Colony Manipulations Short Course

A two-day intensive course for beekeepers covering practical techniques for efficient and effective colony management.

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

This NDB Short course aims to take you through key manipulations required for successful beekeeping. It looks at the theory and practical aspects of well used techniques, allowing beekeepers to undertake them successfully but also provide the theory behind them so that beekeepers can modify them to suit their own requirements and management systems.

We spent time in the classroom and out in the apiary covering the following topics:

  • Making Nucleus colonies
  • Introducing Queens
  • Feeding colonies
  • Sterilising using Acetic Acid
  • Shook Swarms
  • Artificial Swarms
  • Progressive Comb Replacement
  • Uniting Colonies
  • Bailey Comb Change

This course is not prescriptive, we will cover the theory and optimise apiary work based on the status of the colonies and the current point in the season. Although the course covers a range of topics above, we will also provide guidance and teaching on handling colonies and optimising use of smokers and hive tools.

The course is best suited to those with a number of years experience, and ideally, having already undertaken the Handling 1 course. Students preparing for their BBKA General & Advanced Husbandry courses will benefit from this course.

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 Assessments above Basic level.

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