How do I start beekeeping?

Many people like the idea of keeping bees but have limited knowledge or have never handled them. Before going out & buying a hive & a colony of bees I suggest you take into consideration the below suggestions.

  • Locate your local Beekeepers' Association, this is easily done with the help of - the British Beekeepers Association
  • Contact the group & arrange a chat
  • Arrange for the loan of a suit & be present when an experienced beekeeper is conducting a Hive Inspection
  • Spend a few months helping a beekeeper to become familiar with some of the basics
  • If you are comfortable with the bees find a suitable location to place the hive/s, the last thing you want is to upset the neighbours & give beekeeping a bad name
  • Find a mentor who has time to rush to your aid during the first years
  • Don't rush into buying new kit - this can become very expensive, often second hand equipment is available just make sure it's thoroughly cleaned
  • Have patience. Don't expect too much at first, beekeeping is an art & it takes a LONG time to get to grips with
  • Ask for help as soon as you are not too sure what is going on in the hive - don't hope everything will turn out fine
  • Remember the bees don't read the books so they don't know what they are supposed to do!

  • Allotments

    If you are considering setting up your hive/s on an allotment make sure you contact your local Council for advice BEFORE HAND & speak to an allotment officer. Remember - you don't want to upset your neighbours on the allotment - some of them may have genuine concerns.
    An Allotmant

    How much does it cost?

    Once you've decided to go ahead you will need to consider the cost of equipment. Obviously the price will vary greatly dependent if you decide to buy either new or second hand. The below prices are just a rough guide dependent on your preference.
    If you become a member of the Wirral Branch of the CBKA you will be able to purchase much of the equipment you need from the Club at a discounted rate.

    Essential equipment includes:

  • A bee suit - £50 to £130
  • Sturdy shoes / boots (wellingtons) - about £10 for cheap wellies
  • Gloves (rubber washing up gloves are good) - £2
  • Smoker - £17 to £40
  • Hive Tool - £5 to £10
  • Hive FLAT PACKED Empty (Standard National is the main one used on the Wirral) - Consisting of a roof, a Crownboard, 2 supers, a Queen excluder, a Brood Box & a floor - £150 to £250. An assembled hive costs more
  • Frames - for brood box & supers - £10 to £13 for 10, about 33 frames usually required in total
  • A stand - £15 to £50
  • Wax Foundation - £4 to £8 for 10 dependant on frame size

  • A total cost of between £300 - £500 for the equipment to set up with a single hive plus the cost of a colony of bees, a further £80 - £150, would allow you to get started.
    These prices were estimated in 2013 & may have changed a little since.