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Do I really need to learn 'traditional keeping' first?

 
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dizzydoodah
House Bee


Joined: 06 Sep 2013
Posts: 15
Location: Dorset UK

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 8:17 pm    Post subject: Do I really need to learn 'traditional keeping' first? Reply with quote

I'm really confused.
Do I have to do a course with my local bee group to join? I'm feeling rather pressured at the moment. Sad The head honcho has said I need to learn 'traditional' methods before I keep in a top bar. He questioned why I am doing top bars as well. I found it a little abrasive. I'm going to the open day in a few weeks for the cost of £35 to get to know people and have some bee handling time. I don;t want to do the rest of the course as its all based around nationals etc. I'm sending off my membership application and hoping there won't be too many ruffled feathers. Sad just feeling a little lost
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J Smith
Foraging Bee


Joined: 13 Jan 2014
Posts: 169
Location: New Zealand, South Island, Southland, Riversdale.

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it were me, I would tell them to go take a running jump......

But you are not me.

Unless there is some kind of legal requirement for you to attend set courses in order to be allowed to keep bees, then no you do not.
However, if you are new to bees and the keeping thereof, then yes, I would recommend you attend and learn all you can about the bees themselves and their well being.
Odds are there will be others within the course doing exactly the same thing, wanting to keep natural, but learn all they can along the way. You will meet new people with common interests, make new friends and meet local bee keepers that are perhaps a little more "open" to other than commercial keeping and find mentors you can bounce questions/ideas off of.

The head honcho sounds to be a bit of a twat. But you get that in a lot of organisations and clubs, sometimes it is not the ideal person in charge, just the one that put their hand up at the Annual General Meeting.
If I were you I would be well prepared and well read before you meet him next. Be well versed in factual answers to his "why Top Bar" questions and natural keeping questions. Odds are he knows very little factual account of either and you will bamboozle him by providing facts that he cannot rebuke.
Many commercial foundation frame bee keepers are a bit wary of this "new" shift toward all these out of the square hives and methods of keeping, when in fact the "new" is centuries old and has been around longer than most of their National/Langstroth practices!
There will be members within your group more open to alternative ways and will lend an ear or help out where they can. Get to know those people and ignore the ignorant. Local knowledge is priceless and it is easier to confirm things if an experienced keeper can visit, rather than "guess" over the internet sometimes.

So my advice (opinion) for what it is worth: Join the local club, pay your fees for membership and go to the course you mention- for all the reasons you mention. Be as active within the club as YOU feel you need to be. The fact most is based around National hives matters little, much of it will still be interesting and of use to you and a lot of the bee "health & husbandry" still applies regardless of how the bees are hived.

The fact you have joined here will help fill in the gaps between what the local club can teach you and other questions regarding TBH's and natural keeping. Lots and lots of experience in both here and some pretty good people that offer free advice as well. Wink
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prakel
Guard Bee


Joined: 13 Nov 2012
Posts: 65
Location: Dorset, UK

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Do I really need to learn 'traditional keeping' first? Reply with quote

dizzydoodah wrote:
I'm really confused.
Do I have to do a course with my local bee group to join? I'm feeling rather pressured at the moment. Sad The head honcho has said I need to learn 'traditional' methods before I keep in a top bar. He questioned why I am doing top bars as well....


The current 'head honcho' of the Dorch/Weymouth branch is into top-bar hives and has even written (on his blog) about wanting to have a crack at bees in a skep; might be a more suitable avenue for you (although I'm not really sure how strict they are regarding boundaries etc).
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Broadwell
Foraging Bee


Joined: 22 Jul 2013
Posts: 122
Location: UK, Kent, High Weald

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi. Why join in the first place? You don't need to do a course or join an association to look after a garden, or to keep a dog – some good advice from a book or two and a forum like this here and there is all you need.

Sounds like you'll be signing up just to fight off indoctrination into a dogma you already don't seem to want a part of.

