11 August 2022

Examinations & Assessments

As part of our charitable aims we raise the standards of beekeeping practices through a series of courses and exams. We have a long and well established exam course which is constantly being developed to keep up with new research in the field of beekeeping. Our exams start with a Basic Assessment covering basic skills and knowledge of the craft all the way up to becoming a Master Beekeeper. Please click here for more information.

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Resources

The BBKA have lots of resources available to help you learn about bees in the BBKA shop.Buy The BBKA Guide to beekeeping

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Practical Assessments

Junior Certificate Under 18 and want to test your beekeeping knowledge? Then this could be the one for you The Junior certificate consists of 4 elements 10 minutes of oral questions Present your beekeeping diary  Further information click Basic Assessment To take the Basic Assessment you should have managed at least one colony of bees for a minimum of 12 months The Basic Assessment syllabus can appear daunting at first glance but closer inspection will show that it merely lists the basic things which all beekeepers should know. Basic_Syllabus_2020.pdf General Husbandry Certificate Have you been beekeeping for 5 years and passed your Basic Assessment? Then this is the next practical step This assessment is designed for beekeepers who prefer the practical approach rather than the written examinations.  On the day, your assessment is conducted by two BBKA Assessors and consists of Inspection of the candidates apiary, equipment and honey hand...

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Syllabi for Written Exams

Click here for Syllabi for 2022 Modules 1 - 8 Click here for updated Syllabi for 2023 Modules 1-8 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 - Beekeeping and Honey Bee Management Module 8 must be the last module to be taken, otherwise they can be tackled in any order.After passing modules 1, 2, 3 and one other from 5, 6 and 7 you are awarded the Intermediate Theory Certificate and after passing all modules you are awarded the Advanced Theory Certificate.It is recommended that you have at least 2 years’ experience of beekeeping before sitting a module exam.To apply for the assessment, please contact your local Exam Secretary. They will be able to email you a link to the application form. You can use this to apply and pay online. You will get a r...

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Reading Lists for Written Exams

Module reading lists for the updated 2022 syllabi  (Updated 4th April 2022) 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 - Beekeeping and Honey Bee Management These reading lists are intended as a guide for candidates. It is not intended that candidates should read all the books on the list and there are other books available, not listed, which are also suitable reading. Only parts of each book may be relevant to a particular module or assessment. Candidates should therefore pay careful attention to the contents of the syllabus concerned. General information on sources of books is given at the end of each list.

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05 August 2022

Karl Showler

1932-2022 The BBKA was saddened to hear about the death of a former past President Karl Showler who passed away at the age of 89 in a Brecon Care Home. Karl was a renowned seller of antiquarian bee books in later life and his god-daughter Christiane took this lovely photo of him in his study where she spent a lot of time talking to him about the articles he was writing. He and his wife, Betty, ran B&K books from their home in Hay-on-Wye. Karl was a Quaker and took great interest in other religions and churches. He was President of the BBKA for two years from 1989-1990 and kept bees for at least 62 years. Former President Tim Lovett said "Karl was one of the beekeeping Greats and will be missed".  Karl entered The Kent Farm Institute in Tunbridge Wells in 1954, which later became Hadlow College, after his army service in the Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment 1951-53.  After his study he worked from 1956-1970 for East Malling Research Station in Kent, the UK's larg...

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Geoffrey Hopkinson BEM NDB

1928 - 2022 Geoff passed peacefully away on Sunday 1st May in Stoke Hospital after a short illness (Non-COVID) just a few weeks short of his 94th birthday. The way Geoff got into beekeeping was an interesting anecdote. He was asked to help his uncle move some bees and in moving one of the hives on the back of a flatbed truck the hive came apart. The bees escaped and Geoff was badly stung all over his face and body. He went to bed and when he woke up the next morning, he was a folk hero in the village. The boy who had a hundred stings was alive. The rest, he used to say, was history. He was hooked and he was a beekeeper after that. Geoff did his beekeeping training under the guidance of Ivy Jakes and progressed quickly. He was the youngest person to be awarded the National Diploma in Beekeeping in 1960 at the age of 32. Being part of the beekeeping elite, the NDB, he was at the forefront of beekeeping education. He has been involved in training and examining the beekeeping greats o...

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Edward Hill

A very quiet and private man, Edward started beekeeping as a schoolboy during the war in 1942.  Has been a member of Ormskirk & Croston for all of those 79 years. He was the mainstay of Ormskirk & Croston Branch for many of those years. A committee member for most of the time being serving as Chairman, Secretary, and Treasurer. He also spent many years as a member of the Lancashire and Northwest Central Council, being the Education Officer, he organised the convention & honey show, representing us nationally on various committees. Most recently, he was our County representative at Beecraft/Wax Chandlers forums. During meetings Edward used to sit quietly and would usually end the discussion with a “pearl” of wisdom. A very practical beekeeper, he never wore a bee suit, always with his famous bowler hat and veil!  In earlier times most of our bees were not so friendly, Edwards’s advice was “give the bees a good smoking through the entrance...

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Sue Scott (Scottie)

Scottie took over the mantle of  after the passing of another beekeeping stalwart, Barbara Roderick. The three-day annual event was the culmination of a year’s hard slog for Scottie in making sure that every little detail was covered – which, of course,  they always were! She relished meeting members of the general public explaining the nuances of beekeeping finishing by thrusting a membership form in their hands with a cheerful “see you soon” parting phrase. Although the show itself was hard work it never failed to conjure up some amusing moments too.   On one such occasion an elderly gentleman and his daughter rocked up making enquiries about beekeeping and the suitability of keeping a number bee hives in their back garden. “Absolutely perfect!” Scottie replied, adding “though you need to make sure they won’t be troublesome for your neighbours”. “How many hives were you thinking about”? she enquir...

