No! Whether you have bees, or not, as long as you have an interest in bees and beekeeping you are very welcome. We have different levels of membership dependent on whether or not you have bees.
Can I keep bees in my garden?
This is not usually advisable but is sometimes possible depending on the location and size of the garden as well as proximity to neighbours.
Safety and rigorous hive management are of vital importance as most neighbours do not appreciate being stung or having a swarm arrive in their garden. Most beekeepers tend to have an 'out apiary' - one located in a safe area away from their home.
I want to start keeping bees, what kind of hive should I use?
This is the sixty four million dollar question! There are different types of hive available and different beekeepers have different opinions on what is best.
The type of hive that you get can also be influenced by whether you are doing this as a hobby or going into more commercial honey production. Before you buy any hives, come and have a chat with some of our members and come to an apiary meeting so that you can see the different hives for yourself.
Do you offer training courses?
We will typically run a Beginning Beekeeping Course each year. Look at the Getting Started section.
Is beekeeping expensive?
The initial out-lay can be expensive, especially for hives made from Western Red Cedar, which is the preferred choice amongst the majority of beekeepers.
A lot of new beekeepers normally start with good quality second hand hives and equipment, and settle for just a veil rather than a full bee suit. Beekeepers often have equipment for sale, but ask advice from a seasoned beekeeper on what to get and ensure that you are obtaining disease free and good quality items.
A visit to the Sussex Bee Market in the spring of each year is well worth attending with its large auction of beekeeping equipment and supplier stalls.
I'd like to attend a meeting, do I need special clothing or equipment?
The Association can usually provide protective clothing for beginners at meetings. As bees walk up rather than down, it is best to wear wellington boots, thick trousers (jeans are Ideal) a long sleeved thick shirt and marigold or nitrile gloves. Avoid jumpers as bees get their legs caught in the wooly texture. Bees dislike dark colours, perfumes, strong after shave and shower gels. If you are allergic to stings, have heart trouble, asthma or similar serious conditions it is advisable to consult your GP before you handle bees.