Why Is Beekeeping The Answer?

1.  It’s risky and exciting.  What fun!  “If bees didn’t sting, it would be a bit like keeping flies”, Bill Turnbull, The Bad Beekeepers Club

2.  It’s old school.  I am looking for simplicity as an antidote to our modern complex lives.  Bees don’t text, wink or befriend me.  This passive indifference is the sort of relationship I want on the side.  I get to just sit and watch the bees go in and out of the hive like in the clip below.

3.  My childhood ambition was to be a spaceman.  The beekeeper’s suit is the closest I get to living the dream!  And now I have something to wear at fancy dress parties.


4.  I want a hobby which is productive rather than competitive.  It might even make some money (probably not).  My get-rich-quick schemes haven’t worked and these days the reality is I would be happy to make £100.  One hive can produce a surplus of 40kg or more in a good season (an average hive produces a surplus of about 11Kg).  Who needs a pension?  I can make honey in my old age! (Update: I am now making and selling honey, read I Love Honey)

5.  It’s another world.  The life of the honeybee and the beehive is fascinating.  As you might discover, beekeeping guides are more complex and curious than the Hitchhikers Guide (but starring varroa mites as the enemy rather than Vogons).

6.  It’s my chance to do a Bear Grylls, get in touch with nature and feel the seasons.  I might not be as tough as Bear but I do have more stubble than him

7.  What boy doesn’t love the opportunity to be the master of thousands? Beekeeping is a bit like a computer game called SimCity in which you have to build a city and make decisions on tax rates and infrastructure.  In the game it would warn you if the population was getting hungry or their were riots on the streets. With bees it’s for real. Instead of setting tax rates you have to decide how much honey to take from the bees?  You have to check if they have enough honey and stores? Is the queen laying? Do they need feeding?

8.  Helping save the honeybee and reduce imports of honey is just a bonus.

The Surveys I have run show that over 80% of beekeepers were “Very positive – I love it and plan to continue for the rest of my life”.  If you want to know what its like keeping bees then read some of my favourite beekeeping posts.

If you are interested in becoming a beekeeper then visit Getting Started.

So, what are your stories?  Why did you get into beekeeping?

10 thoughts on “Beekeeping”

  1. I got into beekeeping as Im a pest controller, we had call outs for bee swarms, and just told the customers we wouldent kill bee’s and they needed to phone a bee keeper to collect them, as I work in areas that normal pest controllers/bee keepers could not enter as certification is needed, it made sense for me to become a beekeeper, 3 weeks now and Im totally hooked.
    have one swarm in a homemade top bar hive, that really is bee’s on a budget, and another swarm in a homemade 6 frame (14×12 national) nuc

  2. I started beekeeping a few years ago after having wanted to do it for a long time. I finally made the commitment to overcome my fears and jumped in with both feet. I’ve since sold lots of honey, made lots of friends and have found an enjoyable (although not-inexpensive) hobby.

    Show Me The Honey Blog

  3. Just found your blog and really am enjoying it. My sister-in-law got my husband and I into beekeeping last year. What started as two hive quickly multiplied into 4 and we may have a 5th very soon. I love the bees and the honey is amazing. Still so much to learn though…

    1. Hi Charly, seems we are progressing at about the same pace. I have found the challenge is getting established. The first couple of seasons colonies died under my management due to either lack of feeding in September or combining hives with laying workers. Now that I have 4 hives and understand beekeeping better, I’m feeling more confident that I can get permanently established with bees surviving the winter.

  4. I got into beekeeping ( 2 years ago) mainly because I knew, like the rest of the planet, that as a species they were in trouble. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered the great lengths we go to as Beekeepers to PREVENT them from reproducing! Still coming to terms with this and trying to be a good beekeeper at the same time, surely I’m not the only one?

    1. I know what you mean – but if you’re worried about it I’m sure you could always find beekeepers keen to keep any actual or artificial swarms. Wishing you every success – I have had a real disappointing winter.

  5. Lovely email from reader on 24/10/16:

    Dear Roger,

    Thank you for your talking with bees blog. I also draw many parallels.

    I have kept bees since I was 14 years old and have been privileged to have known an old gentlemen who kept his bees in skeps. I am also privileged to have experienced 10 years or so pre-varroa. How times have changed! Now just waiting for Small Hive Beetle and Asian Hornet to make an appearance.

    Thirty six years of beekeeping later, my 11 year old son has taken an interest but alas my 9, 13 year old and partner do not share my passion. I also have too many hives etc. but I am tending to farm them out to out-apiaries rather than selling.

    I only need to spend 10 minutes looking at bees coming and going into a hive and it brings a huge sense of well being …..and stress buster against modern life!

    I live in Ipswich, Suffolk. Generally Suffolk is a dry county and produces an good crop of honey. Unfortunately I don’t seem to be able to escape the oil seed rape crop.

    Keep up the good work.

    Kind regards


  6. if u ever have time in the future you should totally do me and the world a HUGE favor and split test spraying coconut water on regular basis to give bees natural electrolyte sugar to rejuvenate them and be able to improve their immune system and overcome the varroa vs powered sugar witch is refined and may give energy but may not necessarily improve immunity

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