Recently, we’ve teamed up with Hive Alive for an exciting giveaway that offered 2 Hive Alive products and 1 Apiary Book Pro Subscription for 1 year.
Because the winner takes it all, we decided to get in touch with the lucky winner, Lewis Goddall, and ask him if he would love to share his beekeeping journey with us and our community of beekeepers.
He is a passionate beekeeper who’s been raising bees for about 4-5 seasons and holds rich baggage of valuable experience. He’s been practicing a lot in his apiary and also made mistakes from which he always learned. All this time, he had only one thing in mind – doing the best for his bees.
All the way from North Worcestershire – UK, Lewis was happy to answer our questions and offer us his advice about beekeeping.
Tell us a bit about your beekeeping journey
Lewis: I keep bees in the Midlands in the UK. I’ve been keeping bees for around 4-5 seasons. I had a few setbacks to start with, including having to move the apiary a few times for various reasons. I initially came in trying to be a very balanced beekeeper and made my own top bar hive with swarms to populate. I’ve always tried to err on the side of modern beekeeping and try to do the best for the bees. For example, having highly insulated hives. I currently predominantly use paradise poly hives but have also played around with the zest hive concept and recently my dad made some Zeidler hives which again so far have had mixed success.
A few seasons ago, I decided to get a bit more serious and bought 3 nucs from my local association of which 2 survived the winter. I then spent a season practicing queen rearing and built up to around 15 colonies. This season has been my first time making a significant amount of honey.
What advice would you give to beekeepers who are just starting their journey?
Lewis: An advice for new beekeepers would be to not underestimate the need to feed bees. There is nothing worse than finding starved colonies. This was one of my teachable moments this year, following 3 to 4 weeks of rain in peak nectar flow, in May, which resulted in 3 losses. Also, practice queen rearing as you’ll learn a huge amount from this experience.
What has been your biggest challenge as a beekeeper?
Lewis: A big challenge as a beekeeper was the lack of a drawn comb. This takes time and is quite possibly one of the most valuable resources.
We’re grateful for everything Lewis shared with us from his beekeeping experience and we hope that his advice will inspire your own journey. He’s taught us that beekeeping takes a lot of experimentation and dedication to make it successful and even though we might fail at times, there’s always sun and honey for every season.