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Benefits derived from beekeeping are immeasurable particularly against a backdrop of lockdown and a meteoric rise in poor mental health. But it is not for everyone and needs careful consideration. 
 
Before becoming a beekeeper there are some sensible considerations such as; are you allergic or scared of bees, have you checked with neighbours, do you have the right space and environment, how are you with lifting heavy loads often at low height, have you allocated sufficient budget? I don’t proport to answer all of these today but each requires reflection. 
 
There are many ways to test each of these by joining your local, friendly and widely experienced bee association, which can be found by google or BBKA Association. Each typically run a teaching apiary which for a modest annual fee you can join the training sessions, meet like-minded (habitually fascinating) individuals and get hands on experience with the bees, understand the year-round commitment, and yes get your first sting and experience the lifting loads. Here at Oakdale, we run Introduction to Beekeeping courses which will give you a great insight. 
 
Without a doubt you will need to enrol on an in-depth course before you even think of ordering your first colony of bees or splashing out on what can be expensive equipment. Thornes and Paynes are each excellent. 
 
This time of year, is a good time to start researching your local society and the courses available in your local area. When ordering bees, this typically needs to be done now ready for May collection. Your course will enlighten you into the various types of hives and which is right for you and your location. 
 
My top tip: Get a bee buddy, friend, relative or someone with a shared passion and by learning together it’s certainly more fun. Two sets of eyes for queen spotting is a huge advantage, it’s safer, builds experience and, trust me, when it comes to lifting it’s an absolute bonus. 
Check out our 'Introduction to Beekeeping' Experience days by clicking HERE
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