Get a bait hive out soon and learn as you go I reckon. That's what I did at least and it's been fine. Fun in fact.
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dizzydoodah
House Bee


Joined: 06 Sep 2013
Posts: 15
Location: Dorset UK

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the replies guys Smile I'm feeling a bit more confident now
I'm joining to have hive insurance Smile
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Smorning
Foraging Bee


Joined: 20 Aug 2013
Posts: 150
Location: Faversham Kent UK

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:52 pm    Post subject: Insurance Reply with quote

You can get insurance through friends of the bees at a reasonable rate, worth looking into

Best wishes on your natural beekeeping in 2014
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WileyHunter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 13 Jan 2014
Posts: 125
Location: Batesville, IN USA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you seen the option at the upper left corner of your screen here? UK beekeepers may join "Friends of the Bees" and obtain public liability insurance.

Otherwise, as has been stated already, IF there is some legal requirement to attend then yep you'd better. That withstanding I would consider going (with an appearance of being open minded, even if you internally refuse to accept the "traditional"), if nothing else it will help to make your chosen path clearer IMO. You can often learn as much from the "wrong" way as the right. If they are requiring you to join the club, and require that you keep "traditionally" then I would likely steer clear. I can accept that there are some who question the "better way", especially if they've been doing things a certain way for years. I can't accept anyone poo poo'ing and refusing to allow others the right to try and find a "better way".
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CeeBee
Foraging Bee


Joined: 16 Jun 2013
Posts: 104
Location: UK, Cambridge, Milton

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've just been to a BBKA branch beginners' course, even though having made two TBH, I don't want to start keeping in a National (hive) as well, at least not yet. But I still wanted to learn about bees and beekeeping - soon became evident from questions asked on the course that I already knew most of the answers. I've joined (and hence the BBKA too) for a year, to see what I do or don't gain from them. I intend going to the bee-handling sessions at their apiary, but won't be doing the "Try a (National) hive" scheme. If I get zero support, then I won't renew next year - we'll see.

As for insurance, "Public liability" is included with membership (not yet sure whether this is BBKA related, as details don't seem to be available without 'signing in', and I haven't got membership details to sign in with yet) - same is available from Friends of the Bees. BBKA also offers "Disease Insurance", i.e. if your colonies and/or equipment has to be destroyed after an infection with AFB or EFB, but the amounts payable seem small (well a frame doesn't cost much), and I see in the details that "replacing top bars" isn't covered (even though all sizes of 'frames' are) - so that's a waste of time then (not that top bars cost all that much).
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Lacewing
Guard Bee


Joined: 08 Sep 2012
Posts: 96
Location: Powys, Mid Wales

PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello - I'm with J Smith on this one, but not v. helpful to you (perhaps for them??) to start out with someone who's against what you want is it... Would the other Dorset group suggestion work out for you?

I started out with a local (conventional) course 3 years ago and enjoyed it, and local beekeepers and this forum and Phil's books have all been invaluable. Certainly wouldn't have been nearly the same without practical help and advice from folk around here - no matter what their methods. (They all have different attitudes anyway.) Much better of course if you can find a course which is using top bars etc to start with if there's one close to you. I couldn't see the sense in starting out with a national and then moving to top bars (which was more or less recommended at the time) so I didn't.

Hopefully you'd meet locals with similar ideas. Here we may be luckier with local attitudes - and a cheaper course, from the sound of it. This year at the local assocn. taster day someone else is bringing along a top bar, and maybe we'll have one at the apiary too. So, hopefully - things do move on.
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dizzydoodah
House Bee


Joined: 06 Sep 2013
Posts: 15
Location: Dorset UK

PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes it doesn't really make sense for me to start on nationals then convert. Its like learning maths and then swapping to science, related but not enough lol.
I just emailed back saying I've posted my cheque. Didn't get into a discussion about it. I found it quite an odd thing to question me about my wanting to top bar. I had to restrain myself from firing back why do you you feel the need to use nationals? Each to their own I suppose. I will enjoy the open day I'm sure getting hands on and doing some practical learning then fill in my gaps on here lol.
I'm really not sure why people are on the defensive when you say you wanting to use top bars, maybe they feel their frozen mindset is under threat I don't know. I have spoken to people who keep all types of hive. Its personal choice really at the end of the day. It suits my needs.
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dizzydoodah
House Bee


