Beekeeping in Britain is largely a hobby. There are commercial beekeepers, but the vast majority of them use beekeeping as part of their income, and the number who rely entirely on bees are very small.
Is beekeeping for me?
There are surprisingly few restrictions to keeping bees. The beekeeper needs to be reasonably fit as there can be some heavy lifting to do, but this can be shared as there should be no shortage of offers of help.
Most Beekeeper Associations have beginners who are willing to help others in return for learning.
For someone who is allergic to bee stings it would be foolish to take up, or continue, with beekeeping. Beekeepers expect to be stung during a season, and a beginner is likely to get a few more than an experienced person.
Most stings are caused by poor handling and/or poor bees, both of which can be overcome, but accidental stings are common as well. Some people are genuinely frightened of bees and unless this fear can be overcome it would be foolish to continue.
If you live in the Penrith area, the ideal way to find out if Beekeeping is for you is to attend one of the PBKA summer apiary visits.
You will be made very welcome and you will have the opportunity to see inside a hive and experience first hand what handling frames with a large number of bees on them is like. You will be able to ask questions and meet some of your local beekeepers, some of whom have ‘decades’ of experience.
As soon as you have colonies of bees you are advised to register on Bee Base .
Bee Base is the National Bee Unit’s (NBU’s) award winning website. BeeBase contains all the apicultural information relating to the statutory bee health programme in England and Wales.
BeeBase contains a wide range of beekeeping information, such as the activities of the NBU, the bee related legislation, pests and diseases information including their recognition and control, interactive maps, current research areas, publications, advisory leaflets and key contacts. To access this information visit the NBU website.
For further information about beekeeping visit the following websites:
The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) : www.bbka.org.uk
The National Bee Unit (NBU) : www.nationalbeeunit.com