This excellent guide was written for the beekeepingforum.co.uk by Steve Pickard and is here by his kind permission.
So you are looking to start beekeeping?
You are a person who wants to keep bees, and you have 101 questions to ask. Welcome to the community and hopefully you will have many years indulging in this fascinating hobby.
This thread is intended to answer some of the standard questions that aspiring beekeepers have. The crux is
1) Learn about beekeeping
2) Plan your hives and locations,
3) Get your bees.
First things first. Some like to dive in head first and cope with whatever challenges then arise as a consequence. This is not generally a good strategy in beekeeping, at least it is very prone to errors which could be costly to you and your bees.
The more you know about beekeeping before you start the better chance you have of making the right choices.
There are three principle methods of learning about beekeeping – books, courses, and your local association ? all are generally a good idea
Books are the easiest and cheapest way to get an idea if the rigours of beekeeping are really for you. There are a variety of beginners books available ? current favourites include The Haynes Beekeeping Manual, Bees at the Bottom of the Garden by Alan Campion, and Practical Beekeeping by Clive de Bruyn. The acknowledged Daddy of them all is Ted Hooper