Microscopy for Beekeepers Short Course

A two-day intensive course for beekeepers that introduces beekeepers to the use of the compound and stereo (dissecting) microscopes.

The course has been developed by the National Diploma in Beekeeping Board as part of its series of Train-the-Trainer courses. It is part-funded by Fera as part of the Defra Healthy Bees Plan.

Course Content

The microscope is a powerful tool which can provide a great deal of insight into the health and environment of our honeybees. We develop an understanding of both the compound and dissecting microscopes, with clear explanations of optical principles and practical steps to set-up and get the most out of these instruments. Using practical examples of honeybee anatomy, disease diagnosis, and pollen analysis, students will be able to practice many of the skills required of an Association Microscopist or for the BBKA Microscopy certificate.

Topics covered will include:

  • The basic theory of light microscopes
  • Setting up and using compound and stereo (dissecting) microscopes
  • Slide making for pollen identification
  • Introduction to dissection techniques
  • Introduction to disease diagnosis

This laboratory-based course is intended to provide attendees with basic set-up and usage skills and confidence with microscopes. We will introduce and practice elements of the three main areas of interest to beekeepers (anatomy, disease diagnosis, pollen identification) in order to practice the use of the microscope. There are further NDB Short Courses specific to each of these interest areas which expand upon the introductory techniques practiced on this Microscopy course: Adult Diseases, Brood Diseases, Pollen & Nutrition, Anatomy & Dissection.

This course will also be of great 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).

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Target Audience

The Short Courses are aimed at those beekeepers with some experience of the craft; 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. We do ask that students respect this policy. Students are welcome to apply on a first come, first served basis.

The NDB Short Courses can provide valuable discussion, learning, and hands-on experience for those planning to take the BBKA Modules and Assessments above Basic level.

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