Bee Keeping Events and Courses

Bee Keeping Events and Courses

The bee department at Buckfast Abbey has changed from honey production to education. Yes, the bees still make honey, which we harvest for the Benedictine Community who live at the Abbey, but we concentrate on the welfare of the bees and try to practice gentle bee keeping.

By learning about bees we can engage with them, respond more appropriately to their needs, and try to help with any problems which they could encounter - this could be anything from parasite control to starvation. We aim to work alongside each colony during every season and remain as flexible and responsive to the environment as they do.

This involves respectful and mindful management of the bees, as well as gentle handling, which takes into account their natural behaviors and instincts. Each colony has her own character, her own name and is important.

For a full list of courses, and to book, please...

Book Here

How to be a Better Beekeeper Workshops:
Workshop 1 - Giving your bees a flying start to the season! - 'You can't build a great building on a weak foundation. You must have a solid foundation if you are going to have a superstructure.' Gordon B Hinkley. This workshop will outline some of the ways which you can promote and strengthen the welfare and fitness of your colony in Spring to pave the way for a productive season.
Saturday 16th March. 2pm to 4.30pm

Workshop 2 - Making increase. - It's always a good ideal to have more than one colony just in case something goes wrong. Instead of buying in expensive nucleus colonies why don't you produce your own? Splitting your bees is the simplest form of queen rearing and we can show you some of the ways which have worked for us most successfully.
Saturday 18th May from 2pm to 4.30pm

Workshop 3 - When to leave your bees alone. - Have you ever wondered how some larger professional beekeepers manage to look after so many colonies? Do they inspect them relentlessly every 8 or 9 days all through the season? How good record keeping and basic understand of the natural life cycle of a colony can lead to less manipulation, more meaningful inspections and happier bees. There are times when your girls can do perfectly well (actually better) without you. Learn when and how to inspect your colonies and when you can give them a break for less string and a more relaxed summer.
Saturday 25th May from 2pm to 4.30pm

Workshop 4 - What the books don't tell you and why bees change their minds! - Bee behaviour can be confusing and we often resort to the anthropomorphic and rather desperate statement "Oh well bees don't read books!" Actually there is an awful lot in books which is misleading or only partially correct (depending on what books you read of course). This workshop aims to debunk some of the common myths and misconception about bees which are often quoted in literature and by word of mouth.
Saturday 13th July 2pm to 4.30pm

A mixture of theory and practical experience to start you off on your journey with honey bees. The course is designed to cover most of the bee keeping season from the spring build up and swarming to honey harvest and the preparation of bees for winter. We will be running two beginners courses in tandem every other week. This enables us to keep the group numbers low and allow some flexibility between groups, (if you can't make it one week you could always join the other group session the next).

Beginners Course A, cost £100
Saturdays: 6th and 20th April 4th; and 18th May; 1st, 15th and 29th June; 3rd August.

Beginners Course B, cost £100
Saturdays: 13th and 27th April; 11th and 25th May; 8th and 22nd June; 10th and 24th August.

Both courses are from 10am till 12pm
Please note: there are no classes in July to give the bees a break and to allow students holidays.

It is impossible to learn everything there is to know during only 8 weeks so students are welcome to join our community beekeeping group on a Sunday afternoon, during or after the course has finished, to top up their experience and understanding.
One of two separate afternoon sessions which explore the phenomena of honeybee swarming.

Saturday 27th April 2pm to 4.30pm.
Saturday 4th May 2pm to 4pm.

We will deal with the why? how? and when? questions about swarming including how ofter do you need to insect in order to prevent or control it.

Bee-gin Again!
Reboot your beekeeping skills. Sometimes turning the computer off and then on again will sort out how well it responds. We can easily become unfocussed and sloppy when looking at our bees. Going back to basics and relearning the fundamental procedures and perceptions which we use to manage our colonies will refine, refresh and strengthen a framework for great working practices.

Saturday 20th April 2pm to 4.30pm

Could your Bees be Better?
They could be stressed! The balance of your colony is essential for its health, wellbeing and success. Learn how to read your colony and to recognise when they are out of kilter. You could steer them back onto the right track by using simple management techniques. Sometimes these could make the difference to your colony surviving and flourishing or dwindling and dying out.

Saturday 8th June 2pm to 4.30pm

Healthy Bees Day
A detailed look at Honey Bee disease: diagnosis, treatment and avoidance. The day will teach you how to recognise healthy brood and how to detect when things are not as they should be. Plenty of hands on experience coupled with expert advice and tuition.

Saturday 20th July from 11am to 4pm.
*Bring your own lunch or dine at The Grange Restaurant on site.

Taster Days from April to September 2019

For people thinking about taking up beekeeping.

We will be running four separate days on the following dates (this is not a four week course - each day is a self-contained unit which is repeated to allow more opportunities to attend).

Saturday 30th March
Saturday 6th July
Saturday 27th July
Saturday 7th September

The day starts at 11am and finishes at 4pm with an hour for lunch (bring your own or fine at the grange restaurant on site).
We will be giving you an overview of the basic responsibilities and commitments involved in keeping bees alongside the costs and where best to get your kit. You will have the chance to see inside a hive and experience the fascinating world of the honey bee first hand. A full information pack will be given out for you to keep.

Cost £25

*This is not a substitute for a beekeeping course. It's an attempt to let you know what you might be letting yourself in for if you decide to take up beekeeping as a hobby!

We love people visiting our bees
Bee keeping groups or other hobby clubs/ institutions, are all welcome whether you have any knowledge about bees or not. It could be just a group of friends or a family group who want to experience the wonder of bees up close and personal. Family groups must be accompanied by at least one adult. Then youngest child age restriction is 5 years.

All visits last a couple of hours and can include a talk, a visit to the bees (bee suits provided and weather permitting) and some light refreshments with a chance to chat and ask questions. The maximum group size is around 10 (give or take a few)
These dates are available for Abbey visits (all on Sunday mornings between 10am and 12pm). The charge is £5 per adult and £2 for a child

May: 5th; 12th; 19th; 26th.
June: 2nd; 9th; 16th; 23rd.
July: 7th; 14th; 21st; 28th.
August: 4th; 11th; 18th; 25th.

You need to pre-book visits preferably by email but you can write or phone.

Clare and Martin are available to give talks to your local hobby group; association; school; or establishment. The topics which we offer range from a general bee keeping talk for complete beginners to specialised selection of subject matter from disease to swarming or history to biology. We can come to you with a projector and laptop or you could come to us.

We charge £30 plus travel expenses.

Outreach and mentoring
We can help you with your bees at home by coming out and troubleshooting or advising you on management issues. We charge £10/ hour plus traveling expenses.

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