Surprisingly, beekeeping at least on a small scale works better in the town than in the country. It’s something to do with distance from the hive and too many fertilizers and chemicals in the countryside compared to nice compact multifloral town gardens and back yards. Anyway, the result is that a single urban hive can yield 100 pounds of honey in a season, where you may be lucky to get 35 pounds from a hive in the country.
Apart from the pleasure of enjoying the honey, the joys of beekeeping as a hobby include taking part in a ritual which has changed little throughout history, exercising practical husbandary over wild animals which have amazing skills and adaptability, bringing ‘ rus’ into ‘urbe’ and of course the opportunity to become a member of that most eclectic of societies, the British Beekeeping Association.
But do remember that putting your telephone number on your notice which says ‘Local Honey for Sale’ may result in some unusual telephone calls.
http://www.bbka.org.uk/ The British Beekeeping Association is a fount of knowledge for beekeepers.
http://www.thorne.co.uk/thorne7.htm All the kit you need to get started
http://beebase.csl.gov.uk/public/BeeDiseases/indexDiseases.cfm there is a National Health Service for bees, which helps you diagnose any illnesses and advises on treatment.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beekeeping#Origins for some of the history of beekeeping
NEW....Our correspondent, Christy, emails from Dallas:-
As I’m sure you know, one of Mother Nature’s hardest-working creatures is facing a population crisis — and the problem is SO bad that there are currently 7 bee species on the endangered list (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bees-endangered-how-you-can-help_us_57f560efe4b0b7aafe0bb55d). Seven! The delicate balance of the ecosystem is always in danger of being disrupted when a species is lost forever, but because we count on bees to pollinate so many of our food-based crops, we humans would see a direct, devastating impact on our existence should we fail to take action to protect them.
The great news is that there is actually a lot we can all do to save the bees. Since you are clearly as concerned about the bee population as I am, I’d like to offer you some resources that you can add to your site to encourage people to take swift action — no matter how small it may seem — to address this issue.
Here’s Why We Need to Save the Bees + 10 Things You Can Do to Help
How to Become A Tree Hugger
Make a Mason Bee House
The Buzz on Beekeeping: A Guide to Bringing Up Bees in Your Own Backyard
Making a Bee-Friendly Garden
Help the Honey Bees! Toxic Pesticides to Avoid in Your Garden
Buzzing for Solutions: 13 Organizations and Initiatives Helping to Save Bees