Training in aspects of beekeeping is available from many sources.

Initially we offer our own Introductory course, which is run in late February.

Within the RBKA (Rugby Beekeepers Association) we meet on the third Wednesday of the month in the Friends Meeting House Rugby. During the winter months we invite a speaker to present an interesting up to date talk.

During summer months we continue to meet without a formal speaker, this give both new and more experienced beekeepers a chance to discuss their own observations and raise questions.

Within Warwickshire we are especially privileged to have the headquarters of British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) and have access to frequent lectures and courses as well as being able to attend the talks given by those undertaking various examinations that involve such presentations. Mostly free of charge.

Another local branch, Warwick and Leamington, frequently have courses such as Microscopy, Skep Making etc to which we are invited. These usually carry a small charge to cover costs.

Nationally there are a series of exams that a beekeeper may choose to undergo. It is possible to progress to Master Beekeeper.
There is no necessity to follow this route, but it provides a wealth of useful and pertinent information to enhance a beekeeper’s ability.
There is one national test that is of great benefit. This is called the Basic Assessment and it has a practical element where an assessor will observe a basic hive examination and a theory element where the they will ask questions from a syllabus to test your knowledge. A candidate must have kept bees for a year before entering for the Basic Assessment.
The BBKA website contains the Basic Assessment syllabus as well as all of the other examinations.

Additionally, each year there is the BBKA summer convention held at Harper Adams College in Shropshire. Usually held in early April, it is run from a Friday through to Sunday. There are lectures and workshops available for an incredibly low fee of around £20 total. There is also a trade fair and many impromptu talks. Well worth a look!

Throughout the year there are also many different conferences, convention and shows. All advertised in the bee press.

BeeBase

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  • Julian Parker – Head of APHA’s National Bee Unit.
    23 November 2020
    Following a recent recruitment process Julian Parker has been appointed as Head of the National Bee Unit (NBU) within Defra’s Animal and Plant Health Agency. Within the NBU Julian has previously been Acting Head as well as National Bee Inspector and before that Regional Bee Inspector for Southern and South East Regions. Julian has over 12 years operational experience with the NBU including leading outbreak situations. Julian is also well known in the wider beekeeping community and his expertise is highly respected across Defra and Welsh Government as well as with Bee Health stakeholders. He has also played a key role in the review of the 2020 Healthy Bees Plan and will now play a significant role in delivering the Healthy Bee Plan 2030. Many congratulations Julian.
  • Email issues
    16 November 2020
    If you have sent an email to nbu@apha.gov.uk between the 10th November and the 16th November, due to a system failure your message has not been received. Please resend your messages, we apologise for the inconvenience.
  • Healthy Bees Plan 2030 Published
    03 November 2020
    Defra, Welsh Government and the National Bee Unit have worked with stakeholders to produce a review of progress made under the Healthy Bees Plan, a ten-year plan introduced in 2009 to improve honey bee health across England and Wales. Following this review, a new plan entitled the Healthy Bees Plan 2030 has been published today to carry on this important work.

    Welcoming the new plan, Nicola Spence, Deputy Director for Plant and Bee Health at Defra, said:

    I am delighted that today we are publishing the Healthy Bees Plan 2030 which is Defra’s and Welsh Government’s joint framework for continued action to improve honey bee health in England and Wales over the next ten years. Protecting our honey bees is vital because of the benefits they bring through pollination of flowers and crops, honey production and our well-being. Bee health stakeholders have had a key role in developing this new Healthy Bees Plan and we look forward to continuing to work together as we implement the plan.

    Ceri Witchard, Deputy Director for Land, Nature and Forestry at Welsh Government, said:

    The Healthy Bees Plan 2009 was published with the aim of achieving a sustainable and healthy population of honey bees for pollination and honey production in Wales and England. Our overall aim has not changed. However, the experiences we have gained and the relationships we have built within the Bee Health Advisory Forum now put us in a firmer position to face new risks and challenges to honey bees. I am grateful to the Forum and other stakeholders for their commitment and contributions in developing the Healthy Bees Plan 2030.