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Author Topic: I really want to keep bees but feeling bit intimidated and confused!  (Read 636 times)

Sarahjane610

  • Joined Jun 2016
Ok - so  have wanted to start keeping bees for about 2 years now.  To start with I read a few books on bee keeping which is what I tend to do when considering something new.  Usually, I can understand enough about the basics at least to get me going.  Not with bee keeping.  So I went on an evening course with a local member of the BBKA whch was really helpful in starting to understand the very basics and prepare you as new bee keeper.  That was at the end of last year and I was fully fired up to order everything and get going this year.  Getting to spring, I realised I couldn't remember much of what Id learnt and certainly not enough to start.

Then I joined the Facebook Forum which totally finished me off.  I literally don't understand a quaster of what they chat about!  I'm a clever girl (so exams and qualifications would say anyway)  so why cant i absorn
b enough to even get started!

Any advice folks?  Am i over complicating what is actually fairly straightforward? Or do you basically need a degree in beekeeping before you start!  I would love to see a beekeeper in action but I cant seem to find anywhere that does it and i dont know any beekeepers...

cloddopper

  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: I really want to keep bees but feeling bit intimidated and confused!
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2017, 12:31:28 am »
Go back to the BBK guy & ask if they will mentor you or ask can you shadow them for a season at their hives.
 If they agree do be punctual , & act responsibly .
 
 :idea:   Keeping stinging little flies is really quite simple , it's the getting of honey in spite of the attentions of the keeper that matters  . :roflanim:

Seriously , a season being mentored on a good 10 hive set up is worth it's weight in gold . You will soon see that  if everything you get is of one type of hive  & made to standard  sizes it's going to benefit you  far more than  seeing 10 hives that are of all different  types that are held together with bailer band , barbed wire & faith .

 My mentor a semi commercial keeper  harvesting about a tonne honey a year was good enough to let me take my frames to his place to use his electric extractor , hot water  de capping table & his settling tanks till I could afford to buy my own .

 Over the years Alvin & I became great pals he taught me a lot as he had 19 years lead time on  me .
 One of the best observations he made to me was that when opening up a hive it 's not worth the time looking for the queen  instead look to see what is not right in a healthy hive instead . If you notice a differences /problems then start looking further into things .
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting

Dan

  • The Accidental Smallholder
  • Administrator
  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Carnoustie, Angus
    • The Accidental Smallholder
    • Facebook
Re: I really want to keep bees but feeling bit intimidated and confused!
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2017, 07:35:07 am »
Join your local club, and get a mentor. Mine is Stan, and like Alvin he's allowed me to lean on his many years of experience and fill in the gaps when I see something I don't understand. Also give it time - I've only been doing it 2 years and am only now starting to feel a tiny bit of confidence about the basics.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: I really want to keep bees but feeling bit intimidated and confused!
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2017, 08:16:31 am »
Out of interest, are you doing it because you love bees, for pollination etc, or do you just want the honey?  For me, looking after our native solitary and bumble bees is much more important than honey.  So we started by turning our garden and smallholding into a haven for bees, by planting an abundance of flowers bees can use, leaving our stone walls unpointed in places, leaving scruffy areas for ground nesters and so on.  This has led to a huge increase in the numbers of wild bees, with increasing numbers of species and types.  I have gone from someone with a small bee phobia to someone who is fascinated by these amazing creatures.  Now I don't even want honey bees, as they would be competition for the wild ones.


I know this isn't what you're asking, but I needed to mention this view anyway.  Still, you could have fun planting up nectar/pollen plants for when you get your captive bees and encourage wild bees in your place too  :bee: :bee: :bee: :bee: :bee:
www.scothebs.co.uk

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus

YorkshireLass

  • Joined Mar 2010
Re: I really want to keep bees but feeling bit intimidated and confused!
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2017, 09:18:10 am »
As above, plus don't worry about the facebook thing!
I'm in several groups and find that the more specialised it is, the more the members go off on very technical trains of thought - in my case that's because there are people around me who know/care about the same things up to a point. To take that up a level, I have to go online.

