Beekeeping

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 £85.
  • A beehive. We recommend a Thorne’s second quality National hive from Wynne Jones, Ruthin.
  • Smoker and hive tool. Approx £25.
  • £250 should get you started.
  • 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 from auction websites. The Association has two 3-frame extractors which it loans 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. Conwy BKA members Geoff Critchley, Mold, Tel: 01352 740991, honeyhouse.delfryndesign.co.uk; or Arwyn Davies, Abergele, Tel 01745 826291 are both highly recommended bee breeders.

Equipment

  • The UK’s main supplier is EH Thorne, Lincoln, Tel: 01673 858555, www.thorne.co.uk 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 790279.www.beesupplies.co.uk Wynne Jones is a member of Conwy BKA.
  • Also, ask for a catalogue from National Bee Supplies, Okehampton, Tel: 01837 54084, www.beekeeping.co.uk

The Association sometimes has secondhand hives and bees for sale.

How do I learn how to keep bees?

  • Conwy BKA evening course
  • We run hands-on training sessions with the bees at the Association apiary at Tal y Cafn, every third Saturday afternoon, from April to July. Protective clothing available.
  • We hold evening meetings at St Davids College, Llandudno, from September to April, on the last Monday of the month.
  • South Clwyd BKA weekend course at Coleg Llysfasi, Ruthin, Friday evening, all day Saturday, three weekends in summer. Details from secretary.

Beekeeping books

  • Local libraries, especially Colwyn Bay, have a good selection of bee books, classification 638.1.
  • Northern Bee Books, Tel 01422 882751, www.beedata.com/beebooks.htm

Magazines

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

Consumables

The Association stocks honey jars, 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.
  • Introduction to Beekeeping Course run by CBKA over ten sessions from September to May each year at Abergwyngregyn, Henfaes Research Centre and Tal y Cafn apiary.
  • Mentoring. We have over 80 members, and we can put you in touch with your nearest beekeeper.

Other information from Conwy Beekeepers’ Association

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