Beekeeping as a hob – 10 Tips to help you on your way
Article by Tracey Beaney
For many people the idea of beekeeping is risky and slightly scary -often reinforced by horror movies showing angry swarms of bees attacking some unlucky soul.
But with the devastating effects disease has brought to our bee population it is vital that the world’s supply of bees is built up again. After all, the entire world’s agricultural systems depend on the bees doing their job!
So it is not surprising that the interest in beekeeping is growing and many people, with no previous experience of beekeeping, are taking it up as a new hobby. And if done correctly, it can be quite a profitable hobby, with one hive capable of producing 50 – 100 pounds of honey a year!
If you are considering taking up this fascinating new hobby, the following points may be useful:
1. The season for beekeeping runs from early spring to late autumn in the northern hemisphere; (down under in Australia and other countries in the southern hemisphere the season can last all year). Use the autumn to order your equipment and plan for the coming year.
2. Join a local beekeeping association and gain from the knowledge of experienced beekeepers.
3. Consider putting together your own beehive, so that you gain familiarity with it before you take consignment of your new bees. You can order the parts ready made. Alternatively, if you are skilled in woodwork, you might want to take the time to make your own from scratch, there are plenty of woodworking plans for beehives to be found online.
4. Place your hives near a plentiful source of nectar and pollen. Ornamental trees and plants in most gardens will supply exactly that.
5. Ensure you have a constant water supply available for your apiary – otherwise your bees will hunt in neighbouring ponds, swimming pools or bird baths, and will bring you into confrontation with your neighbours.
6. If your hives, (and you should have no more than 4 on a quarter acre plot) are within 20 feet of your boundary line, you should have a hedge or fence at least 5 feet high on your boundary line. This will ensure that when the bees take off, their flight path will be above the heads of passers by.
7. Make sure you purchase new equipment for your bees, thus ensuring that you do not pass on diseases from any infected hives.
8. Check out where pesticides are used in your locality and make sure your apiary is placed away from these areas.
9. Protective clothing is essential when you are taking up beekeeping as a newbie. You may see more experienced handlers just using veils and sometimes discarding gloves. Whilst you are gaining experience you will need to be covered completely.
10. Take advice from your local beekeepers association as to which breed of bees to invest in. A “gentle” breed will mean you have less problems with swarming and less problems with angry neighbours. And make sure you have the equipment needed to deal with swarming, such as a bee smoker, which will calm down your bees.
About the Author
Tracey Beaney provides beekeeping suits, gloves and hive tools for worldwide distribution in her online shop. The suits are especially popular in the UK, France, USA and Australia.
You can download a free beehive plan and guide to beekeeping from her website: