The Guide to Idle Beekeeping with Bill Anderson

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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 low maintenance Warré hives that Bill keeps on his sliver of roof in London. These low-tech, bee-friendly “People’s Hives” were developed by French clergyman Abbé Warré a hundred years ago. They are unique because they need only two interventions a year – one in spring and one in autumn. That’s very little work for the beekeeper, it’s also good for the bees: you’ll find out why in the course.

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

In three video lessons Bill covers –

  • the philosophy and history behind the Warré hive
  • the life cycle of the bee
  • how to build a bait hive
  • how to catch a swarm
  • what to do when a swarm moves into your bait hive
  • 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 lessons Bill shows –

  • how to build a hive
  • how to harvest honeycomb
  • how extract the honey from the comb
  • how to make delicious mead
  • how to collect beeswax and make candles


In one short video lesson Bill revises –

  • what to do in the two short interventions of the year
  • demonstrates each process step by step

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 including –

  • instructions for how to insulate a hive
  • instructions for how to build a Warré hive
  • details of the equipment you will need

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.