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Starting Out: January
John Williams, Master Beekeeper
We start the year with a brand new author to guide us through the seasons
I FEEL privileged that I worthwhile joining your Ted Hooper. The fourth excluder, smoker, bee suit,
have been invited by Bee local group of beekeepers. edition has recently been hive tool and beginners’published and is still a book in the kit the type you
Craft to write some notes There you will find good choice. Other good would have chosen? Be
each month to help new enthusiastic and friendly books for beginners include wary of second-hand
beekeepers. I will base people, some with a lot of Practical Beekeeping by ‘bargains’. There are some
experience, and a growingthem on my own Clive de Bruyn and to be had but it pays to get
number of beginners too.experience keeping bees Beekeeping by Adrian and help from a successful
There is usually a small library on the North Downs near Claire Waring. beekeeper before you buy.
of books you can borrow. Tread with care at second-
the borders of Kent, Surrey Many associations have COURSES hand beekeeping
and Greater London. demonstration apiaries with equipment auctions.
There may be a beginners’There is a wide variation in special provision for
course in your area. They The bee suit may be theweather throughout the year beginners to experience
are listed in the Bee Craft first item you need to buy,and, of course, this means handling bees and
Courses Directory 2009 as it will be important tothat what bees are up to at equipment. The programme
starting on page 21. If you have good protection whenany time varies throughout of meetings may include
are attending a course andthe UK. you attend demonstrations.winter lectures and summer
especially if you aredemonstrations and regular I have found a single piece
Some of you will have embarking on studying at‘work experience’ in the overall more convenient
started with bees already home on your own, you will apiary. Many associations than separate trousers and
and you may have one or benefit by joining anhelp beginners by asking jacket. A detachable
perhaps two colonies. informal discussion group. If experienced beekeepers to hat-cum-veil which can be
Others may be beginning to you cannot find one in youract as mentors. unzipped and thrown back
explore how to get started. area, why not start one? I is useful in hot weather. We
BOOKS suggest that such a groupLEARNING FROM did have such summersshould agree to follow a
three years or more ago! OTHERS The serious learning comes plan perhaps based on the
from study and the experience BBKA’s Basic Assessment I quickly stopped using kid
The challenges brought gained in having your own syllabus. gloves because they are
about by new pests and bees. I do recommend that
diseases mean that all you buy your own book. Have EQUIPMENT difficult to wash. They canbecome contaminated with
beekeepers including a look at those in the First of all, don’t be tempted
experienced ones, need to dried venom that will alertassociation library, choosing to rush out and buy
carry on learning. guard bees. Instead Ione that is up-to-date and is anything until you have had
based on experience gained suggest that you tryFirst things first, as a a chance to find out what
in this country. washing-up gloves. I intendbeginner you will want to options are available. There
commenting about somelearn the basics as quickly My choice in 1979 was are several choices to be
other equipment optionsas possible. It really is Guide to Bees and Honey by made and it is worthwhile
during the next few months.biding your time talking to
successful beekeepers If you already have bees you
about the advantages and will have some equipment
disadvantages of the that was used during the
various choices. summer. Like most beginners
I would advise against I know, you will already have
buying a beginners' kit removed brace comb andBees will visit Mahonia
unless you know exactly propolis from queenflowers on warm days even
in January what it contains. Are the excluders, spare brood
(Photo: Margaret Cowley) hive, floor, frames, queen chambers and supers.
Page 4 Bee Craft digital January 2009
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