Watch: How to start your own beehive at home
As the ultimate queen of pop, Beyoncé recently revealed she is queen B in another way – as an amateur beekeeper!
In an interview with British Vogue magazine, the singer revealed that she has two hives, home to over 80,000 bees.
“I’ve had them at my house for a while now,” she revealed. “I have around 80,000 bees and we make hundreds of jars of honey a year.”
While she started beekeeping to help her children’s allergies – honey has numerous healing properties – you don’t have to be a superstar singer to keep bees.
Curtis, also known as The Local Honey Man, knows more than a thing or two about keeping bees.
A passion fuelled by his uncle, a master beekeeper, Curtis set up his first apiary in London, proving you don’t have to have an A-list mansion with acres of land to keep bees.
1 Get the right equipment
Obviously, you need somewhere for your bees to live, so the first important piece of equipment is a beehive, which is basically a series of various boxes.
The bottom box will contain your queen bee. She needs to be segregated from the worker bees by using a simple grid splitter, which prevents her getting to the top.
The hive also contains frames, with a wax foundation, and this is where the honey is made.
Other equipment you may need include a nucleus box and hive tools to help you open the boxes when inspecting the hive.
2 Place your beehive somewhere stable
You can’t just plonk your beehive anywhere – you need to ensure it’s sitting on level ground.
A stand is also good to stop you from bending over too much and also to keep the beehive away from wet ground. Bees are naturally inclined to set up home above the ground, so this encourages that as well. You can buy special beehive stands or just use bricks.
3 Make sure you’ve got plenty of space
You don’t need acres of land, just a minimum of a metre and a half around the hive, but it’s important to allow space around the hive so the bees can come and go as they please uninterrupted.
You also don’t need to get permission to keep bees in your back garden or any land that you own, but you do have a responsibility for them not to cause a nuisance.
4 Protect yourself
The Local Honey Man team recommend going for a full on bee suit as opposed to a jacket and trousers combo, as bees can still get in if you don’t tuck yourself in properly!
Don’t forget gloves either. Nitrile gloves are great – as they are thin enough that you can handle things easily but the bees won’t sting you while you’re wearing them.
Read more: Seven amazing health benefits of honey
In this day and age as well, you need to consider protecting yourself against any legal claims from any incidents. It’s a good idea to join your local beekeepers’ association as this will include insurance liability to protect you if any issues arise.
5 Get good tempered bees!
Yes, these really are a thing. With the law requiring you to not to cause a nuisance, well behaved bees are essential!
The Local Honey Man provide Buckfast bees as these are not only good tempered, but they also have good productivity and disease resistance.
Inspecting the hive or removing the honey can agitate even the most mild-mannered of bees, so a smoker is another piece of equipment you’ll need as it helps to calm them down.
Watch: Discover what the inside of the beehive looks like and how it works