I am thinking of becoming a beekeeper
This is highly recommended. Keeping bees is a fulfilling experience when done with confidence based on learning, rather than by trial and error which can be off-putting – and costly if you lose your bees. Check with your local beekeeping association for new beekeeper courses. DSBA runs an annual New Beekeepers course which includes lectures, and practical training at a dedicated apiary. The training is delivered by experienced beekeepers who guide you through the basics of beekeeping giving you confidence to manage your bees successfully.
There is a minimum equipment requirement which includes: Protective clothing: quality protective clothing costs around £230, to occasional veils which provide much less protection at around £10. Smoker, tools and the components to build a hive: £350 to £400 Bees on a budget kits, including clothing, are also available and vary in quality, and price from £270 to £450. In addition, you will need bees. A nucleus of bees, which would include a mated queen, brood, bees and stores, costs c.£225. Your budget would be between £500 to £850
This would require a couple of hours one afternoon a week during the active season from April to August. Less frequent, but regular checks every few weeks are required from September to March to check for weather damage and food stocks.
Yes. However, most stings happen with poor handling skills. As your beekeeping skills improve you are likely to experience fewer stings. In addition, always wearing your protective clothing and using your smoker effectively will further reduce the likelihood of stings.
I am setting up as a new beekeeper
For a New Beekeeper this will depend on the age of the queen heading the colony that you choose.
Nucleus colonies become available around June and have a queen born in the current year.
Overwintered and full colonies are available for the start of the spring season in April and have a queen born in a previous year.