Beginners Training

If you have attended one of our taster courses, or perhaps you have bees already and want some help and support in managing them better, then the beginners course is a must. The course runs once a year during the beekeeping season, allowing us to take you through the main stages of bee management, from swarm control, raising new queens, through to collecting and extracting that lovely honey.

These sessions will be as practical as possible with as much hands on experience as time and weather allow. We will be covering beekeeping basics from tools and tool use, hive types, lighting smokers, bee identification, cell identification, stores identification, safety, hygiene, swarms and swarm control, honey harvest and extraction, queen capture and introduction to another colony, queen marking, colony merging, feeding, winter preparations, dealing with queenless colonies and other common problems, common bee diseases, Varroa identification and treatment, frame making, record keeping and much more.

These subjects will be covered over the duration of the whole course rather than on specific days to allow beginners to get to grips with real bee colony observation, analysis and decision making which is of course largely dependent on the bees themselves.

Training will take place at our Honeyworks Apiary and is based on 6x2 hour sessions(2pm-4pm) on a Sunday, all of which will include outdoor hive inspections weather permitting.

Provisional dates for 2018 are; 20th May, 27th May, 3rd June, 8th July, 15th July,9th Septemberr

The beginners course fee is £75 and includes full membership of Buzzworks and a copy of the BBKA Guide to Beekeeping Second Edition by Ivor Davis NDB and Roger Cullum-Kenyon)

Places are typically limited to a maximum of 8 and are assigned on a first come, first served basis.

Tutors; Ashley Walker (Lead), Paul Calvert, Daryl Lusty & sarah Irons

By the end of this six day course attendees will:

  1. Be aware of public safety while beekeeping and the use of protective clothing to keep themselves and each other safe.
  2. Know about hygiene in the apiary
  3. Be able to identify worker bees, drones, queens, eggs, bee larvae, pollen stores, honey stores, sealed worker brood, sealed honey, queen cells, worker cells and drone cells
  4. Be aware of the bee colony’s needs – food (nectar and pollen), water, propolis, warmth and to protect itself from robbers and other predators
  5. Be aware of the life cycle of the honey bee and how the colony reproduces (via swarms) and to identify the signs leading up to swarming
  6. Be able to light and use a smoker, use a hive tool, queen marking cage, bee brush or similar tool, queen transfer cage, bee escape, feeder
  7. Be familiar with hive manipulation – opening two types of hive, removing frames, inspecting frames, removing supers, harvesting honey, feeding bees syrup
  8. Know the basics of swarm control
  9. Know some of the methods of how and when to split a colony and how to combine two colonies
  10. Know of various common bee pests (varroa, wax moth) and diseases (foul brood, chalk brood, sac brood) and be able to identify varroa and know how to control it
  11. Have experienced the extraction of liquid honey
  12. Be able to take records of colony development
  13. Be able to take on the responsibility of looking after a bee colony in preparation for taking the basic beekeeping certificate course
  14. Be able to decide where to site a bee hive safely.

Note: several bee hives will be set aside for the use of beginners. Records will be taken during training sessions which the beginners will be encouraged to take themselves. These records will be written up and emailed out by the tutor after each session to help beginners keep in touch with colony development and beekeeping tasks.