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Author Topic: Best place to learn  (Read 16853 times)

suzi

  • Joined Jul 2022
Best place to learn
« on: March 20, 2023, 05:45:39 pm »
I am looking to expand our little small holding to have a few bee hives (baby steps Iíd like to start with one!) next year.

Iíve booked into several courses and had to cancel because I just end up with some emergency or another (unusually around child care).
Is there a way I can learn without doing a course?
If yea where and how please?
Im super excited to learn and get started but I am nervous jumping in to fast and harming the bees

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Best place to learn
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2023, 07:40:16 pm »
I really do think the best option is a course wih your local beekeepers. Ours do a six week theory course in the winter, then you get a few sessions at the Association apiary and you get a mentor. Ours also puts in a bulk order for beekeeping supplies once a year and gets a good discount.

suzi

  • Joined Jul 2022
Re: Best place to learn
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2023, 06:25:10 am »
I agree with you hence Iíve booked on 3 courses last year. Every time on day 1 an animal or child has done something. Last course my son had a machine coffee spill on his lap causing some nasty burns.
I have booked another course. The issue is all I can find are day long courses. Iím guessing thatís not enough either

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Best place to learn
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2023, 08:38:15 am »
You need to be able to handle bees though out the beekeeping season for at least one season before you get bees. Ideally at a training apiary (contact your local bee keeping group) or by helping someone.


Be advised by an experienced person, either at the apiary or your mentor, when you are ready to get bees.


Don't be tempted to get them before you are ready. Another reason for being part of your local group is that they can source healthy bees for you, when you are ready, from your local area. Bringing bees in from outside your region runs the risk of bringing in disease.


Not only do you need to be proficient in handling for your own safety but proficient in reading the hive.


It is absolutely fascinating but very different to keeping other stock and not learnt from books overnight.

suzi

  • Joined Jul 2022
Re: Best place to learn
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2023, 12:12:56 pm »
Iíll definitely wait. Thank you for your advise.


Kiran

  • Joined Apr 2019
Re: Best place to learn
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2023, 06:16:01 am »
My wife joined a local bee keeping association. She used to spend a couple if hours ob s Sunday morning doing practical hive inspection and there was about 6 weeks of classroom based learning. This put her in good stead as an amateur for the couple of hives that we have. I'm learning a bit through being the grunt that does the smoker etc. Rewarding if you do get into it.

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Best place to learn
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2023, 08:24:35 am »
Okay, you asked for the best place to learn, and everybody is right - join a club and take a class.

However, we didn't do that, and our bees are beeing just fine two years on. It's my friend who does most of the work, and he learned everything through reading books and watching Youtube. We've made some mistakes, but looking back, I think we'd have made them anyway.

Another thing to know is why you want to keep bees. It sounds obvious, but when we asked ourselves that question, we realised that for us, honey is a byproduct of keeping / having / supporting bees. That then led to us going down the route of "natural beekeeping" (ooooh, controversial!!). We use a different sort of hive, called a "Warre hive", largely leave the bees to their own devices and only take honey after the winter when they no longer need it for themselves. We therefore don't top up with fondant, and if the bees need feeding, it's their own honey they get back. I will admit, at this time of year it feels like beekeeping in reverse, and it's certainly not as productive as standard methods. We also don't prevent swarming most of the time - that's natures way of for example keeping parasites under control. We're therefore pretty sure we'd be banished from our local beekeeper's association if we darkened their hive doors. Beegone! They would cry. Enough of this heresy!
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Best place to learn
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2023, 10:49:17 am »
Okay, you asked for the best place to learn, and everybody is right - join a club and take a class.

However, we didn't do that, and our bees are beeing just fine two years on. It's my friend who does most of the work, and he learned everything through reading books and watching Youtube. We've made some mistakes, but looking back, I think we'd have made them anyway.

Another thing to know is why you want to keep bees. It sounds obvious, but when we asked ourselves that question, we realised that for us, honey is a byproduct of keeping / having / supporting bees. That then led to us going down the route of "natural beekeeping" (ooooh, controversial!!). We use a different sort of hive, called a "Warre hive", largely leave the bees to their own devices and only take honey after the winter when they no longer need it for themselves. We therefore don't top up with fondant, and if the bees need feeding, it's their own honey they get back. I will admit, at this time of year it feels like beekeeping in reverse, and it's certainly not as productive as standard methods. We also don't prevent swarming most of the time - that's natures way of for example keeping parasites under control. We're therefore pretty sure we'd be banished from our local beekeeper's association if we darkened their hive doors. Beegone! They would cry. Enough of this heresy!


And that's the way that many people start with livestock. You have done fine and possibly some livestock background has stood you in good stead. On the whole though most people getting bees with no knowledge won't be as successful. As secretary to our local bee society we get a number of people every year who start before they are ready and then need a lot of help, especially at swarming time.


There are a growing number of people practising natural bee keeping and I don't have a problem with that. How does swarming keep parasites under control?

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Best place to learn
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2023, 08:09:09 pm »
How does swarming keep parasites under control?


It doesn't eradicate them, but say in the case of varroa, there is evidence that swarming creates a circuit breaker effect, because only a small proportion of the mites present in the hive are on actual adult bees.

More info here, for instance.
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

 

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