Why join Rugby Bee Keepers Association (RBKA)
RBKA has a wide range of activities and support both for the experienced, new or soon to be bee keeper. RBKA is part of the British Bee Keeping Association (BBKA).
Bee keeping is a fantastically interesting and rewarding pastime. Perhaps the most compelling reason to become a member, in my opinion is the camaraderie and mutual support. Since I began bee keeping some years ago I have never ceased to be amazed at the kindness and generosity of bee keepers to lend help advice and support to anyone just starting out, or a fellow beekeeper with problems. I am sure it is possible to become an effective beekeeper in isolation, I am equally sure it is much more fun and rewarding to be part of a group.
Bee keeping should be fun interesting and enjoyable being a member of RBKA will help you achieve this goal.
Beginners course - At present we run a 2 day (weekend) beginners course. This goes through basic knowledge, equipment needed, obtaining equipment and bees.
Setting up : we provided advice on how to buy equipment and include a construction day as part of the follow up to the beginners course. In the last two years we have organised a bulk-buy of hives, wax and equipment to help new bee keepers. You can spend a lot on equipment than is necessary
We will also try and set up new bee keepers with bees when more experienced bee keepers collect swarms. This is a saving, though there are pros and cons associated with this.
Mentoring – even after almost 10 years of bee keeping there are still things coming up where I need help. Any wise beekeeper knows there are always things to learn. We try to find a beekeeper local to the novice to provide mentoring in their first season. I know I would not have survived without my mentor in that first year.
Restricted to members –we have to be clear we do not provide setting up help, swarms or mentors to non-members
Support - continues, even after you have bees and have made a start. Support continues over and above the mentoring through formal lectures, general chat at meetings and the teaching apiary.
Meetings – these take place every third Wednesdays of the month at Friends Meeting house in Rugby, 7.30 start. The formal talks are a mixture of how to do practical procedures, differing ways of caring for or developing you bees and some about new science. There is always tea and coffee afterwards and this is the time when all of us share our views and a good time for newer beekeepers to seek advice on any difficulties or obstacles they have met.
Teaching apiary – We have a teaching apiary, here, through the season an experienced bee keeper will be doing weekly inspections and the idea is that less experienced bee keepers can attend and assist to obtain more hands on experience.
Education – we are active in education assisting new beekeepers to pass the BBKA Basic Assessment Course as well as having study groups for the various learning modules available. No one should feel obliged or pressurised. We have many members who are super bee keepers and never bothered with the modular learning. Others enjoy the interest. I would comment that from personal experience doing the basics course gave me a great deal of confidence and consolidated my experience. It is a practical exam
Branch funds and equipment – we try to use the funds wisely. We have a microscope but perhaps more important to a new beekeeper an extractor. Extractors are expensive and at the outset when you might not have much honey borrowing the branch extractor is a sensible option.
Bee Disease Insurance – unfortunately at times bees and equipment may have to be destroyed because of foul brood diseases. Part of the membership covers you for three hives and if lost in this way replacement is funded.
Warwickshire BKA– RBKA membership also affiliates you with the county association. This enables you to go on courses of other associations in Warwickshire if they have spare places. There are also a number of county lectures and course
British Bee Keeping Association (BBKA)
The BBKA has a role in overseeing many aspects of the development of bee keeping. Joining RBKA results in national membership.
Magazine – monthly, educational articles and up to date news
Representation – the BBKA represents bee keepers at various levels
Education – there are various education packages as well as the annual convention. The modular courses are deigned and run by the BBKA
Insurance – there is also another insurance element against third parties.