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FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to have bees to join East Devon Beekeepers?

No! You are very welcome whether you have bees, or not, as long as you have an interest in bees and beekeeping. There are different classes of membership with different subscription rates according to your needs.


What type of hive    I am just starting. What type of hives should I get?

There are up to a dozen types of hive commonly available and beekeepers have different opinions on which are best. Some of the more widely used types are described on the Which Hive page of this website.

Before you buy any hives, seek advice from an experienced beekeeper and make the final decision on what is right for your situation. Most beekeepers stick to one type of hive so all the parts are interchangeable.


Can I keep bees in my garden?

Possibly! Seek help from your local Beekeeping Association, who will be able to advise you on the suitability of the site. Should your garden be unsuitable there are other possibilities such as an out-apiary. Your local Association may know of suitable sites.


How much honey will I get    How much honey can one beehive produce?

This depends on many factors, such as forage available, seasonal weather, beekeeper management and strength of the colony. A strong, well managed colony in an ideal area and a brilliant summer can produce a surplus of 100-lb in a good year, but 30-lb is more typical.


If I were interested in keeping bees and becoming a beekeeper, how would I get started?

  • Join your local association. Look at the Get Started pages on this website.
  • Attend a Beginners’ Course if possible. This should include ‘hands on’ experience at the branch apiary (see East Devon Beekeepers’ course).
  • Befriend a beekeeper who can mentor you in the early days.
  • Read books on bees and beekeeping from the local library. As a member of East Devon Beekeepers you can borrow books from the branch library.

  How much time does it take?   How much time does it take?

In the swarming season (April, May, June) weekly visits are advised (10-15 minutes per hive when experienced), but during the rest of the summer and outside the beekeeping season less frequent visits are adequate. With luck, several hours will have to be devoted to extracting honey in August and thereafter it is mainly a question of monitoring health and ensuring the bees have adequate stores for the winter.

Winter is a time for cleaning equipment and preparing for the next season with the occasional check on the hives. The build up of colonies in the spring is a critical time requiring checks to ensure colonies are thriving and have adequate stores in case the weather turns cold.

When you start you will probably need to spend several hours setting out your apiary, including hive stands, paths, fences, screening, whatever you need to make your site safe, suitable and convenient. It is advisable to ask an established beekeeper before undertaking works.


How much will it cost     How much will equipment cost?

You can find the costs involved by looking at the beekeeping equipment suppliers’ websites (see Links pages). Most suppliers have both ‘made up’ and ‘self assembly’ hives. The latter are cheaper. Alternatively you may be able to pick up second hand equipment. This will need to be thoroughly cleaned before use to avoid the spread of disease. Making your own equipment is a possibility but be sure you understand the concept of ‘bee space’ before you attempt this. Equipment is covered on most well-run beekeeping courses.


Where can I get bees   Where can I get bees?

Equipment suppliers also sell ‘nucleus’ colonies of bees in a box, usually 3-5 frames with bees, brood and a young laying queen. Alternatively, as part of a beekeeping group, other members may have colonies for sale or may be able to provide you with a swarm. As swarms are often of unknown origin precautions against possible diseases should be made. Ask your mentor for advice.

 

 

News & Events

The selfish case for saving bees: it’s how to save ourselves
These crucial pollinators keep our world alive. Yes, they are under threat – but all is not lost.  Click here to read the article.
Outbreak of EFB reported
An outbreak of EFB has been reported by one of our members about ‘5km east of Hawkchurch’. If you live in the area and are not yet on BeeBase we would recommend you go to the BeeBase website as soon as possible to register. This will ensure you are informed of any threats in your area.
World’s largest bumblebee under threat.
The Patagonian bumblebee, the worlds largest bumblebee, is under threat from the import of species native to Europe.The growth of the bumblebee trade for agricultural pollination since the 1980s has been identified as one of the top emerging environmental issues likely to affect global diversity.Follow this link to read the article.
Best plants for bees: 5 yr study results by RosyBee
Follow the link to see the results of 5 years of monitoring which bees visit a variety of ‘bee-friendly’ plants.
http://www.rosybee.com/research
What’s that Buzz? Plants hear when bees are coming
New research has shown that plants can ‘hear’ sounds around them and flowers respond to the buzz of approaching bees by producing sweeter nectar. The research biologists from Tel Aviv University played recordings of flying bee sounds to evening primrose flowers and found that after a few minutes the sugar concentration in the flower’s nectar had increased by 20% on average when compared with flowers left in silence or submitted to higher pitched sounds.
The authors of the report say that, for the first time, they have shown plants can rapidly respond to pollinator sounds in an ecologically relevant way.
Producing sweeter nectar in response to the sounds of bees can help entice the insects to visit the flowers and increase the chances of its pollen being distributed.
Thanks to Ann P. for spotting this article in the Times.
Scientists sew trackers to Asian Hornets to find and destroy nests before they kill honeybees
Britain’s beekeepers are turning to technology to prevent aggressive Asian hornets destroying their colonies. In a first successful trial, experts at the University of Exeter attached tracking devices to the backs of the voracious hornets and then followed them back to their nests.