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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.

Read more: Beginner's Courses

A colony of bees is a super-organism. The queen who lays all the eggs daily, approximately three thousand drones (male bees) and possibly 50 - 60 thousand female worker bees work in harmony at the peak of summer in the hive.

The bees work together for the colony to survive, no one bee can live alone. The numbers reduce throughout the winter to rebuild again in the spring.

Bees forage and collect pollen, nectar and water to feed their queen, the young larvae and themselves. Whilst foraging, they pollinate fruits, flowers, vegetables and crops of which we eat daily. Every third item of food is deemed to be because of pollinating insects.
The spare honey in the hives is removed by the beekeeper and enjoyed as one of the most natural nutritious, and healthy foods available.

So why become a bee keeper?

To help support and care for these amazing bees in their colonies, to help them to survive, because without them we would struggle to exist .

Let's just consider what makes honeys bees so very special and why certain individuals feel they want to become a beekeeper.


Take into consideration:

Pollination
- as explained honey bees are massive pollinators providing food not only to humans but the effect of pollination helps feed numerous animals and birds in the food chain forging a vital link in creating the diversity in the environment we all enjoy.

Honey
- keeping honey bees results in acquiring a supply of your own honey for your family.

Honey produced by pollen and nectar collected from Wildflowers has a different flavour to one produced from brambles or lime trees. Sampling the various honey is a wonderful experience. Medicinally, raw honey is stated to boost the immunity system, relieves sore throats, provide antioxidants, aid digestion, reduce allergies, heal wounds, and provide antibiotic properties. Honey can be sold by the beekeeper in many different formats: runny honey, crystallised honey, soft set honey, heather honey, honey on the comb and numerous others.

Honey can be used for cooking both in sweet and savoury dishes.
Beekeepers have local and national honey shows, where they can if they wish, exhibit honey and other hive products.


Pride In helping nature
- Honey bees are threatened by disease and predators, beekeepers support the bees by providing hives in suitable apiaries; they aim to prevent disease and monitor for disease and predators, their actions can reduce loss of colonies and strengthen the honey bee population. Recently new predators to the UK or close to the mainland have added further risks to their existence. Putting on the bee suit, and helping care for the honey bees is a wonderful experience and privilege.

Beeswax
- this beautiful natural substance is produced by honey bees and moulded in the hive to create the hexagon-shaped cells into which the queen lays her eggs. Beekeepers often use the beeswax to make a variety of candles, polish, skin creams, cosmetics, wax for wood, and use wax for encaustic paintings, to name only a few uses.


Propolis
- yet another amazing product produced by the bees by using sap collected from trees and mixed and blended with bee enzymes. The propolis acts very much like a super glue, it seals the hive and fills in cracks and holes to prevent weather, dampness and unwanted visitors gaining access to the hive through small crevices. 

The propolis also has an antibacterial property and is used within the hive to reduce risk of infection, also frequently used in hand and skin products due to its anti microbial and antioxidant benefits.

 

Mead
- Honey is used to make mead , an alcoholic sweet or dry honey wine, which is basically fermented honey mixed with a variety of ingredients . The tradition of mead making goes back to our ancestors.


Bee stings

It would be wrong of me not to mention bee stings. Bees do not want to sting, if they do they die, the sting once used causes damage to the abdomen of the honey bee resulting in death of the bee. The bees only want to protect their hive and care for their colony.
Generally a bee sting is not a cause of great concern to the major of individuals, with the sting giving a slight local reaction, which soon disappears.

A fact not actually proven, but thought to be effective in some, is that the venom of the bee relieves arthritic pain, this is an interesting subject being investigated.


Royal jelly

A powerful food. Literally made for a queen , this jelly is made from honey, nectar, digested pollen and other secretions from the bee resulting in a food substance, it is fed to all bees for a short time, but constantly fed to the growing queen bee.
This amazing substance is sought after by humans with claims that it rejuvenates skin and produces an overall general well being.

Education

Part of being a good beekeeper is being aware of the honey bees needs and their predators. The Rugby Beekeeping Association provides friendly monthly meetings where beekeepers meet and listen to speakers discussing various topics , the Association also offers the education, mentorship and support necessary to care new beekeepers and their bees.

Courses are also run locally for new and more experienced beekeepers to continue to update and provide a better understanding of the honey bee.

For further information please contact us.

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.

Contact Us For Membership

 

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.

 

Contact Us For Membership

 

Welcome to the Rugby Beekeepers Association website.

We are probably one of the smallest branch of the eight in Warwickshire, with around 50 members.

Nonetheless, we are a friendly and lively association and meet the third Wednesday of each month (outside of the beekeeping season), at Friends Meeting House (address provided below) when we have interesting talks from visiting experts on any number of beekeeping topics.

We also get together at our branch apiary to conduct various necessary manipulations of the bee colonies.

Please see the dates of our meetings here.

Read more: About Us

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  • LAST CHANCE: to answer our survey on how training and information sources for beekeepers and bee farmers can be improved
    20 April 2021
    With thanks to those of you who have already responded. For those of who haven’t yet had chance to answer the survey there is still time but it closes tomorrow. For further details please see below.

    Gyda diolch i'r rhai ohonoch sydd eisoes wedi ymateb. I'r rhai nad ydynt wedi cael cyfle eto i ateb yr arolwg mae amser o hyd ond mae'n cau yfory. Am fanylion pellach gweler isod.

    Defra and the Welsh Government want to ensure that beekeepers and bee farmers have access to training and information that can help them implement effective biosecurity and maintain good standards of husbandry, so as to minimise pest and disease risks and improve the sustainability of honeybee populations.

    A short questionnaire is available for current beekeepers, people who have recently stopped keeping bees as well as bee farmers to give their views and opinions on the type, accessibility and range of training and information available and how it could be improved. It should take no more than 15 minutes.

    Please go to https://eu5se.voxco.com/S2/87/healthy_bees/ to complete the survey by 21 April.

    Defnyddiwch y ddolen hon i gwblhau'r arolwg erbyn 21/04/2021.
  • 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 (BeesMailbox@gov.scot).

    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.