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

I’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 Over the course of the next few years, the bee removal business was gradually superseded by the web presence.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!

30 Responses to “How I Started Beekeeping”

  • Kristine

    Good Morning
    I purchased a rental property a few years ago. Inside the big hickory tree outside the front door of one of the units there is a lot of bees going in and out of it. I have left the bees alone. Last fall a lot of bees made there way in to one of the units and caused havic with the tenant. With it being so close to the house and I have a new tenant in the other unit who is concerned with the bees I decided that it is probably time to try and find them a new home if that is possible. They are about 10 to 15 feet off the ground and it appears they are inside the tree. I really don’t want to lose the tree, and I don’t want to have the bees exterminated so I am searching for another solution. I’m in Macomb County, MI and looking at the bee keepers list it doesn’t appear to be anyone close to my location. I am hoping there is someone out there that is willing to assist with this situation. Thanks

  • Elizabeth Hobby

    I have a newly forming honey bee hive amongst my raspberry bushes. Did not know until I was weeding and got stung – I am allergic! BUT, I do not want to kill honey bees so is there a person in the Cranston/Warwick area that I can contact to investigate and hopefully take them away!

  • Michelle

    I am in need of someone to take these bees…. the hive is so huge inside of my attic.. I and my son are highly allergic to bees. We lost our home in the great flood and purchased another home witch has had this hive on the side of the house for over two years.. my aunt used to keep bees when I was younger and she always went and took the bees . Why is it so hard to find someone to get them? They are getting bees and the comb. I just need them gone asap!! Someone please help me

  • jill

    I have carpenter bees that love my cedar siding. I know that they are good pollinators and good for the environment but I want to find a way to naturally leave. I don’t want to kill them and spray chemicals in the nests that they created but I have to many. DO you know any bee keepers in the Yorkville Illinois are that can offer any suggestions? They are al over my house by my roof pitch and drill perfect holes in the cedar.
    Any suggestions would be great

  • flory bunk

    When I was a kid my Dad had a couple of hives. I didn’t pay much attention when he worked the hives but did so when he extracted the honey! He was seriously allergic and after being in emergency trying to die once too often my Mom gave away the bees and all the equipment before he got home…that caused a bit of an upset.

    My husband retired a couple of years ago and with that our cash flow was diminished. in 2011 spring my eldest daughter and her other half said they would like to put a bee hive in our home backyard. I recalled my Dad’s bees and said go for it. I thought about it and when they ordered their package I ordered two so I could learn along side them. We did not order the bees until April and were told it was too late for that year…but some folks didn’t turn up for theirs so we got them…on 2 days notice, we were scrambling to get their home ready.

    Remark : this is not me in the picture .

    Once installed we were hooked. I then had the idea of keeping more hives and applying for farm status…that would help with the cash flow. I initially ordered 2 more nucs but when I did the math I figured I would need more than five hives…so I ordered another dozen!

    It is a steep learning curve. I have realized I can’t lift a full deep….if at the right height off the ground I can lift a full dadant…who would have thought one’s arthritis would direct how one manages bees. I love the smell and sound of the bee yard. This year I hope to get an observation hive. Some of my hives have windows but a full hive view would be really interesting .

    Now i create this blog http://www.beekeepinghome.com to share what i learned with other beekeepers like you i hope you enjoy it .

  • Ronald Doster

    Hi Geoff, can you tell me if it is possible to make up sugar syrup in bulk, and keep it in the fridge. and take it out as needed to feed my bees?

  • diamond oaks Bees

    I payed for a listing on Bees on the Net on April 11th, it is still not appearing.

  • Dawn M Smith

    I have honey bees under my shed. This is a 2nd time. I don’t want them killed, just removed, along with the hive. I have low income, so I am looking for someone who wants the bees/hive. previously I had pest control come for removal, but they killed them and destroyed the hive. It saddened me to do that, so I don’t really want to do it again. Anyone?

    • Geoff

      No one ever asks pest control companies to kill insects free, why wold you expect beekeepers to remove bees, which can be a fairly tricky operation, free?


  • Nicole

    I am looking for a local beekeeper I can purchase beeswax for candle and cosmetic making. Any suggestions?

  • Kristina

    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.

  • Berry

    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.

    Talk soon!

  • Alita

    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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