Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bee Week! - Beginning Beekeeping,

I saw an episode of River Cottage a few years ago where Hugh had Beehives at River Cottage and someone else had hives on their roof in East London. They did a blind taste test and the one from the city hive actually came out in front!
I also realised then that you didn't need a 40 acre field if you wanted to keep Bees.
this is the segment that got me thinking about having our own hives.

Urban beekeeping - (River Cottage Spring -... by dafoo

Here in New Zealand the feral honey Bee population has been decimated by the Varroa Destructor mite  since it arrived here in the late 90s, so it's up to Beekeepers (hobbyist and commercial) to keep the managed Bee populations going now.

If you don't feel ready to have and care for your own Bee hive there are companies who will site a hive on your property and look after it, often involving you as much as you'd like. They normally charge a small fee but you will get honey and the experience of looking after the Bees if you'd like. Plus your plants, and your neighbours plants will get pollinated.

Our first hive, right at the top of the garden.

You may be lucky enough to find a local Beekeeper through your Bee club who will put a hive in your garden and not charge you but still give you honey! Bonus :)

Our First Honey

First steps for anyone who thinks they might like to have Bees.
1. Find a local Bee Club, go along to a meeting, ask questions, remember that we all started somewhere so ask whatever you want. They are generally quite a friendly, if often eccentric bunch.
2. Do as much reading as you can about Bees and Beekeeping. I went to our local library and ordered all the books, there were about 15 different publications available, I devoured them all. I spent hours online looking at forums and finding stuff out.
3. Buy the kit, smoker, veil, gloves, hive tool.
5. Buy your first hive from someone you find through the local Bee club.
6. Get stuck in!

Further reading.
Local Blogs, Websites, and Twitter accounts to follow.
Twitter  List!/KerryPayne/bee-tweeples

Starting out
Want someone to look after a hive on your property?

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