Central Sussex Beekeepers Association

A Division of West Sussex BKA

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How to Start - Why Join a Group?

For the inexperienced the help and advice is essential. You need to be shown how to handle bees before you take the plunge – you may find that you really don’t like handling bees. Even if you can’t manage to get to an Apiary meeting, we always have a member who is willing to let you see their bees somewhere more convenient for you.

Most beekeeping groups, like us, are affiliated to the British Beekeeping Association (BBKA) and this organisation provides a wide range of literature and insurance. Insurance is essential as mistakes can be expensive or dangerous.

We have a library where you can borrow books and videos. We also have equipment you can hire, for extracting honey, for example. We also try to provide beginners with bees.

Beware of getting carried away and spending a lot of money until you are sure that you are happy with bees. A really full, busy, hive at the height of the season can be very daunting!

You do not have to spend large sums of money - in the winter you may be able to get a hive at a cheap rate (flat pack, self assembly). An excellent place to buy is at the BBKA Spring Convention held at Harper Adams University, Newport, Shropshire, TF10 8NB. At the Convention there are numerous companies all competing for custom so prices are extremely competitive.

The Essentials

A hive – beware of buying second-hand unless you have already seen some hives and know what you want. There is a wide choice and you need to know something about them first. If you do succumb to buying second hand, do take an experienced beekeeper with you before you part with any money. Also check the prices of new items first. Make sure it is cleaned and disinfected.

A bee suit – Shop around for this as they can be expensive. It is preferable to have one with a removable veil (attached by zips) because if the veil is permanently attached to jacket or suit the frequent washing needed can damage the veil. Veils are vulnerable to damage also by brambles or branches and if attached they can be difficult to replace.

A hive tool – wait until you have experienced opening a hive before you decide which type suits you.

A smoker – a small one is adequate when you start. Bigger ones are better when you have several hives.

Gloves – Marigold gloves are useful and can be discarded when dirty.

A blow torch – is important for cleaning up.

Equipment suppliers.

Supplier catalogues are a valuable source of information as they generally illustrate a wide range of equipment and sometimes detail their uses. This is only a small selection, you will find many more suppliers on the Web. If you contact them, many of them will send you a catalogue. Our local supplier, at Hassocks, is Paynes.