Information for new beekeepers

What do I need to get started?

  • All in one bee suit, gloves, Wellington boots. Approx £120.
  • A 5-frame nucleus of bees, approx cost £180.
  • A beehive. We recommend a Thorne’s second quality National hive from Wynne Jones, Ruthin.
  • Smoker and hive tool. Approx £25.
  • £500 should get you started, including the fee for a training course.
  • Plus, later … 4-frame stainless or food grade plastic honey extractor, honey settling tank and a second hive. We do not recommend buying second-hand galvanized or tin-plated extractors, or secondhand beehives from auction websites. Conwy Beekeepers has two 3-frame extractors which it hires out to members.
CBKA honey extracting equipment

CBKA extracting equipment

Where do I get my bees?

We recommend starting with a 5-frame nucleus of local bees with a young queen, which will develop into a full colony as you gain experience. We can recommend suppliers of locally-raised nucs.


  • The UK’s main supplier is EH Thorne, Lincoln, Tel: 01673 858555, Ask for a catalogue. The best prices are in January during the winter sale.
  • Our local Thorne’s agent is Wynne Jones, Ruthin, Tel: 01978 Wynne Jones is a member of Conwy BKA.
  • Also, ask for a catalogue from National Bee Supplies, Okehampton, Tel: 01837 54084,

Conwy Beekeepers sometimes has secondhand hives and bees for sale.

How do I learn how to keep bees?

  • National Beekeeping Centre Wales (NBCW) evening course and weekend courses
  • We run hands-on informal training sessions with the bees at the Conwy Beekeepers’ Apiary at Tal y Cafn, from April to August. Protective clothing available, just bring wellies.
  • We hold evening lecture meetings at Craig y Don Community Centre, from September to March, on the last Tuesday of the month.

Beekeeping books

  • Local libraries, especially Colwyn Bay, have a good selection of bee books, classification 638.1.
  • Northern Bee Books, Tel 01422 882751,


  • Beekeepers’ Quarterly, published by Northern Bee Books.
  • BeeCraft, monthly. Ask for a free copy. Tel: 01733 771221,


NBCW stocks beeswax foundation and frames, and varroa treatments.

Protective clothing

Local events

We are at the following shows and we are always keen to meet new beekeepers:

  • Conwy Seed Fair, every 26th March
  • Conwy Honey Fair, every 13th September
  • Eglwysbach Show, 2nd Saturday in August
  • Llanrwst Show, 3rd Saturday in August

Support for new beekeepers

  • It is important that new beekeepers attend the apiary meetings at Tal y Cafn, until they are confident to work their bees. We do not want new beekeepers to struggle alone with their bees, and to lose interest.
  • NBCW at Bodnant Welsh Food in the Conwy Valley is always looking for volunteers, to help in the Visitor Centre or to help with their apiary.
  • Mentoring. We have over 150 members, and we can usually put you in touch with your nearest beekeeper.

Other information from Conwy Beekeepers

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