PK

  • Joined Mar 2015
  • West Suffolk
Re: I really want to keep bees but feeling bit intimidated and confused!
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2017, 02:32:19 pm »
If you have done some reading and attended a course, as others have said, find a mentor. But most of all start keeping bees. Like many practical activities real learning starts with hands on experience. Many of the 'management decisions' in keeping bees rely on making a judgement and those judgements become better and more fine-tuned as experience accumulates. So go back to your local association and find someone who can help you get started with a hive set up and colony before the summer passes by.

cloddopper

  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: I really want to keep bees but feeling bit intimidated and confused!
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2017, 12:56:26 am »
It's often said that the honey bee is the most studied creature on earth besides humans , you'll find that there are many bee experts who get little or no honey and beginners who get stacks of it . You'll find that like any craft there will be tackle tarts & pauper poor keepers .
Of thise who are biology clased as bee experts many will stil  carry on with witch craft ways of keeping bees .

 If you can afford £14 or so look on Amazon for a book by Ted Hooper , " A guide to keeping bees "  ..... he's. a Canadian commercial keeper . He does things with bees that would frighten many so called experts to death .

I've not found any other book on bees that comes anywhere near the quality of information & commonsense that ray puts over in his book , plus the latst version is bang up to date .
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting

VEG

  • Joined Jan 2014
  • Maesteg South Wales
Re: I really want to keep bees but feeling bit intimidated and confused!
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2017, 10:39:07 pm »
I can only echo the above, we had a lady join our association bought all the top kit, then when she came to actually handle the bees, she couldnt do it. So before buying anything join an association, get some hands on experience, its not for everyone.

DavidandCollette

  • Joined Dec 2012
Re: I really want to keep bees but feeling bit intimidated and confused!
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2017, 01:39:15 pm »
Although the Ted Hooper book is the bee's knees  (sorry) get the Haynes Manual to start  with. Simple and straightforward.
Join a club, find a mentor, have fun with it

cloddopper

  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: I really want to keep bees but feeling bit intimidated and confused!
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2017, 11:15:55 am »
Although the Ted Hooper book is the bee's knees  (sorry) get the Haynes Manual to start  with. Simple and straightforward.
Join a club, find a mentor, have fun with it

 :innocent:  Haynes Manual , for Bee Keeping ????
Go down to your garage .     
Bees mot making any noise ,
Lift the lid & see if there are bees inside .
If Bees inside are they moving ?
If not replace bees ....................  That sort of Haynes manual ?

 Do Haynes do one for Automatics too ?  :roflanim:
« Last Edit: July 23, 2017, 08:31:48 pm by cloddopper »
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting

big soft moose

  • Joined Oct 2016
Re: I really want to keep bees but feeling bit intimidated and confused!
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2017, 09:44:49 am »
to be fair the haynes manuals for small holding are pretty good (Haynes have branched out away from just cars lately) and are written by people who know what they are talking about- the Pig one for example is written by Liz Shankland.

I've not looked at the Bee one but I was reasonably impressed with Pigs, and Chickens  (I didn't bother with sheep because I have the Tim Tyne book)

DavidandCollette

  • Joined Dec 2012
Re: I really want to keep bees but feeling bit intimidated and confused!
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2017, 10:09:34 am »
Most of the pictures from the Haynes Manual come from Thornes beekeeping supplies and again has been written by people who know what they're talking about.  You do need to brake if you see a clutch of bees  :roflanim:

Part time dabbler

  • Joined Aug 2016
  • Cornwall
Re: I really want to keep bees but feeling bit intimidated and confused!
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2017, 01:50:03 pm »
Just seen this thread. I hope you have been able to act on the advice but another option is to offer your land to another beekeeper for their hives and watch and learn from them.
Physically part time in the garden, mentally full time in the garden

YorkshireLass

  • Joined Mar 2010
Re: I really want to keep bees but feeling bit intimidated and confused!
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2017, 09:50:50 pm »
I've just been on a two day introductory course. So valuable! I wouldn't go and get bees without supervision, but I was nervous at the thought of handling bees, and being able to give it a try I actually found it very relaxing. Definitely test the water first! Have you had any luck finding a mentor nearby?

 

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