Question 1: I just want to give honey bees a nesting place for a colony and let them take care of themselves. I have no real desire to steal their honey. How can I best achieve this please?
Answer: You could consider The Honey Bee Nest Box. This is not a beehive - it is a nest box of the right shape and size, suitable to attract a swarm of honey bees. It is quite large - over 1m tall. You - the conservationist - simply leave the bees to live in the box as if they were living in the wild. This way you provide a home for honey bees but do not manage them, or extract honey from them. This focus of The Honey Bee Nest Box is championing the honey bee, not as a domestic animal, but as part of the native wildlife in Britain - as indeed it is.
Question 2: We are trying to encourage our local ecosystem while producing food products, and have decided to get a couple of bee hives to help with the garden pollination and to harvest a small amount of honey. We realise it is going to be quite expensive. Can we keep honey bees without spending a lot of money?
Answer: You could consider top-bar beekeeping or Warre beekeeping. These approaches are simpler than using conventional frame hives and the bee hives are less complex - therefore less expensive. You need less equipment too. Follow these links for more information:
Top-bar hives and Warre hives are available from our shop in Monmouth
Just to clarify - Top-bar and Warre beekeeping will allow you to harvest some honey, the Honey Bee Nest Box will not.