Beginning Beekeeping

Before beginning beekeeping, first ask yourself : What kind of beekeeper do you want to be and why do you want to start beekeeping?

The reason you should ask yourself this question is that it may determine the kind of hive you decide to use, the practices you adopt, and even possibly the kind of beekeeping association you decide to join, depending on where you live in the world.

To an extent, your own personal circumstances and living location may also play a role.

Also, those beginning beekeeping have a variety of reasons for doing so. 

Certainly, in some countries such as the UK and USA, we have witnessed significant increases in the number of people wishing to keep bees.

Whereas in the past, it's probably true to say it was mostly for the honey and interest in the hobby itself, nowadays it is sometimes due to a concern for bees. There are also people for whom beekeeping is about self-sufficiency and the desire to produce one's own food, so they might also be keeping chickens, making chutneys and growing fruit and vegetables. 

A number of different bee hives are available.  You can even build your own, either from scratch or from kits. 

Doing your research

There is a huge amount of information on line, as well as via You Tube, but I think it's very handy to have a book or two, carry out your research and take it from there.  Opinions and philosophies vary, and it all depends on your views.

The book "The Lives Of Bees" by Tom Seeley provides very interesting information based on years of his own research.  Tom himself is a beekeeper, and studied wild honey bee nests to discover what made the colonies successful, and what beekeepers could learn to help ensure their own colonies thrived.

Dr David Heaf, author of 'The Bee Friendly Beekeeper' has many years experience in beekeeping, researching and comparing different hives.  You can read an interview with him here.  

If you are on a budget and have some carpentry skills, it may cost you less to build your own top bar hive, but make sure you do your research first.  Plans are available and free to download here.

If you have carpentry skills, you could build your own hive, like this.  Plans are available on this site.If you have carpentry skills, you could build your own hive, like this. Plans are available on this site.

An author who is very active in the top bar beekeeping field is Phil Chandler.  He has written a number of books, such as 'Managing The Top Bar Hive'. 

Phil advocates that chemicals (specifically, insecticides) should be kept out of the hive, and promotes natural products to deal with and protect bees from pests.  There is an interview with him here.

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An generalist beekeeping book is 'The Beekeeper's Bible', for practical information.

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