A two-day intensive course for beekeepers covering practical techniques for moving colonies of honeybees.

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 course is aimed at the enthusiastic and experienced beekeeper who wishes to take their first steps in establishing out apiaries, moving colonies to farmed crops, or generally moving bees between sites. The equipment demonstrated and used will be that which such a beekeeper is likely to have or to acquire, such as an estate car, small van, or car with a trailer. This two-day course is unusual in that it will feature overnight work, with students moving colonies between apiaries – the aim is to build skills and confidence through direct experience.

Day 1 will start late morning, with a mixture of classroom discussion and practice activities looking at the approach and equipment used in moving colonies. This culminates in the preparation in the afternoon of the colonies to be moved later that evening. After a break for dinner, the students and tutors will then return to the first apiary at sunset in order to close in the bees and move the colonies to the second site, finishing work at around midnight.

On Day 2, a mid-morning start at the second apiary allows for checking of the moved colonies and completion of post-move tasks, at which point students and tutors will return to the classroom and will use the experience of the overnight move to discuss problems and contingencies. We will then look at the broader issues around colony migration for pollination, including finding and managing remote apiary sites, advised stocking densities for various pollinated crops, and the perspective of the farmer or grower.

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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