Training in aspects of beekeeping is available from many sources.

Initially we offer our own Introductory course, which is run in late February.

Within the RBKA (Rugby Beekeepers Association) we meet on the third Wednesday of the month in the Friends Meeting House Rugby. During the winter months we invite a speaker to present an interesting up to date talk.

During summer months we continue to meet without a formal speaker, this give both new and more experienced beekeepers a chance to discuss their own observations and raise questions.

Within Warwickshire we are especially privileged to have the headquarters of British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) and have access to frequent lectures and courses as well as being able to attend the talks given by those undertaking various examinations that involve such presentations. Mostly free of charge.

Another local branch, Warwick and Leamington, frequently have courses such as Microscopy, Skep Making etc to which we are invited. These usually carry a small charge to cover costs.

Nationally there are a series of exams that a beekeeper may choose to undergo. It is possible to progress to Master Beekeeper.
There is no necessity to follow this route, but it provides a wealth of useful and pertinent information to enhance a beekeeper’s ability.
There is one national test that is of great benefit. This is called the Basic Assessment and it has a practical element where an assessor will observe a basic hive examination and a theory element where the they will ask questions from a syllabus to test your knowledge. A candidate must have kept bees for a year before entering for the Basic Assessment.
The BBKA website contains the Basic Assessment syllabus as well as all of the other examinations.

Additionally, each year there is the BBKA summer convention held at Harper Adams College in Shropshire. Usually held in early April, it is run from a Friday through to Sunday. There are lectures and workshops available for an incredibly low fee of around £20 total. There is also a trade fair and many impromptu talks. Well worth a look!

Throughout the year there are also many different conferences, convention and shows. All advertised in the bee press.

BeeBase

Beebase News Web feed
  • 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_Update_v3

    COVID-19_and_Beekeeping_-_Welsh_Language_Version v3

    If you have any queries please contact:

    For England: BeeHealth.Info@defra.gov.uk
    For Wales: HoneyBeeHealth@gov.wales / GwenynMelIach@llyw.cymru
    For Scotland: Bees_Mailbox@gov.scot
  • Starvation and Varroa Alert
    04 December 2020
    Observations from beekeepers and Bee Inspectors across the UK suggest that some colonies of bees are becoming short of food.

    Please monitor your colonies throughout the coming months and feed as required to ensure your bees do not starve. A standard full size British National colony needs between 20-25 kg of stores to successfully overwinter. If they need feeding at this time then fondant should be used. This should be placed above the brood nest so that the bees are able to access it easily.

    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

    It has also been observed that Varroa levels in some hives are starting to increase again. This may be due to a number of factors, but the exceptionally mild weather this autumn has encouraged some colonies to produce more brood than usual which has allowed an increase in mite reproduction.

    Please monitor mite levels and treat accordingly.

    For further information, please see the’ Managing Varroa’ Advisory leaflet on the following BeeBase Page: http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/index.cfm?pageid=167
  • Julian Parker – Head of APHA’s National Bee Unit.
    23 November 2020
    Following a recent recruitment process Julian Parker has been appointed as Head of the National Bee Unit (NBU) within Defra’s Animal and Plant Health Agency. Within the NBU Julian has previously been Acting Head as well as National Bee Inspector and before that Regional Bee Inspector for Southern and South East Regions. Julian has over 12 years operational experience with the NBU including leading outbreak situations. Julian is also well known in the wider beekeeping community and his expertise is highly respected across Defra and Welsh Government as well as with Bee Health stakeholders. He has also played a key role in the review of the 2020 Healthy Bees Plan and will now play a significant role in delivering the Healthy Bee Plan 2030. Many congratulations Julian.