Each year we offer a beginners’ course, facilitate members taking the BBKA Basic Assessment and also, during the winter months, arrange a series of lectures geared towards BBKA Modular Examinations. Further details below:
BBKA Basic Assessment
To take the Basic Assessment you should have managed at least one colony of bees for a minimum of 12 months
The Basic Assessment syllabus and further information can be found through the BBKA Practical Assessments link below.
The format of the course is six 2 hour sessions held on Saturday mornings between January and March. See the programme for 2020 below. The cost of the course is £90. If you are interested you should Contact the Training Officer
2020 Beginners have the opportunity to sign up for a hive building course which is charged separately. This will be on Saturday 28th March 2020 and participants will build their own British National Hive.
NB If you know that you have an allergy to bee stings it is inadvisable to undertake beekeeping unless you have discussed this with a qualified medical practitioner.
Beginners’ Course Programme 2020
18th Jan Bee Biology – was presented by Richard Knott
A brief explanation of the honeybee’s lifecycle from egg to grave.
25th Jan Equipment – was presented by Brian Dennis
An introduction to the extent and type of equipment used, including demonstration of how a hive is designed and why it works.
1st Feb Overwintering and Spring Development – was presented by Trevor Minett
An explanation of how a colony survives the Winter and builds up in the Spring for maximum efficiency.
8th Feb Swarm Management – presented by Brian Dennis
Why bees swarm, the problems this may cause for the beekeeper, and techniques for delaying swarming.
29th Feb Pests and Diseases – presented by Patsy Hollingum
How bees become sick, what the beekeeper can do to avoid it and the effect pests and diseases have on the colony.
7th March Honey – presented by David White
How the bee makes honey, techniques for extraction and watchpoints for the beekeeper.
25 July Varroa Treatment & Winter Feeding. – Presented by Brian Dennis
How to manage your bees at the end of the season.
a first test
The location of your hives is kept a secret to you, so your security is assured. You will receive an email alert detailing timing, distance and direction of the spraying event, also the name of the active ingredient to be used and the basic descriptive information as published in the British Crop Production Council Pesticide Manual including any environmental protection precautions relevant to bees. Included also will be the crop to be sprayed (e.g. field beans) and whether the field to be sprayed has a flowering margin next to the crop. The farmer only knows there are hives within a given radius, e.g. 5km. There is also an email service which enables the beekeeper to contact the farmer should they wish to ask a question.
Putting large amounts of straw or grass in front of the hive to cover and obscure the entrance occupies the bees while they tear it down. They do this without building up heat and tend to stay calm during the process, it occupies the workers and they tend to stay around the hive for quite some time so they don’t go off foraging.
Tenting, covering hives with black plastic, turning day into night can also work, but don’t restrict airflow, and allow the bees to leave if they want. It’s probably best not to leave the hive covered into the warm summer sun as the colony may overheat.
The danger of overheating is great so this should only be done in extreme circumstances and the hive should be closed up for as short a time as deemed necessary. Provide extra space by placing additional supers with comb onto the hive to contain temperature rises. Completely block the entrance so as to stop all light entering the hive. Shade the hive to stop sunlight raising the internal temperature of the colony. Keep the temperature rise to a minimum. Open the hive as soon as the spraying event is finished. DO NOT LEAVE THE HIVE CLOSED FOR LONGER THAN 24 HOURS IN THE SUMMER.
Move your bees away from the spraying event but this might not be practical and don’t forget the three-mile rule.