2018 – Beginners’ Courses

2018 Course is now full
- please email the association secretary if you would like to be put on a reserve list - the.hwbka+secretary@gmail.com

Learning to be a beekeeper is a journey that can last a lifetime. In the eight sessions listed below, all I can offer you is an introduction to this time-consuming hobby. The number of sessions have been reduced for 2018. All are important, but the sessions in April and May are fundamental. You will soon discover why.
The High Weald Beekeepers’ Association offers you the possibility of support and you will need to avail yourself of this if you are to successfully keep bees.
It will be a steep learning curve for every beginner, but the pleasure you will get from successfully keeping bees is immeasurable. They are the most fascinating creatures.

Malcolm Wilkie (training officer)

The courses will be run on Saturday afternoons between March and September 2018 - Times vary for each session as indicated below.

The Beginners’ Course will be structured into two sections

  • An Introduction Course consisting of 3 sessions, costing £60 (a further £170 payable if you wish to upgrade to include the Main Course - total £230)
  • A Main Course consisting of a further 5 sessions, (the Full course comprising both the 3 introductory sessions and the further 5 main sessions - total £210 - a reduction of £20 if you book the Full course from the outset)

The Introduction Course will give an overview of beekeeping, and an opportunity to handle bees. It will give you a good idea of whether beekeeping is for you.

The Full Course aims to give you enough knowledge, experience, and confidence to start beekeeping. Membership of the High Weald Beekeepers’ Association until October 2018 is included.

Introduction Course

  1. 24th of March 2:00pm to 5:00pm
    Hive types, positioning of your hive, where to purchase your hive, building frames, the concept of bee space.
    A short film about the life cycle of the honeybee.
  2. 7th of April 1:00pm to 3:30pm
    Bee suits, lighting a smoker, hygiene.
    If possible, opening a hive with an experienced beekeeper. This will be dependent on spring temperatures.
  • 14th of April 10:00am to 1:00pm
    (meet at the bee shed at Cherry Gardens)
    Advice for those who need it with building their flat pack hive. Building frames. Sterilising wooden hives and sterilising poly hives.
  1. 21st of April 1:00pm to 3:30pm
    Handling bees.
    At 4:00pm - introduction to your bee buddy for those of you who have got bees or who are about to get bees.

Main Course

  1. 20th of May 1:00pm to 5:00pm (N.B. This has been rescheduled from Sat 19th)
    Dealing with swarming. How to do an artificial swarm. How to take the Queen out into a nucleus box.
  2. 16th of June 1:00pm to 3:30pm
    Handling bees. Feeders. Robbing.
  3. 14th of July 10:00am to 5:00pm
    Bee Safari.
    Make sure you come for the whole day as it is only those who see all the scenarios who really improve as beekeepers. We will be visiting as many of your apiaries as possible.
  4. 4th of August 1:00pm to 6:00pm
    Honey extraction.
    Discussion of treatments to maintain the health of your colony. Volunteers will be needed to place the honey supers back on the hives. This will be done at about 7:00pm.
  5. 1st of September 1:00pm to 3:30pm
    Feeding, preparations for winter, insulation, quiz.

These are just to give you an idea of the length of the course, and the amount of time commitment required.  We may alter or change a few dates.

Dates/Times are indicated for each session above. Most sessions will conclude with a debrief and so the indicated finish times may vary slightly.

Meeting for most practical sessions will be at the Cherry Gardens Hill, TN3 9NY (this can vary, so please check joining instructions).

As you turn in towards the Farm Shop at Cherry Gardens Hill, parking is to the right and behind the main carpark.

N.B. The content of any session can change depending on the weather, the season, and what the bees are doing at that current moment.

We provide you with beekeeping overalls, veil, gloves etc, and you will have use of the Association’s bees, and equipment, so there is no need to purchase anything in order to do the Introduction Course.

As the course is subsidised by the High Weald Beekeepers’ Association, it is expected that you will renew membership in October (the Full Course includes membership until October 2018). This will allow you to continue to receive topical tips and to have access to the winter sessions that are organised. Some of these sessions are crucial if you are to be able to keep your bees for a second season. Sessions typically deal with how to build up healthy colonies, and how to prevent swarming, the latter only being cursorily dealt with on your course and being something that challenges all beekeepers every year!

(please see a summary of these further sessions and other membership benefits on the "Events page" and in our Membership Guide).

We are not asking for any money at this stage, this is simply a registration of interest in the next year’s course.  We finalise the bookings in December or January.

Please register your interest in a course by completing our Course Application form - (click here for a link to the form).