How to get started

There is a bewildering variety of types of hives and equipment available, much of which is not interchangeable, and most experienced beekeepers will have their own preferences, but for the beginner all this can be confusing. Beekeeping equipment is expensive to purchase, but when purchased, much will last a lifetime. Equipment can also be obtained second hand, but again there may be problems of incompatibility, and the possibility of bringing in disease.

For all of these reasons, it is best for a beginner to join their local beekeeping association. Associations are friendly, and will contain a mixture of both new and very experienced beekeepers. Most organise indoor meetings in the winter, involving lectures and the occasional social event, whilst in the summer, practical meetings are held, sometimes at members' own homes. Most associations have a club apiary with hives, and run beekeeping courses, both practical and theoretical, and also often run informal sessions when the beekeeper can simply turn up and gain "hands on experience".

Visit the The British Beekeepers Association  to locate your nearest beekeeping group and also organises national events and runs a system of beekeeping examinations.