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Can I keep bees in my garden?

Beekeeping is a hobby all can do in their back yard. Yes... Yard. A bee hive takes up a small foot print, 50 x 50cm - most people have access to an outside space larger than this, therefore beekeeping can be practiced everywhere.

So much so that in cities the large uptake of urban bee keeping has meant local bees could struggle. Therefore its important to plant flowers, and leave weeds that are flowering more than ever.

Honey bees forage in urban areas.

Are there any practical suggestions for success?

Making sure your open and thoughtful of neighbours is key. Be sure to let them know your plans, this way no one is surprised if a swarm lands in their garden.

Practically making sure your hive doesn't face directly onto a walk way or a neighbours space would be sensible. The flight path of a hive can get busy in the summer. If your struggling for space putting a hive up high, or placing a fence, hedge or other high obstacle in the flight path will ensure bees fly up above gardens. Interestingly bees will often ignore flowers immediately around the hive instead preferring to fly upto 3 miles for a nectar rich source.

Providing a small water area nearby is important, as bees may look for other sources close by such as plant pots or pet watering bowls.

Bee hives on roof garden with small drinking point for bees.

How do I get started?

Most beekeepers will suggest you get hands on with bees first, this is a sensible approach, but you may be struggling to join an association or find someone nearby. If that's the case at Humble Bee we have an exciting Bee Experience, where you will learn about all the incredible benefits of bee keeping including everything you need to know to get started and even learn about other pollinators too!

New beekeeper lifts honey super off the brood box.

Where do I get honey bees?

Although the lure of free'bees' might be strong, catching a swarm is best left to beekeepers who can care for their needs and ensure they don't carry diseases.

Swarm of bees in small fruit tree.

Occasionally retiring bee keepers pass on hives but again this may mean a full sized colony which needs tending to and in your first year this may be overwhelming.

Full size colony takes to the sky to swarm

So where do I get bees? If your keen to get started this year, you can Book your bees here

We sell local British overwintered proven queens with excellent brood patterns and good honey production. You may prefer to work with Buckfast bees, these provide a calm experience but are not local or overwintered.

Bees from Humble Bee in Poly 6 Frame National size Nuc.

What do I get when I buy a Nuc of bees?

At Humble Bee we provide 6 frame Poly or Wooden Nucs of Bees. This means you get a good starter size colony that will expand to produce honey in its first season.

The Queen will be marked with a dot on her back which will represent her year of birth. for example yellow for 2022, this makes it really easy to see her. She will also have one wing clipped to avoid loosing her should she swarm. We feel this is important for beginners who may miss swarm signs or queen cells on their first year. Study's prove this doesn't cause any pain or inconvenience to the queen, its alot like trimming chickens flight wings to avoid them escaping and getting caught by a fox.

6 Frames of healthy Brood, Pollen and Honey Stores are provided with bees, perfect for getting your beekeeping journey started.

Langstroth size 6 Frame Poly Nuc form Humble Bee

What about other equipment?

To get started we suggest as a minimum: A full sting proof suit, Beekeepers Gloves, J-hook hive tool and a smoker.

Humble Bee ventilated suit and gloves.

Where is the best place to buy these? There are many providers of equipment online, but we have found that start up costs can often prohibit new bees keepers. So we have a New Beekeepers deal here.

Smoker sits on a poly hive at Humble Bee.

Is there anything else I need to get going?

Once you have had a lesson, Got your Equipment and Bees, a Hive stand and strap are important final pieces of equipment to get going.

Hive strap and low stand.

Your stand can be as simple as a few bricks, but a good sturdy wood stand will last many years and be more practical. aim to make your stand about the size of your knees, this will help when moving your hive supers and brood boxes. A ratchet strap around the hive and stand will ensure if it ever is knocked over the bees are safe inside and the hive isn't open to the elements.

You may find driving a metal spike or fence post spike into the ground or one leg of your stand will make sure these strong storms never knock over your hives.

What about location and orientation?

Locating your bees is an important consideration, we discuss this on our 1:1 lesson, come along and find out more about this. Find out more about our Bee Experience here.

How do I find my local Bee keeping association?

Check the BBKA website for your nearest association, if you join the small yearly fee will give you public liability insurance which will cover you for unforeseen occurrences, you will also get the BBKA monthly magazine with great tips for the next month.

Bee Keeper happily shows off nice frame of honey from the super.

You will also get access to a wealth of knowledge from other beekeepers, just remember there are lots of ways to keep bees! Don't worry if someone does something different to what you plan to do. There are better and worse ways to look after bees, just find what your comfortable with, theres plenty of time to learn and try new things later. Don't be put off by the vast amount of information, techniques and knowledge you can find at associations.

One beekeeper helps another.

Thank you for reading our blog, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more beekeeping news and tips.

Every sale at supports local honey bees and pollinators. Thank you for shopping locally.

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