Starting from Scratch

a place for info on starting up, we can collect info on supply shops, people selling nucs, or queens, and mail order sites. is where we get a lot of bits and peices.

when we lived near Poitiers, we went here for our equipment,


They have a small, but well stocked shop, and a mine of information.

There is a shop in the south, I'll ask OH where it is this afternoon, but I'm sure we can rustle up more bits and bobs in the meantime.

Hi Zoe, we are in Haute Vienne 87. Thanks for the advice :-)

Hi Gill, i know that you can post packets of bees, but it can be stressful on them. As Brian said, spring swarms are plentiful here in the right places, and all you need to do is spread the word among locals that you'll collect swarms, and you'll be filling hives before you know it. Which area are you moving to?

Thanks, I will get new bees in France next Spring hopefully. Good advice :-)

Had this discussion with an English beekeeper in the Dordogne. Over 20 years ago he imported two nucleii. They were not able to adapt quickly enough to thrive and after three years both were lost. The bees here are as good, plenty of swarms in the spring for free ones. It's a mtter of choice but not a necessity.

I was scared to death driving just 30 mins with two hives in the car! I suppose it depends how far you are traveling and how attached you are to your bees.

Hi, has anyone brought bees out from England? I have read you can do it if you have a health check by a Regional Bee Inspector. Am thinking I could make up a dadant nucleus and take it out next year when we hope to move out permanently. Anyone had any experience of something similar or would I be advised just to start afresh?!!

nice one, David. Our jelly hives are getting honey supers this week, and the honey hives are off to the chestnut. transhumance is tomorrow night for another batch

I had a brilliant teacher, a dead serious apiarist and chair of the regional beekeepres society in East Anglia. It took me a couple of years of serious listening and watching but over my 18 years doing it I am still learning. I have never tried royal jelly work although I was shown how to, just loves me 'oney.

Thanks for the explanation sounds like a lot of hard work. I have today for the first time ever added a new box underneath the initial box on both my occupied Warre hives, I am well pleased with my self. We do I get my Bee Keepers badge.

I'd agree there, Brian, all keepers have their methods. Funnily enough, all keepers respect the methods of others, which I really appreciate. if it was knitting jumpers, or making stained glass, there'd be a lecture everytime we all tried to converse, lol.

It's a white liquid secreted by the bees to feed their queen. All larvae are given jelly till a certain age, but the queen gets it all her life, and it accounts for her bigger size, "better" development, and longer life-span.

it's used a lot in cosmetics, as well as in alternative medicine.It was said that Cleopatra used this, to keep her youthfulness.

here's a bit more about it from a friend's page.

I am going to sound like a right bayonet here, what is Royal Jelly. Does the Queen have to approve it!!

I do more or less the same as Zoe. I used a jumble of different ones but mainly Nationals in the UK, but I tend to collect swarms with a cardboard box, overturn it into a brood box as quickly as possible and let them get on with it. The man who taught me beekeeping said that everybody has their own way, so ultimately it doesn't matter.

wow, you really are the "local beekeper" if they're calling you for swarms already.I'm in Haute Savoie. warres are great, handy, and a great way to prepare a colony for a bigger hive.

We use top bar langstroths, and dadants, and are experimenting with both, to se whick gives the best production(we are in the royal jelly business)

I moved to France last year to start a smallholding, knowing I was going to keep bees I had several Warre hives made before coming. This year I set up the hives and put the word around the locals that I was after bees to fill the hives. Within days I had two swarms placed in two of my hives and they have now been there for four weeks, I am about to add another box to each hive as looking through the small window at the front of the hive I can see the honeycomb is getting close to the bottom on each of the top bars. Is anyone else using the Warre hive? Is anyone else close to me in the Creuse?

Absolutely a place to kick things off. I'm over in Haute Savoie.... was trying to organise something similar, but don't reall have time with work. if you know bee people in you area, it helps a lot. Co-ops can be very handy for sharing of equipment, and work/man hours.We don't have an official co-op, but OH (the professional beekeeper-Royal jelly), and another few keepers here work together, share a truck, extractors, and other bits and bobs during harvest time.

we're taking our hives to accacias at the moment, they were in the south. something about accacia makes them grow, and swarm.

i've been workign with bees for about 3 years now, and the first time I saw an actual swarm in flight was this year. quite impressed. I wanted to run into the middle of them. I hear people do that.

We are going to see a new beekeeper on Monday evening to help her out with something or other ( my Partner knows ore about it than me), we are all thinking of forming a small co-operative in the Gers/ Hautes Pyenees. Mainly to assist each other and hopefully introduce and train new beekeepers.

We here an meet and hear of lots of people who want to start and have no idea how to go about it.

Perhaps we could promote it on Survive France?

We have seen and heard of lot of swarms, tried to collect one in our village but it departed before we got back. We collected the next one and refused another two one from the same garden as we had nowhere to put them. Lots of flowers around at the moment, the acacias are in full bloom and soon we will have sunflowers all around.