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Interested in beekeeping

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  • 24-09-2017 7:51pm
    #1
    Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 492 ✭✭


    I was chatting to a beekeeper on the R132 who was selling "real honey". It's delicious. I wanted to chat to him more about beekeeping, but he seemed more interested in making a sale than chatting about bees and besides, his English was very limited.

    Does anyone here do it?

    I have a few questions:

    I live in a built-up (ish) area in North County Dublin in a housing estate. Would having just a single hive be OK? Would I have to consult neighbours etc?

    Is it just as simple as getting bees and a hive and letting the bees sort out who's the Queen etc?

    Will they live through Winter? Could I start the process now?

    Will bees recognise their owner? (stupid question).

    How much will it cost in total?

    I have a small dg. Will that pose a problem?


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,333 ✭✭✭Loveinapril


    Do a course, do a course, do a course!

    There is no point in starting at this time of year. Fingal start their course in February. I started this year and they gave me a space at an apiary in North County Dublin for the year. I read tonnes before the course and had a really good knowledge base but having a mentor at an apiary is invaluable. Get onto your local association, read a book or two (the Haynes manual is good) and start afresh for the new season in Spring with the course behind you.


  • Registered Users Posts: 854 ✭✭✭beveragelady


    It's invaluable to have a mentor to help you out, someone who might call over to your hive and go through the basics with you. Get in contact with a local group and work from there. You might find somebody willing to put one of their own hives on your patch. You share the work, learning as you go, and you might get some honey for your troubles.


  • Registered Users Posts: 219 ✭✭Bunnyslippers


    Echo what's said above - courses and research are a must or you will pour your money down the drain! They require a good bit of work and the initial outlay of equipment is high - for example a basic hive will set you back nearly a couple of hundred quid plus, suit, tools, wax, frames,plus a nuc of bees is usually around 180 euro+, and as your hive expands they need more hive sections etc! And with the irish weather being rather soggy they don't always survive the winter - my first winter keeping bees here was so wet and cold my 2 hives both died so had to start again the following year!

    I do it as a hobby and for interests sake, the honey if you get any is a bonus!:D But you do need a mentor and somewhere that is appropriate to keep them, a back garden is probably not the best place as they can sting you and your neighbours after a hive inspection, it is definitely not as simple as just getting a hive and letting them get on with it!;) Good fun though and joining a club is a great way to meet others! And sadly they don't recognise their owners - bees only live for 6 weeks and anything or anyone that comes near their hive is a potential threat so can be stung - dogs included!;) :D


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 492 ✭✭Gerrup Outta Dat!


    Echo what's said above - courses and research are a must or you will pour your money down the drain! They require a good bit of work and the initial outlay of equipment is high - for example a basic hive will set you back nearly a couple of hundred quid plus, suit, tools, wax, frames,plus a nuc of bees is usually around 180 euro+, and as your hive expands they need more hive sections etc! And with the irish weather being rather soggy they don't always survive the winter - my first winter keeping bees here was so wet and cold my 2 hives both died so had to start again the following year!

    I do it as a hobby and for interests sake, the honey if you get any is a bonus!:D But you do need a mentor and somewhere that is appropriate to keep them, a back garden is probably not the best place as they can sting you and your neighbours after a hive inspection, it is definitely not as simple as just getting a hive and letting them get on with it!;) Good fun though and joining a club is a great way to meet others! And sadly they don't recognise their owners - bees only live for 6 weeks and anything or anyone that comes near their hive is a potential threat so can be stung - dogs included!;) :D


    Thanks to everyone for such a thorough post !! I wouldn't take the honey though, isn't the honey food for the hive?


  • Registered Users Posts: 219 ✭✭Bunnyslippers


    Yes it is food for the hive for winter, but they usually make more than they need, so you can take some from an established hive, but you need to judge how much to leave them - that's where a mentor is handy to start with, some years if it's too wet and cold they just about have enough for themselves so you wont get any.
    Most beekeepers feed their bees in autumn - especially new hives in their first season to make sure they have enough food to survive, my buckfast bees are guzzling the sugar syrup down at the mo, but my irish blacks are not really bothering so much with it. I also add tea tree and thymol oil to my sugar feeds to help with the control of varroa mites which weaken bees and make some deformed, some beekeepers don't feed though so down to personal preference really and what suits your bees!
    It's a never ending learning curve with these fascinating little bugs!!:D


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