A honey bee colony is not the insect equivalent of a birds nest box. It requires management through a range of practical skills and experience built up over the seasons. It is not possible to condense all this into a short beekeeping course so at Shipston Beekeepers we help new beekeeping members learn the craft through a range of activities.

Our Introduction to Beekeeping course is a 2 day weekend course, part classroom, part apiary, designed to help those who are curious about beekeeping learn more and, knowing what is involved, decide whether beekeeping is for them. It is normally run in late April, at the start of the season so that attendees can experience the magic of handling live bees.

Those who decide to take up beekeeping and join Shipston Beekeepers are then given the chance to help manage a colony of bees in our training apiary. We meet every week through the active season under the guidance of experienced beekeepers to get to grips with the equipment, timings and impacts of the manipulations we make to keep a colony healthy and productive.

We have even managed to get a honey crop from the training colonies in previous years and the thrill of tasting your own honey is a milestone for all in the craft.

Over the winter we give our new beekeepers the chance to consolidate the knowledge gained in the apiary at our Winter Bee School; monthly meetings in a small group working through the fundamentals.

In the following season we find most members will have their own bees but those who are unsure are welcome to join the apiary sessions again.

To mark the end of the beginning of the beekeeping adventure we recommend members take the Basic Assessment offered by the British Beekeepers Association. It is a short practical assessment intended to give the confidence to manage your own bees safely and enjoyably.

Not all beekeepers feel the need to learn more than this about honey bees. There is a great deal of enjoyment along with a few challenges, to be had from taking your bees through each season. Each one is different!.  But those who do take up the learning options available to become better beekeepers invariably report that the more they know, the better their bees are.

The options available to Shipston Beekeepers members include:-

Attending our monthly meetings and talks throughout the year.

Attending meetings through the invitation of other local associations

Visiting members apiaries during the active season.

Participating in local winter study groups to look at selected topics in more detail.

Attending local training courses in more advanced topics held by Warwickshire Beekeepers Association.

Attending national training courses and assessments organised by the British Beekeepers Association.

Attending talks and lectures given at other national beekeeping events such as National Honey Show, Central Association of Beekeepers and BIBBA.

BEWARE: The internet provides a bounty of online resources on beekeeping contributed by a wide spectrum of beekeepers, beekeeping organisations, equipment manufacturers and retailers, and special interest groups from around the world. The range is enormous with plenty of conflicting advice or recommendations and often not suitable for the bees in our climate, or under UK regulations.

Our Members website contains a guide to online resources to help our members follow proven and reliable material.

For upcoming training, both at branch and county level, please look at our News and Events page for further details.