John Powells' 'Introduction to beekeeping' notes by jA343A


        [Developed from John Powells' "Introduction to beekeeping" notes]

This course is intended to provide a theoretical introduction for those contemplating
taking up the craft of honeybee husbandry, as background for those already keeping
bees with limited experience and provide sufficient content for beekeepers of one or
two years’ practice to enable them to enter for the BBKA Basic Assessment.

Topic 1 Introduction to beekeeping in Britain
About me, about you, beekeeping and agriculture
The BBKA, Country Organisations, Local Organisations, National Services,
Assessments and Examinations, Country Markets
FSA, VMD Rothamsted
Bees for Development, Hives saves Lives etc, Nicola Bradbear, Colleges
About the Topics

Topic 2 The Community of the Bees
Social insects and their evolution, Andrena, Bombus, Hornets, Vespa
The honeybee : Queen, worker, drone
The nest :        comb, beespace, propolis
Food of the bees: nectar, pollen, water,honey
The bees’ year: winter, spring, summer, autumn

Topic 3 A Life's work
The Worker : juvenile, house bee, forager, winter bees
The Queen :queen cells, mating, female bees, supersedure
        colony cohesion, queen substance
The Drone : life style, assembly, massacre, parthenogenisis, laying workers

Topic 4 Bees and Plants
Flowers ; diversity, biology, pollination,
Foraging behaviour, crop constancy, von Frisch dances
Bee Plants
A closer look at bees :corbiculii, mouthparts, wings, sting: mechanism,effects

Topic 5 Honey
       Nectar into honey, inversion, crystallisation
       Composition, properties & medicinal uses, storage, types (comb, heather
       Extraction , legislation
       Other hive products: propolis, pollen, venom, royal jellly

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Topic 6 Pests and Diseases
Robbing & apiary hygiene
Brood Diseases :Foul Brood Order, AFB, EFB, Chalk brood, Sac brood, Chilled
Adult Diseases : Nosema, Amoeba, Paralysis
Infestations : Acarine, Varroa, Small Hive Beetle, Tropilaelaps
Legislation and record-keeping

Topic 7 The Beehive
Practical Hives : jars ,logs, skeps, langstroth & beespace
Frames, foundation & other components of the hive – “the naming of parts”
Modern hives : national hive, WBC hive, other types, suppliers, 2nd-hand equipment
Handling bees ; clothes, veil, smoker, tools

Getting bees

Topic 8 Seasonal Management
Record Keeping
IPM Techniques
Spring :     floorboard, disease check, feeding, expansion
Summer :     supering, space, swarm prevention, dividing, uniting
Autumn :      harvesting, feeding, disease check, re-queening
Winter :     mouseguards, ventilation

Topic 9 Swarms and Swarming
Natural swarm collecting, hiving, management, parent colony, casts
Swarm prevention and control
The Pagden method
The Taranov method
Uses of nuclei

Topic 10 Getting Started
Setting up an apiary
Equipment needs, solar etc.
Practical work in apiary
Where to now?

Indeed, what reason may not go to school to the wisdom of bees, ants and spiders?
What wise hand teacheth them to do what reason cannot teach us? Ruder hands
stand amazed ot those prodigious pieces of nature, whales, elephants, dromedaries,
and camels; these, I confess, are the colossuses and majestic pieces of her hand;
but in these narrow engines there is more curious mathematics; and the civility of
these little citizens more neatly set forth the wisdom of their Maker.

Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici (London , 1642)

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We try to keep in touch with all our students, but with large courses it is hard to
communicate quickly in the event of problems or a change of plan.

After the start of the beginners course, we add a new link to our website on the
'CLASSES' page, here:

Please get into the habit of checking this link regularly, in case there are problems.
Also, some handouts etc. are put here as downloads after the class has taken place
so that you can partly catch up if you miss a week. The link stays active until the end
of January.

If you do not have Internet access, please make sure you let us know.

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