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 and 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 two 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 or one of our trainers own sites. 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 two or three sessions, at times to be arranged (weather dependent) but likely to be in April at weekends.

Dates and costs:
The next Beginner’s Course will start in February 2021 on Mondays starting at 7.30pm, in the 6th Form Centre of Newent Community School, Watery Lane, Newent GL18 1QF. There will also be a practical frame making session on a Saturday as well.

The cost for the theory and practical course is £TBC (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.

We aren’t booking for this course yet (formal bookings will commence from October 2020) but you can be notified when they go live by filling out this form.

Note due to the popularity of this course (it was heavily oversubscribed last year) to confirm your place we will require a non refundable deposit of £40 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. 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.

We strongly advise you not to buy bees, in a full size colony, swarm or nucleus, 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!

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 February 2021 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 include Module 8 and possibly one other aiming to be ready for the November 2020 exam.