I put off doing the course for a few years as I am dyslexic and struggle with reading and writing and wasn't sure how much theory would be involved. I finally bit the bullet and signed up to the course and I'm so glad I did. Its predominantly all practical and very hands on which worked very well for me and I just read through the books at my own pace with no pressure.
It may seem to some I had the perfect season in beekeeping and in the grand scheme of things I did. My bees behaved and didn't swarm and I was lucky to harvest some honey, 43lbs, which I was very pleased with. But, I did lose my first colony of bees, which I was gutted about, due to my over eagerness and inability not to fiddle with the hive when I was around them.
I then got another colony from connections within the association and these really took off well. I then had to split the colony to prevent swarming, so I now have two full colonies. I also put my name on the swarm list and picked up a small swarm which has been nothing but a pain from being queenless to rejecting new queens and unfortunately they will not make it through winter.
I am very lucky that I can manage my bees in my work time as I keep them on the estate where I work. Beekeeping requires a fair bit of time and commitment throughout the year if you want them to be successful.
I have learnt so much from the course, made a lot of friends, eaten lots of lovely cakes, ha ha, and most importantly had lot of laughs. There are so many people with so much knowledge and experience that are willing to put themselves out to help every step of the way.
I put down some of my success this year to luck but mostly due to getting my bees early in the season and attending all the sessions put on. What you learn on the different sessions is relevant to what's going on with the bees at that time of the season and if you miss a session you miss out on vital information that's needed to give you and your bees the best chance of success. I am now going into winter with two strong colonies, hopefully, and am looking forward to next year and continuing to becoming a better beekeeper and upping my knowledge.
My last piece of advice would be to relax and enjoy the sessions they go by so fast and don't be afraid to ask advice even if its seems a silly question no one ever makes you feel silly. They're more than happy to help in any way they can.
I would like to thank Malcom and everyone else that's help us throughout. I really enjoyed it and looked forward to every session.