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John Annett

John Annett, a beekeeper who had a huge impact on the Harrogate and Ripon Beekeepers Association’s development over the last 50 years has just died, aged 98. He joined the HRBKA in 1970, and at various times held most of the posts within the Association.  In 1988 HRBKA affiliated directly with the BBKA, and John will be remembered best from then on as the champion of beekeeping education, both practical and theoretical. Weekly public beekeeping demonstrations in the Harlow Carr and Harewood Gardens were established by John and presented beekeeping to hundreds of visitors every year.  He was strongly in favour of promoting beekeeping to non-beekeepers and as a result, HRBKA has an award-winning stand at 6 multi-day shows in and around Harrogate every year. He was an enthusiastic promoter of the BBKA exams. At one time over 40% percent of HRBKA members were Basic Exam Certificate holders, and Association members accounted for over 50% of all the BBKA Microscopy Certific...

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Bill & Mary Dartnall

Sadly Mary and Bill Dartnall passed away beside each other on Easter Sunday, 12th April 2020, in Southampton General Hospital. They had both tested positive for coronavirus.  Mary was a Past President of the BBKA from 1996 – 97 and an Honorary Member of the BBKA. During her presidency she campaigned for farmers to limit spraying of chemicals to protect bees. Both Mary and Bill were Joint Presidents of Southampton & District Beekeeping Association, a role they thoroughly enjoyed. They had been married for 63 years and their daughter, Rosemary, said "They came as a pair - they were a team. Life wasn't always a bed of roses but they got through it together and they left us together." There will be a Memorial Service for them later in the year.

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01 August 2022

August In the Apiary

  Jeremy Quinlan Last month I advised everyone to get ready for the end of the beekeeping year in early August, and now we are there. Unless you go to the heather, when everything has to be delayed, you need to treat for Varroa close to the middle of the month and check that every full colony has at least 20kg of stores and, if they do not, to feed so they do. This can be difficult as many treatment manufacturers advise against treating and feeding at the same time. The timing of the treatment is most important. Feeding Before starting feeding, go through your colonies and assess what weight of stores each has. A National brood frame of fully capped honey will weigh about 2kg, a full super frame about 1kg. Add the weights together and subtract that from 20; that is the amount of additional stores needed. Do not trickle it in, try to feed the whole amount in one go as tiny feeders are a mistake. ‘Stores’ means the honey equivalent and honey is approximately 20% wat...

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29 July 2022

John Hendrie

I have been a member of the BBKA Examinations Board for many years having been the Board Secretary from 1991 to 2006 and am currently the Moderator. I achieved my Master Beekeeper certificate in 1986 and have been heavily involved in beekeeping education ever since, running courses and lecturing widely on bees and beekeeping. I am the General Secretary of the National Honey Show and have been on the committee for 35 years and helped with the organisation of the honey show for that time. I am also a Director for Bee Diseases Insurance Ltd so is looking after the interests of beekeepers. I have demonstrated continuity in the various jobs undertaken and enjoy helping beekeepers.Email hereLink trustee for:Alnwick; Tyneside; Newcastle; Hexham; Surrey

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Clare McGettigan

I have been beekeeping since 2010, finally getting to satisfy an interest in bees that I have held since childhood and, of course, they have not disappointed! I hold the Basic Assessment, Bee Health Assessment and passed the Advanced Theory Certificate.   I have and continue to love learning about honeybees and always enjoy being able to train others to ‘share the passion’. Professionally I worked in the Pharmaceutical Market Research sector for more than 30 years in many roles including Global Marketing Director and Software Development Director. I was fortunate enough to take early retirement and can now use skills I developed in my working career to support the BBKA and, in particular, it’s education and communications activities. Email hereLink trustee for:Chesterfield; Rutland; Sedbergh; Sheffield; Derbyshire; Lincolnshire

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Jane Medwell

I learnt beekeeping from my mother in the 1970s, when the activity was rather different. In 1999 I set up my own apiary in Warwickshire and joined WLBKA. I have found learning about changes and developments in beekeeping an ongoing enjoyment. In my early years of beekeeping, I kept around 40 hives and learnt a good deal about keeping bees on a larger scale. However, I realised that my interests are in the study of beekeeping rather than honey production.  Since 2010 I have reduced my hive numbers to a maximum of a dozen in two or three apiaries near my home. This has allowed me to experiment with methods of queen rearing and do more training and education activities at branch, county, and national levels.I have been a Master Beekeeper since 2013. I remain committed to keeping my knowledge relevant and am currently studying for the BBKA microscopy certificate and NDB. My professional experience is as an Associate Professor in Education with a special interest in primary and i...

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Jenny Morgan

  I spent all of my working life in education. I am a Physics graduate and went into teaching after completing my teaching qualifications. I spent a short time working in secondary schools in Oxfordshire before moving to Botswana where I worked in local schools in Gaborone and Francistown before being recruited to work at the University of Botswana lecturing on B.Ed. and B.Ed. Nursing courses. After 9 years in Botswana I returned to the UK and continued to teach, becoming Head of Science and also working for University of Reading on their science teacher training course. On my return to the UK when my daughters were older I became a volunteer canoe coach and a DoE leader. As a result of these activities I lead a gold DoE expedition to Canada. My beekeeping began when my daughter kept asking for a hand with her bees. As I learned more I decided I would do an introductory course and get some bees and I have not looked back - I am hooked. I have spent a lot of time and energy tryi...

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Howard Pool

Married with 4 grown children, it was my granddaughter who re-sparked my interest in beekeeping. I joined the 'Introduction to Beekeeping' course run by the High Wycombe branch of the BBKA in 2013 and have kept my own bees since March 2014. Throughout my working life till subsequent retirement in 2006 I was responsible for the running and change management of a number of companies both in the UK and overseas. I became a trustee of the BBKA at the January 2015 ADM.  Since that period we have worked hard to generate improved reporting, control, simplicity, and transparency within the finance area. 2017 showed the first surplus in the account for 4 years - and a modest improvement on budget commitments. Email hereLink trustee for:Buckinghamshire; Essex; Hertfordshire; Middlesex; Northamptonshire; Suffolk

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Jo Widdicombe

I ran my own business for 35 years, a retail food shop in Cornwall, and I now run a beekeeping business producing honey, nucs and queens for sale with 2 employees and 150+ hives. I started beekeeping in 1974 and worked as a bee inspector for 5 years in the Southwest Region.I believe beekeeping has an increasingly important role in contributing to a sustainable system of food production and to biodiversity in the natural environment. I am keen to see beekeeping develop long-term sustainable methods to ensure a healthy and hardy population of honey bees with the qualities which beekeepers wish to see in their bees. Email here Link trustee for:Cornwall; Dorset; Cornwall West; Bournemouth; Devon; Isle of Wight

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28 July 2022

IMYB - 2019

8th July 2019 This year the IMYB was held in Banská Bystrica Slovakia and our BBKA team representing England consisted of: Left to Right:  William Akers - age 14 from Chesham, Bucks, Ben Sullivan - age 15 from Norfolk and Natalie Philips - age 14 from Liverpool We linked up with the other home teams from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland at Vienna Airport whilst we waited for the coach to collect us and many other teams before we embarked on a 4 hour journey to the venue. This year was the biggest ever, with 30 individual countries sending teams from as far away as Canada, Australia, the Lebanon and Egypt. As usual each of our teens was assigned into a team of around 6 - 7 individuals with a wide range of abilities, beekeeping knowledge and languages. It’s therefore essential that each member is able to get on with their new team and so we deliberately select team members from the BBKA who are confident and outgoing. Over the next three days the new teams ta...

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19 July 2022

Bees Needs Week

Bees Needs Week:    18 - 24th July 2022 The BBKA will be sharing our favourite beekeeping moments on our social media: sharing our members photos of their beekeeping and our most popular stories from the last 12 months. Follow us on social media. These are the five simple actions you can take to help pollinators and make sure their populations are sustained: YouTube Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPq2VxL8M1E Our Chair Stephen Barnes has been reflecting on how we can all help pollinators for Bees Needs Week YouTube Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHIK5x8eMXo What is Bees Needs Week? Bees Needs Week is an annual event coordinated by Defra, working alongside charities, businesses, conservation groups and academic institutions to raise awareness of bees and other pollinators. Bees and other pollinators are vital for growing lots of our favourite foods and for plants to flourish in our fields and gardens   ...

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30 June 2022

Becoming a Beekeeper

If you are interested in taking up the fascinating hobby of beekeeping you will no doubt have lots of questions and here we aim to provide some of the answers to help you find out exactly what might be involved. Where do I start? Contact your local BBKA Association for advice, tuition and support and consider becoming a member.  Most associations run ‘Taster Days’ which are ideal for obtaining a basic understanding of bees and what is involved in beekeeping.  This can be followed by an ‘Introduction to Beekeeping’ course where you can learn some of the theory required to be a good beekeeper and gain valuable practical experience before you make any investment in equipment and honeybees.  Your local association will also be able to assign you a mentor who will be able to help as you start to keep bees for yourself. There are over 270 area associations and branches who serve their local area with support and education.  To find your ne...

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09 June 2022

Find a local Swarm Collector

Enter your postcode below and then click on the red markers which appear nearest the 'bee' for details of your local swarm collector. If you can't find a swarm collector local to you on this map please get in touch with your local beekeeping association. Please note that swarm collectors from south of the Thames cannot assist with swarms across the water in Essex. Our volunteer beekeepers can only assist in cases of swarms of honey bees. To support the work of the BBKA please DONATE HERE

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07 June 2022

June In the Apiary

If you made some nuclei, do keep an eye on them. Small colonies can quickly run out of space, in which case remove a full frame and replace it with one of foundation. Also, if there is no forage or bad weather, they can starve. Beekeeping books often tell of ‘the June gap’. This is the period when the spring flowers are over, and the summer ones have not started flowering en-masse. For the last two years, we have not had that gap here in the east. As soon as the oilseed rape (OSR) supers were extracted and returned for the bees to clean out, they began re-filling. I think the crop was from hawthorn, and not long after that, the brambles began. Sweet chestnut can also be a good crop. We have none close by, so in past years we have moved colonies to them. When preparing honey for sale, a 30lb bucket of OSR with a 10lb bucket of a mix of sweet chestnut and bramble makes an excellent honey. Vintners and tea tasters mix for a better taste and so do I. I must admit though, I a...

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01 June 2022

BBKA QR Codes

QR code documents for use by branches and associations: Allotment Beekeeping Becoming a Beekeeper Bee Friendly Plants Bees in Schools Bees in Buildings Find Beekeeping Near You Honey Authenticity Neonicotinoids Swarm Removal What Bee is This

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31 May 2022

Bees feature at Queen's Ju-bee-lee Family Fun Days in Warwickshire

Tuesday 31 May 2022 The British Beekeeper's Association (BBKA) Show Team have been giving families at Compton Verney mansion in Warwickshire a fascinating show of Beekeeping skills. Local volunteers are helping to celebrate all things pollinator. As well as the ever popular live bee inspections, beekeepers are helping to raise awareness of the importance of a long season of forage for pollinators. The exhibit is also extolling the value of quality honey from your "local beekeeper".   Visitors can discover more about honey extractions or try their hand at the ancient art of skep making. They can learn about the processes used to catch swarms or join in with beeswax candle rolling.  You can also join the Compton Verney grounds team who are showing you how to create a successful wildflower meadow in your garden.  Link to the event: https://ift.tt/VmOTrih -ends-  learn all 

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25 May 2022

Award for 50 years of beekeeping

Wednesday 25 May 2022 A long service award for 50 years of beekeeping has been presented to Frank Bell of Newcastle and District Beekeepers Association (NDBKA). The event took place on the 100th Anniversary event of NDBKA on Sunday 22 May at Newcastle Dog and Cat Shelter.  British Beekeepers Association Chair, Stephen Barnes, and awarded the certificate at a private members evening event.  Frank Bell, who is 86, joined NDBKA in 1971. He became Chairman of the Association and served for many years. During his time as Chairman he was instrumental in breeding local black bees, probably the first to do so in the Association.  He keeps his bees in Jarrow, and still has a few colonies today, although he is no longer active within the Association.  NDBKA applied for the certificate saying "it would be lovely to recognise his services to beekeeping during this NDBKA centenary year".  How to apply for a Long Service Award The British Beekeepers Association o...

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20 May 2022

What UK Beekeepers are doing to Support World Bee Day

Friday 0001 20 May 2022 World Bee Day is celebrated every year on the 20th May. It is a day when beekeepers raise awareness of the importance of bees and beekeeping, and inform the public of beekeeping events where they can learn more about bees! The public can help bees by planting bee friendly plants in their gardens and encouraging their councils to plant wildflower meadows and leave grass verges alone to allow wildflowers to bloom. Here in the UK May is a busy time for beekeepers who are tending their bees and watching them progress into strong colonies and often bringing in a spring honey crop - depending on the weather and forage available. British Beekeeper's Chair Stephen Barnes talks about what he will be doing for World Bee Day https://youtu.be/AUatPnc3aY4 We also have leaflets and information about planting for bees and a Planting for bees quarterly blog available to encourage the public to help support bees by planting more food. Stockport Beekeepers Mellor School...

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10 May 2022

Luxury

MARTIN MILLER’S GIN WORKING WITH URBAN BEEKEEPERS AND LONDON VENUES TO SAVE BEES



08 May 2022

Movie news...

The Bee Keeper

The fast-paced action-thriller is steeped in the mythology of beekeeping and follows a man's personal journey of vengeance which takes on very high stakes.

The film is based on a script by Kurt Wimmer, who is set produce along with Jason and Miramax chief Bill Block. The studio is aiming to start production later this year.

Block previously said: "'The Bee Keeper' explores universal themes with an unconventional story that will have fans sitting on the edge of their seats. We’re excited to bring another iconic and irresistible film to audiences around the globe."

29 April 2022

Information For Schools Considering Keeping Honey Bees

Many schools now keep honey bees on site and have found them to have a huge impact on  pupils. We strongly recommend that a school keeping bees becomes a member of the BBKA.  This means that a school employee needs to register as the contact with the local BBKA branch of beekeepers.  Find your local association here Costs to join are in the region of £25 pa but this varies according to local club fees. School membership includes a copy of BBKA News monthly magazine and free entry for pupils to take the Junior Beekeeping Certificate.   The Junior Beekeeping Certificate is a lovely way to encourage children's interest in beekeeping but especially perhaps those children who struggle with academic subjects.   Another benefit of joining a club is putting the school in touch with local beekeepers who may be able to help and mentor and provide advice.  Additionally beekeepers are sometimes able to visit the school and give lessons or take an ...

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Planning Documents

If you are a school thinking of having bees on site please refer to the following guidelines and documents to help with your planning: Managing your apiary, time commitment Schools' beekeeping management plan  Model rules for the Apiary Model risk assessment

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21 April 2022

Make a Donation

Thank you for your interest in honey bees and the British Beekeepers' Association.  Below are details of our current projects and how you can support us. Save the Bees Honey bees face many threats from climate change to loss of forage to the use of pesticides as well as pests and diseases.  Help the BBKA raise essential funds to finance research into how we can combat these threats which honey bees face.  Any funds you can give will be helping our honey bees in a very real way! Donate Now Apiary & Education Help the BBKA raise funds for our new Apiary Garden and Education Centre which is a live resource for learning, through discovery and creativity, about the importance of honey bees, pollinators, beekeeping and the environment.  Our offices in Stoneleigh provide the perfect location for our new Education Centre as we are in the heart of England and can welcome visitors from all over the UK. We are now able to invite school groups free of charge t...

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20 April 2022

Junior Certificate

Under 18 and want to test your beekeeping knowledge? Then this could be for you. The Junior certificate consists of 4 elements 10 minutes of oral questions Examine a frame of bees Present a piece of coursework Present your beekeeping diary This examination is intended to meet the requirements of schools, Scout and Guide groups together with those not qualified to enter for the Basic Assessment. Additionally, it is intended that the examination will reflect the candidates interest of apiculture and encourage them to go forward to the next examination, the Basic Assessment. To apply for the assessment, please contact your local Exam Secretary. They will be able to email you a link to the application form. You can use this to apply and pay online. You will get a receipt by email to confirm we have your application. If you are not sure how to contact your local exam secretary then check with your local association. Independent members can contact the BBKA office to receive...

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13 April 2022

Ashbrow School

“We have had our school apiary for 8 years now and our children love the bees. They learn such a lot through hands on experiences like this. Our children inspect the hives, learn about bees and beekeeping and each year have a go at bee breeding through grafting, cupkit, and cell punching techniques, honey extraction and bottling, and candle and cosmetic making.  We host an annual beekeeping festival for schools, and welcome others to our apiary. We offer help and advice to anyone who wishes to learn about bees and in particular setting up beehives in schools so please get in touch.  We are very proud of what we have achieved and what is still to come. The joy that beekeeping brings to our school is priceless. We are committed to providing an outdoor environment that cares for all our wildlife and all our pollinators and offers our children experiences that they will never forget, and we will continue to do so in years to come.” 

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Heron Hill School

The Bee Team at Heron Hill School has an excellent website which highlights the benefits of beekeeping for young people, as well as providing lots of useful information for schools who are interested in beekeeping and are looking to set up their own apiary. https://bee-team.co.uk/

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01 April 2022

Spring Convention Trade Show

The Trade Show will be open on Saturday 9th only this year with all main suppliers and leading companies represented. Trade Show Exhibition Saturday 08.30 - 16.30 Trade Show Only day tickets, are available at £6 on Saturday at reception in the Faccenda building. All on the day payments by card please. Not for profit exhibition available Friday and Saturday.  Friday 9.30 - 17:30 Saturday 9.30 - 16.30 B9 Abelo Ltd. Old Station Yard, Common Road, Dunnington, York YO19 5EP www.abelo.co.uk A12 Andermatt Biocontrol UK Unit 30, Mackley Ind.Est., Henfield Rd., Small Dole, Henfield BN5 9XR https://ift.tt/3S1Rnk6 A7 Arnia (Agrisound Limited) York Biotech Campus, Sand Hutton, York YO41 1LZ www.arnia.co A5 BB Wear Unit NP1, Rosedene Farm, Threemilestone, Truro TR4 9AN www.bbwear.co.uk A2 BBKA The National Beekeeping Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth CV8 2LG www.bbka.org.uk A8 Bee Farmers Assn. The Holding, Eglwys Cross, Whitchurch, Wrexham S...

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16 March 2022

BBKA News Editor Vacancy

BBKA News Editor Vacancy The BBKA is seeking a new editor for BBKA News. After doing a superb job for thirty years as our editor, Sharon Blake has decided to pass the magazine on to someone else. BBKA News is expected to provide a wide range of content suitable to meet the needs of beekeepers who will have a range of experience. The editor is responsible for the content and production of BBKA News and reports to the BBKA editorial team. We anticipate the editor will be an active and experienced beekeeper with a sound knowledge of beekeeping practice and beekeeping policies. The role involves generating ideas for articles in line with BBKA policy; commissioning and obtaining these in a timely manner according to the publication schedule; liaising with authors and the production team and evaluating the proofs.  The production schedule is set and agreed with the editorial team, printers and distributors and the editor will need to be comfortable working as part of a team.&nbsp...

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02 March 2022

Government permits use of bee poison

March 2 2022 Pollinators under threat from Government decision which allows the use of bee poison. All pollinators are at risk on 100,000 hectares of land following the Government decision to allow bee poisons use. The Rothamsted Virus yellows forecast for 2022 is 68.9%. Cruiser SB seed treatment has been triggered as the predicted levels are above the 19% danger level set by the government.  In 2021 the level of Virus threat was predicted to be 8.3%.  Stephen Barnes, Chair of the British Beekeepers' Association is appalled to hear about the decision to allow the use of Cruiser SB on sugar beet crops in the UK.  This decision is damaging to the environment and pollinators. The chemical authorised on March 1st is a neonicotinoid responsible for killing bees and other pollinators. This is not just damaging for honeybees but for all other insects, soil and watercourses. This is a dark day for British Beekeeping.  Rothamsted yellows virus forecast model has ...

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23 February 2022

Workshops and Seminars

Workshops & Seminars (listed in alphabetical order by main tutor’s surname) Level: A = All, including non-beekeepers B = Beginners I = Intermediates S = Seniors Marin Anastasov NDB developed his initial beekeeping knowledge and skills while studying towards a BSc in Animal Science, later completing an MSc in Organic Farming at Aberdeen University. He is passionate about sustainable food production and his entire career has been in organic food and farming. He has kept bees for over 20 years and currently manages 30 colonies in Gloucestershire. Marin is a Master Beekeeper and gained his NDB in 2017. He is Trustee of Gloucestershire Beekeepers Association and serves on the BBKA Examinations Board. Marin is co-author and led the implementation of the BBKA Certificate in Honey Bee Breeding. I  Pollen Identification – Marin Anastasov and Lynfa Davies CW12: Friday 8 April 13.30 – 16.30 ECG1 (Elizabeth Creak Laboratories) £35 This workshop ...

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Spring Convention Lecturers

Lecturers and Lectures (listed in alphabetical order by lecturer’s surname) Locations: RFA = Regional Food Academy  TBL = Teaching Block Lecture Theatre  WLT = Weston Lecture Theatre Level: A = All, including non-beekeepers B = Beginners I = Intermediates S = Seniors Dr Mark Barnett is a Scottish Expert Beemaster and honey bee research scientist. He has given many public lectures on honey bee research to a growing interest in honey bees amongst the general public and substantial interest in honey bee science amongst beekeepers. In 2019, he was awarded the “Inspiring Public Engagement Activity Award” by the Roslin Institute. He manages the apiary at the Easter Bush Campus of the University of Edinburgh, and is the President of Edinburgh and Midlothian Beekeepers Association (2018-2021). Each year, he teaches on three beekeeping courses for beginners and teaches courses to help beekeepers prepare for the Basic Beekeepers Cert...

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12 January 2022

January In the Apiary

I was asked to let you have some thoughts about what all of us should be doing in the apiary, month by month, throughout 2022. It is quite an honour; I am delighted to be asked. I began my beekeeping in 1985 after a course in Plymouth by the County Beekeeping Lecturer. Memories of my first year include: Transporting my mother’s two colonies from Hampshire; somewhere along the A30, much to my wife’s alarm, several bees appeared on the inside of the windscreen. It was dark but we were passing a lit shop window so stopped, shooed them out and re-sealed an old woodpecker hole. Seeing twenty or more Braula driven off a queen with tobacco smoke. An afternoon grafting larvae at Seale Hayne, then the Devon agricultural college. I have been running introductory classes for the Ipswich and East Suffolk BKA since 2000. And, because no-one else was, into courses in queen rearing and for general husbandry. I have been a BBKA Module Examiner and am a BBKA Correspondence Course...

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04 January 2022

Beekeepers arrested in protest as Chile megadrought hits honey production

Seven police officers were stung during the protest

From https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/beekeepers-chile-megadrought-climate-crisis-b1986391.html 

22 December 2021

Visiting our Education Centre

We are delighted to be able to welcome schools to our Apiary Garden and Education Centre from Spring 2022.  With a focus on honeybees and beekeeping, we want to inspire children's natural curiosity in the world around them by offering free of charge educational visits in an inspirational learning environment.  We offer a range of fully supervised stimulating activities to fully engage children in learning beyond the classroom. We have a flexible programme of fun indoor and outdoor learning activities linked to the KS2 National Curriculum and can tailor the content for the specific needs and abilities of a particular class or group. YouTube Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAtQQAiQwUI We offer a safe environment for classes to explore, discover and learn about honeybees and have fun! Excellent brand-new facilities including an apiary garden and pond, together with indoor and outdoor teaching classrooms DBS-checked/qualified teaching staff Ample free par...

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20 December 2021

What we can offer

We are delighted to be able to welcome schools to our Apiary Garden and Education Centre from Spring 2022.  With a focus on honeybees and beekeeping, we want to inspire children's natural curiosity in the world around them by offering free of charge educational visits in an inspirational learning environment.  We offer a range of fully supervised stimulating activities to fully engage children in learning beyond the classroom. We have a flexible programme of fun indoor and outdoor learning activities linked to the KS2 National Curriculum and can tailor the content for the specific needs and abilities of a particular class or group. YouTube Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAtQQAiQwUI We offer a safe environment for classes to explore, discover and learn about honeybees and have fun! Excellent brand-new facilities including an apiary garden and pond, together with indoor and outdoor teaching classrooms DBS-checked/qualified teaching staff Ample free par...

