Interested in beekeeping? You’ve come to the right place!
Here you’ll find experienced, friendly beekeepers who can teach and advise, and a programme of lectures and apiary visits where you can learn about the wonderful world of honey bees and beekeeping. It truly is the most enjoyable and fascinating hobby, and one in which you are always learning something new, even if you’ve been a beekeeper for years.
If you think you’d like to become a beekeeper yourself (a decision only to be made once you’ve completed the beginner course, handled bees yourself at the demonstrations and know you are comfortable with the thousands of bees in a hive) we can provide you in June/July with a nucleus of our local bees – a small colony with a new queen which you can help build up so that it is strong enough to survive the winter. Starting out can be expensive, so there is no point in buying any equipment until you’re sure beekeeping is for you. We have protective suits for beginners at our outdoor demos.
The nine indoor beginner classes will teach you about basic equipment needed and how to use it, how to choose an apiary site, how and when to open a hive, the queen, workers and drones and their roles, stings and how to deal with them, diseases and preventative measures, the varroa mite and how to keep it under control, and much more. A nucleus will not swarm in its first summer, but you will learn about tell-tale signs and how to act on them in one of our monthly lectures before your bees start their second year. Swarming is how a strong colony reproduces, it is a natural instinct and the beekeeper has to know how to deal with it.
There was a time when a beekeeper simply put a hive at the bottom of his/her garden and left it there, but this was before varroa arrived from Europe. Now a beekeeper needs to inspect weekly from May – July to check for signs the colony is thinking of swarming, and less often but still regularly to check the colony is building up well, has enough space, is disease free and has enough food to survive.
Do NOT order bees from the internet – you need local bees adapted perfectly to Fife’s climate, and certainly do not want to bring in foreign strains of honey bee which will mate with local bees and produce bad-tempered stock, and possibly bring in disease and pests such as the Small Hive Beetle, a major threat and now in southern Italy.