There are a few ways you can start.You can get a starter pack, which comprises of all the bits you will need to get started, except for one and the most important thing ĎThe Beesí! Some companies can actually supply Bees with a starter kit, butall this comes at a premium.I would say this will cost around £400.
However! You can buy all the bits, in dribs and drabs as you need them, i.e. a Hive, Frames, a suit, gloves, hive tool and a smoker. Then you can buy some Bees.You can buy other bits as you need them, this will spread the cost, and be a lot better if youíre on a budget. And remember a lot of theequipment that you will need to buy will only need to be brought once. It will always carry a good residual value, so you will never lose very much, if you ever decide to sell it.
Another way is to buy your equipment second hand, this I would say is probably the cheapest way to start, but carries the risk that you may be buying not only the equipment, but may be buying Bee diseases, that can wipe out your bees. This is because spores can live in the hive parts for many years! You can kill these spores by scorching the hive parts out with a blow torch, but the second hand parts need to be in really good condition if thatís the road you want to take. In my opinion itís really not worth it, especially if you only intend keeping a couple of hives.
Another way to start Beekeeping is to buy a second hand hive, as above and scorch it out! Put a frame of old disease FREE brood comb in. Add a few frames with starter strips, and sit back and wait for a swarm of bees to move in?This is called a bait hive (search the internet for bait hives for more info). You are more likely to get bees in the first year if you live in an urban area, than a rural open place. But you need to remember that a swarm of Bees can bring disease with them? And the disappointment if they die out or have to be killed is very saddening.
The best way I feel to start Beekeeping and the way I started, is to get in touch with a Beekeeper in your area and ask him/her if they can sell you a nucleus (this is a small hive of Bees on 3 to 5 frames of Bees). There will be about 5000 to 10000 Bees in the hive instead of 50 to 60000 in a full hive, so it wonít be so daunting when you inspect them. They will expand while your confidence grows. The Beekeeper may also be able to offer you a new or good second hand hive with the Bees?If you buy a new hive he/she can transfer the bees into your new hive for you. This is a far better option because he/she can be reached if you have any worries or problems with the Bees. And I am sure they will be of immense help in the future.
This a broad outline of ways to start keeping Bees. Lots of other factors need to be taken into consideration when deciding to keep Bees and questions like:
·When is the best time of year to start keeping Bees?
·Where will you keep the Bees?
·Are you or any member of the family sensitive to Bee stings?
·Will you decide to join a Beekeeping Club?
·How much time will be taken up caring for the Bees?
·Will you take insurance?
·What type of hive will you go for? (This is a very important factor when you start keeping Bees, as itís not easy to swop once you have started keeping bees)
For further information on getting started, please feel free to contact me, I may be able to help you get started Beekeeping proficiently. I can also supply Bees. If you require Bees (subject to availability) I am a hobbyist Beekeeper and as such do this for a hobby and make no profit! Any charges I have to make just help me finance my hobby.I started keeping Bees in 2001. I feel very lucky to have had two very good mentors, who between them had over 70 years experience. I have lots of experience of modern Beekeeping techniques and I have recently been to the national Bee unit for training on Bee disease, detection and monitoring techniques, which is known as a DLC (Disease liaison coordinator).
I do not consider myself as a master Beekeeper, but I consider myself more than qualified to be able to teach to a good level of Beekeeping husbandry.