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Additional Resources

BBKA 'Bees in the Curriculum' Written for Key Stages 1 and 2, this teachers pack is a neat introduction to Bees and Minibeasts, Bee Products, The Beekeeper and Pollination. The online pdf resources pack has three sections containing many usable worksheets. The headings are: Understanding the world, Science, Science and the environment.  We have used scientific section headings for usability. This doesn’t mean a waggle dance could not be a PE lesson, or label design couldn’t become an art class! This is a free resource and open to all. Visit Bees in the Curriculum here Two brilliant lectures for children by our Past President Margaret Murdin. Margaret is a Master Beekeeper, holds the National Diploma in Beekeeping and is a Past President of the BBKA but describes herself as an ordinary, practical beekeeper, currently with twenty colonies across three apiaries. Margaret began as a member of Ormskirk and Croston Branch in Lancashire where she learnt her b...

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02 December 2021

Sticky mess

Last year my colonies were chewing through up to 500 g of fondant every week. In total, each colony polished off around 12 kg. 

This year, rather than replenish the hives every two weeks, I loaded one single fondant block of 12.5 kg (that's the pack size, no science here!) on the crown boards. 

Today I discovered that the principle is good, but the practice is bad. Last year's I used old food tubs, which hold the fondant in place nicely. This year I started with a nicely squared-off block in a plastic bag. But the bag doesn't do the same job as a tub, and the whole thing has subsided into a giant sticky mess on the top of each hive. 

Luckily, the bees seem not to mind. 


01 December 2021

Algarve beekeeping in “state of calamity” due to wildfires and lack of support

 Excerpt:


The Alentejo and Algarve account for around 20% of Portugal’s beehives and produce over 1.1 tons of honey, much of which is exported. However, wildfires, climate change and droughts have taken a toll on production levels, explains Melgarbe expert Paulo Ventura.

“In the Algarve, 6,000 hectares housing around 3,500 beehives will be sterile for at least two years,” Ventura said, adding that between 700 and 800 beehives were lost in the Eastern Algarve’s fires last summer and that others are dying due to the harsh conditions.

19 November 2021

Bees & Refugees

I like this story:

A charity founder and Syrian refugee has said beekeeping helps refugees to “break connection with any trauma”.

Ali Alzein started Bees & Refugees to save the native British black bee from extinction as well as foster “a sense of belonging in the UK’s refugee communities” by providing therapeutic workshops and a Build-Your-Own-Beehive project. 

https://uk.style.yahoo.com/beekeeping-breaks-connection-trauma-refugees-070047981.html



17 November 2021

News from Brian: promises to swap jars of honey with Jordanian beekeeper

 

His Royal Highness Prince Charles pledged to send a jar of his honey to a fellow beekeeper after he saw first hand Jordan’s efforts to support refugees.

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/charles-promises-swap-jars-honey-153338381.html

08 November 2021

BBKA Spring Convention 2022

BBKA Spring Convention 8-10 April 2022 @ Harper Adams University, Shropshire, TF10 8NB Planning for BBKA Spring Convention Any beekeepers starting after April 2019 won’t have had a chance to come to a face- to-face Spring Convention, so this is aimed in part at you, and other beekeepers who’ve never made it to the event. For those of you Zoomed out by online lectures and workshops, this is a great opportunity to look forward to meeting up in person. Spring Convention is held at Harper Adams University, near Telford in Shropshire. The dates for 2022 are April 8th – 10th . The full programme will be available here in mid-January. The event is held across the campus, with beekeeping lectures, workshops, the (Saturday only) commercial trade show and the not-for-profit area where you’ll find the BBKA trustees and staff. There are places to sit and have a coffee and catch up with beekeepers you know and the opportunity to meet beekeepers you don’...

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27 October 2021

Bees at the Institute of Directors

 


Jonathan Geldart, the Director General of the Institute of Directors, said:

“Bees are one of the most important animals on the planet, but their numbers are plummeting rapidly. I am delighted that we are able to play a small part in protecting bees and the vital role they play in the natural ecosystem.

“Quite apart from the environmental, educational and wellbeing benefits the bees will bring, I am also excited by the prospect of IoD members being able to enjoy honey made by our own little captains of industry.”

https://businessnewswales.com/bee1-sends-20000-welsh-bees-to-londons-pall-mall/

09 October 2021

East Lothian Courier: Congregations swarm to fund beekeeping



Excerpt

Abbey Church in North Berwick and Dirleton Kirk are supporting Bees Abroad, a UK-based charity that provides opportunities for people in low-income communities around the world to learn practical beekeeping skills to generate income and improve lives.

Members of the two congregations contributed more than £2,000 to support the Rwenzori Rural Talent project, which is expected to last for three to four years.

06 October 2021

Defra launches Healthy Bees Plan 2030

See https://www.gov.uk/government/news/a-boost-for-bees-as-defra-works-with-beekeepers-to-implement-the-healthy-bees-plan-2030



02 October 2021

Migratory beekeeping - is this Good or Bad?

Kashmir beekeepers head southward for warmth, honey and cash...

Fascinating to compare the life of these beekeepers with those in the US.

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/kashmir-beekeepers-head-southward-warmth-034140812.html



29 September 2021

Becoming a Beekeeper

Where do I start? Contact your local BBKA Association for advice, tuition and support and consider becoming a member.  Most associations run ‘Taster Days’ which are ideal for obtaining a basic understanding of bees and what is involved in beekeeping.  This can be followed by an ‘Introduction to Beekeeping’ course where you can learn some of the theory required to be a good beekeeper and gain valuable practical experience before you make any investment in equipment and honeybees.  Your local association will also be able to assign you a mentor who will be able to help as you start to keep bees for yourself. There are over 270 area associations and branches who serve their local area with support and education.  To find your nearest branch click here. What equipment will I need? Minimum equipment needed for keeping bees:- A suitable hive Protective clothing – a beekeeper suit and disposable ‘Marigold’ type gloves that ...

