BBKA Forum

British Beekeepers Association Official Forum 

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  • General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #1311  by suzisazuki
 10 Nov 2018, 22:02
Hi my name is Mireille and I live in the Vale of Evesham. I became interested in Honeybees when a feral swarm moved into my front porch four years ago. Sadly it died out after a couple of years and I missed all their comings and goings. So I started bee keeping last year with one Langstroth hive and a feral swarm from a local farmers orchard. The hive caught me unawares this year when it swarmed at the end of March. Luckily I caught the swarm and then another a month later from a feral colony that lives in a neighbour chimney. So I am up to 3 hives now.
 #1313  by AdamD
 11 Nov 2018, 19:14
Hi Mireille.
A swarm in March would certainly catch out most beekeepers!
Welcome to the forum.
 #1327  by deweyandrew
 12 Nov 2018, 22:22
Greetings all and thanks for allowing a Yank to join you.

I keep roughly 20 colonies, in a variety of hive types (mostly Langstroth), for what I consider my home teaching apiary.

I am curious about the BBKA examination system, and spent a bit of time talking about the exams at the BBKA Booth at the 2018 National Honey Show.

EAS and The University of Montana recognize me as a Master Beekeeper.
 #1330  by Patrick
 13 Nov 2018, 17:16
Welcome to the Forum deweyandrew!

Looking forward to some international perspectives on some of our discussions and questions. I have seen some tremendous lectures from some great US speakers over the years. Its always interesting to compare experiences from different places.
 #1331  by AdamD
 13 Nov 2018, 19:26
deweyandrew wrote:
12 Nov 2018, 22:22
I am curious about the BBKA examination system, and spent a bit of time talking about the exams at the BBKA Booth at the 2018 National Honey Show.
What do you need to know? :)
 #1335  by deweyandrew
 13 Nov 2018, 22:34
I have been teaching a Beginner Course in the winter for my County Club - it lasts for six weeks with each session lasting two hours. I say should say was teaching as (my club) is taking the year off from offering the class, as we have seen too many new beekeepers give up the hobby when they are unable to successfully over winter their colony. I have on a thumb drive the BBKA Course in a Case. My questions are many but I'll keep them in check for now, focusing on preparation needed for the General Assessment.

How many sessions and of what length do you think are necessary?
What do you think is essential for new beekeepers to learn?
Do you find the BBKA Courses cover all that they ought to well?

(My first name is Andrew)
 #1340  by AdamD
 14 Nov 2018, 12:54
Andrew,
I prepared myself for the General Assessment and I haven't seen the Course in a Case - so I can't help much there! I suppose as the questions are verbal rather than written down, you need to feel that the candidates are confident answering the questions without too much delay; some will take longer to get to grips with it than others. I was pushed on answering disease questions which is so important - there's no point in blindly looking at a colony week in and week out and showing your friends where the queen is - and then not knowing if it is sick. For the practical side of things, a beekeeper with a few year experience of a few colonies SHOULD be OK with the questions asked; I guess if they get into good habits early that always helps. I recall I was asked to clip a drone (instead of a queen) and demonstrate swarm control with an artificial swarm.
 #1341  by Jim Norfolk
 14 Nov 2018, 14:12
How many sessions and of what length do you think are necessary?
What do you think is essential for new beekeepers to learn?
Do you find the BBKA Courses cover all that they ought to well?

When I was involved in teaching our beginners course was 6 classroom sessions of two hours and 3 morning apiary sessions. That got them started. It was backed up by 1 to 1 mentoring. We also included among our regular monthly club meetings specific sessions on topics such as disease, swarming, honey etc. I would suggest that after a couple of years keeping bees and a further couple of specific sessions in the classroom and at the apiary they should be ready to take the BBKA Basic. The General Husbandry comes after around 5 years and the best way was to meet with someone who had already passed it to spend half a day to go through your beekeeping and suggest any improvements. We also had a series of classroom sessions for the General Husbandry where course members took turns to give presentations to the others on topics.

As a former biology teacher, I looked at the BBKA Course in a Case but then wrote our own course using it as a framework and borrowing some of the slides to get us started.

What is essential to learn: An understanding of what goes on in a bee hive and some basic bee biology; a willingness to ask for help; attending as many talks and apiary sessions as possible and reading several text books and asking questions. I don't think beekeeping can be taught. enlightenment gradually dawns as you gain experience. You then keep on learning and still you won't ever know it all.
 #1348  by deweyandrew
 15 Nov 2018, 02:50
Thanks Jim.

I probably have the BBKA certificates in all the wrong order in my head. I'm perusing and thinking, trying to identify things I can appropriate and trying to think of what can be done to make our Beginner course more effective. The biggest game changer I've come up with so far is moving the class into Bee Season, with the idea that students start their own hives the next year, after having class room and apiary experience. 3 apiary sessions sounds doable. This will be a major break from tradition in that most bee schools are offered over the winter with expectations that students start keeping bees in the spring.
 #1349  by Patrick
 15 Nov 2018, 08:33
Maybe needs a separate thread but am intrigued your beginners often fail to overwinter successfully. Any particular reason? Are you in a much colder winter zone?

L