Newbie but have been put-off :-(

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Juststarting 

House Bee
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Hi Andy,

Recommend you read various posts made by KAZMCC over the last year (search using poster name) - a temendous tale of bee phobic to beekeeper - truly inspirational!
 

johna 

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As an ex member of Warwickshire beekeepers (22years ago before moving up to Scotland) I can thoroughly recommend them to set you on the right track.No need to be too concerned about stinging, there is very good kit available for self protection and as a beginner beekeeper you will find plenty of more experienced folk to guide you along the right path.Join your local association,attend their winter meetings,make friends there then attend their summer meetings where you will be able to "meet" the bees before committing yourself to getting your own colony.All the best in your ambition.
 

Cazza 

Queen Bee
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Hi Andy
Welcome ( I hope) to beekeeping.
Don't let the stings put you off.
I keep a sting count of ones which get through my protective wear and average only three hits a year with none this year. Usually the hits are due to stupidity and generally occur when I squat down and squash a resting bee.

If you want to know more about swarm control try borrowing a book from your library. Then you can read and re-read in peace.

Best of luck with your fabulous new hobby!
Cazza
 

JamesB 

House Bee
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As others advise - if your unsure look for ur local assoc' you can get a 'hands on' experience before deciding to invest in bees and hives etc

I can say its one of the most rewarding experiences of my life looking at the honey in jars from your own hives, proud and chuffed with my girls.

All the best my friend and dont be disuaded by horror stories you read here, you will find that beekeepers like to sit round a table discussing stings, comparing swellings etc a bit like old squadies showing battle scars and telling tall tales of heroism etc :p
 

lazybee 

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Hello and welcome. To be honest all this talk about stinging is enough to put anyone off. Speaking for myself I hardly ever get stung. Although I have temporarily given up bees from this year, due to my job. I have lived in France and had bees there for 8yrs and in that time I have only been stung once. The answer is to try to avoid upsetting the bees and not crushing any during manipulations obviously some days the bees can be a bit 'spicy' and would sting if they could. I have a Sheriff jacket and wear 'tig' welding gloves they are thin leather and are a fraction of the cost of bee gloves. I react more than most to bee stings and swell like mad but hardly at all to wasp stings.
In the UK I was once stung on the right err........ well knacker (for want of a better word) The little bugger got me through the jeans (they don't like blue cotton) I've also been stung on the nose a couple of times. Being stung is very rare the only times I have been stung is when I've been a bit cocky (no pun) I usually wear a pair of overalls with the bee jacket on top, trousers tucked into socks and the gloves. Lots of people shrug off stings. I generally find it unpleasant and avoid it because my swelling takes a couple of days to go down.

If in doubt go for it, or you'll never know. All the local bee groups have apiary visits just tag along to a couple and get a feel for it. You should soon know if its for you or not.
 

keithgrimes 

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I agree with what everyone has said about joining an association. There's nothing like 'hands on' learning at the shoulder of an experienced beekeeper. I would recommend a good winter read. 'Guide to Bees and Honey' by Ted Hooper. Give it a go. The bees need beekeepers.
 

Iang 

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Hi Andy,
Warwick and Leamington BKA hold a course that starts in January. The 18th I think but check the website to be sure.
I did it last year and thoroughly enjoyed it and learnt an awful lot.
It's held at the BBKA HQ at the NAC Stoneleigh - not sure if that's the nearest course to you but not too far away.
I signed up hoping to find out if beekeeping was for me. I soon thought it would be but the first time I handled bees towards the end of the course confirmed it!
You'll get plenty of help and advice and, should you decide to take up this fantastic craft, you'll get help acquiring bees, a mentor and much much more...
I've only been stung once, on my little finger, since getting my little four frame nuc in early June - and that was my own b***dy silly fault! I managed to remove the sting immediately, take a piriton tablet within minutes and put on some anthistamine cream too and the little pain, no irritation, I had disappeared within half an hour. It did itch for a couple of days though. Still a lesson learnt.
At the moment I'm just hoping my girls make it through the winter (and spring!) as I'm busy preparing for a second hive next year.
I've done all I feel I can so it's over to them now - fingers crossed
My advice, do the course - well a course anyway, read lots and decide from there.
Good luck.
 

leftofcentre2010 

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Hi everybody

Thanks for your comments so far.

I am rather overwhelmed at the amount of response! I have been members of other forums to do with motorcars and other hobbies and usually get a response perhaps once a day. All good stuff and very helpful. thank you.

My next question which i cant seem to find info on is to do with the actual frames and combs -

I always assumed the bees made the honeycomb cells on thier own? Yet when i see frames for sale they always apear to be literally a wooden square. I figure one puts some kind of paper in them to help the bees make the comb? Can anyone explain again in laymans terms what a wired foundation is?

