How It All Started For Me
I had spent my childhood and working years with little more than a passing interest in bees but one March I was given an empty beehive by a friend of my youngest daughter. On getting it home and examining it there were frames of very old foundation inside but no bees had ever been within. Reference to Google yielded the information the hive was a WBC but whoever had first assembled it had done so incorrectly and the passage from entrance to brood box was blocked, hence the pristine interior.
From further reading I discovered the nearest source of supply for fresh foundation was Yorkshire Beehives at Riccall Grange. When I visited the establishment I met Paul the owner who was a fount of information and good advice. Paul put me in contact with Barkston Ash Bee Keepers Association which I joined in time for the practical Saturday sessions that year. I borrowed a Bee suit and had my first contact up close and personal with an open beehive. Needless to say I was hooked!
I bought my own bee suit, set up my hive, anointed it with lemongrass oil and waited for a Swarm to move in. And waited and waited........ Each week I attended the apiary meetings and rapidly soaked up information.
In that June I heard from Paul that there were some colonies of Buckfast bees for sale in York so I travelled over to view them and came home with a 14 x 12 nucleus. Made a brood box eke to accommodate 14 x 12 frames and became the proud owner of a colony. The learning curve has been vertical at times but with good advice from association members, application of engineering logic and raking up school biology, chemistry and physics I believe I am on the right track. The bees still test me but I now have a number of colonies which give resilience in case of one colony having problems.
I would advise a new beekeeper to always have an empty spare hive on hand for Swarm control and never be afraid to ask questions.