Beginners’ Main 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 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 2.00 to 5 pm
  • The Apiary sessions are from 1.30 to 5.00 pm

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

Cost of the Full Beginners Course (Introduction Course + Main Course) is £200.00 which includes the cost of membership of the association, and a copy of the Green Beekeeper's book which provides good introductory information and is a useful reference book for the future.

(1) Saturday 4th March 2017 at 2.00 pm Tutors; 

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

Welcome. Introductions. Administration (register, name tags)
What is a hive and the different parts of the hive. Where to purchase your first hive. Explanation about frames and bee space.
Where to put a hive.
Basic bee equipment. Record sheets. Purchase of the recommended book. Joining the Association. Bee stings and allergies.
DVD 'The Honeybee'

(2) Saturday 18th March. 2.00 pm Tutors;

Beehives and Equipment (indoors; Jarvis Brook Main Hall)

Making hives and frames from flat pack kits. Sterilisation of old equipment.
Group 1 sterilisation of wooden hive parts with blowtorch. Sterilisation of a poly nuc with a strong bleach solution.
Group 2 construction of national frames, deep national frames and super frames
Group 3 construction of a brood box from a flat pack kit.
Demonstration of how a WBC hive works.

(3) Saturday 1st April 2.00 pm Tutors; 

Basic Bee biology (indoors; Jarvis Brook main hall)

Three casts. Development of these from egg to adult together with timings. Organisation of a colony. Tasks carried out by worker bees. Colony reproduction and the swarming impulse. The colony's annual cycle.
Demonstration of how to collect a swarm.Bee products; honey, wax, pollen, propolis. The importance of these products for the colony.
Foraging behavior, bee communication, pollination and interaction between plants and bees

(4) Saturday 15th April. 1.00 pm Tutors; 

Inside the Hive (In the Apiary)

Bee suits and gloves. How to use a smoker effectively. Situation of apiary. Apiary hygiene. How to open a hive calmly.
Identification of the three casts, recognising pollen, recognising open and capped brood and stores.
Using hive tools.
Record keeping and filling in the record sheet.

(5) Sunday 29th April. 1.00 pm Tutors; 

Inspecting the colony; (In the Apiary)

Examining the colony for signs of swarming. Recognition of drone brood. Reasons for swarming.
Swarm prevention. Two methods of swarm control; artificial swarm and nucleus box. Tutors will be asked to cover these methods with their group.
The importance of putting supers on early to give space.
Booking for the main course.


Proposed program of lessons for the HWBKA  2017  Beginners Main Course.

All the sessions will be at the Association Apiary;

    Cherry Gardens Farm, Groombridge, Tunbridge Wells, Kent.  TN3 9NY

 The Apiary sessions are typically from 1:30 to 5.30 pm    Unless otherwise indicated.

Tea & biscuits are included, and the chat at the end of each session is an important part of the course.

(6) Saturday, 13 May 2017 at 1:30 PM

Making increase. Dealing with swarming.

Finding the Queen. Marking the Queen.
Making up a nucleus. Doing an artificial swarm (repeat)
Capturing a swarm. Hiving a swarm. The difference between the beekeeper intervening and the bees naturally swarming.
How to use different feeders. Doughnut feeder, contact feeder, rapid miller feeder. How to make up sugar syrup and mistakes to avoid when using feeders.

(7) Saturday 27th of May 2017 at 1:30 PM

Preparing for a honey crop

Oil seed rape honey. How to take honey away from the bees. Honey harvesting and extraction. Bottling and labeling for sale. Records of extraction.

(8) Saturday, 10 June 2017 at 1:30 PM

Pests and diseases

Looking through a colony for disease. Minor brood diseases and major brood diseases. Phone number of the bee inspector.
Varroa and inspection boards. Open mesh floors. Drone comb removal.
Recognised treatments. Use of an eke with Apiguard. How to use Apilifevar. Filling in a record card for any treatment given. Timing, disadvantages.
Importance of brood comb renewal.
No session on 24 June. Bee association apiary visit which beginners should attend. Beginners should come to bee banter on the last Tuesday of the month to meet members.

(9) Saturday eighth of July 2017 at 1:30 PM

Summer management

Supering. How to encourage bees to draw out wax.
Uniting colonies with newspaper.
Buying in Queens.LASI bees, buckfast bees, local bees. Advantages and disadvantages. How to get a bought in Queen accepted.

(10) Saturday 22nd July 1:30pm

Bee Safari.

Visit to the apiaries of beginners on the course. Those who attend the whole day will learn as much  today as they have so far done  by coming to all  other sessions.
In the evening association barbecue, venue to be confirmed. Please attend and bring partners and family members.

(11) Saturday 5th August 1:30 PM

Honey extraction.

Getting the bees to clean up the supers. Storing supers. Recovering wax. Cleaning up wax for sale.

(12) Saturday 19th of August 2017 at 1:30 PM

Application of summer treatments.

What you do now ensures the survival of your colony for next year.
Feeding of nuclei. How to maximise your chances of getting honey next year. Assessing stores now.
Assessing colony size. Waging war on varroa.
Beginners with bees should attend bee banter on the last Tuesday of the month and carefully follow advice given.

(13) September 2nd 2017 at 1:30pm

Assessing stores.

Now it is the last chance of getting you colonies ready to survive the winter. Have you done enough? Please weigh you hive/hives and bring your record sheet with you.

(14) September 16, 2017 1:30 PM

Preparing your hive for winter

Insulation , ventilation, organic acids, sublimation.

Sessions may change depending on the season. The decision for any changes will be made by me and by the bees ; they do not always respect or follow the above timetable! Particularly when it comes to swarming.

Cost of the Main Course is £140.00 payable in advance please and includes membership of the Association.

Cost of the Full Beginners Course (Introduction Course + Main Course) is £200.00 when paid all in one go - this includes the cost of membership of the association (as previously mentioned), and a copy of the Green Beekeeper's book which provides good introductory information and is a useful reference book for the future.

It is hoped that we will be able to raise a number of nuclei during the course, which will be available for sale to participants, at a very reasonable price.

The above information can also be downloaded as a printable pdf here 2017-beginnersfullcourse

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