I woke up one day in February and decided a wanted to be a beekeeper. I said to my husband Stuart, “I fancy being a beekeeper, what do you think?” I expected him to say I was crazy but instead he said “That’s a fantastic idea! Go for it!” And I did!
My first step was to get in touch with the East Lothian Beekeepers Association. Deborah and Colin were fantastically friendly and very helpful. They visited our house to see if the garden was suitable for a beehive, it wasn’t, and told me about the East Lothian Association beekeepers beginners course that was about to start and they’d try and get me on it.
I started the 10wk beginners evening course on 24th February. Having classed myself as a full time Mum for the last 13yrs while working part time for our own IT Consultancy firm, I was a bit nervous of going back to evening classes and meeting new people out-with sphere of children, IT consultants and accountants. It was fine and boy, I didn’t realise there was quite so much to beekeeping – bee anatomy, hives, inspections, swarms, diseases, products, insurance! It was a fantastic course, kindly held in an association members house. It was more a discussion group than a lecture, which suited me fine, and gave everyone a chance to ask silly questions and query things!
To be extra diligent, I also attended the Edinburgh and Midlothian Beekeepers Association’s beginners course. This started in April and was a bit more ‘lecture like’, but just as informative. They had the luxury of dummy hives to practice on during the evening and a programme of live hive visits which was invaluable. Even as late a May, I still had not opened a live hive so had no idea whether I was going to like it or not!
As the garden was unsuitable to site a hive, I contacted my local Estate Office to ask permission to site the hive on their land. To my surprise, they were delighted. So within a matter of a few weeks in February, I’d started my local association beginners evening class, had a location to site any future hives and had a second evening class lined up – fantastic! Then I started to price up hives and equipment. I should maybe have done that first!!!