Joined: 06 Sep 2013
Posts: 15
Location: Dorset UK

PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The insurance is public liability and disease insurance, £31 and year membership, seems good value totting up other insurances.
What's really funny is they are running a skep making class so maybe they're not all blinkered Smile
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J Smith
Foraging Bee


Joined: 13 Jan 2014
Posts: 169
Location: New Zealand, South Island, Southland, Riversdale.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe they just see two sides to the coin. You either keep completely historic and somewhat "feral" with Skep's or you use the more refined "gentleman's" hive and keep in Nationals and there is no middle ground? Laughing

Matters little, each has its merit and pluses- just as each has its con's.

I fly fish. I also host International fishers as well as fish overseas from here. I see this kind of "singular" vision a lot, people that will not adapt to the conditions/fish of the day- which may be totally different to their regular fishing at home.
They know and practice but one discipline of the many styles of fly fishing and will NOT change, even if it means the difference of catching or going home with an empty score card.
I tend to be more like a poacher, I use whatever means will work in the conditions on any given day or water.

It is much the same with bees and keeping. There are different and varied methods of housing, of keeping and bee husbandry. It is handy to have a little knowledge of all and take from each what you feel works for you, but nobody has the right to tell you their way is best.
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AugustC
Silver Bee


Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to add my tuppence worth.
I haven't had any mentorship or guidance beyond this forum and a few books.
I have spent a lot of time trawling forum topics and going through youtube.
I have joined my local association for the insurance (though as stated above this isn't even necessary). Having said that it would be brilliant if you could hook up with others who are at least sympathetic to your beekeeping preferences. Give them a try, they may surprise you. The worst that is going to happen is that they rude like the twat you have already met, you'll survive, and you'll always have us! Smile
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zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is no change unless you do it. So do what I do, join the club and take it over. I needed a decade in our local club and ten years later we even talk openly about the effect of pesticides. Shocked I even was allowed to show my Warré hives and skeps two years ago. So a matter of time.

Be prepared to be pushed around, though. I suggest to say not too much at the beginning, just watch the show. Sooner or later another natural beek will join in and then you are two.
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imkeer
Foraging Bee


Joined: 03 Oct 2011
Posts: 203
Location: Belgium, Antwerpen, Schilde

PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Sometimes I wish there was a "like" button, or a possibility to say thank you in one click. (Some forums have this...)
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trekmate
Golden Bee


Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 1123
Location: UK, North Yorkshire, Bentham

PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[url]
zaunreiter wrote:
There is no change unless you do it. So do what I do, join the club and take it over. .....

Cool

I joined and then took the role of treasurer. I now get to give an annual presentation on a subject of my choice (extensive beekeeping this year http://www.beesfordevelopment.org/portal/article.php?id=2919) and encourage like-minded people to join. The new secretary uses hTBH.

We're slowly heading toward a majority!! Very Happy
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zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What do we do once we are mainstream... Smile
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rmcpb
Scout Bee


Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 447
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reckon you are right. Do the course and get involved. Use the bits you want and leave the rest BUT doing it this way you will be aware of what you are leaving behind. Going into any activity with your eyes wide open is a good thing. As for the type of box, it doesn't matter, natural beekeeping is a way of keeping the bees not a specific type of box.

Cheers
Rob
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biobee
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1051
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dizzydoodah wrote:
The insurance is public liability and disease insurance, £31 and year membership, seems good value totting up other insurances.
What's really funny is they are running a skep making class so maybe they're not all blinkered Smile


Friends of the Bees offer £5M worth of Public Liability cover for £15 per year.

The BBKA 'disease insurance' is IMO practically worthless. There are so many exclusions that you would have real difficulty working out a scenario under which they would actually pay out. If you build your own hives - especially TBH - they will not want anything to do with you!

And by joining FoB you will be supporting chemical-free beekeeping and not an association that takes money from pesticide companies.
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