Thanks again for all your time and comments

Andy
 

keithgrimes 

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you really do need a book. Foundation is a sheet of wax with the outline of the cells lightly pressed in to it. The wax is fitted in to the frame and the bees draw the wax out in to deep cells that they can lay eggs/store food in. Wired foundation has fine wire embedded in the wax to provide support. There are videos on UTube on how to assemble a frame. Its dead easy.
 

leftofcentre2010 

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you really do need a book. Foundation is a sheet of wax with the outline of the cells lightly pressed in to it. The wax is fitted in to the frame and the bees draw the wax out in to deep cells that they can lay eggs/store food in. Wired foundation has fine wire embedded in the wax to provide support. There are videos on UTube on how to assemble a frame. Its dead easy.
Yes you are right about the books and i have several on order from the library right now.

Thanks for the info on the wax sheets :)
 

keithgrimes 

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You may already have found it, but Dave Cushmans website is great. Lots and lots of info. Just a thought, but you may want to do a cost calculation before you decide to take the plunge. Beekeeping is a fascinating craft but it ain't cheap, and what with the increase in the number of beekeepers it ain't getting any cheaper. You can expect to spend several hundred pounds in your first year, unless you're very lucky or very well connected.
 

Taylan 

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Make friends with a local expienced beekeeper i am sure you could find one to take you under his wing and give you confidence and hands on experience before you make any expensive commitment on a one to one basis , a good one might even start you off with a nuc if he thought you could make a go of it for me it would be a pleasure but we are to far away in Worcestershire
Taylan
 

louiseww 

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Take your time to think and learn - my advice would be to not waste your money on a course but join a local group and start to attend their meetings - we have them in the winter and early spring. As a non-beekeeping member it is about £10. Then start to attend the apiary meetings to get some hands on experience. Then you can decide if it is for you or not.
I did this after some advice and learned for a year before getting my bees last spring - I know a lot of people who jump straight in, but I was nervous about it all like you - I havn't looked back and love my bees to bits and wouldn't beeeeee without them!
Louise
 

Otleybee 

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As a newbie this year I would heartily recommend a course with a practical element to it. You really need to know if you will be freaked by bees before you buys some.

Also the stings don't hurt too much. I got one bee sting on the back of my neck which stung like he'll for 20 minutes. Four other stings this year but none were as bad as that.

Forgot to tuck my trousers into socks one day and had the bee fly up my trousers fun. That sting was not bad at all.

You are not a real beekeeper until you have been stung!
 

louiseww 

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Search on the internet for your local beekeeping association, they are all connected to the National beekeeping Association, when you join with bees you have to sign up to be insured through the national association.
That is how I found my local group.
 

kazmcc 

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Hi Andy,

Recommend you read various posts made by KAZMCC over the last year (search using poster name) - a temendous tale of bee phobic to beekeeper - truly inspirational!
lol, yeah....britains only phobic beekeeper lol, seriously though I was TERRIFIED! Long story about why I got involved, think i did a blog at the start about it, but the short version is I look after them for my kids school. I would not be without my bees now. Seriously. Since July I've gone from almost passing out in fear to whacking a mouse guard onto the hive with a lump of wood. I'd at least have a go. Ask at your local assoc to have a look at a gentle colony. Our bees have put up with so much, and I am still waiting on my first sting. I've never been stung by anything, mainly because I used to run a mile screaming if anything buzzed near me, even flies. I am sensible about what I wear. A jumper and jeans under my suit. I make sure the zip is taped down on everyones suits, and a cap underneath the hood. gloves at all times, although I was brave and took one glove off because it was sticky and the bees wanted to eat the sticky stuff.

Please give it a go, at least visit a hive. You will be so sorry if you don't. Severe reactions are rare and you can have a blood test if you are really concerned, but as you've already had a sting and it just hurt you should be ok. let me know how you go on please :D
 

psafloyd 

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Andy,
I realised that I had grown up and my fear was based on the reactions of a child not an adult.
Sam
This is a very good point. I had never been stung, but have seen many people stung over the years by wasps especially. However, I received my first wasp and bee stings this year and I have to say that for me, the wasp was much worse and lasted far longer.

And neither were as bad as I had feared. And so far, not allergic to either...
 

leftofcentre2010 

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Hi and thanks for the further advice.

I think all the positive remarks may have swung my decision. I have applied to be a member of the Oxford Bee Keepers Assoc to see whats what. Bit pricey at £40 a year for me and the wife but if it goes towards conservation then that makes it worthwhile.

Ive even gone a step further and bought one of the 2nd hand Hives off E b a y for £50 inc delivery which i dont think is too bad. All part of my learning curve! I plan to rip it apart and make up some new Hives using the parts as templates. This is another of my hobbies - making stuff, but thats another story.

Worst case scenario, after ive rebuilt it and tidied it up a bit, i'l re-sell either on here or the same auction site.

Thanks once again all for all the advice.

I'll certainly keep in touch

Andy & Lisa
 

Dishmop 

Queen Bee
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I plan to rip it apart and make up some new Hives using the parts as templates. This is another of my hobbies - making stuff, but thats another story.
use your ability to make and sell hives and pay for your hobby.

well, thats the story the wife gets.....:seeya:
 

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