New to beekeeping?

by Derek Driver, SE Herts

I’m sure I’m not alone in being concerned whether or not all those people who started beekeeping in 08 and 09 will still be with us in 2011? I know that the equipment supply companies have had record sales this year but how much of this equipment will be for sale over the next season or so, as some of the newcomers give up.

When I hear of newcomers pushed into receiving nucs from outside the county which had chalk brood and at higher prices than they would have paid in the county, I’m aghast! In addition some nucs which have been brought from outside our county have been found with foul brood!

Some newcomers have never had even a basic course and I’ve been amazed at some of the questions they have asked me, such as “what are those bigger bees in the hive?” and no they didn’t get their bees from me nor were they members of our division. One shop informed me that a man, who only acquired bees this spring, (God knows from where) had walked in with a jar of granulating honey, offering to supply, next year. The lid was dented and dirty both outside and in, the honey also contained foreign bodies! And the label broke trading standards regulations. Fools like this give the wrong impression to the public.

What can we more experienced beekeepers do? We can start by making sure all our newcomers do a basic course, ensure all nucs are purchased from within the county and from reliable, disease free apiaries, and of course at reasonable prices. The least we can do is to try and start our new members on the right path, because although we can help as much as we can, we cannot hold their hands for ever, but at least by giving them the basics, they stand a chance of becoming a decent beekeeper in the future.

Comments from new members would be welcome.

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