Somerset BKA’s new education support group, made up of four Master Beekeepers, has launched with a flying start.
There’s been an overwhelming response to news of our first county-wide queen rearing course, ‘How to rear your own queens when you only have two or three hives’.
Within hours of sending an email to members the course was three times over-subscribed. Currently tutors are looking at additional dates and will inform anyone who has registered an interest in due course.
Also, the training day later this month for members interested in taking the BBKA's honey bee health certificate is full.
Meanwhile, the group publishes articles in SBKA’s newsletter and on the website.
BBKA General Manager Leigh Sidaway has asked us to share this info about their queen rearing courses.
The BBKA is organising courses for beekeepers, with at least three years' experience, at several venues around the country:
Somerset: August 3rd & 4th at Quantock Apiary near Bridgwater
Wales: August 10th & 11th at Gregynog Hall, Tygynon, Nr Newtown
Warwickshire: September 14th & 15th at BBKA Apiary, Stoneleigh
Cleveland: September 17th & 18th, venue to be confirmed
Details of other courses will be posted on the BBKA website when confirmed.
The whole course is focussed on the General Husbandry standard with the objective of each attendee going home able to run their queen rearing matched to their needs. It will not be prescriptive and will enable the attendees to make up their own mind about the method they would like to employ. It will not focus on grafting, although it is a method that everyone should at least have tried at some point.
The course will be theory plus time in the apiary when different methods of queen rearing will be discussed and demonstrated. There will also be several queen related manipulations, again to the General Husbandry standard.
There will be a maximum of twelve on each course and there will be two tutors. The lead tutor will be Sean Stephenson who has a lot of experience in queen raising and delivering courses.
The cost of the course will be £75 which will covers coffee, tea and biscuits but please bring a packed lunch with you. The timing for the courses will be confirmed later but will start on Saturday morning and end on Sunday afternoon.
If you would like to apply for a place on the course please apply through the website shop:
or contact the BBKA office on 02476 696679.
Did you see a group of Somerset beekeepers in The Times and the Guardian earlier in the month? Photographer Zach Culpin went along to an apiary session for Somerton’s beginners' group and took a series of colourful photos which he kindly shared with us. Great work Joe King, Stewart Gould and the new beeks!
The start of the New Year is an excellent time to look ahead to the coming season and plan what you'd like to achieve with your bees. Whether that's trying a new type of hive, creating more colonies or breeding your own queens (and this is the year to mark them green), then give it a go!
SBKA is focusing on helping all members recognise EFB through leaflets, new digital content and 'Read the Comb Day' on June 15.
Also, we want to alert everyone in Somerset (and beyond) to be on high alert for Asian hornets. We'll be running a publicity campaign via the press and our own social channels as well as working with organic, national dairy Yeo Valley to spread the message far and wide.
If you have connections with local gardening groups, garden centres, wildlife groups and trusts etc, please spread the word. [You can request laminated Asian hornet posters from the Non Native Species Secretariat (NNSS) to give to these groups].
Our Asian Hornet Action Team is getting prepared ahead of the Spring and we're printing new leaflets and ID cards for members ready for what we expect will be more sightings this year.
Here's hoping that 2019 brings us strong and healthy colonies supported by local people who, just like us, want to see honeybees and all pollinators flourish.
We are making EFB a focus for our work in 2019 through a series of activities to help everyone gain the knowledge, skills and confidence to recognise EFB.
Our Education Officer Richard Bache has written a SBKA EFB leaflet to put the disease in its Somerset context and explains through clear text and excellent photos how to prevent, spot and manage it.
At a time when there is a little active beekeeping to keep us busy, we hope everyone will have time to read up on EFB ahead of the coming season.
If you’re interested in honeybees - or know someone who is - then one of our beginners’ courses could be perfect for you.
Somerset Beekeepers are running courses around the county this winter which covers beekeeping basics followed by practical hands-on experience with live bees.
Beekeeping is a big commitment and requires a gentle hand, patience and on-going learning.
On the courses experienced beekeepers explain what’s involved in keeping a colony of bees through a series of lectures and practical sessions.
The craft spans lots of different elements including animal husbandry, environmental knowledge, woodwork and processing the products of the hive like honey and wax.
Find out more on this page of our website.
What people are saying:
“It was very informative and there was lots of support from expert beekeepers who were on hand to answer questions. The theory was well backed-up by the practical sessions in the apiary later in the season.”
“I find beekeeping very calming and I enjoy doing something very slowly and methodically and being surrounded by thousands of bees knowing they are unlikely to harm me.
“The course offers the opportunity to find out about something which at first seems fairly straightforward but, the more you learn, the more you see there is to learn and the amount of knowledge you can acquire seems never-ending.”
“Beekeeping is hugely rewarding; I’ve discovered these incredible creatures appear to operate at some higher level, living for the colony, and it is a joy to watch them at work.
“I’ve managed to do a bit of woodwork to build frames for the hive, have started gardening to encourage pollinators, harvested the most glorious honey I’ve ever tasted and have overcome my fear of stinging insects!”