Dear Members,

February means snowdrops emerging and it also heralds our AGM.  While snowdrops are greeted with enthusiasm the same cannot always be said for the AGM. 
But, do consider participating as keeping our Association working effectively is the way in which we promote beekeeping to the general public, and inform them about bees and beekeeping, also importantly it is the way we can continue to educate and support new beekeepers.

Some of you may have seen the report from Beebase indicating that they are doing some research into ‘churn’ - the turnover of beekeepers.
From my experience unless many new beekeepers get appropriate support and education in the first few years of their beekeeping, they rapidly become disillusioned and give up. This is an important reason for us to continue to foster a healthy Rugby Beekeeping Association.
Our parent body, Warwickshire Beekeeping Association is also asking for support for various posts in the county. Please consider if you think you could support in any way.

I was unfortunately unable to attend the January Zoom meeting where the valuable work of Bees Abroad was discussed. This charitable organization works in sub-Saharan Africa, training and supporting local people to undertake beekeeping. Many people are subsistence farmers and they have no means of earning the cash needed to pay school fees and buying essentials. Beekeeping therefore improves the quality of life for many families, and this charity deserves our support.

The reason I was unable to attend the meeting was that I had double booked myself for a lecture organized by Cambridgeshire Beekeepers by Dr Jamie Ellis about “The form and Function of the Honeybee”.
BBKA’s education Module 5 - “Honey bee biology” covers this area of beekeeping knowledge, and this lecture was a wonderful refresher, with beautiful photography and diagrams from the classic Dade book “Anatomy & Dissection of the Honeybee”. It reminded me how wonderfully complex bees are. They are covered with hairy sensors that are super sensitive to smells and vibrations so we need to pay attention to this when inspecting bees - no visits to the Pub (you should be so lucky!) before inspecting the bees, no washing your bee suit with scented
soap or conditioner, or using hairspray - also be gentle, no banging or rough handling of combs.

Regards, and stay safe and well and all the very best for 2021,

Margaret Holdsworth


Beebase News Web feed
  • BeeBase Downtime
    01 February 2021
    Due to planned maintenance of our servers, BeeBase will be unavailable between 09:00 and 13:00 on Tuesday 16th February 2021.

    Normal service will be resumed after this time.
  • Social science study on how best to support beekeepers and bee farmers through education, information and advice
    20 January 2021
    Understanding how turnover (“churn”) among beekeepers can be managed and review information sources, learning methods and use of social media, to develop resources to support the beekeeping sector.

    Defra and Welsh Government have commissioned a social science study to gather information about different aspects of education and training. This includes getting a better understanding of how the turnover of beekeepers can be managed. It will also review information sources, learning methods and use of social media. The third part of the project will evaluate current continuous professional development schemes and resources to support bee farmers. The study which has just begun, has been contracted to ICF Consulting who have carried out a number of research projects in other areas for Defra. We are hoping that many beekeepers will participate in the project which will include a survey and further details will be announced soon.

    This work links into the Healthy Bees Plan 2030, working together to improve honey bee health and husbandry in England & Wales.
  • COVID-19 and Beekeeping update
    11 January 2021
    This is a re-issue of the guidance provided in October 2020:

    Please find the latest Covid-19 beekeeping guidance. The update includes separate links to the current Public Health Guidance for England, Wales and Scotland.


    COVID-19_and_Beekeeping_-_Welsh_Language_Version v3

    If you have any queries please contact:

    For England:
    For Wales: /
    For Scotland: