of the EBKA (see http://www.ebka.org) runs courses. Mine last year through Romford had 28.

There is no excuse not to ge trained and there is no substitute for the practical experience of handling frames in a colony.

Sorry, I've just logged back. Im in Grays.

Trouble is that I just haven't got time for a lengthy course.
 
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Q59, I'm sure you would make a mean cup of tea for your new bee buddy. See, it's working already

Tea? I'd even make a cake!! :)
 

Skyhook 

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Sorry, I've just logged back. Im in Grays.

Trouble is that I just haven't got time for a lengthy course.
Which probably means you haven't got time to keep bees.
 

psafloyd 

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Sorry, I've just logged back. Im in Grays.

Trouble is that I just haven't got time for a lengthy course.
Haven't got time for a lengthy course? Then do you have time to look after the bees in the first place?

Actually I don't think they need to take a lot of time for the first few colonies, but I don't get what you mean.

I often pull 70/80 hour weeks (much to the annoyance of my missus) but I made the time for the course, which was a couple of hours a week on a specific evening for 12 weeks. It wasn't easy making it - in fact it was bloody hard work - but make it I did and I benfitted greatly from it.

I didn't make every session, but I made most because I felt I wouldn't be able to function efficiently on a small amount of contact. And I was right. If you skimp on getting to know what you're doing, you will suffer, as will the bees.
 

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