apiculture  n. beekeeping

apiarist n. one who keeps bees

apiary n.  a place where bees are kept

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© Okehampton Branch of the Devon Beekeepers Association 2020 - Registered Charity 270675


Okehampton Beekeepers normally run a Beekeeping Training Course at the start of each year. The course comprises 8 evening sessions. These are usually held at Whiddon Down Village Hall, from 7 pm to 9 pm Wednesday evenings from January through to May.


The course costs £75, payable in advance at the initial session (usually mid January). This includes a free copy of the excellent BBKA textbook, The BBKA Guide to Beekeeping (cost £18). Assistance with course fees may be available from the branch, subject to special circumstances.  The Basic course will follow the syllabus required for the BBKA Basic Assessment. Candidates may wish to take this BBKA Basic Beekeeping exam following course completion (but this is not mandatory). Okehampton Branch will reimburse the Basic Exam fee for those branch members taking the course who subsequently take and successfully pass the exam. Planning the next 2021 Basic Course has been complicated by the pandemic and uncertainties over lockdown and social distancing requirements associated with indoor venues.  Our 2020 course has had to be put on hold half way through as it was interrupted in March by lockdown.


We are hopeful both that we may complete this year’s course and also run further basic training in 2021, but this of course is dependent on what happens with Covid19 over the winter.  


Our courses, if held, additionally include number of follow-up practical sessions in May and June, giving the opportunity to handle and inspect colonies of bees, putting into practice knowledge learnt during the course.  We hope to be in a position to provide further information on possible future training courses when circumstances permit.


BasicSyllabus19.pdf





BASIC Beekeeping Certificate Syllabus

Need Help Getting Started?

Okehampton Beekeepers offer to help new branch members by appointing them a Mentor if they wish. The mentor will assist with handling bees during the first year. Sometimes just having someone to talk through doubts about what needs to be done is enough to give the confidence required.

Need Help but Not a New Member?

Maybe you need help with a manipulation that you are unsure about or want to try a different way. Being unsure about what to do is not unique to new members; there's always something new to learn.


To request help and find out more about what we can offer contact Simon O’Sullivan see the CONTACT page.


Have you previously attended a Basic Beekeeping course? Have you kept bees for at least twelve months?

Then why not put yourself forward for assessment for the BBKA Basic Certificate. The practical assessment is a one-to-one session that takes place during the summer. Pass or fail, you will receive valuable feedback on your basic bee-handling skills.



Beekeeping Training Course 2020

Beekeeping Best Practice

One place to get good advice about beekeeping is from the Best Practice Guides and Fact Sheets produced by the National Bee Unit website BeeBase. These PDF file publications can be read online or downloaded from the public pages of the site.

Go to: www.nationalbeeunit.com  then click through the pages:

Home >  Bee Research and Publications > Publications >

     Advisory Leaflets, Training Manuals & Fact Sheets


The list of publications available [April 2012] is shown below.


Best Practice Guidelines:

  1. - The Essence of Beekeeping
  2. - Handling and Examining a colony of bees
  3. - Apiary and hive hygiene
  4. - Disease recognition
  5. - Advice for obtaining honey bees
  6. - Spring Checks
  7. - Feeding Bees
  8. - Sale of Honeybee Nuclei
  9. - Small hive beetle - What you need to know
  10. - Bee Improvement
  11. - Varroa


Fact Sheets:

Courses are run by many other organisations and vary

in time of year, duration and syllabus.

See the websites on our LINKS page to start your search.