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The Country Enterprise Handbook
Analysing your assets|Land use|Vegetables|Soft fruit|Flower & herb growing|Orchard & vineyard|Woodlands Sheep|Beef|Pigs|Rabbits|Hens|Ducks|Geese|Dairying|Kitchen|Bees|Wool|Water|Home|Contact us

...Siting a hive
...As partners
...Bee hives
...Hive construction
...Smoker,hive tool,feeder
...Capture a swarm
...Buy a colony or nucleus
...Queens & drones
...The workers
...Ah! Honey
...Propolis,royal jelly,wax

Keeping bees is one livestock enterprise that can be practised almost anywhere.

The delicious honey produced by suburban bees still manages to evoke images of flower-laden orchards and country lanes. There are even beehives in the City of London - though not very many. The bees survive on window-boxes and the small oases planted as picnic-places. The great thing about bees is that they fly off to gather food for the hive and so they do not have to be right in the middle of a food supply, just within reasonable striking distance. Apparently, one bee makes about 2,000 trips to flowers to make one teaspoonful of honey: that is something to remember as you spread it thickly on the bread at tea-time.

In commercial terms, bees produce honey and beeswax and, of course, more bees. To sell good honey is not difficult: the price is always good and there are very few areas where enough is produced to meet local demand. Anyone who appreciates using beeswax as a furniture polish is a good customer and anyone who does not appreciate it has probably never tried it. If you want to sell the bees you produce as a beekeeper, you either need someone who is going into beekeeping from scratch or another beekeeper who wishes to expand his enterprise more quickly than his own bees will allow. You may well be your own best customer for the first few years but eventually you will end up with some surplus bees unless you just let them swarm and fly away which is wasteful and in populated areas unpleasant and possibly dangerous.