The Guide to Idle Beekeeping with Bill Anderson


If you are thinking of keeping bees, The Guide to Idle Beekeeping teaches you everything you need to get started, even in a city, and without effort.

From building a hive to harvesting honey, urban beekeeper Bill Anderson shows aspiring beekeepers how to keep bees the idle way.

We visit the minimum interference Warré hives Bill keeps on his sliver of roof in London. These low-tech, low maintenance, bee-friendly “People’s Hives” were developed by French clergyman Abbé Warré a hundred years ago. They demand only two interventions a year, in spring and in autumn – that’s good for the bees, and less work for the beekeeper.

Part One of The Guide to Idle Beekeeping focuses on what to do with your hives in spring.

In three video-based lessons, Bill covers the philosophy and history behind the Warré hive, the life cycle of the bee, how to catch a swarm and how to build a bait hive. You will learn what to do when a swarm moves in and how to insulate your hive to keep your bees happy.

Part Two of The Guide to Idle Beeping Bill focuses on harvesting honey and making your own mead.

In three further video-based lessons Bill shows you how to build a hive, how to harvest honeycomb from the hive and how extract the honey from the comb. We learn to make delicious mead and collect beeswax for candles.


In one short video lesson we revise what to do in the two short interventions of the year.

Bill demonstrates each process step by step and detailed notes for insulating your hive are included as well.

Course Outline


Part One: Spring

Lesson One: Get Bees – 38 mins

Lesson Two: Install Bees – 16 mins

Lesson Three: Help Bees – 23 mins


Part Two: Autumn

Lesson Four A: Harvest – 32 mins

Lesson Four B: Honey, Mead and Beeswax – 41 mins

Lesson 5: Build your own Hive – 24 mins



Lesson 6: What to do in Spring and what to do in Autumn – 9 mins

What you Get

Seven video lessons

Detailed notes for both Part One and Part Two

Access to the course forum where you can pose questions to your your tutor Bill Anderson. This is where you join the Idle Beekeeping community and share your experiences with fellow beekeepers.

About the tutor

Bill Anderson has directed television drama ranging from Evelyn Waugh’s classic “Sword of Honour” starring 007 Daniel Craig to “Dr Who”.  He keeps bees in a Warré hive on the tiny sliver of horizontal roof atop his West London home. Bill has enticed many wild swarms to move into his Warré hives.  This hive system strives to emulate the bees’ natural habitat in the wild – a cavity in a tree. Bill prefers to think of himself as more of a hive-keeper than a beekeeper – the bees are always free to leave his hives whenever they feel like it – just like an inn-keeper’s customers. He is the author of The Idle Beekeeper: The Low-Effort, Natural Way to Raise Bees.