Starting out as a beekeeper is quite daunting, what do I do, can I do it, should I do it, wish I had not done it…

 

It is wonderful to have a mentor but impractical for a mentor to be available every time a hive is opened. And of course experience is a wonderful thing along with hindsight as most beekeepers will tell you at some point.

As the seasons roll around, we rotate from Spring start up, examination of colony, swarm season, oil seed rape harvesting, june gap, summer build up, summer extraction, further disease check, treatment, stores check, feeding, protection from vermin, further possible treatment, to preparation for spring etc.

Goodness, so much going on in and outside the hives, thus it is important that new beekeepers are aware of the general routine and method of dealing with the unexpected. 

There are numerous books, websites (the BBKA and others) to view for written advice, chat lines and practical demonstrations. But one ideal method of learning about the year holistically is to access the Basic Assessment.

The aim of the syllabus is “to provide new beekeepers with a goal which will give them a measure of their achievement in the basic skills and knowledge of the craft. It is hoped it will be a springboard from which to launch into the more demanding assessments“

Rugby Beekeepers Branch run the annual study group when there is enough interest, and the BBKA now run a correspondance course for £60 .

The syllabus in itself may seem daunting at first glance but the principles are actually just lists of information that each beekeeper needs to know.

If you are taking the study group approach, the syllabus is slowly worked through with an experience beekeeper (in a group situation) typically every few weeks, meeting possibly at each other's houses, this ensures it is not in anyway stressful or frightening but in a comfortable easy learning situation amongst friends where information is easily cascaded down.

The candidates need to have been keeping bees for at least one full year so they have experienced each season.

The assessment generally takes place at a local apiary and consists of oral and practical assessments approximately of one hour duration. There is no written component to the assessment.

Should you wish to consider embarking on this course as part of a study group, please contact the Branch secretary or the Educational secretary, there is a fee associated with the course, payable to the BBKA.

If you are interested in the correspondance couse, please follow the details included on the enrollment form and return it to the BBKA

There is a recommended reading list to view. You may wish to buy an odd book for your own bee keeping library, but the branch has a library and you are welcome to loan books for a 2-4 week period depending upon demand. The local library equally holds a few books on beekeeping.

Once the Basic Assessment is completed the beekeeper is able to embark on other modules/courses run by the BBKA. These course are more specifically associated with certain areas of beekeeping and in greater depth. The further Modules do not necessarily have to be taken in any order but there is a general theme that runs from module 1 to module 8. There is also a microscopy course that can be accessed after the Basic Assessment.

You will find further details about the BBKA basic assessment on their website.


BeeBase

Beebase News Web feed
  • A confirmed finding of a single Asian hornet in Felixstowe, Suffolk
    29 April 2022
    The National Bee Unit is carrying out enhanced monitoring and awareness raising together with local beekeepers after a single insect, confirmed to be Vespa velutina was killed at a sentinel apiary, reported by a beekeeper.

    Laboratory analysis has shown that the Asian hornet was a female but as it was dried out and damaged it couldn’t be ascertained if it was a queen or worker. Additionally it is highly likely to be from the European population rather than a new introduction from Asia and is highly unlikely to be the offspring of either of last year’s nests in the UK.

    Further information regarding the yellow legged Asian hornet can be found on Defra's Asian Hornet sightings page and on BeeBase’s Asian hornet page. Please direct all media enquiries to the Defra Press Office: 0330 0416560

    We continue to ask beekeepers to remain vigilant, record monitoring trap locations on BeeBase (guidance here) and report suspect sightings here.
  • Registration Page - Error - FIXED
    24 March 2022
    We are currently experiencing an error with our registration page which is preventing beekeepers from registering.  We are working hard to find a fix and will update this News items as soon as a fix is found. 

    To register, please come back in a few days or give the NBU a call on 0300 3030094 and we can process your registartion for you. 

    UPDATE: This has now been fixed. 
  • Analysis of 2021 Asian hornet nests
    03 March 2022
    During the 2021 season, two Asian hornet nests were located and successfully destroyed by NBU inspectors and APHA colleagues, following sightings reported via the Asian Hornet Watch app.

    The nest found in Ascot, and destroyed on 11th October, was 35 cm in diameter and contained six combs. Results from genetic analyses suggest that all Asian hornets collected in the surrounding area were likely to have come from this nest, and that the nest hadn’t reached the stage of producing adult sexual stages.

    The nest found in Portsmouth, and destroyed on 31st October, was 31cm in diameter and contained 4 combs. Results from genetic analyses suggest that all Asian hornets collected in the surrounding area were likely to have come from this nest. The nest had reached the stage of producing sexual stages but was highly inbred and a large proportion of the offspring were triploid.

    The queen and drones for both the Ascot and Portsmouth nest were highly unlikely to be direct offspring of the Gosport nest from 2020.

    Further information regarding Asian hornet can be found on Defra’s Asian hornet sightings page and on our BeeBase Asian hornet page. Please direct all media enquiries to the Defra Press Office: 0330 0416560.

    Use the Asian hornet Watch app for Android and iPhone to report sightings.

    Yn ystod tymor 2021, cafodd dau nyth cacwn Asiaidd eu darganfod a'u dinistrio'n llwyddiannus gan arolygwyr yr NBU a chydweithwyr APHA, yn dilyn golygfeydd a adroddwyd drwy'r ap ‘Hornet Watch’ Asiaidd.

    Cafodd y nyth a ganfuwyd yn Ascot ei ddinistrio ar yr 11eg o Hydref. Roedd yn 35 cm mewn diamedr ac yn cynnwys chwe adran i atgenhedlu. Mae canlyniad y dadansoddiadau genetig yn awgrymu bod yr holl gacwn Asiaidd a gasglwyd yn yr ardal gyfagos yn debygol o fod wedi dod o'r nyth hwn, ac nad oedd y nyth wedi cyrraedd y cam lle y caiff ffurfiau rhywiol llawn dwf eu cynhyrchu.

    Roedd y nyth a ganfuwyd yn Portsmouth, a'i ddinistrio ar 31 Hydref, yn 31cm mewn diamedr ac yn cynnwys 4 adran i atgenhedlu. Mae canlyniad y dadansoddiadau genetig yn awgrymu bod yr holl gacwn Asiaidd a gasglwyd yn yr ardal gyfagos yn debygol o fod wedi dod o'r nyth hwn. Roedd y nyth wedi cyrraedd y cam lle y caiff ffurfiau rhywiol llawn dwf eu cynhyrchu ond roedd wedi mewnfridio i raddau helaeth ac roedd cyfran fawr o’r epil yn driploid.

    Roedd y frenhines a'r dronau ar gyfer nyth Ascot a Portsmouth yn annhebygol iawn o fod yn uniongyrchol o’r nyth darganfyddwyd yn Gosport yn ystod 2020.

    Mae rhagor o wybodaeth am y gacynen Asiaidd ar gael ar dudalen golygfeydd cyrn Asiaidd Defra ac ar ein tudalen cyrn Asiaidd BeeBase. Dylech gyfeirio pob ymholiad gan y cyfryngau at Swyddfa'r Wasg Defra: 0330 0416560.

    Defnyddiwch yr ap Gwylio Hornet Asiaidd ar gyfer Android ac iPhone i roi gwybod am olygfeydd.