Beginners’ Introduction Course

The Beginners's Introduction Course leads straight into the full Beginners' Main Course should you wish to continue further.
It is necessary to register for these courses by completing the Application Form which can also be found on this site. Training Booking Form
The courses are very popular and are therefore sometimes over subscribed, so in order to avoid being disappointed book early!

Proposed programe of lessons for the HWBKA 2016 Beginners Introduction Course

First three sessions to be held at Jarvis Brook Memorial Hall,(TBC)
all further sessions at
Cherry Gardens Farm, Groombridge, Tunbridge Wells, Kent. TN3 9NY

  • The Indoor sessions are from 2.30 to 5 pm
  • The Apiary sessions are from 2.00 to 5.30 pm

Cost of the Introduction Course is £70. Payable in advance please.

Cost of the Full Beginners Course (Introduction Course + Main Course) is £160.00

(1) Saturday 12th March 2016 at 2.30 pm Tutors; KO, MW, BH

What is beekeeping all about? (indoors; JB main hall)

Welcome. Introductions. Admin. (register, name tags, fire procedure, etc.)
Why and where to keep bees, where to purchase, construction of hive, etc.
Concept of bee space.
Impact on hive design & use. One example of a basic moveable frame hive.
Basic bee equipment, personal protective equipment, tools, record keeping. Hive products. Recommended books. Joining the Association. Costs & returns
Bee stings. Allergy, precautions & first aid.
DVD, “The Honeybee” (45 min.)

(2) Saturday 26th March. 2.30 pm Tutors; KO, CC, PC, HH

Beehives and Equipment (indoors; JB Main Hall)

Hive designs, and choice of hive & equipment. Making hives & frames from flat-pack kits.
Care & preservation of hives.
Cleaning & sterilisation of used and second-hand equipment.
Information about the Local Association membership, insurance & other benefits.

(3) Saturday 9th April 2.30 pm Tutors; KO, MW, & MG

Basic Bee biology (indoors; J B main hall)

Bees Life cycle. Identification of the 3 castes. Development of bees from egg to adult.
Functions of the 3 castes in the hive. Organisation of the colony, various worker tasks.
Reproduction of the colony; Swarming impulse. The colony’s annual cycle.
Bee products; honey, wax, pollen; how & why the bees use them. Water & propolis.
Foraging behaviour, bee communication, pollination and interaction between plants & bees.
Explain procedure in event of bad weather, etc.

(4) Saturday 23rd April. 2.00 pm Tutors; KO, AS, CC, CS.

Inside the Hive (In the Apiary)

Situation of the Apiary and the hives. Apiary hygiene. Apiary ‘etiquette’. Clothing and equipment. Attitude towards opening hives. Demonstration of bee space and the moveable frame hive principle. Identify the 3 castes of bees, honeycomb, pollen, open and capped brood, etc. Appearance of normal healthy brood & chilled brood. Foraging activity of bees. Organisation of the colony, division of labour, worker’s various tasks, dance communications, wax making & comb building, storing nectar & pollen. Identify nectar sources from pollen loads. Inspecting a colony, handling bees & record keeping. Temperament and productivity of different strains of bee. Marking Queens.
Question & Answer session on things covered.
High Weald membership / Booking on to the Main Course

(5) Sunday 7th May. 2.00 pm Tutors; KO, MW, HH, CS.

Inspecting the colony; (In the Apiary)

Handling the Bees. Record keeping.
Natural instinct of bees to swarm. Queens & queen substance.
Swarm prevention; - early signs & reasons for swarming, how to reduce the risk of losing swarms.
Swarm control – one basic method; artificial swarm – NBU method
When things go wrong; Signs of queenlessness / failing queen. Recognition of a drone-laying queen & laying workers.
Bee diseases. Pest & disease management.
Assessing natural mite drop counts and the need for varroa and nosema controls.

Question & Answer session
Booking for the Main Course
High Weald Beekeepers Association membership
Sussex Bee Festival – 16th May 2015 ???

Cost of the Introduction Course is £70. Payable in advance please.

The price includes use of a beekeeping overall, gloves & veil, and all other tools & equipment, but you need to wear ‘gardening’ clothes, including sturdy shoes or Wellington boots when we are in the Apiary.

As the cost of the course is partly subsidized by the High Weald Bee Keepers Association, it is expected that any person on the course who already has bees will become a member of the Association.

Anyone going on to do the Main Course will be expected to be a member.
Basic membership costs £25 per year.

The above information can also be downloaded as a printable pdf here 2016 BeginnersTasterCourse

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