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Home Beekeeping
Find out more about keeping bees in your garden for honey
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15:40, 4th Jan 2012

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Home Beekeeping

Find out more about keeping bees in your garden for honey

Home Beekeeping

grow your own | livestock

Honeybees - beekeeping at home

It is possible to keep bees in even the smallest of back gardens or on flat rooftops. With just a little effort each week it is possible to have your very own supply of delicious local honey. Even in city centres there are enough flowers with pollen to keep a hive thriving.

How to Start Beekeeping

Without the necessary basic knowledge it is impossible to look after bees properly. Some time must be spent in the company of an experienced professional beekeeper possibly as part of a formal beekeeping course before you rush in and start buying hives and bees. Click here to visit the official British Beekeepers Association website to find your local beekeeping association, beekeeping courses, and for more background information about bees and beekeeping.

Buying Bees

Beekeeping nucleus for sale

Bees are typical sold as a nucleus (nuc) - this is a complete honey bee colony comprising a laying queen, bees, honey and frames to be slotted into your hive. They are typically available for sale in the early summer months though there is availability through the year if required with young queens available by the middle of the summer. A queen will live for 3-4 years after which a new queen will need to be purchased or new queens can be raised by the beekeeper. (See this article Raising Honey Bee Queens for more information.) Ideally the bees and queen should be obtained from a local source since they will then be perfectly suited to your local environment.

The Bee Hive

buy a Beehive for home beekeeping

A hive is a man-made home for honey bees. It is basically a lidded box into which are slotted frames onto which the bees build their honeycomb structure and store honey. One beehive houses one colony consisting of one queen bee, a few hundred drones (males) and from 10,000 to 50,000 worker bees (female) depending on the time of year (more in the summer).

Other Essential Beekeeping Equipment

Beekeeping Suit

The most important item for any aspiring beekeeper is the beekeeping suit. This is a protective suit with veiled helmet which covers the whole body, head, and face so that the bees cannot sting you. The chosen suit must be well ventilated since the beekeeper is busiest during the hot summer months, comfortable, and well fitted. Hygenic gloves must also be worn - typically made of leather or rubber to protect against stings. The suit and gloves will be white since bees sense a threat when they see a dark shape (bears?) attacking their hive.

Beekeepers smoker

Pictured above is a beekeeper's smoker used to calm bees so that the hive can be opened without the bees going defensive. The smoke masks chemical pheromones released by the hive's guard bees and also that from any bees which may be squashed as the hive is opened and manipulated by the beekeeper.

Beekeeping hive tool

Pictured above is a hive tool - this is used to remove the frames from a bee hive and for other hive maintenance.

Shopping List

Here are some useful links to relevant products:
bee hive
beekeeping suit
beekeeping gloves
beekeeping smoker
hive tool
beekeeping books

Article Published: 15:40, 4th Jan 2012

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