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.
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, 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 cwynnejones.com. 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
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.
- Local libraries, especially Colwyn Bay, have a good selection of bee books, classification 638.1.
- Northern Bee Books, Tel 01422 882751, www.northernbeebooks.co.uk/
- Beekeepers’ Quarterly, published by Northern Bee Books.
- BeeCraft, monthly. Ask for a free copy. Tel: 01733 771221, www.bee-craft.com
NBCW stocks beeswax foundation and frames, and varroa treatments.
- We recommend full bee suits from:
- Gloves from Thorne’s.
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.