To get started you need to select a bee hive. There are many different styles of bee hive but all have movable frames. Choose a hive that works for you, one that provides ease of access and is suitable for your location. The bees will not mind which hive you select! Hives can be bought new or second hand, or you may make one from scratch. Ensure second hand hives are sterilised thoroughly as diseases can be spread on old combs and equipment.
You will also require bee-proof clothing - a bee suit or veil, boiler suit, gloves. Tuck your trousers in your socks and cover your head when near a hive. Smoke the colony prior to disturbing it in any way. However, you should expect to receive some stings as part of the hazard of bee keeping. In addition, you will require a smoker and a hive tool.
Once set up you need to introduce the bees. You can purchase bees as a complete colony or part colony, or you may wish to obtain bees from a local bee keeper (check they are free from disease first). You should select bees which produce good yield, are docile and free from disease.
Inspect the hive weekly or fortnightly. Monitor for mites and Varroa, which will be in every colony. You will need to spend a hour a week during the summer maintaining the hive, checking the health of the bees and ensuring the hive is clean. You should understand the life cycle of the queen bee and look out for signs of a swarming colony. It is advisable to speak to your local Bee Keepers association or enrol on a college course to study bee keeping in more detail. The British Bee Keepers Association website is ideal to get further information on the subject.
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