We see training as an important part of our role as beekeepers in the Community. We run the following courses:

Beginners’ Course

We strongly recommend that you don’t get bees until you have attended a beginners’ course. Our course will enable you to keep bees with confidence.

Keeping bees is an incredibly rewarding hobby and you will never cease to be amazed by how fascinating they are. Obviously the honey you get is wonderful too.

A. Introduction to Beekeeping
This course has been based on a programme by the British Beekeepers Association which aims to introduce non beekeepers to the art and craft of beekeeping (it’s also useful to those who want to improve their beekeeping knowledge). Each session is run by several experienced beekeepers. It is a theory course, of six 2 hour sessions, and will include:

  1. Equipment
  2. Natural History of the Honey bee
  3. The Beekeeping Year
  4. Swarming
  5. Honey production and local nectar sources
  6. Extraction and sale of honey
  7. Pests and Diseases

B. Practical Sessions
These will follow the Introduction to Beekeeping courses, and will be held at our Members’ Apiary. They will give you practical experience in opening and closing hives, handling bees on frames, recognising the condition of the bees and action to take. There will be a number of sessions, weather dependent. You will be given a checklist of competencies to complete so there is more flexibility on session attendance. It is likely to start in April or May at weekends but there will be evening sessions as the days grow longer.

Dates and costs:
The next Beginner’s Course will start in February 2023 for six consecutive Mondays at 7.30pm. If you would like to be notified when the course is available for booking you can join the list to be notified when our 2023 course is available for booking.

The 2023 course will probably be at Newent Community School, Watery Lane, Newent GL18 1QF. There will also be a practical frame making session on a Saturday at the school as well.

The cost for the theory and practical course for 2023 will be available later in 2022 (there will is a cheaper rate for under 18 yrs). Included in the cost is:

  • membership of Newent Beekeepers
  • membership of the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA)
  • mentoring and support from members of Newent Beekeepers
  • a course book, ‘The Haynes Bee Manual’ (rrp £22.50).

Young people of secondary school age are welcome to attend but those under 16 will require an adult to attend the course with them at all times for safeguarding purposes.

Note due to the popularity of this course to confirm your place we will require a non refundable deposit of £50 but this does give you membership of the BBKA (including magazine) for the whole year. Details of how to pay will be emailed as part of the application process. To start the process please complete this form. This would make an ideal present for a future beekeeper, we can provide a gift voucher as well as the course book for you to present to them.

What about getting bees?

We strongly advise you not to buy bees until you have had some training and feel confident with them.  We can help with advice on buying and sources of colonies for sale.

Please note that keeping bees can be quite complicated – it’s much harder than keeping chickens! You don’t need to be retired, we have many people with full time jobs and children but you do need to have some time available, particularly May to July. We find that on our beginners course, everyone really enjoys it (we get very high feedback scores) but only 50-60% actually go on to keep bees. It’s not a problem if you are not sure if you want to keep bees, you are welcome to join our course but we just thought we should warn you!

What about helping bees?

Honey bees are not endangered in most of the UK. Solitary bees are important pollinators too, and several species are endangered. The best things to do are:
1) Stop using pesticides
2) Provide Wild areas in your garden
3) Eliminate light pollution
4) Learn about the other pollinators at work starting with – e.g. CountryFile

Improvers’ Course

For those wishing to take the BBKA Basic Assessment or just if you want to learn more, we will aim run sessions at the same time as the beginners theory course starting 28 February 2022 and are free to members. We will also run a practical session to prepare exam entrants for the real thing.

Module Study

We also run study modules for the exams although you don’t need to do the exam if you don’t want to!  The next study groups will be announced and will be aimed for the November 2022 exams.

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