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27 September 2021

Honeyed sounds

 

400-year-old score based on bees inspires part of artist’s first major UK show

Australian artist Angelica Mesiti adapted a 17th-century composition based on the sound of bees in the hive for her exhibition in Edinburgh.


The choral piece was written by Elizabethan polymath Charles Butler, a pioneer in English beekeeping.


https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/uk-news/2021/09/27/400-year-old-score-based-on-bees-inspires-part-of-artists-first-major-uk-show/




18 September 2021

Angelina Jolie Will Return to Cambodia in 2022 to Establish Next Women for Bees Program

For what it is worth, I hugely admire Ms Jolie. Story from https://uk.sports.yahoo.com/news/angelina-jolie-return-cambodia-2022-200423388.html



10 September 2021

Trending beekeepers

Beyoncé, David Beckham, Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman, Scarlett Johansson, Flea (eh? who he?), Jennifer Garner (eh? who she?), Leonardo DiCaprio, Michelle Obama, Bruce Springsteen, Sylvia Plath (where's her apiary?), Gordon Sumner (Sting), Henry Fonda (presumably same apiary as Sylvia Plath), Jon Bon Jovi, Ed Sheeran, Sir Edmund Hillary (a little higher up than Sylvia Plath).... I could go on, and often do,

08 September 2021

02 September 2021

Are Disabilities Barriers to Beekeeping?

Living with a disability makes you rethink many aspects of life, including whether you are able to become a beekeeper, as Zec Richardson explains. All photos are courtesy of Zec Richardson. I first took an interest in beekeeping around about 1994. One summer, every lunchtime at work, I would sit outside behind the aircraft hangar where some bees had nested in an old hut that had a hole in the door. I sat close by and some of the bees would land on me before going into the hive. It was then that I became interested in bees. My wife had always said that if we had a garden over 70 feet long, I could then have a hive as she is not the most confident with bees, wasps or anything that flies near her. When we moved into the property we are living in now, the garden was 100 feet long, but she laughed and said: “no chance”, before I had said anything. So, it was a shock when one day, out of the blue she turned to me and said: “Okay you can have a hive!” Weighin...

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13 July 2021

Bees Needs Week

Bees Needs Week:    12th - 18th July 2021 The BBKA will be sharing our favourite beekeeping moments on our social media: sharing our members photos of their beekeeping and our most popular stories from the last 12 months. Follow us on social media. These are the five simple actions you can take to help pollinators and make sure their populations are sustained: Grow more flowers, shrubs and trees Let your garden grow wild Cut your grass less often Don’t disturb insect nest and hibernation spots Think carefully about whether to use pesticides Our patron, Jimmy Doherty, sent this message in support of Bees Needs Week: YouTube Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61X1Hpr4S-c Let's celebrate honeybees and all the other pollinators during Bees Needs Week. What is Bees Needs Week? Bees Needs Week is an annual event coordinated by Defra, working alongside charities, businesses, conservation groups and academic institutions to raise awarenes...

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22 June 2021

Thousands of bees dead and hive missing during suspected theft at Musselburgh beekeeper's apiary

Look at the size of those queen cells! By chance, I will be in Musselburgh in a few weeks' time; I might drop by the apiary. 

https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/crime/thousands-of-bees-dead-and-hive-missing-during-suspected-theft-at-musselburgh-beekeepers-apiary-3279916

A beekeeper has been left feeling devastated after many of her bees were found dead and more than 2,000 missing in a suspected theft at an apiary.


20 June 2021

Sissinghurst granddad's fury at nextdoor neighbours 'who use bees as weapons'

Beyond the screeching headline, it all ends happily ever after.  Was the upset grandad asked look grumpy specifically for the camera?

The desire to attract reader attention is pushing journalists, subs, editors and publishers towards hyperbole. 



https://www.kentlive.news/news/kent-news/sissinghurst-granddads-fury-nextdoor-neighbours-5481091

19 June 2021

Cowdenbeath

I lived in Fife for a while.

https://www.centralfifetimes.com/news/19383449.real-buzz-cowdenbeath-last-week/


18 June 2021

Swarm of bees inspires mother and daughter to create new gin

I quote: "Marie and Sally Anne Cooney are taking on the spirits world with Silks Gin – named after the silks worn by jockeys at Bellewstown racecourse." 

So, bugger all to do with bees.

https://www.irishnews.com/magazine/daily/2021/06/17/news/swarm-of-bees-inspires-mother-and-daughter-to-create-new-gin-2358683/


11 June 2021

Professor Ian Gibson PhD

Article by Tim Lovett, BBKA Past President, published in the June edition of BBKA News. Professor Ian Gibson PhD, 1938–2021 The MP who served beekeeping so well By Tim Lovett, BBKA Past President Ian Gibson passed away on Friday 9 April 2021 after a short illness. He was elected an Honorary Fellow of the BBKA in 2010 in recognition of his seminal active support and encouragement to the BBKA in a period of great importance for bees and beekeeping. Indeed, he played no small role in putting beekeeping front and centre at Westminster and the country at large, and as a result, was hugely helpful in engaging with the public in getting key messages over to them. The corporate memory of the BBKA may have a number of lacunae, so it is worth revisiting Ian’s involvement and contribution. Ian Gibson graduated and obtained his PhD at Edinburgh University. A geneticist, he did post-doctoral research at Universities of Indiana and Washington before returning to the UK as a lect...

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10 June 2021

Untangling the Sticky Drama Between TikTok Beekeepers

Nice headline, but boring story. I share because I care. Not.

https://www.eonline.com/uk/news/1277524/heres-what-you-need-to-know-about-tiktoks-beekeeper-drama



09 June 2021

New Scientist News: A single honeybee has cloned itself hundreds of millions of times.

Actually, this is a very old story about the Cape honeybee, Apis mellifera capensis.

Cape honeybees can reproduce asexually, and (were they to come to the UK) could be a major pest. 

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2280153-a-single-honeybee-has-cloned-itself-hundreds-of-millions-of-times/

Photo Cathy Withers-Clarke/Alamy


30 May 2021

Bumble packs a punch!

