The Apidea mating mini-nuc is well known but comes without instructions. Despite its popularity, advice on using an Apidea is not always easy to come by, and can be variable in quality and relevance to the British climate.
The course covers a number of practical techniques described in the book Using Apideas, written by course tutor Dan Basterfield.
Many beekeepers are taught or advised to consider an Apidea ‘finished with’ once a single queen has been mated. "Set it up with bees, feed, and a queen cell; leave for three weeks, then check for a laying queen" is typical advice. Whilst this does often work, it’s really just scratching at the surface of what you can do with an Apidea. In fact, each Apidea you establish could mate three or four queens successively during that season.
We view the process of setting up and running Apideas as having three distinct but overlapping phases - establishment, management, and recycling - and consider an Apidea to only be fully ready for use once it has mated its first queen and it contains her brood. What others consider the end point is, for us, just the start!
This course will be of interest to anyone studying towards the BBKA General and Advanced Husbandry certificates, BBKA Module 7 (Selection and Breeding of Honey Bees) or the recently introduced Honey Bee Breeding Certificate - or Welsh & Scottish equivalents.