Ongoing Education

There are three elements to our Education program developed in conjunction with the BBKA Examinations and Assessments.  These will take you from a raw beginner through to becoming a Master Beekeeper.  We have members in our Society who will be able to support you throughout your journey.

Element One – Beginners’ Course

As an Introduction to Beekeeping, the Beginner’s Course will begin in January 2011 and will run for eight weeks, following the syllabus prepared by the British BeeKeepers’ Association (BBKA). There is no exam at the end of this course. Our series of beginners’ courses start early each new year and culminate in visits to the bee hives.

Introduction to Beekeeping – The Sessions

1. The colony
2. The bees’ nest. Hive parts
3. The beekeeping year
4. Pollination and plants; planning your hive
5. Queen rearing and swarms
6. Pests and diseases
7. Hive products and honey cake competition

Element Two – Basic Assessment

Working in conjunction with the BBKA we offer support to our members when they proceed to the next level, that of the BBKA Basic Assessment.  This provides a way of confirming your knowledge and skill in handling bees. You need to have kept bees for a year and know about bee diseases in order to sit the exam. Contact our Education Secretary for more details and to express your interest.

Element Three – The Modules

Following the Basic Assessment come the Modules, of which there are 7, numbered 1 to 8, missing out number 4.

Module 1 – Honey bee Management

Module 2 – Honey bee Products and Forage

Module 3 – Honey bee Pests, Diseases and Poisoning

Module 5 – Honey bee Biology

Module 6 – Honey bee Behaviour

Module 7 – Selection & Breeding of Honey bees

Module 8 – Honey bee Management, Health and History

This year we are running self help sessions for modules, click here for details. If you are interested these or in other modules please our Education Secretary

Module  3: Honeybee Diseases, Pests and Poisoning

This modules deals with AFB, EFB, Varroa Destructor and the other diseases like Nosema, Dysentry, Acarine, Chalk Brood, Stone Brood etc. The authorised treatments for these diseases in the UK is considered and methods of diagnosis.

Module  5: Honeybee Biology

The whole anatomy of the bee is studied in this module

  • alimentary, circulatory, excretory, respiratory, reproductive  systems, glands, egg structure, embryo, larva.
  • the difference between a laying workers and ordinary workers; caste and gender
  • function of various parts of the body – wings, feet, sting, hairs etc.

All the course syllabuses can be downloaded from the BBKA website,

General Husbandry Exam

If anyone is interested in taking the General Husbandry exam it is required that you should have:

  • have been keeping bees for at least 3 years
  • have opened the the BBKA website and looked the requirements on the General Husbandry syllabus
  • have at least 3 working colonies of bees and a nucleus
  • have evidence of having done your own queen rearing
  • 6 jars of honey from last year
  • wax products  etc etc

It is best that you discuss your intention with one of the Committee, they’ll be able to refer you to members who have already passed the exam and may be willing to mentor you.  Then download an entry form from the BBKA website and send it completed to our Education Secretary with a cheque made out to the BBKA before the end of January.

Post Script

Are there ways in which we can develop practical education projects amongst our membership, purely to develop our own knowledge, regardless of the length of our beekeeping experience? If you have ideas, or would be interested in joining a group looking at methods of queen-rearing, and another at integrated pest management please contact the Education Secretary.