I’ve been keeping bees since 2007, it’s been a real rollercoaster of a ride. No matter how many books you read and how many videos you watch on YouTube, nothing prepares you for the experience of being responsible for your own bees.
I’ve long been fascinated by these tiny creatures but wasn’t sure that I’d be able to cope with actually handling them. I’d never even been stung by a bee, what if I was allergic?
I began my journey by registering to do a course with Lancaster Beekeepers, this was an in-depth course to prepare you for having your own bees. I would highly reccomend that anyone wanting to start bee-keeping joins their local group and does a course before investing in all the kit as it isn’t cheap.
The idea of beekeeping sounds very romantic, the reality is less so. It’s often hard, sticky, sweaty work. Bee’s like to swarm and they will inevitably do it at the most inconvenient moment possible. Lifting a full super of honey is backbreaking as it can weigh around 20kg (44lbs), ext, the amount of times extracting honey is the stickiest job known to mankind and if you end up with a narky Queen, then it can become pretty dangerous. I’ve had alot of beestings in the intervening years.
It’s all worth it though, the sound and smell of beehives on a warm Summer’s evening as they fan the nectar to drive off the water and turn it into honey is heavenly.
This year (2023) we are building a brand new area in the garden that is purpose built for the bees, I’m hoping to create an out-apiary at a friends small-holding, a few miles down the road, so will be looking to increase the number of hives I’m currently looking after and last year I finally bought my own honey extractor, something I’ve wanted for years and years, so I now don’t have to borrow one.