Last year we attended an excellent course run by the West Sussex Beekeeping Association. Becs has beekeeping in her family, but we still intend to join the Leicestershire and Rutland Beekeeping Association. This type of support is vital if you are going to keep bees safely and be able to look after their welfare. During the beginners course at WGBKA we were given an excellent handbook written by one of their senior trainers Roger Patterson. Some of the information below is taken from that guide.
We bought a cedar wood national hive after that course with the intention of assembling it when we have bought the land. We still have a bit of kit to get hold of before this spring, not to mention finding a reliable source for a British Bee nucleus.
Roger gives a short list of skills that need to be gained in order to become confident with Bees.
1) Know how to handle the bees confidently and gently, and know when to use the smoker.
2) Understand the workings of the colony.
3) Be able to ‘read’ the colony and judge it’s requirements in advance.
4) Be able to recognize good and bad bees, and be able to improve the bad ones.
5) Keep upto date with new research, sift out what is relevant and apply it to your own beekeeping