Each year we run a course called Introduction to Beekeeping. Over 10 weeks from January to March we explain the life cycle of the honey bee and cover the basics of beekeeping. This is just the start however as once the course is completed, we invite the class to our teaching apiary. Here they can get hands-on experience of managing honey bees under the guidance of our experienced beekeepers. Should you then choose to join our branch we can help you find a suitable hive and source a colony of honey bees. During your first season we expect you to keep the bees at the teaching apiary where, every Sunday between 10.00 am and 12.00 noon, a group of experienced beekeepers will be on hand to help you manage your bees and learn the basic techniques of beekeeping. In your second year you will move your colony to a site of your choosing and we will help you by assigning an experienced mentor from the group to guide and assist you.
We’ve recently set up a group of branch members who are keen to explore the variety of methods of queen rearing. Most of us have not got a lot of experience in this area but we are keen to work with each other to extend our skills. A knowledge and control of queens in an apiary can help beekeepers in improving the quality of the queens and their colonies and this is our aim. As a group we will be looking at a number of ways of rearing our queens. Broadly they are divided into:
Grafting from the eggs recently laid by the queen and raising queens from the grafted eggs.
Alternative methods which involve, for example, taking queen cells that have already been set up in the colony and raising them in a mini queen rearing nuc.