We really enjoyed the beginners course and wouldn't recommend even thinking about getting bees without enrolling. On Malcolm's advice we got our first colony very early on and we definitely benefited from learning with them, especially when we could compare what we were seeing at home with what we were seeing in the lessons. We have obviously caught the bug, because we currently have three colonies – two came from Malcolm’s apiary, and the third was one we created by carrying out a split. We disagree about the best moment of the course – for me it was the first taste of our own honey, sneaked from the bees when we were removing some wild comb they had created and filled. For Rob it was the bee safari and having the opportunity to see all the other students' apiaries. The worst moment is unanimous – when Keith and Malcolm confirmed our suspicions that we have chalk brood in one of our hives, although even that was more of a learning point than a 'worst moment '. What I found most difficult was accepting the level of death in the hive - I am getting better but it is still hard. Beekeeping itself isn't really difficult as long as you listen to what the bees are telling you, and don't be too rigid in your approach. That is definitely one of the key lessons learned. Most valuable though is the contacts we have made - all the tutors have been really patient and always willing to pass on their knowledge and experience, and we have a brilliant relationship with our bee-buddy Amanda. Then there are our fellow students, a number of whom are now friends. Definitely well worth the time and money!
We were tempted to say that the best moment was watching the video of your honey extraction, but decided not to be that cruel!!