Can You Keep Bees?

Keeping bees is a fantastically rewarding hobby - but how do you know if you can? There are several things to consider...


Time

Keeping bees requires small amounts of regular time with the bees. You typically have to spend around half an hour per week with a hive. You can do this at the weekend or, if the weather is still good, when you return from work. Most beekeepers would like to spend more time with their bees rather than less, as beekeeping is highly addictive. Unlike keeping other animals, the bees mostly look after themselves and will not notice if you go on holiday. In all, you might spend 20-30 hours over the course of a year with the bees.


Space

Bees can be kept anywhere from country orchards to urban gardens to small city balconies. It is a common misconception that you need a large garden or countryside nearby. Although this can make siting your bees easier, urban gardens are arguably better. Nectar and pollen can be gathered from a wide variety of plants. This means that there is often a constant source of food throughout the summer and a lack of harmful pesticides.


Neighbours

You might be worried what you neighbours will think. If you have a large garden, it is possible that your neighbours will not know you have bees. However, if space is tight, you need to carefully plan the beehive site and ensure you purchase bees that are good tempered (i.e. buy you bees from a reputable supplier). The beehive should be located in such a way that the entrance of the hive does not point into a footpath or busy area of the garden.


Equipment

Beekeeping requires a few pieces of essential equipment including clothing, tools and (obviously) a hive. These are covered later in the guide.



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Comments

Michael, 29 November 2019

Two years ago I was pottering about in my garden when I heard quite a loud droning sound which I took to be some kind of distant aircraft approaching but when I looked up, to my amazement it was a swarm of Bees. I quickly went into my house to fetch my phone so I could film them but to my surprise when I returned they were settling on the outside of one of my bird nest boxes. I couldn't believe my luck but didn't think they would stay as the nest box is only about 18 inches tall by 6 inches square. As luck would have it they did stay all through last summer as well as this year. My concern now is that today 29th November as well as a couple of days this week I have seen 20, 30 or more Bees just flying around the entrance hole to the nest box, Is this normal for them to be doing that this time of the year? I would appreciate any advice you could give me on encouraging them to stay. Thank you.


Phillip, 19 July 2019

I want to keep bees, is it a summer thing or all year around


Max, 12 July 2019

Hey all, I have been reading the comments and have noticed that many of you would like to keep bees but are scared to take the plunge yourself. Specifically for this need, I have developed a website which is completely free to use and connects beekeepers and gardeners so they can effectively share a hive. The website is called Host My Hive and has a live map, active communications and private chats, all for linking up gardeners who would like a beehive but are a little scared about bees, and beekeepers who just need the perfect location. Sign up for free and become a host for a hive! https://www.hostmyhive.co.uk


Cerys, 3 June 2019

I live in the countryside and wanted to do my bit for the bees. The only problem im not fussed on bees, I don't kill them or anything but I couldn't touch them. Could I have a hive and just leave the bee's to it with no intervention


Lucianne, 19 May 2019

I’ve been thinking of keeping bees, I have no clue. I have a bee hive the bees have decided to have it in a bird nest. I’m letting them carry on, as it’s at the bottom of the garden , with a woodlands at the back of the garden. Obviously I’m not gonna touch them, but have planted bee friendly seeds . So if I bought a bee hive, would the natural bees inhabit this , and would that be ok ?

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