If you are interested in keeping bees we encourage you to become a member of a local beekeeping Association. To find your local association visit the BBKA website.
If you live in the Meon Valley area we run a theory course, starting in February each year which introduces you to the skills and knowledge required to keep healthy bees. The theory course is followed by a practical course in April/May to gain the confidence and skills to safely handle bees.
Following the course we will advise you on acquiring your own bees and equipment and provide you with a mentor.
If you do not have space for a hive then we can put you in touch with people who have available land or you can get involved with the Association Apiary.
The Introduction to Beekeeping Course commences in February and is every Tuesday for 8 weeks. You can choose from an afternoon session from 1.30pm to 3.30pm or an evening session from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.
Please fill in the online booking form or ‘contact us’ if you would like to attend.
Experienced and trained members from the association will provide the training supported by a range of internal and external experts. The course covers bee biology, bee health, constructing hive parts, disease, obtaining bees, swarming and honey extraction. By attending you will gain enough information to set up your own hive and look after your first colony of bees. A mentor is provided to every new beekeeper
Cost – the cost will be £95 and includes a beginners book and membership of the MVBKA
Venue – Warnford Hall (Directions)
In April following on from the theory course we will be running a 6 week ‘hands on’ practical course at our Association Apiary. The dates are spread over the beekeeping year so that you choose the topics which interest you.
The course is run by experienced members of the MVBKA on a ratio of 4 to 1. The course covers all practical aspects of making frames and boxes, inspecting your bees, handling bees, identifying and catching a queen, methods of swarm control, disease identification, drone laying queens and keeping your bees healthy and safe.
Cost – £80 for the full 6 weeks and includes a handbook showing month by month procedures and tasks and refreshments
Venue – Association Apiary off the M272 between Petersfield and the Meon Hut.
Time – 2.30pm for 3 hours on Saturday afternoon’s spread over the summer season.
We are a group of enthusiastic beekeepers covering a wide area which includes Waterlooville, Horndean, Boarhunt, Wickham, Swanmore, Bishop’s Waltham, Botley, Hedge End, Durley, Upham, Warnford, Meonstoke, West Meon, Medstead, Ropley, Cheriton, Alresford, Farringdon, Four Marks, Alton and Basingstoke.
We hold our meetings in the Warnford Village Hall.
The association formed in 1938 to help and encourage people to learn the craft of beekeeping and keep their bees healthy and strong to provide pollination and bring in a good honey crop.
We are a friendly supportive progressive group of Hampshire beekeepers who welcome everybody who wants to learn and enjoy keeping bees. We run a training apiary, courses, talks and attend a variety of shows and events. If you would like to find out more please contact us.
Yes, we hold a one day introduction for anyone interested in learning more about bees? The next Taster Day will be held on the 14th June 2020 and we are taking bookings (see contact details below).
On the day, we will introduce you to beekeeping, provide lunch and then there is the opportunity to inspect a colony of bees at our Association Training Apiary.
It would make a brilliant birthday present to a friend or loved one who is interested in beekeeping.
For further information and to book your place contact Jean Frost
Phone: 01420 561136 or 07879 454046
It is possible to keep bees in a small garden. There are beekeepers in London who site their hives on flat roofs. You will need to be aware of any close neighbours, however, and hives should be sited with entrances facing away from their land or any public area. It would be prudent to discuss your plans with your neighbours and get them on your side. If this is not possible you may well be able to find someone who would love to have your bees in their large garden, orchard etc. Our association often has requests from landowners.
As well as this you will need somewhere to store all of your kit. When you begin there isn’t a lot of stuff that you desperately need but as the years go by you will start to accumulate quite a lot of equipment. Most beekeepers use a shed or garage to store this in.
Somewhere between £300 and £600. If you are on a low budget and are good at woodwork you might be able to construct your own hives at a lower cost. Sometimes it is possible to pick up ‘second’ quality flat pack hives from the manufacturers. Of course, second hand is always an option meaning you can get it for cheaper but you have to be careful of the quality of the stuff you are buying
Every May the association has an auction where you can buy secondhand equipment. It is also possible to buy bees at auction but not always at a bargain price. We also sell swarm bees from the association apiary at a reasonable price.
If you are new to beekeeping we recommend that you attend our 6 week theory course where the purchase of your first bees will be covered. A nucleus of bees comprising a fertile queen and a supply of young bees is a good way to start beekeeping as your colony will increase over the season together with your confidence in handling them.
A nucleus of bees costs around £200 and a member of your association will be to recommend a reputable supplier who will ensure you receive healthy bees. At our yearly auction, which happens every May, you can pick up a nucleus of bees cheaper than online. But you better be a quick bidder as they are snatched up almost instantly.
An alternative is to purchase a colony of swarm bees from our association apiary at a nominal charge of £50. We will keep the swarms for 3 weeks to check for disease before they are made available to beekeepers.
Many people have started beekeeping by collecting or being given a swarm of bees. These are free and belong to whoever collects them. Nothing will be known about the age of the queen unless she is colour marked and nothing of the temperament of the bees. It is also possible that the bees could carry disease. This can work but it is a risk for first-time beekeepers. At the start of the season you can put your name down on the swarm list and when one arrives you are given a phone call and asked if you would like to pick it up.
After you have been on a course and obtained your bees, the rush of excitement at the fact you are now a beekeeper can quickly overwhelm you.
It is very tempting to open the hive and disturb the brood nest when the first sunny days of spring arrive. It is perfectly OK to have a quick peep to make sure that all is well but unless the weather is really warm for this time of the year the first thorough inspection should be left until April. A warm day in March is a good time to replace the hive floors with clean ones. This can be done with little disturbance to the bees. A good rule is that hives should only be opened when it is warm enough for the beekeeper to be wearing shirt sleeves.