Education & Training is an important part of the Devon Beekeepers’ Association. Regular winter lectures and summer demonstrations are run & organised by all of our 11 Branches across the County each year. We also provided specific courses aimed at helping beekeepers at various levels of the craft.
Introductory Courses for new Beekeepers are organised at Branch level, aimed at newcomers to beekeeping, and those in their first year, they prove very popular and are well subscribed. The courses are programmed to provide a firm basis from which the beginner can progress in his or her own time, and covers basic beekeeping in a number of regular sessions. It usually takes place during the winter months, and is held in a village hall or classroom environment in the evening. It endeavours to answer fundamental questions, which are in most people’s minds when first considering taking up the craft. “How much time will it take? What will it cost? Will I get stung?” It then goes on to introduce the honeybee, dealing with elementary biology and life cycle. It covers hives, tools and personal equipment, and deals with swarming, and setting up an apiary. The principals of bee handling are covered, and honey production and harvesting, together with over-wintering, feeding and husbandry. Honeybee maladies are dealt with, and pests and predators, and plenty of time is allowed for questions.
This winter course then usually leads on to a Practical Course, which starts the following spring. This again deals with basic beekeeping, but allows the opportunity to open up hives, and handle bees. It covers the use of the smoker and other tools, swarming, queen marking, what to look for in the hive, honey extraction and preparation for winter. The course usually lasts right through the summer months, and is again organised at Branch level, where they have their own Training Apiaries.
The next step offered by most Branches is an improvers course which is aimed at those members who have been keeping bees for a couple of years and want to improve their skills.
For those with an academic interest, this courses can be a useful precursor to the British Beekeepers’ Association’s examinations in beekeeping proficiency. These begin with the Basic Assessment, the Bee Health Certificate and through a modular system lead to the Intermediate Certificate, and Senior Certificate, right up to the National Diploma in Beekeeping. To assist and encourage in this process, the Devon Beekeepers’ Association through its Branches organise study groups, as and when required, where students can work in a convivial atmosphere, supporting each other towards a common goal.
The DBKA is also involved in educating & informing the public on the importance of bees in the environment and, to that end, all Branches will happily provide speakers to talk at local organisations, schools and events.
National Diploma Beekeeping Short Courses.
The National Diploma in Beekeeping (NDB) exists to meet a need for a beekeeping qualification above the level of the Certificates awarded by the United Kingdom National Beekeeping Associations.
The Diploma is the highest beekeeping qualification recognised in the United Kingdom and its holders are generally well-known figures within beekeeping education.
The NDB Board is entirely independent although its members come from a wide range of beekeeping organisations and it has representatives from all the National Beekeeping Associations.