Rugby beekeepers typically offer an introduction to beekeeping course each year in the Spring.

Many of those who have attended have continued their interest and become beekeepers, which is terrific, but not essential. There are those who simply want to know more.

We welcome all comers for whatever their reason.

However, due to the ongoing pandemic situation, we will not be able to run the course in 2021.

There is still hope though, and no reason why you can't start on your road to beekeeping now. 

BIBBA (the Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders Association) are running an excellent series of webinars that will provide you with an invaluable headstart into beekeeping. 

We also recommend that you source a beekeeping manual. We use the Haynes Bee Manual for this purpose on our courses as it covers all of the essential information required as well as a broad range of useful additions that make it an excellent first time reference piece. I wish that I'd had it when I started beekeeping.

You can also join the Rugby Beekeepers Association (as an Associate member until you have bees), and attend our branch meetings over Zoom until we're able to recommence our on-site meetings.

I would like to take this opportunity to strongly warn you against purchasing equipment (or bees) in advance of becoming a member and discussing the relevant topics with us.
Once the issues surrounding the pandemic are addressed, we will be able to provide practical support via the assignment of mentors to our new members.
This will greatly increase your chances of having healthy bees that survive their first Winter. To open your hive in the Spring to find nothing but a pile of dead bees is incredibly demoralising, as well as upsetting.

We also have a branch apiary, where hands on experience and confidence can be gained throughout the summer months (should the pandemic allow).

Please be warned that there is a lot of equipment available online that is not suitable for beekeeping in the UK because it is either a) non standard, and/or b) not interchangeable/compatible with other equipment that is.
I have come across a few new beekeepers who have been caught out in this way and it can over-complicate their first year to the extent that they either don't continue beekeeping, or end up purchasing new equipment, effectively doubling their costs.

I would also avoid purchasing 'kits' that come with leather gloves because they are :
a) difficult to clean
b) absorb alarm pheromones from the bees ensuring that the wearer aggravates the colony as soon as the hive is opened
c) make it almost impossible to feel where bees are, which leads to crushing, and the release of more alarm pheromone

Good beekeeping starter kits, that don't fall into the category above, can be a convenient entry point however, but there may be better options available at other sources, including trade shows.
A conversation at one of our meetings will provide you with the sort of valuable context that will allow you to make informed purchases where appropriate.

So please contact us, consider joining the association and take the first steps on your road to beekeeping.

All the best, and stay safe and well!



Beebase News Web feed
  • Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) Vacancies
    19 April 2021
    The National Bee Unit currently has a number of Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) vacancies advertised in the following areas South Kent & East Sussex, South West Devon and South East Wales

    If you are interested in applying for the job, full details can be found on Civil Service Jobs.

  • Reporting Varroa
    12 April 2021
    Amendments to the Bee Diseases and Pests Control (England) Order 2006, the Bees Diseases and Pest Control (Scotland) Order 2007 and the Bee Diseases and Pests Control (Wales) Order 2006 come into force on the 21st of April 2021 requiring all beekeepers and/or officials in GB to report the presence of Varroa in any of the hives that they manage. This amendment will allow Great Britain to comply with the Animal Health Law which is necessary for future working relationships with the European Union.

    To make this simple, a tick box will be introduced to BeeBase, the voluntary register for beekeepers managed by the National Bee Unit. This will be the easiest way to report Varroa but an alternative mechanism will be provided for those who do not wish to register on the BeeBase system. Details of this alternative system will be provided after 21st April. If Scottish Beekeepers wish to, they can report varroa by contacting the Scottish Bee Health Inspectors (

    Although Varroa is known to be widespread, it continues to be one of the most serious pests faced by beekeepers. Reporting Varroa will contribute to the overall pest and disease surveillance work of the National Bee Unit and the Scottish Bee Health Inspectorate. We are grateful for your assistance with this new simple measure.

    No action will be required until after 21st April.
  • 2020 Hive Count
    29 March 2021
    More than 10,000 beekeepers, a record number, updated their details on BeeBase during this year's hive count. There are currently more than 44,000 beekeepers registered on BeeBase, meaning that around 23% participated.

    This year’s hive count produced a figure of 260,268 colonies in the UK. This is slightly lower than the 2019 figure of 263,896. It is necessary to make a number of assumptions in the calculation, and so the figure is classed as an experimental statistic.

    The Hive Count provides a very useful indication of the number of managed colonies in the UK, and helps to ensure that BeeBase records are kept up to date. Information about numbers and location of hives is very important for National Bee Unit inspectors in terms of preparing and planning for outbreaks of disease and exotic pests.

    Thank you very much to everyone who has taken time to ensure that their BeeBase information is up to date.