5 TOP TIPS TO GET A BUZZ OUT OF BEEKEEPING
This year’s global pandemic has put stop to many best-laid plans. Yet it has also enabled many to reassess their priorities whilst living in a Covid-19 world. Since entering lockdown earlier this year, it’s been widely reported that many have used newly-found free time to learn a skill or take up a hobby
One such hobby that has been creating a real buzz in 2020 is beekeeping. Memberships for the British Beekeeping Association have risen in their thousands during 2020, and beekeeping content has kept swathes of would-be apiarists entertained across social media too. Haynes Publishing has also reported an exponential rise in demand for its Bee Manual, making it Amazon’s best-selling book about beekeeping.
As with so many hobbies, it’s sometimes hard to know where to start. Fortunately, seasoned beekeeper and author of Haynes Publishing’s bestselling Bee Manual, Claire Waring, has provided some top tips so that you can get to grips with this addictive craft before the next season starts in early spring.
1. BE RESPONSIBLE
Beekeeping is more than just a superficial hobby that can be taken up and put down at will. By keeping bees, you’re taking on responsibility for living animals and that means prioritising their welfare. Only keep bees if you know you have the time to manage them, especially during the active season. Today, bees need help to keep pests and diseases to a low level allowing colonies to thrive.
2. PREPARATION IS KEY
Preferably before you acquire your first colony(ies), attend a course which includes both theory and practical sessions, join your local beekeeping association where you can obtain help and advice from experienced beekeepers, and read a good, informative book – the Haynes Bee Manual, of course!
3. GET REGISTERED
In England, Wales or Scotland, register your colonies on BeeBase, the National Bee Unit (NBU) website (www.nationalbeeunit.com) so that you receive up-to-date information about keeping your bees healthy and productive. The website also has links to advisory leaflets, best practice guidelines and fact sheets covering a wide range of beekeeping topics. Knowing the distribution of beekeepers and their apiaries across the country helps the NBU monitor and control the spread of serious honey bee pests and diseases effectively.
4. STAY PROTECTED
There are several designs of personal protective veils available. Some are full suits and others just jackets, which can be worn over a boilersuit or similar. Make sure yours is comfortable to work in, bearing in mind that you will get hot when inspecting colonies in the summer, and that it does not have any holes through which bees can gain access. It’s important to make sure you are not allergic to bee stings as these cannot be completely avoided, even with the best protective equipment.
5. ENJOY YOUR BEES
Beekeeping is a fascinating, rewarding and enjoyable hobby. If you can sustain healthy hives, they will not only provide you with surplus honey, but will also help to improve pollination in your local area. Be warned though, beekeeping is addictive!
The Bee Manual is available from Haynes.com and costs £22.99