Advanced Course

The NDB Board holds an annual residential Advanced Beekeeping Course of a five day duration, recognising that access to appropriately advanced beekeeping tuition presents difficulties for many aspiring National Diploma candidates.

The course provides the opportunity to bridge the gap between the various UK & Irish national Advanced or Senior awards and the requirements for the National Diploma Examination. The visiting lecturers are all leading figures in their particular aspect of apiculture or broader environmental sciences.

Generally there are around 12 students accepted onto each course, with up to 4 NDB-qualified tutors on hand at any time, plus visiting lecturers.

Please note that this course is not suitable for beginners, or for those with limited experience of beekeeping.


The course covers topics such as husbandry, botany, teaching, laboratory techniques, disease recognition and legislation pertaining to beekeeping, with a mix of theory and practical classes, both in the laboratory and the apiary. The combination of course themes changes from year to year to provide variety and continuing interest for students, as detailed below.

Students in the laboratory

The Advanced Course has now been organised into a three-year rolling programme. Each year repeats common themes (brood diseases, microscopy, plant recognition) and some specific themes. There is no obligation for students to attend all iterations of the Advanced Course.

2023: Botany, Pollen & Nutrition, Honey Sources & Identification

2024: Queen Raising, Colony Handling & Presentation, Reading Bees

2025: Brood disease, Adult Diseases, Dissection, Swarm Control

Experience has shown that there is a need for most students to gain experience and confidence in handling bees in depth and with appropriate speed in both their own and other people’s apiaries. The NDB syllabus also covers aspects of botany and plant recognition, and of the natural history of other insect species related to honey bees, that is beyond the scope of the national beekeeping qualifications. Many students appreciate that the Advanced Course can help them develop skills and knowledge in these areas.

Practical apiary tuition


The course is held at Pershore Horticultural College, near Evesham in Warwickshire, UK. The 60 hectare site includes apiaries, classrooms, laboratories, and accommodation. Due to its specialist Horticultural focus, the college grounds also host a commercial plant nursery and fruit orchards, nature reserve and conservation areas.

Students and tutors are accommodated onsite at Pershore.  A full week immersed in advanced beekeeping techniques and in the company of some excellent beekeepers is certain to invigorate your beekeeping and enhance your skills.

The NDB gratefully acknowledge the support of the college, and particularly Richard and Rhona Toft who made us feel very welcome and provide wonderful assistance. We are also grateful to the National Bee Unit for their continued support, particularly in the provision of diseased combs not otherwise available to beekeepers.

Dates, Fees, Application Form

The 2023 Advanced Course will be held on Saturday 8th July (students arriving Friday 7th evening) to Wednesday 12th July. The course fee is £980, which includes accommodation, all meals, and laboratory/apiary consumables, and represents excellent value. The NDB operates a discretionary bursary scheme for those students to whom cost may be a barrier. Please contact the NDB secretary to discuss this in confidence.

To apply for a place on the Advanced Course, please complete the application form here. Applications will close on April 2023 (TBC); we will contact you by mid-April to either invite you on to this year’s course or to encourage you to apply again in future years. No payment is required until you are invited to attend the course.

Please ensure you read the cancellation policy before applying read more

Priority is given to those applicants wishing to undertake the NDB examination, but anyone who is likely to benefit from training at the highest level may be accepted on to the course.

For further information on the Advanced Course please contact Marin Anastasov NDB using the form below:

All content copyright The National Diploma in Beekeeping Board.

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