Join a club

To join Meridian, complete our application form or if you have any questions, please contact our membership secretary, howard.towl@btinternet.com. Full membership costs £38 per annum and for further details about the various classes of membership and fees click here Classes of membership and fees.

These days, most people turn to the internet when thinking about keeping bees but a quick foray into any beekeepers’ forum will tell you that a newbie can be easily confused by all the conflicting information. There’s a saying, ask three beekeepers and you’ll get six answers!

The conversations usually go something like this; What’s the best equipment to buy? “Ah! Standard nationals all the way!” “Oh no! I swear by Langstroths!” “No, deeps much are better!’ “But, I want a flow hive!” No they’re complete rubbish!” So, what bees shall I get? “Buckfasts are nice and gentle!” “No, you definitely want Italian!” And so it goes on.

All this conflicting advice doesn’t mean any of it’s wrong, it’s just that you need some knowledge before you can make any sense of it! One thing’s for sure, sending off for bees is a bad idea. They may be diseased or impossible to handle or not properly adapted to local conditions and buying the wrong equipment can be an expensive mistake.

There are two things however most beekeepers can agree on. Firstly, before you start, join a club and secondly, local bees are best.

The good news is, there’s a beekeeping club near you and they’ll probably offer an ‘introduction to beekeeping’ course which guides you through your equipment choices and provides all the basics to get you started. They’ll also appoint a mentor to help you with your early questions like siting your bees properly and what to look for when you’re checking them. Crucially, they’ll likely raise some healthy, gentle local bees to get you going. (obtaining a nucleus)

If you’re still thinking about going it alone, ask yourself, what will I do when my bees get sick and how would I even know? How will I stop them from swarming? And what will I say when my angry neighbour bangs on my door because my swarm is dangling from his bush?

Every year, a fresh batch of would-be beekeepers fall into the same traps and the saddest part, they often end up abandoning beekeeping before they’ve really started. Keeping bees is a big responsibility, there’s much more to it than popping in a hive to make the garden look pretty and taking off a few jars of honey at the end of the year. Think: a puppy is for life, not just for Christmas; it’s the same with bees!

After six years of beekeeping, I seem to know less now than I did when I started! I still depend on the extensive resources available from official sources and on the freely given, kind advice of other beekeepers. For the more enthusiastic, there’s a vast array of courses to help us become better beekeepers and to make our fascinating craft even more enjoyable. Anyway, I hope this page isn’t too preachy! Lecture over, let’s enjoy our bees!

Wherever you live in the UK, membership of your local club is likely to give you membership of your county and national associations too. Your membership may also include the insurance cover you need.

Meridian Beekeepers Association

To join Meridian, complete our application form or if you have any questions, please contact our membership secretary, howard.towl@btinternet.com. Full membership costs £38 per annum and for further details about the various classes of membership and fees click here Classes of membership and fees.

Meridian Beekeepers’ supports beekeepers in the South Hampshire area of Southern England. Our area is bordered by Romsey in the West, Winchester in the North, Meon Valley and Fareham to the East and South. We cover Bishops Waltham, Botley, Hedge End, Shedfield, Swanmore, Titchfield, Wickham and West End, Southampton.

Your membership fee, currently £38 per annum, includes automatic membership of Hampshire Beekeepers’ Association and the British Beekeepers’ Association. Our members are also protected by insurance provided by Bee Disease Insurance Limited.

Membership of Meridian Beekeepers’ Association includes regular apiary meetings, mentoring, access to training, development and beekeeping qualifications, introduction to beekeeping courses, equipment loan, social events and activities.

Hampshire Beekeepers’ Association organises the programme of education and assessment for our area as well as seminars and events. http://hampshirebeekeepers.org.uk

The British Beekeepers’ Association includes their excellent monthly magazine which guides you through the beekeeping year, national conventions and events. https://www.bbka.org.uk

Bee disease insurance provides public liability and insurance for the replacement of beekeeping equipment should it have to be destroyed due to an incidence of a notifiable disease, such as European or American Foul Brood. https://www.beediseasesinsurance.co.

To join Meridian, complete our application form or if you have any questions, please contact our membership secretary, howard.towl@btinternet.com. Full membership costs £38 per annum and for further details about the various classes of membership and fees click here Classes of membership and fees.

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