Are you thinking of keeping bees?
SGBKA has normally run an annual beginners course in the New Year, comprising a series of indoor classes followed by practical sessions at the branch apiary early in the spring.
To maintain beginner’s training during the pandemic the association has been running an online course with eight evening theory sessions in February and March, followed by two practical Saturday sessions in the branch apiary in April/May, Covid restrictions allowing.
This has been run by members of the SGBKA committee led by Pat Browning. Places on beginners courses are normally limited to twenty participants. Information about future courses will be posted on the SGBKA website.
We encourage everyone attending the Beginners Course to join SGBKA because this will give you an excellent opportunity to meet other beekeepers and to get hands on experience with bees at our monthly apiary meetings in the summer.
- Social Member – £10
- Monthly meetings – these are held indoors in the winter with a visiting speaker and at the club apiary in summer where you will have a chance to handle bees. Members are charged £1 for attending a meeting.
- Regular newsletters with information about any upcoming events, advice on beekeeping and contributions from members on a variety of topics.
- Access to the members area of the SGBKA website.
Social Membership may be suitable if you are not intending to start keeping bees this year.
- Registered Member – from £33.50
- Membership of BBKA, including a monthly magazine, BBKA News
- Public liability insurance relating to your bees
- Access to the members area of the BBKA website
- BDI insurance (Bee Disease Insurance) for the replacement of beekeeping equipment should it have to be destroyed due to an incidence of a notifiable disease (up to three colonies)
Registered Membership would be advisable if you are intending to start keeping your own bees this year. However, even if you don’t get bees this year, Registered Membership is worth considering for other benefits such as the BBKA Magazine.
- Partner Member – £24
- Membership as a partner of a Registered Member, with similar benefits (one Partner per Registered Member, one shared copy of BBKA News)
- Junior Member (under 18 at 01/10/2021) – £13.75
- School Member – £33.50
For more information, please contact Kirsty, the SGBKA Membership Secretary using the form here.
Buying Bees – SGBKA advice
South Gloucestershire Beekeeping Association (SGBKA) does not recommend any particular supplier or source for obtaining honey bees, but does suggest the following:
- If you are looking to start beekeeping, SGBKA recommends that you join a local beekeeping association (such as SGBKA) that runs “introduction to beekeeping” courses. As a member you may hear about bees for sale or gain advice about reliable sources of bees; other beekeepers you know may also have surplus colonies.
- If you are already keeping bees then a spilt from your existing colony may be the best option; this can also be an effective swarm control measure.
- There are a number of bee suppliers you can find on the internet, local and national, however SGBKA supports the stance of the British Beekeepers Association in discouraging the importation of queens and bees from outside the UK.
- Bee Base, part of the government’s Animal and Plant Health Agency, provides some useful advice in this article and leaflet provided in the public section of its website.
- Best Practice Guideline No. 5 from this link.
Useful Information for Beginners
Although SGBKA does not endorse any particular supplier of beekeeping equipment, in Gloucestershire the nearest supplier to the branch apiary is Maisemore Apiaries, GL2 8HT (bees-online.co.uk).
For a comprehensive view of the range of beekeeping equipment available, you may find the downloadable catalogue on the Thornes website a good place to start (thorne.co.uk).
For a website covering a very wide range of beekeeping resources, try Dave Cushman’s (www.dave-cushman.net).
BIBBA’s website offers a number of very informative free webinars (bibba.com/webinars).