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British Beekeepers Association Official Forum 

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  • Beginners forum, ask beekeeping related questions and get help from other experienced beekeepers. Please use the Search Feature please to avoid duplicated threads
Beginners forum, ask beekeeping related questions and get help from other experienced beekeepers. Please use the Search Feature please to avoid duplicated threads
 #10464  by Chris86
 04 Apr 2021, 10:27
Hi All,

Complete newbie here, so please bear with me. I’ve always been fascinated with bees and have always taken an interest. I’m based in North Yorkshire and make ice cream. I am looking to start out with honey bees in order to be able to use some of my own honey alongside my ice cream.
I also grow pumpkins, which I would like to site the hives next to, in order to help with the pollination of these if possible.

I guess what I’m asking is, what is the day to day keeping of them like. Is it very time keeping over summer or not too bad? Summer is when I am more hectic, so don’t want to take on something that I can’t do properly! Look forward to hearing and input back. Thanks
 #10465  by NigelP
 04 Apr 2021, 17:31
On average you need to inspect your colonies at least once a week during the main season.So the time will depend on the number of colonies kept and how you end up deciding how to inspect.
I reckon on about 5-10 minutes/per colony unless there is work to do like swarm control or sorting out honey removal etc. Plus the temper of the bees can make it quicker or slower if you are being constantly attacked by them.
P.S Honey ice creams need much lower freezing temps as the honey acts an antifreeze....
PPS Welcome to the forum
 #10468  by Alfred
 05 Apr 2021, 06:59
Its like having more kids
Contrary,demanding ,always needing more kit.
Only with these, you dont want them to leave home. :roll:
 #10470  by Patrick
 05 Apr 2021, 11:11
If you keep bees in your garden, only have a couple of hives and keep it simple then it shouldn’t be too much time per week. Try to pick your weekly inspection time / day to fit with a time you are generally free. In the summer I usually inspect in the early evening midweek after work. The main time tasks are around swarm season early summer, honey extraction (if you get any!) and feeding / varroa treatment in the autumn. The period October to March is generally very low intervention.

Like most worthwhile things it’s as complicated as you make it.
 #10474  by MickBBKA
 05 Apr 2021, 16:37
I always keep a few colonies in my garden and its not very big. You will probably never see one of your bees on your pumpkins as they just don't forage close to home. :D
 #10481  by AdamD
 08 Apr 2021, 09:44
A couple of hives should be no problem to look after; I tended to look at mine on a saturday morning or delay it a day if the weather was poor. Now I have too many for that simple method. From March to September inspections will not take long unless - as has been said - you need to intervene in some way. (Dealing with a colony that's about to swarm, for example). Bees will forage over a radius of a couple of miles or so, from hedgerows, trees crops and gardens and woods. And you may even see a few in your garden!
Beekeeping is a fascinating craft. You do need to know what you are doing so this forum is a great help however you really need some hands on experience with a course and a book or two. Some local beekeeping associations have 'taster days' to give some insight as to what you might be getting yourself into. (Although they may not be running them this year).
 #10485  by Murox
 08 Apr 2021, 14:04
Before you start spending money on equipment I suggest you do some reading and at the same time join a local association and seek a mentor or at least shadow someone and see if you feel confident around bees. The Haynes Bee Manual: The Complete Step-by-step Guide to Keeping Bees . is fairly good basic book to read. There are others of course. You will soon discover that when you ask a simple question of a beekeeper there will be several, probably contradictory answers; most of which will be correct.