What does it take to become a beekeeper?

 

If you have been wondering about where to start when it comes to beekeeping, then you have arrived at the right place, as the best way to become acquainted with honeybees, is via a local beekeeping association such as ourselves, where you will find training, advice and support.

 

Beekeeping is a fascinating craft with much to learn and we pride ouselves on offering a wide range of courses to suit everyone.

How much time do I need?

Beekeeping is mostly seasonal and the amount of time needed varies throughout the year. Between March and September an inexperienced beekeeper will probably spend about an hour per colony per week on various tasks. Over time, as experience increases, this time will reduce, although you may find the number of colonies you have increasing.  The time is spent inspecting the hives looking for signs of potential swarming, disease and monitoring the amount of supplies the bees have gathered.  From October to February, colonies require only a little attention and Winter can be spent maintaining equipment, attending some of our Winter talks and planning for the next spring.

 

How much does it cost?

Before you invest in any equipment, we would encourage you to come along to one of our courses.  Our taster sessions are a great place to start and we provide all equipment (except footwear) which you will need at theses events.  You will gain an understanding of the basics and will be able to decide whether or not beekeeping is for you.

 

Beekeeping is not an expensive pastime.  A basic hive should cost in the region of £110. Other equipment which you may need (suit, smoker, hive tool etc) will cost approximately £75.  A colony (nucleus or 'nuc') of bees will be around £140.

We buy beekeeping supplies in bulk and pass the savings on to our members.  We can also put you in contact with local bee breeders who can supply you with your bees.

Local honey is always well sought after. As your experience increases, you could start selling it along with other hive products, to offset costs or even make a profit ever time!

 

Will I get stung?

Even with the protective equipment we use, being stung occasionally is inevitable when you are a beekeeper.

As you become more aquainted with handling bees, the number of stings you receive may reduce, but even the old timers still get the occasional sting!  It is hard to predict how a person may react to being stung.  Everyone experiences some pain, with some experiencing swelling and itching around the area of the sting.  A small number of people can also experience a more severe allergic reaction.

 

 

Please reload

Further information from the National Bee Unit on beginning beekeeping can be found here.

Leeds Beekeepers Association is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 1175455.