Grow your own: European Bees

Bill O’Sullivan with bee hives

Have you considered housing European Bees at your little patch? There are numerous ways it can be done. Let’s look at some of them. 

Option 1.  Do a workshop or two and spend some time on YouTube, maybe join a bee keeping club and prepare so that you can have your own hives. You will need to acquire the necessary equipment which will include a suit (no fun being seriously stung), smoker, spinner, etc. 

Option 2. Purchase a hive or two that are ready with bees from a reputable bee keeper.  Then pay a beekeeper to come four or five times a year to extract the honey and do a bit of a health check on your hive. You own the hives, keep all the honey but pay for the regular servicing without outlaying for the majority of the equipment. You also minimise the risk of being stung.

Option 3.  Make arrangements with a reputable bee keeper to place their hives on your property.  You provide the flowers and the location. Remember European Bees travel kilometres foraging, so it is about what is in your area as opposed to just on your property. In return you negotiate a small portion of the honey. 

I don’t enjoy being stung and could never find the time to care properly for our hives, so for us here at Tullamore Farm it was easy. We have now had a nearly three year arrangement with a bee keeper who leaves hives here and we get a portion. That has been very successful for both of us. We documented the agreement (nothing fancy) before we started. He bottles it and we also sell all the harvested honey and split the proceeds. 

There are other options and possibilities so don’t discount having your own raw honey and more pollinators living at your place. 

The keys to which way you go if you want more bees is the amount of time and capital you are prepared to invest. Your requirements and the bee keepers you speak to will differ. 

Work out what best suits you and find the match so that this might work for you. 

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