Introduction to the delights of beekeeping
A one-day taster event, repeated through the season. Covers the basics of beekeeping, how to start, basic equipment and clothing, and so on.
Includes a ‘meet the bees’ session so that you can get up close with a hive of bees and experience the work of a beekeeper.
Courses for Beginners
Winter course for aspiring beekeepers
A winter course to prepare new or recent beekeepers. Six evening classes, leading into two practical apiary sessions in the spring when the hives are active.
Allows much more discussion and depth than the introductory day, with the aim of getting you started confidently in beekeeping.
Courses for Improvers
Skills and knowledge for existing beekeepers
A series of online talks covering specific topics of interest to beekeepers with several years of experience.
Intensive two-day courses intended for beekeepers with some experience who wish to improve their confidence and competence.
A residential course held at our honey farm and aimed at beekeepers with 3-5 years of experience.
Introduction to Beekeeping day
This is a one day introduction to the delights of beekeeping. It is aimed at those with an interest in honey bees who may be considering taking up beekeeping, or who may just be interested in learning more about how honey bees live and the work of the beekeeper throughout the year.
We will introduce you to the honey bee colony – workers, drones, and the queen – and discuss the colony’s lifecycle and seasonal activities from the bees’ perspective. Following this, we will look at current beehives and how they aim to meet the needs of the bees and of the beekeeper. We will also discuss basic tools and clothing for the beginner beekeeper.
After lunch in our garden tea room, we will get dressed in wellies and veils and head up to the apiary in the meadow, where we will open the beehives and meet the bees. We will show what happens in a routine hive inspection, and how gently the bees respond. You will have a chance to participate and hold honeycombs with bees.
Upon returning to our classroom, we will discuss in more detail the beekeeper’s tasks season by season, including why and when to inspect beehives, how to recognise and deal with swarming, how to ensure the bees are well prepared for winter, and so on.
In our final session, we will look at where to site beehives, and what to plant that is of benefit to bees and other pollinating insects. We will look at simple ‘kitchen table’ processing of honey and beeswax so that you can share the produce of your beehives – a sweet reward for a season’s care and attention!
Cost is £135 per person, to include lunch and refreshments. Attendees should be aged 16 years and over.
2024 dates will be published shortly.
Beekeeping for Beginners - winter course
The course is aimed at those who are considering beekeeping as a hobby. We will introduce you to beekeeping, giving you the basic skills and confidence to begin to manage your own bees with sympathy and understanding.
The course starts in mid January with six fortnightly evening classes held in our classroom at the honey farm and concurrently online via Zoom. Through themed discussions, using many visual aids and pieces of equipment, we will explore what is involved in beekeeping; how to start; and the basic requirements of time, space, and equipment. The course fee includes your own copy of the BBKA Guide to Beekeeping , a well-regarded and modern reference book that we will refer to throughout the course. We will hold the evening sessions in our classroom with concurrent Zoom web conferencing, so that you may choose to attend remotely or in person.
As the bees become active, the course moves from the classroom to the apiary, and you will try beekeeping for yourself, giving you time to become familiar with working with a hive and with honey bees. Our teaching apiary is sited in the meadow adjacent to the farm buildings, and we have beekeeping jackets with veils for you to use.
The 2024 winter beginners’ course dates are:
Tuesday evenings, classroom, 7:30pm – 9:30pm
6 evening sessions (Jan 23, Feb 6,20, Mar 5,19, Apr 9)
Sunday practical sessions, apiary, 10am – 12:30pm or 2pm – 4:30pm
2 half day sessions (provisionally Apr 21, May 19)
Cost is £175 per person, including refreshments. Attendees must be 16 years old or over.
Courses for Improvers
Ken and Dan run advanced training for experienced beekeepers under the umbrella of Advanced Beekeeping Courses. The aims of this training are
- Building skills and confidence
- Making the transition from novice to competent beekeeper
- Opening horizons and de-mystifying the craft of beekeeping
- Encouraging and developing ‘thinking beekeepers’
Intensive one- and two-day courses are held throughout the year at our honey farm in Devon. Intended for beekeepers with some experience, who wish to improve their confidence and competence.
Each course deals with a particular aspect of beekeeping, with particular emphasis on practice and practical applications. Also valuable preparation for those studying for the BBKA exams and assessments.
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.
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.