If you live in the UK we would recommend getting a national bee hive as it's most common here. Hive parts, frames, foundation, excluders, everything you need is easy to source. Which ever hive you decide to use make sure to stick to that type as other hives cannot be combined or used together.
In the UK most people use national bee hives which is the 'British Standard' or 'B.S national bee hive' but depending where you are in the world you may find other hives more common. We use national bee hives in our apiaries but check with a local beekeeper/beekeeping association or search online groups and forums to help you decide.
We would recommend keeping a bee hive consisting of;
We suggest having these parts spare for each of your occupied bee hives in case they swarm;
There are many suppliers of bees all over the UK, it just depends what kind of bee's you'd like, we would recommend sourcing bees locally from a reputable seller where possible.
There are a few types of honey bees to choose from but we would recommend sourcing bees locally where possible but do your own research, speak to other beekeepers on social media/forums and make your own decision.
Yes but check that your neighbours don't mind and give them a jar of honey every now and then to keep them sweet.
There are different rules for every site, make sure it's okay with the owners before you rent a plot.
Use a lighter and some paper/cardboard to get your choice of fuel going. At BBwear we use our smoker cartridges and a blow torch to get it going quickly with minimum effort.
Fondant is for winter, fondant with pollen is for spring and syrup is for summer.
If colony in winter feels underweight after hefting then give them some fondant.
If you want to give your bees aboost at the start of the season then feed them fondant with pollen and this should motivate the queen to start laying more as the pollen starts comming in.
A new colony just starting up in summer might like inverted syrup which they can use to make wax and get the frames drawn out quicker which saves them making honey and then turning the honey into wax. Inverted syrup is like honey so the bees can eat it and turn it straight into wax. Home made sugar syrup is not the same as inverted syrup and the bees have to invert it before they can use it. It takes 6 cells of honey to make 1 cell of wax, .
There is usually a forrage gap/dirth every year where the bees have little to forrage due to a lack or rain or perhaps a heatwave which dries up all the nectar. If you notice the bees are low on food in the summer give them some syrup but not too much, you don't want them to store the syrup in your supers!
You should only feed honey back to the bees if you're giving it back to the hive where you took it from.
Honey from other hives may transfer disease and cause dysentery.
It depends on the scenario, there are too many to go into detail and a wealth of information written by experts is available on internet forums and videos. Essentially you have either swarm prevention - dealing with the swarming colony before they leave the hive or swarm control - by catching and re-hiving the swarm after they have left. Ideally you want to keep all your bees from swarming so you don't lose honey and bees.
There are many ways of dealing with swarming colonies, the fundamental advice is always the same;
Follow the K.I.S.S. principle (keep it simple stupid!) a lighthearted reminder to try not to worry or over-complicate things.
See - How do I perform an artificial swarm?'
If you discover a developing queen cell or cells in your hive and the queen is still there you can perform an artificial swarm.
You can also use this technique when they're not swarming if you want to increase the amount of hives you have. (Only do so if the colony is healthy and strong on 8-10 frames and be prepared to feed if there is no nectar flow)
If your bee's are suffering from disease you should treat your bees. Generally people do this 3 to 4 times a year, winter spring and autumn to keep Varroa mites at bay.
If there's anything you would like us to include then please let us know via our contact page.