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
  • Starvation Alert
    29 November 2018
    Beekeepers should continue to monitor their colonies throughout the winter as temperatures in some regions of the UK have been unusually high for the winter months, allowing honey bee flight and forage of pollen. In some cases, small patches of brood are still being reared and the demand on the colony's food resources ongoing. 

    Where temperatures do not allow for a sugar syrup feed, fondant icing can be placed directly on the top bars of the colony, above the cluster and fed as required.

    For further information, please see the ‘Best Practice Guidance No. 7 - Feeding Bees Sugar’ on the following BeeBase Page: http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/index.cfm?pageid=167

  • Importing Animals and Animal Products If There’s No Brexit Deal
    28 November 2018

    Defra have published guidance on importing animals, which includes bees, if the UK leaves the EU with no deal. The information can be viewed by clicking on the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/importing-animals-and-animal-products-if-theres-no-brexit-deal

    Specific honey bee information will be provided on BeeBase as soon as it is available.

  • Northern Regional Bee Inspector Vacancy
    06 November 2018
    A Regional Bee Inspector Vacancy is now live on the Civil Service Jobs website. The area we are recruiting in is:

    Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Wirral and Merseyside, Lancashire, Cumbria, County Durham, Tyne and Wear and Northumberland (Northern Region) - Please contact the National Bee Inspector Julian Parker if you have any questions about the post. His contact details are as follows:
    Email: Julian.Parker@apha.gov.uk
    Phone: 07775 119469

  • The National Hive Count 2018
    01 November 2018
    The 2018 Hive Count launches today (1st November)!

    More information can be found here.

    This year the emails will be sent out using the Government Notify system and you will receive an email from national.hive.count@notifications.service.gov.uk. Please make a note of this mailbox and mark it as a friendly to prevent it from being blocked by your email provider. Any replies to this mailbox should still reach us directly.
  • Seasonal Bee Inspector Vacancies in Greater London and Co. Durham
    22 October 2018


    Seasonal Bee Inspector Vacancies are now live on the Civil Service Jobs website. The areas we are recruiting in are:

    Greater London, London, Kent (South Eastern Region) - Please contact the Regional Bee Inspector Sandra Gray if you have any questions about the post. Her contact details are as follows:
    Email: Sandra.gray@apha.gov.uk
    Phone: 07775119430

    Northern Region - Co. Durham, Tyne & Wear and Northumberland. (Northern Region) - Please contact the National Bee Inpsector Julian Parker if you have any questions about the post. His contact details are as follows:
    Email:Julian.parker@apha.gov.uk
    Phone:07775119469


    Kind regards,

    National Bee Unit