We offer a comprehensive one-year beginners' course that will give you in depth hands-on experience, knowledge and understanding of beekeeping to enable you to sit the Scottish Beekepers Association Basic Beekeepers examination.
The twelve-month practical course runs from July each year. During the year long study, students (referred to as foster parents) are supported individually or in pairs, by an experienced beekeeper mentor.
The aim of the course is to provide theoretical and practical knowledge of beekeeping which will enable participants to keep and manage their own bees. At the end of the course, students are encouraged to sit the Scottish Beekeepers Association Basic Beekeeper' Examination.
At the conclusion of the year, students may continue to participate in the Newbattle Apiary activities and may if desired, become mentors to future beginners.
We will provide:
· All beekeeping equipment and clothing; except footwear
· Bee food and medicines as needed for the colony
· Access to a colony of bees for practical experience of beekeeping
· Access to the Association library of books magazines and DVDs. Appropriate reference books and material will be provided for the duration of the course
· Opportunity to question and discuss beekeeping matters with experienced beekeepers
You will be Responsible for:
· The management (under supervision) of a colony of honey bees
· Maintaining all equipment used.
· Arranging, in conjunction with your mentor, convenient times for practical tuition
· Attending monthly Association meetings and talks/lectures
· Being available during the summer months to tend the allocated hive on a weekly basis
Course Topics include:-
The equipment used in beekeeping; parts of the hive and other equipment - such as the smoker and hive tool etc.
Manipulation of a honey bee colony
Life-cycle and natural history of the honey bee
Assembling frames and fitting foundation
Diseases, pests and their treatment
The honey harvest
Health and safety, venom allergies and personal protection
Feeding bees throughout the beekeeping year
The course fee is £250.00; payable at the start of the course. This includes:
Tuition and a dedicated mentor
Membership of the Newbattle Beekeepers’ Association until 31 December of that year
Examination fee for SBA Basic Beekeepers certification
Membership of the SBA until 31 December of that year
After achieving a pass in the SBA Basic Beekeepers’ Examination, foster parents may have the opportunity (subject to bees being available) to purchase a starter colony of bees.
Will I always study with the same mentor?
Not always. Ideally you will work throughout the year with the same mentor but on occasion, you may work with a different mentor.
What is meant by maintenance?
Hygiene is crucial in beekeeping; therefore all hives and other equipment require to be cleaned on a regular basis – especially after the honey harvest and the winter cluster period.
Regular cleaning of bee suits, gloves and other equipment is also necessary to minimise the spread of disease.
What is a mentor?
A mentor is an experienced beekeeper who will support your learning.
What are Foster Parents?
The Foster Parent is You - as the main carer of the colony to which you are allocated
What happens if I cannot attend?
Please communicate with your mentor if you are unable to visit the hives. It is normally possible to arrange mutually convenient times for visits.
What happens after the course?
Many of our foster parents continue as members of the Association after completing their course and go on to mentor other new beekeepers. Further study is encouraged and can be supported via study groups. There are several Scottish Beekeeping Association examinations which may be of interest to those with an enquiring mind.
Will there be opportunity to harvest honey from the bees which I look after?
If weather conditions are favourable there is normally a surplus of honey which we can harvest. Members are given the opportunity to help with the harvesting process and can purchase jars of honey (if available) at advantageous prices.
Having completed the course will I know enough to look after my own bees?
The course is designed to give you, after a year, enough practical skill and theoretical knowledge to look after a colony of bees by yourself. Don’t forget that through personal contacts made during the course, and ongoing membership of NBA, you will have access to the knowledge and skill of experienced beekeepers - should you need advice or help.