Interested in becoming a Beekeeper?
Bees and other pollinating insects are a vital part of the natural World and over millions of years have evolved with flowering plants and trees to become dependant upon each other. Honey bees are social animals that live in hives containing 80,000 individuals or more, all governed by a single Queen. As beekeepers, we provide colonies of bees with a home in the form of a hive and by our actions ensure that the colony remains healthy and productive. If we have done our job correctly, we are normally rewarded with a harvest of up to a 100lbs (50kgs) of honey from each hive once or sometimes twice a year. Other harvests include beeswax used for centuries to make candles, polish and cosmetics as well as propolis, a highly antiseptic substance produced by the bees from plant resins. Beekeeping is a fascinating and challenging hobby that is very rewarding in many ways – Its even said that bees endow beekeepers with a long life…
Our membership stretches across North East Hampshire centred around Fleet and including towns such as Farnborough, Aldershot, Hook, Hartley Wintney, Odiham and Church Crookham as well as surrounding villages. We are a rapidly growing and friendly group of beekeepers, welcoming newcomers of all ages. Almost all our members are hobbyists, each with no more than a few stocks of bees and visitors are always made welcome. If you would like to talk to someone about joining our association, please contact our Secretary through the contact form.
Education and Training
Throughout the Spring, Summer and Autumn we hold local apiary meetings at which practical beekeeping skills are demonstrated and discussed. Beginners and novice beekeepers are encouraged to prepare for and take the British Beekeepers Association Basic Assessment (download the syllabus here). We also hold regular meetings and discussions throughout the rest of the year, usually at the Memorial Hall in Crookham Village where we usually have a speaker on a subject linked to beekeeping plus a social gathering over coffee and biscuits. Each year we run a “Beekeeping for Beeginners” course which starts with a series of weekly theory sessions in February and March before moving onto a series of practical sessions that run throughout the rest of the year. There are more details here.
Fleet BKA Shop
We are unusual in that as an Association, we have our own shop that stocks all the consumables (frames and foundation) and equipment such as hive tools, smokers, etc., that a beekeeper is likely to need throughout the year at competitive prices. The shop has been in existence for over 50 years and is run on a non-profit basis with any surplus going back into the Association for the benefit of all members. The shop is run by Chris Millar and David Morgan and is open every Friday from 6.30pm to 7.30pm from 10th of April until the end of September. The shop’s address and location is shown in the members’ area.
General and specialist beekeeping advice is available from our association Secretary who, if he does not know the answer himself, ‘knows someone that does’. We also have many other experienced and knowledgeable beekeeepers who are very pleased to help newcomers to the craft and provide advice on virtually all aspects of bee husbandry and can help with colony management queries and problems.
Bees and the Community (including schools, scout groups)
A number of members act as speakers for other local interest groups, particularly those concerned with the environment, gardening and horticulture, and the retired. We take a particular interest in regularly visiting local schools, scout/cub/beaver groups and educating children about bees and their key importance as pollinators.
Registered Members of the association may vote at AGMs and EGMs to influence the association direction and activities and also to elect the management committee. Registered members automatically become Registered Members of Hampshire Beekeepers’ Association and the British Beekeepers’ Association and benefit from various insurances which can help if they want to sell any hive products, including honey.