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Beekeeping for Beginners

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by Bastion Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
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Get Honey From Your Garden

Who loves honey?

I see a show of hands.

Who keeps bees?

The arms descend.

There has been a lot of growing interest in beekeeping over the last few years, but I think some consider it still something of a novelty. I think the main reason why more people don't take up the hobby is due to a lack of knowledge on what to do.

Questions that probably crop are: Where do I get the equipment from? How much does it cost? How much time must I invest? How do I look after them? How do I harvest the honey? What if I get stung?

All very good, valid questions. And it just so happens that the Wimbledon Beekeepers' Association has the answers. Every year they organise beginners' courses, which cost 50 for two-day workshop at the Snuff Mill in Morden Hall Park. The next dates are the 7th & 8th June and the 5th & 6th July.

From 10am till lunch, you will have classroom learning, and then in the afternoon, you will put your new knowledge into action with practical teaching in the apiary. You will be provided with all the equipment and protection you need, and if you would like to progress further, you can join the association.

Just to get your intrigue going, here are some interesting bee facts:

There are over twenty thousand species of bee, but only four produce honey.
Bumble bees produce honey, but only enough for their colony. Honey bees, on the other hand, produce a surplus, which is why they are used for beekeeping.
Bees never sleep.
British bees are in decline due to parasites and pesticides. By taking up beekeeping, you will be helping the bee population.
In the UK there are approximately 44,000 beekeepers looking after around 240,000 hives.

The UK has about forty-four thousand beekeepers. Why not become number forty-four thousand-and-one?
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Why? Honey from your garden
When: 7th-8th June
Phone: 020 3286 2896
Where: Snuff Mill
Cost: 50
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