Bee my buddy

Your beekeeping readers will have been delighted with your leader "Apiculture shock" (1 September), which hit all the right notes. But not so pleased to see the price of £350 to get started.

A complete hive in these parts costs less than £100, as does the protective gear. That leaves just the bees to find. Our beginners' course in Harrogate offers 24 sessions, including a hive and a colony of bees. Each person on the course gets a "bee buddy", free advice at any time and the opportunity to borrow other equipment. Many associations have similar schemes.

No one need be deterred by the cost, which will be covered by the value of honey and wax produced. But anyone starting in this wet summer may have longer to wait!

Peter Reasbeck
Horsforth, West Yorkshire

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This article first appeared in the 15 September 2008 issue of the New Statesman, Inside Iran