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Welcome to the wonderful world of beekeeping !
Thank you for registering your interest in the WNKLBA 2024 Introduction to Beekeeping Course. The dates are listed below, and bookings are now open. Sorry that this message is rather long, but please take time to read it carefully before booking, as it contains a lot of important information.
The introductory course is suitable for complete novices. We aim to provide the knowledge and experience you will need to take on the management of your first colony of honey bees. Anyone with significant beekeeping experience should contact us before booking this course, to determine its suitability.
2024 Course Dates
The course begins with 4 Beekeeping Theory days at Necton Community Centre PE37 9EH from 7pm - approx 9pm including a short refreshment break. Topics will include - the basics of bee biology, types of hives, where to keep them, other essential equipment, how to care for bees throughout the year, apiary safety & hygiene, extracting your first honey and an introduction to the most common bee pests and diseases.
These will be followed by some practical sessions, when you can don a beesuit and experience the inspection of colonies of bees under the expert guidance of some of our experienced beekeepers. On the first visit you will observe the volunteer beekeepers as they explain what they are doing and why. But in later weeks, as your confidence grows you will learn to handle the bees yourself and practice what you will need to do to look after your own bees during their first season. Finally, there are 3 sessions, later in the year, that will provide the information you will need to carry out essential tasks at those times. All practical sessions take place at WNKLBA East Walton Apiary PE32 1PP (Directions will be sent before your first visit):
The total cost of the course is £163 per person made up as follows:
Some Important Information for Prospective Beekeepers
Beekeeping is a wonderful hobby but, like most hobbies, it has a significant cost. In addition to the course, you should budget £800-£1,000 to cover first-year set-up costs (to include a hive, a starter colony of bees and all the essential equipment) and you will need a second hive early in the 2nd year (cost from £200).
Most new beekeepers do not get a honey crop until their 2nd year.
There is also a significant time commitment. Bees are livestock and must be properly cared for. They must usually be inspected every week between April and August, which will take about an hour per colony to begin with (but will get quicker with more experience and more colonies). During the winter, the hives are not opened but should be checked regularly, and there are tasks that must be done at specific times of year.
Expect a few stings! For most people this is a minor inconvenience, perhaps a minute or two of pain and a day or two of swelling, and you will get used to it. However, if you know you are allergic to bee venom, please contact us before signing up.
The course is tailored to finish around the best time to buy bees, in late May/early June. We will provide a list of reputable local bee breeders at your first practical session. There is no obligation at all to buy bees - enjoying and learning about them and then deciding that beekeeping is not for you, or that now is not the right time, is a perfectly valid outcome.
Once hives are established, it is difficult to move them at certain times of the year. Please be aware that, should your circumstances change eg moving house, the moving of your bees may need to be planned a few months in advance.
Course T & Cs
Course places are secured only upon payment of the £125 course fee. This holds your place until January, subject to payment of your WNKLBA membership fee.
For insurance reasons, only fully paid-up members are permitted to participate in training. In the event of membership not being paid (or renewed) by 31st January 2024, your place on the course will be forfeited and offered to the next person on the waiting list.
Beekeeping is a weather-dependent activity and, unfortunately, the practical sessions occasionally have to be cancelled, rescheduled or replaced with a lesson at an indoor venue or on Zoom. Sometimes, plans may have to be changed at short notice, due to weather or other reasons beyond our control. Changes are made entirely at the discretion of the course leader, who will take into account the welfare of the bees, the course participants and the WNKLBA volunteers. Notification of any changes will be sent to your registered email address so please check your messages before leaving home, and let us know if your email address changes.
We ask for health and emergency contact information, this information will be available to the course leaders, just in case of an emergency during the course. Please let us know if any of these details change.
To book, please click on the 'Join the Course' button button above. If you would like to book more than one place please click the button again and complete a booking form for each person.
If you have any questions at all, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Just so you know, WNKLBA is a registered charity and is run entirely by volunteers, who will answer questions as soon as possible, but replies may not be immediate.
We look forward to introducing you to our fascinating hobby !
WNKLBA Education Team