RDBKA offers a range of courses for those who would like to become involved in beekeeping, and for those who are already involved; indeed, we are able to offer advice and guidance to anyone from Beginner through to Master Beekeeper.
Becoming a knowledgeable and responsible beekeeper, whilst adopting beekeeping’s best practices are the aims. We follow the British Beekeeping Association’s (BBKA) programme of courses, wherever possible and practicable.
During the ‘bee season’ (from Apr to Jul) we hold 2-hour ‘Experience Sessions’ and ‘Practical Handling Sessions’ of bees at our Teaching Apiary, accessible for Friends/Members of the Association
Experience Sessions are designed to test whether or not beekeeping is a desirable pastime for those who are thinking of taking up beekeeping as a hobby; Practical Handling Sessions are for those who have undertaken one of our courses. Both allow safe, practical handling of bees under supervision.
These are dedicated sessions primarily for absolute beginners and/or for those who have attended one of our Beginners’ courses, and are for those who don’t yet own bees but would like to ‘test the water’; although any beginner with bees is welcome to attend these sessions.
For all those who newly become Friends or Members of the Association, for those who wish to keep bees and have attended our Introduction to Beekeeping Courses, and for Beginners who have already have bees, a RDBKA Mentor may be assigned, should they wish.
This will be an experienced RDBKA beekeeper who is close to the Apiary site, and who is able to act as a first point of contact for beekeeping matters. This has proved to be very popular for newcomers to beekeeping.
This is normally held over the Bank Holiday weekend in late May.
It is a 2-day, weekend course on the theory of beekeeping, combined with a practical ‘hands-on’ experience (weather dependent). Delivered by experienced beekeepers, it is aimed at the newcomer to beekeeping; ideal for those who would like to ‘test the water’.
Those attending do not need to be members of the Association but will be encouraged to join either as a Friend or Member. For those who do join, and subsequently take up bees, they will be assigned an RDBKA Mentor, an experienced beekeeper close to home, who will act as a first port of call for beekeeping matters.
Modelled on the BBKA Beginner’s Course, it is an evening course of 10 x 2hr sessions of tuition every other week from 7.30 pm to 9.30pm, held over the winter months from end November to end April. This equips beginners for the start of the ‘bee season’. In addition, the course offers 2 x dedicated Practical Handling Sessions for students at the Teaching Apiary in May/June.
Focussed very much on the beginner, it is a comprehensive course, which teaches all you need to know about beekeeping from ‘What is a bee?’ to ‘Getting Started’. Ideally it is for those with no experience and without bees, but beginners with bees may also attend.
Those who do join the Association will have a RDBKA Mentor assigned.
Modelled on the BBKA Novices’ Course this is an evening course, which builds upon the knowledge and experience of the RDBKA Beginners’ Course.
This is for those who have completed the Beginners’ course previously, for those who have both kept bees and for those who have successfully overwintered bees for at least one season.
It is therefore a course for Members with previous beekeeping experience and ideal preparation for the BBKA Certificate of Proficiency in Apiculture - the Basic Certificate. Those who attend this course will automatically be eligible to take the practical exam; whilst this is highly recommended, it is not mandatory. The Certificate is regarded as a formal ‘driving licence’ for beekeeping and we would encourage all beekeepers to achieve this basic level of proficiency.
The course comprises 7x 2hr sessions of tuition/revision every other week from 7.30pm - 9.30pm from mid January to end April. The course finishes in line with the beginning of the bee season (Apr-Jul) and offers, additionally, 2 x dedicated Practical Handling Sessions at the Teaching Apiary in May/June.
RDBKA is keen to widen and support the profile of beekeeping in our local community.
With prior agreement and subject to availability of presenters, we are able to offer bespoke presentations on beekeeping to groups, clubs and communities, as required.
RDBKA is very keen to ‘spread the word’ to the younger generations and to offer practical ‘hands-on’ experiences to engage youth.
Special conditions apply when considering those under 16, but with prior agreement and subject to availability of Instructors and equipment, the RDBKA can offer ‘Experience Days’ at our Teaching Apiary for bespoke groups of young adults during the bee season (Apr - Jul). These need to be agreed and planned in advance.
In 2015 the RDBKA built a new “Teaching Apiary” in lower Wensleydale, the purpose of which is to provide education and promotion of all aspects of the craft of beekeeping to all members of the RDBKA, regardless of experience. Our teaching apiary is the main location where we can provide ‘hands on’ teaching, with practical demonstrations and an opportunity to discuss all aspects of beekeeping.
Members have the opportunity not only to attend association meetings here but also to accompany the Apiary “carers” on their weekly visits (in season) to practice handling skills, hygiene methods and beekeeping techniques. The apiary currently hosts 2 working colonies for demonstration purposes. Both hives are modified nationals with mesh floors.