This morning a big, fat bumblebee snuck under my shirt and stung me, and it sure packs a punch. Either Bombus terrestris or Bombus lucorum.

https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/white-tailed-bumblebees/buff-tailed-bumblebee/

Photo: Bill Temples


26 May 2021

Glasgow Royal Jelly Infirmary

After a year of using large amounts of plastic protective equipment, healthcare workers decided to repay nature by setting up the colony. 

Consultant rheumatologist Dr Hilary Wilson, said: “It’s a way for us to help pay back for all the plastic PPE and other vital equipment used to keep us safe in the pandemic."

Don't tell Dr Wilson about poly hives, then...

https://www.sundaypost.com/fp/glasgow-bee-hive/

19 May 2021

BBKA Leaflets 2020

Order Form for leaflets Allotment Beekeeping (L015) Cost: £0.07 each    Size: A4 3 Fold    Edition: February 2012  ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Bees, Neighbours & Siting an Apiary (L011) Cost: £0.12 each    Size: DL 4 Fold    Edition: June 2012  ______________________________________________________________________________________________ BFTB Arable Beginners Bugology / Friends in the Fields / Mosey in the Margins Leaflets       Cost: Please download for free from the Back from the Brink website: https://ift.tt/3wgAgCV  Size: A4    Edition: November 2020  ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Collecting a Swarm (L004) Cost: Please download for free    Size: A4 3 Fold  ...

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Important Organisations for Beekeepers

Beekeeping Organisations National Diploma in Beekeeping (NDB) Welsh, Scottish and Ulster BBKA equivalents (WBKA, SBKA, UBKA) Bee Farmers' Association (BFA) In Europe Confederation of National Beekeeping Associations (CONBA) The Central Association of Beekeepers (CABK) Government groups Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) National Bee Unit (NBU) Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) Regional Bee Inspectors (RBIs) Seasonal Bee Inspectors (SBI) BeeBase - an initiative by NBU The Chemicals Regulation Division (CRD) Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS) - pesticide poisoning The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) The Institute of Arable Crop Research (IACR) at Rothamsted Other groups Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders' Association (BIBBA) International Bee Research Association (IBRA) British Honey Importers and Packers Association (BHIPA) The Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE)...

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15 May 2021

Shake, shake, shake yer body

Neat piece about how bee swarms hang together,"What a bundle of buzzing bees can teach engineers about robotic materials."  https://theconversation.com/what-a-bundle-of-buzzing-bees-can-teach-engineers-about-robotic-materials-125194

Schools of fish and murmurations of starlings exhibit the same basic mechanisms, using sight-proximity.

https://theconversation.com/what-a-bundle-of-buzzing-bees-can-teach-engineers-about-robotic-materials-125194



14 May 2021

Novelty use of a Queen excluder

Looking through one of my colonies today, when I opened up I was surprised, to put it mildly, to see the queen excluder on the top of the top super. This hive is brood + three supers. 

Eh?

Or course, the bees were totally happy, with brood spread in lovely solid swathes in all boxes except, of course, the brood box. 

From my point of view, it's a royal shambles! Why on earth did I put the QE on the top? She's a marked queen, everything is 100% normal... My notes are not much help, listing the hive as BS/E/SS, and a remark that at next trip I would consolidate to B/E/SSS. 

Was puting the QE on top senility, stupidity, or incompetence?

(Don't answer that!)

Here's an old photo of the colony before muggins went crazy...


09 May 2021

The sting is in the tale

Sorting out some spare frames etc today, I managed to get stung on the tip of one finger. No bees in sight, just the remains of a bee carcass on an old brood frame that I happened to grip in exactly the wrong manner. In 15+ years of keeping bees, catching swarms and what-have you, there's a first time for everything!


Pic from https://www.americanpest.net/blog/post/mad-truths-about-bee-stings

30 April 2021

Full to overflowing

Three colonies full to bursting; threw on two supers each as a temporary swarm-control measure (which won't work, but I lives in 'opes).

29 April 2021

28 April 2021

Save the Bees

Help British Beekeepers Association raise funds for research into the threats honeybees face  Every year the British Beekeepers Association selects scientific projects from a wide range of subjects that benefit bees and beekeeping.  These might include bee behaviour, bee husbandry, pollination, forage or the environment.  Grants are given to researchers on a rolling basis throughout the year - that way if someone has a particularly brilliant idea they do not have to wait until they can apply they can do it straight away. Current research We are currently supporting the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology who have started analysing honey samples to monitor how the pollen content of honey varies  & which plants & trees honeybees favour.  We have given funds to Sussex University to create a national database of plant/pollinator interactions which will record which plants support all pollinators including honeybees.  ...

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Apiary and Education

Help BBKA raise funds for our new schools learning Apiary which will be a live resource for learning about the environment and pollinators YouTube Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVWzifzgfRE Filmed by fridaysky : www.fridaysky.co.uk   Our offices in Stoneleigh provide the perfect location for our new visitor centre as we are in the heart of England and can welcome visitors from all over the UK. Children will come with their school classes and learn about bees and mini-beasts and food security and have a live bee display with one of our beekeepers. Lots of children get ‘bitten by the bug’ this way and with their interest in beekeeping awakened, will return to it in later years. It’s imperative we train a new generation too as the average age of a beekeeper in the UK is 65. What your donations have paid for The paths around the area have been laid out and the base of the cabin has been installed. The building is expected to go up in spring ne...

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26 April 2021

How much does a jar of Hilltop Honey cost?

Came across this, from Hilltop Honey https://lovehilltop.com/

Honey + chilli sounds quite revolting. I'll try some. Works out at £3.99/lb or £8.80/kg




20 April 2021

Water, water, everywhere


Bee books frequently refer to the two uses of water by bees: cool the hive, and dilute stored honey. 

That seems odd to me. 

To convert sucrose (C12H22011) to glucose (C6H12O6and fructose (C6H12O6) means that for every sucrose molecule the bee must find one H2O molecule. 

Put another way: C12H22011 + H2O [sucrase] = 2(C6H12O6)

So far I have not found reference to this requirement for metabolic water in the books. Maybe nectar - a very dilute sugar solution - provides all the water the bees need for the sucrase conversion, while water brought into the hive is indeed for cooling and honey dilution.