28 August 2020

BBKA History - post war changes

Making Experts: A Post-War Decline From the mid-1950s, the wartime boom in beekeeping went into decline. The number of candidates attempting the Intermediate and Senior examinations was few and the pass rates were low. The system of visiting experts was phased out and county council beekeeping services declined. Full-time posts were replaced by part-time posts and eventually these disappeared. Local associations picked up responsibility for running courses of instruction and, to some extent, the preparation for written examinations, but this was variable from one county to another. More experts were needed who could construct courses and teach.   Greater support for candidates In 1972 the Examinations Board issued a list of recommended reading for prospective candidates; it is hard to imagine there not being one previously. In 1975 the name was changed to the Examination and Education Board and this endured until 1988, but there was no noticeable improvement in the pass rate d...

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BBKA History - dealing with disease

BBKA Experts: Dealing with Disease The Technical Education Act of 1889 enabled the BBKA and county associations to gain recognition and obtain grants from the newly formed education authorities for its educational work. This included the funding of visiting experts. A survey conducted in 1894 by the BBKA revealed that 34 out of 51 English, 2 out of 12 Welsh and 4 out of 33 Scottish counties were making grants to beekeeping associations.   Expert exam results, including foul brood, as published in the British Bee Journal. Note: The British Bee Journal is available here https://ift.tt/3hDBa5M  This is from the January 1893 edition.  The reader may presume that those days of beekeeping were free from disease, but this was not so. The following are extracts from the minutes and reports of the Bristol, Somersetshire and South Gloucestershire Association:   2 March 1893: ‘it was ...

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Beekeeper Numbers Rising

Friday 28 August 2020 The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) has seen an unusual rise in beekeeper numbers in the last 18 months.  From January 2019 to August 2020 numbers rose from 23,400 to 28,300. Beekeeper numbers have remained stable for a number of years following an earlier uprise due to a successful campaign we ran in 2008 to get more money for bee research from the government.  BBKA Chair Anne Rowberry has been amazed by the rise: “The upward trend predates Covid -19, but in lockdown many have had more time to start a hobby, with online apiary courses booming. There is huge value in sitting quietly and watching the bees go about their business. The honey is just a bonus”. The vast majority of beekeepers join through a local beekeeping association. The benefits of that, one Covid-19 pandemic is over, are regular meetings with other beekeepers, the possibility of getting a hands-on mentor who will help as you learn the craft, the chance to b...

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27 August 2020

BBKA History - Making of experts

BBKA History - Making of experts is an article in three parts by BBKA Past President David Charles. This covers the history of the examination and assessments of the BBKA. Article 1: The BBKA and the Making of Experts   By David Charles, BBKA Past President   The British Beekeepers’ Association was instituted in 1874. At this time beekeeping was generally part of the rural domestic economy for cottagers as was poultry, pigs and growing vegetables, rather than being the hobby that it is for most today.   Bees were generally kept in straw skeps or in boxes. Sons learnt from their fathers and were content to continue keeping bees in much the same way as had their forebears. Swarming was uncontrolled. Most still harvested honey by killing colonies over a pit of burning sulphur, which was not only cruel, but wasteful and inefficient. There was no public instruction, little knowledge of bee diseases and a general disregard of the value of bees as pollinators. ...

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22 August 2020

Belly-dancing beekeepers

Courses ranging from printmaking to beekeeping, and belly dancing to French are among those being offered online by the Adult College for Rural East Sussex in the Autumn.

See https://uckfieldnews.com/adult-college-launches-autumn-online-courses/ and https://www.acreslearning.org.uk/

19 August 2020

Cretan honey wins second place

After sampling honey from Corfu, I imagine Cretan honey is similarly amazing. Read more here: https://greekcitytimes.com/2020/08/19/cretan-honey-wins-second-place-at-the-mediterranean-taste-awards-2020/

The winner, by the way, was Taygetos honey Elatis, https://www.medtasteawards.com/the-winners/

Like Buzz Aldrin, I very much like the celebration of coming second. 

13 August 2020

Researchers discover honeybees have more than one way to feed on nectar


Read it here: https://phys.org/news/2020-08-honeybees-nectar.html

Air pollution could kill off critical honey bees in India

Bees feel the sting of air pollution more acutely than we do. A 3-year study in India finds that even mildly dirty air could kill 80% of giant Asian honey bees, a key pollinator in South Asia. Without such bees and other insects, domestic production of fruit, vegetables, nuts, and legumes could be at risk, the team says.

Read more at https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/08/its-body-looked-warzone-air-pollution-could-kill-critical-honey-bees-india

12 August 2020

'Bee Man' to the rescue after swarm at Hove Lagoon

 You gotta love the headline!


Buzz Gifts - Save the Bees

If 2020 has taught us one thing - it's that life is precious and delicate. Bees pollinate billions of plants each year, including millions of agricultural crops. It is estimated bees play a key role in one out of every three bites of food we eat. Without them, many plants and crops we rely on would die off. We are hoping to raise £1000 through your kind donations to help The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) The BBKA educates and trains beekeepers of the future and supports vital research. They also work hard to raise the profile of beekeeping amongst young people through its school programme and junior certificates to ensure the next generation will be well equipped to do the important work we urgently need to continue. Thank you for your donation.

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05 August 2020

How do I become a beekeeper?

Keeping bees healthy and productive requires knowledge and skill. Beekeeping is made much easier by belonging to a local Beekeepers Association (BKA), where you should be given advice, tuition and support.  Find BKA here One of the key questions you might ask is: Should I keep bees?  Why join a local association?  You will get great advice, a mentor and access to training and a library of books about beekeeping. Associations will run courses at  certain times of the year which will show you the magical world of beekeeping. By taking part in an 'Introduction to Beekeeping' course, you will understand the level of responsibility required to become a good beekeeper. Most associations support the course with a visit to a local apiary, where you can handle bees, before you make any investment in equipment and your honey bees. And you will have mentors who will help as you start to keep bees for yourself.  Courses Throughout spring and summer, de...

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