Summer School

Residential course for experienced beekeepers

2020 Summer School cancelled due to Coronavirus lockdown

Unique beekeeping training

The Summer School is a new and unique experience - a residential course aimed at beekeepers with 3-5 years of experience. It has been created to help develop skills and confidence at that crucial point where beekeepers generally outgrow the beginner-focussed training and support available locally, but find there is little structured training aimed at them.

There is rarely only one right answer in beekeeping, so we'll look beyond the "always do this..." approach that suits beginners but not the more experienced beekeeper. We want to move you on from such reactive or formulaic beekeeping and improve your ability to recognise and understand what is really happening in a colony (or apiary) and plan for useful tasks and manipulations to keep the bees happy and healthy whilst achieving your management goals.

Each day has a varied mix of discussions, lectures, and apiary work. Our basic approach is simple: we will discuss a topic first, then move out to the bees to practice. With small student groups and several tutors, combined with the immersive effect of a week-long residential course, real learning can take place. The beekeeping talk generally starts over breakfast, and continues well into the evening.

Topics covered include:

Handling skills - adding finesse to how you open, inspect, and close colonies. Everything from how to hold frames to what to do with your tools and smoker so you can be calm and coordinated;

Queen raising - simple non-grafting methods for raising and introducing queens, and thereby improving the quality of your stocks;

Swarm control - lose the panic and take it in your stride, with more understanding of why colonies swarm and straightforward methods for dealing constructively with swarming colonies;

Nucleus making - the 'swiss army knife' of beekeeping, nucleus colonies have a wide range of management uses. Learn to make various types of nucs for different situations, and the uses they can be put to.

Diseases and varroa - keeping colonies healthy through awareness of disease signs, and practice of treatments and manipulations in response to common health problems.

The Summer School makes excellent preparation for those who are considering the BBKA General Husbandry assessment, covering many of the more challenging practical aspects.

With all teaching facilities and accommodation on-site, and students and tutors working and living together for the week, many diverse beekeeping topics can be discussed, practiced, and re-visited to ensure that students make real progress during the course.

The course begins on the Sunday afternoon with an introduction to the college facilities and locations, course content, and tutors, followed by a complementary pub meal to allow everyone to get to know each other. During the course, we will work through to 7pm (with meal breaks!) on some days.

It is for these reasons that we encourage all applicants to consider the fully residential option, even if they may be tempted to commute from home as day students.

This course is not suitable for novice beekeepers or those with fewer than three seasons of experience.

Course costs

£760 pp fully residential student (tuition, accommodation, meals)

£635 pp day student (tuition, meals)

 

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