Once you see inside a beehive, see how the bees control the temperature, see them dance to communicate, you’ll be hooked for life!

geoff-kipps-bolton-beekeeperI’ve been keeping bees since about 1987. It was something I’d wanted to do ever since I read a ‘How to Keep Bees’ book a few years earlier. I didn’t start straight away, beecause (sorry I couldn’t resist) I grew up in England, lived in an urban area of South London. In 1987, I moved to a rural village near Peterborough in Cambridgeshire. Since I was now “in the country”, I could get some bees!

What I didn’t realize was that you can keep bees almost anywhere, even in a city. If I’d known then what I know now, I would have started keeping bees much sooner. When people ask me the best time to start beekeeping, I say “NOW!”. Don’t wait until you have time, move house, or retire!

Once you realize how easy and fascinating keeping bees really is, you’ll wonder why more people don’t do it!

Since then I’ve moved to the United States and kept bees in various parts of Southern California. Honeybees are much the same everywhere, the issues differ a little, raccoons and bears aren’t a big problem in Cambridgeshire, but beekeepers the world over have a lot in common.

I was a contract database programmer for a while in San Diego. When the contract ended, I realized I probably wouldn’t get another job like that and I wasn’t sure whether I wanted one anyway! It seemed obvious that I should do something to help save bees, so I took up bee removal instead.

To promote my bee removal business, I created a website called SanDiegoBees.com. Over the course of the next few years, the bee removal business was gradually superseded by the web presence. This website, Bees-on-the-Net.com, was born.

I get many inquiries from people who have questions about bees. They see a swarm, often they think it’s a hive, and want to know what to do. I spend much of my time educating people about bees, what to expect and what to do in their particular circumstances. It’s quite amazing that a swarm of bees clustered in a tree can be bigger than a football, but consists entirely of perhaps 20,000 bees simply clinging on to each other.

It upsets me that it’s often assumed that these bees should be exterminated rather than just left to their own devices. One of the worst examples of this was at a Padre’s Baseball game in front of many thousands of television viewers when a swarm of bees stopped the game for almost an hour while the bees were exterminated in front of the TV audience.

We need honey bees, perhaps we should educate people to accept and understand bees and their amazing habits!

6 Responses to “How I Started Beekeeping”

  • KMBROOK@aol.com'


    Great website! My mom’s cousins in Germany are beekeepers and they send us wonderful jars of honey. I visited their facilities one time and it was awesome! I happen to currently have a live swarm of bees at our house in the high desert area of San Bernardino County. They are clinging to our house near our chimney. They are now starting to come into our house, which is a bit unnerving. I am wondering if I can build a bee box away from the house that they can live in instead of so near my own house and coming into my house.

  • michellyancy@freenet.de'


    It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d
    most certainly donate to this fantastic blog!
    I suppose for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your
    RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to brand new updates and will talk about this site with my Facebook group.

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  • robbinsalita@yahoo.com'


    Thank you so very much for an informative, fun site! You’ve gone to great lengths and considerable care to provide the public with accurate information. I wish I had found this site years ago when I had many swarms in my yard over the course of a couple years. My fascination for bees persists, and I absolutely LOVE your advice to START NOW if you want to start Beekeeping! My only question is if I could earn a livable wage keeping bees here in Arizona.

    Again, many thanks for the wonderful site.
    Alita Robbins

    • Geoff

      I think there is potential almost anywhere. Try opening your mind and thinking ‘outside the hive’. It’s the sort of thing you can do part time and increase. Good Luck!

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