Training is necessary, because beekeeping requires a certain know-how and also a know-how. Bees sting, and for their safety and that of those around them, you have to know how to handle them. Beekeeping techniques exist and you have to know them. Opening a hive, putting your hands inside, taking out the frames, learning the right gestures are examples of knowledge that can be acquired more easily in a practical way. Many books can provide the basic theoretical knowledge but practical training, before investing in a hive is highly recommended.
Practical training can be free from local beekeepers or paid. In the latter case it is necessary to plan between 200 € and 450 €. You can inquire to see if the training can be taken into account by your training organization.
To start concretely you need a budget for three things:
When you start, you have to think first about your safety. Protective equipment includes:
- 1 Hat also called veil which costs about 29 €
- 1 vareuse / a suit / jacket, 90 €
- 1 pair of gloves (leather for example), 25 €
- 1 smoker with protective grid, 70 €
That’s about 200 €.
A complete hive with accessories and swarm
The hive is the basic material in beekeeping. To start in beekeeping, you need to know the different types of hives that exist in order to make your choice. The choice varies according to the beekeeping techniques recommended and also the regions where they will be placed.
The standard model, and widely used in Europe is the Dadant Hive. But there are also other popular models such as the Langstroth Hive and the Warré Hive. It is possible to reduce expenses to build your own hive.
It is common to start by catching a natural swarm. This reduces expenses, certainly, but involves risks because many elements will not be mastered such as the age of the queen for example and it is even possible to lose this swarm from the first winter. So it is wiser to get a swarm already trained from seasoned and trusted beekeepers.
The best place to start is to get a swarm on frames which allows you to see if the colony is healthy. Swarms can range from €0 to around €250. It is important that the swarm meets the sanitary rules.
It takes about 800 € to have a Dadant hive and all the accessories (frame lifts, feeders and queen pliers, hive body …), and swarms from a good selection from sellers of beekeeping equipment.
Equipment for honey making
The price of the equipment needed to harvest honey depends mainly on the type and number of hives used. It is obviously more tedious to collect honey by hand on ten hives than on two. In the first case a little more sophisticated equipment will be required. The equipment may consist of:
- A honey extractor whose price varies depending on whether it is manual or electric, plastic or stainless steel and the number of frames.
- 1 maturator that can also be plastic or stainless steel
- 1 colander
- 1 harrow to be de-sealed
- 1 bucket with spout
- 1 tray to be unsealed
- 1 seal dryer basket
- 1 holder to drain the buckets.
Kits containing several of these items are offered and prices vary between 300 and 500 €.