Short Courses

A range of weekend courses for experienced beekeepers

Weekend courses to advance specific skills and study

The Short Courses provide valuable discussion, learning, and hands-on experience for those who want to improve their beekeeping, or who are planning to take the BBKA, SBA, WBKA, and FIBKA Assessments beyond the basic level. Each course runs over a weekend, and covers a specific area of beekeeping practice, skills, or knowledge. Courses are limited to 10-12 attendees, with two expert tutors on hand.

The Short Courses are aimed at those beekeepers with 3 years of experience; they are not aimed at novices. We can provide guidance to applicants as to the appropriateness of our Short Courses to their stage of beekeeping.

Each course title is outlined below. See the main Courses page for currently advertised course dates.

£125 per course place, which includes tuition, materials, refreshments, and a decent lunch!

Anatomy & Dissection

Studying honeybee anatomy helps beekeepers understand how bees have are able to carry out the many and varied tasks they perform. Honeybees have been evolving for 100 million years and have become superbly adapted to survive and prosper in their environment. The aim of this course is to study, explore and gain an understanding of honeybee anatomy and to learn the techniques required to carry out successful dissection.

Topics covered will include:

  • Setting up and using stereo (dissecting) and compound microscopes
  • Dissection tools & techniques
  • Wax embedding and slide mounting
  • Respiratory, digestive, circulatory, and nervous systems
  • The sting, flight muscles, and the glands of the head

This course will be of interest to anyone studying towards the BBKA Microscopy certificate, and to support further practical study by students preparing for BBKA Module 3 (Honeybee Pests, Diseases & Poisoning) or Module 5 (Honeybee Biology).

Honey Bee Behaviour

We will explore honeybee behaviour in areas such as seasonal population variation, communication mechanisms, foraging behaviour and organisation, workload distribution, reproduction, and swarming. In each of these we will discuss what is understood of honeybee behaviour, and
the factors that influence this behaviour, in order to answer questions such as "Why do bees do this?" or "What would bees do next?". Through understanding the natural behaviour of honeybees, we can better prepare ourselves as beekeepers to predict or respond to their needs.

This course can be a good refresher for those who are preparing to sit the BBKA Module 6 exam.

Swarm Control

We will explore why honeybees swarm, and how beekeepers can detect, manage and control this swarming. We will compare and practice all of the main swarm control methods - Pagden, Demaree, vertical split, shook swarm, nuc making, etc. We aim to give students a deeper understanding of the honeybeee behaviour behind swarming, and a good awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of each of the commonly encountered swarm control and prevention methods.

The course is classroom-based and does not use live colonies - however this allows us to step through various methods, pausing, repeating, or undoing specific manipulations without concerns of distress to colonies, concentrating on the principles and method in question.


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