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COURSE DATES

2018 Training Events

  • March 24-25 - Balanced Beekeeping For All at Welcombe, North Devon. This weekend will be for beekeeping beginners and people wanting to convert to more natural methods, or extend their skills. FULLY BOOKED (N, B, I) Please call Sue or Mick on 01288 331700 in case of cancellations.
  • August 31-Sept 2 - Balanced Beekeeping for Beginners at Furzeleigh Farm, Ashburton, S. Devon. Intended for first and second year beekeeers and 'converters' to more balanced and natural methods, and also suitable for absolute beginners who have read a couple of books! PLACES AVAILABLE Details here (I, B)
  • Please refer to the host site for further information and booking procedures.If you are thinking about hosting a course or talk, please contact me.

    Be among the first to hear about new courses and events - join our free email list.

  • Key
    (N)=Novice (still thinking about it)
    (B)=Beginners (ready to start)
    (I)=Intermediate (some practical experience)
    (A)=Advanced (minimum 2 seasons with bees)
    (E)=Event (e.g. meeting or conference, not a training) - see here for details)



Which is the right beekeeping course for me?

Key
(N)=Novice (still thinking about it)
(B)=Beginners (ready to start)
(I)=Intermediate (some practical experience; at least one season with bees)
(A)=Advanced (suggested minimum 2 seasons with bees)
(E)=Event (e.g. meeting or conference, not a training) - see here for details)

If you are still thinking about taking up beekeeping and would like to find out what is involved, you should begin with the Beginners course, which is aimed at the complete novice. This will enable you to discover what is really involved in keeping bees, and even if you decide at that point that this is not, after all, for you, then you will have at least saved yourself a good deal of time and money, which you can use elsewhere.

The Beginners course is also ideal if you are ready to start, but have not yet decided which type of hive to use, or what management methods are appropriate for your circumstances, or you are just not sure what "balanced beekeeping" is all about. You will have opportunities to see different types of hive, and when the weather allows, to open them and compare them in working order.

Once you have a season or two of practical experience, either with your own bees or someone else's, then you may want to attend the more intensive Intermediate level course, which will look in more depth at hive management and aims to answer problems arising from practical bee handling.

After gaining several seasons' experience, you may decide to learn the more specialised skills involved with bee breeding and queen rearing (not the same thing, by the way!). Such courses will generally be more restricted in numbers and aimed at people with a solid foundation in practical beekeeping.

All courses comprise a variable mixture of illustrated talks, practical demonstrations and discussion, and questions are encouraged throughout. Teaching material and methods are adapted to meet the needs of students as much as possible, while ensuring coverage of important areas.

While focus is always on the major theme of the event, students are encouraged to explore connected areas and to share ideas and experiences.

Can't get to a "real world" training?

Natural Beekeeping for Gardeners

On-line Natural Beekeeping interactive course with Phil Chandler

A four-module course in Natural and Balanced Beekeeping from the top online gardening school, with audio-visual teaching and commented assignments.

Whether or not you are a gardener, this course will give you a good understanding of bees and beekeeping on a domestic scale, which will form a sound basis for progression to a practical course. Suitable for complete novices.

COURSE CONTENT

"Balanced beekeeping" is a continuous quest for the improvement of our relationship with bees. It recognises that keeping bees is not natural, because in nature, only bees keep bees. It acknowledges that our desire for honey may not be matched by the bees' willingness to give it up. It recognises that the bees have their own lives and they would probably prefer that we left them alone, however much we are kindly disposed towards them. It is a search for the best ways to be with bees.

Balanced Beekeeping courses comprise a mixture of illustrated talks, practical demonstrations and discussion. Questions are encouraged throughout. Teaching materials and methods are adapted to meet the needs of students as much as possible.

Balanced Beekeeping for Beginners

Learn about 'balanced beekeeping' in top bar and frame hives: a simple, practical way to have healthy and happy bees in your garden, with the possibility of your own honey harvest, but without the costs and complications associated with conventional beekeeping.

This event is intended for people with no previous knowledge of bees or beekeeping, and will provide you with all the information you need to decide if, when and how you will become a beekeeper.

* Why do we keep bees?
* What do you need to get started?

* The lifecycle of a colony
* The nature of honeybees and flowering plants

* Principles and philosophy of balanced beekeeping
* Principles into practice: how to get started

* Hive design from the bees' point of view
* Comparing vertical and horizontal hives

* How to attract free swarms
* How to take a swarm from a tree

* Your first year: what to look out for
* How to recognise common pests and diseases and what to do about them

* Feeding: what, when and how
* How and when to take honey and other hive products

* Your first winter: how to prepare and what to do
* Your second year: getting to know your bees


Suggested reading: An Introduction to Balanced Beekeeping

Balanced Beekeeping for Improvers

A hands-on, exploratory course for people with some beekeeping experience in any type of hive.

This event is mainly for beekeepers with some experience, even if only a single season. Rather than focusing on the basics, we will have time to explore particular aspects of the craft in more depth.

* Principles and philosophy of balanced beekeeping
* Balanced beekeeping in conventional hives

* Hive design from the bees' point of view
* Comparing vertical and horizontal hives

* Swarming and swarm management
* Making increase and combining

* Choosing a method of queen rearing
* Queen mating and introduction

* Bee breeding: can we improve our stocks?
* How and when to take honey and other hive products

* Treatment-free beekeeping: what does it mean and should we be doing it?
* How can we manage our bees without chemical interventions?


Suggested reading: An Introduction to Balanced Beekeeping






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© 2017 Phil Chandler    Friends of the Bees
natural, balanced beekeeping courses and training