Teaching Apiary meetings take place every week (weather permitting), from the first week of April to the end of August on Wednesday evenings (formal start at 6.30pm. …..though many members arrive from 6:00pm). Our apiary is typically stocked with around 12 hives and are assigned to Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced groups. If you drop in to one of our sessions please identify yourself to the Apiary Coordinator. We can then organise protective clothing for the session and assign you to an appropriate group.
The beginners groups provides an introductory course in practical beekeeping which assumes no prior knowledge of beekeeping. Topics include identification of hive types, and the key parts such as brood chamber, queen excluder and honey supers etc. Each week the hive is examined, and brood (sealed and unsealed) are identified, along with honey and pollen. Worker bees, drones and the queen are described, and, as beginners feel comfortable, they can start manipulating the hive themselves.
The intermediate course is aimed at providing members the skills to enter the BBKA basic assessment. Completion of most of a season in the beginners is the normal entry criteria. Topics covered are similar to beginners but the level and breadth of knowledge acquired is broader and deeper. Topics may include apiary hygiene, honey processing and applicable legislation, methods of swarm control, identification of pests and diseases and appropriate follow-up.
Advanced groups are free to select their own topic of interest for a season depending on availability of expert members. Topics may include queen rearing or, maximising honey from a colony or, aiming for a successful colony split to increase the number of club colonies. It can include more specialist activities such as microscopy, dissection, wax making, photography, etc. The more specialised activities are sometimes limited by the availability of existing members with specialised knowledge. Members are welcome to suggest particular areas of interest prior to the season.
More information about Beginners Training Courses and Taster Day sessions can be found under the Learning Centre menu tab.