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.

We welcome all comers for whatever their reason.

However, due to the ongoing pandemic situation, we will not be able to run the course in 2021.

There is still hope though, and no reason why you can't start on your road to beekeeping now. 

BIBBA (the Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders Association) are running an excellent series of webinars that will provide you with an invaluable headstart into beekeeping. 

We also recommend that you source a beekeeping manual. We use the Haynes Bee Manual for this purpose on our courses as it covers all of the essential information required as well as a broad range of useful additions that make it an excellent first time reference piece. I wish that I'd had it when I started beekeeping.

You can also join the Rugby Beekeepers Association (as an Associate member until you have bees), and attend our branch meetings over Zoom until we're able to recommence our on-site meetings.

I would like to take this opportunity to strongly warn you against purchasing equipment (or bees) in advance of becoming a member and discussing the relevant topics with us.
Once the issues surrounding the pandemic are addressed, we will be able to provide practical support via the assignment of mentors to our new members.
This will greatly increase your chances of having healthy bees that survive their first Winter. To open your hive in the Spring to find nothing but a pile of dead bees is incredibly demoralising, as well as upsetting.

We also have a branch apiary, where hands on experience and confidence can be gained throughout the summer months (should the pandemic allow).

Please be warned that there is a lot of equipment available online that is not suitable for beekeeping in the UK because it is either a) non standard, and/or b) not interchangeable/compatible with other equipment that is.
I have come across a few new beekeepers who have been caught out in this way and it can over-complicate their first year to the extent that they either don't continue beekeeping, or end up purchasing new equipment, effectively doubling their costs.

I would also avoid purchasing 'kits' that come with leather gloves because they are :
a) difficult to clean
b) absorb alarm pheromones from the bees ensuring that the wearer aggravates the colony as soon as the hive is opened
c) make it almost impossible to feel where bees are, which leads to crushing, and the release of more alarm pheromone

Good beekeeping starter kits, that don't fall into the category above, can be a convenient entry point however, but there may be better options available at other sources, including trade shows.
A conversation at one of our meetings will provide you with the sort of valuable context that will allow you to make informed purchases where appropriate.

So please contact us, consider joining the association and take the first steps on your road to beekeeping.

All the best, and stay safe and well!



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_-_Welsh_Language_Version v3

    If you have any queries please contact:

    For England:
    For Wales: /
    For Scotland:
  • 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:

    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:
  • 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.