In 2018 I attended the beekeeping taster day run by HWBKA which convinced me that this was something I wanted to do. There and then I signed up for the beginners course that was due to start in the following year.
The course conveniently follows the beekeeper's year so in March and April we covered all the preparation needed before actually keeping bees. After learning about the various types of beehives, I decided that a "poly hive" was most suitable for me. Being lighter than other hives it would be easier to use in view of my bad back. It also suited the rather exposed location that I had chosen for my hives since it is warmer than the standard national hive.
I was also introduced to my "bee buddy" Steve. He is an experienced beekeeper who lives locally and is available to offer help should I find myself out of my depth.
At the beginning of June I got my bees; a very exciting moment. By then I was confident enough to move the bees out of the poly nuc they came in, and into the main hive.
The 2019 class set up a "WhatsApp" group so that we could share each other's experiences. Malcolm monitored the group and brought us back to the straight and narrow whenever we charged down the wrong route.
I have been lucky with my bees who have been gentle and well behaved. However, via WhatsApp, I have been able to share, and learn from others who had a somewhat less easy time dealing with swarming and other "interesting" events. These were all covered in the main course but were nevertheless daunting when first happening.
Now that I have completed our final lesson I am busy getting my bees ready for the winter. I can look back with satisfaction on a good crop of honey, and an entry into the National Honey Show.
This year has been only the start of a continuous learning process, but with our group, our bee buddies and others at HWBKA I will never be short of help and advice when I need it.