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apiculture  n. beekeeping

apiarist n. one who keeps bees

apiary n.  a place where bees are kept

© Okehampton Branch of the Devon Beekeepers Association 2024 - 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 held at Whiddon Down Village Hall, from 7 pm to 9 pm on alternate Wednesday evenings from January through to end April/early May. Our 2024 course has now completed, training some 23 new beekeepers, who we hope are aquiring their own colonies of bees and may go on to take the BBKA Basic Assessnent, later this year or next.  If you require more information about possible future Basic Beekeeping Courses, please email our Education Officer, Ruth Stainer-Smith at shackletonhouse@gmail.com. These courses are usually run each year, 8 fortnightly evening sessions from January to April/early May.

Our Basic Beekeeping Courses additionally include a number of follow-up practical sessions, led by trainers during May and June, giving the opportunity to handle and inspect colonies of bees, putting into practice knowledge learnt during the course.

Our Basic courses 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). NOTE that you also need to have kept bees for a year before taking the Basic Assessment Exam. Okehampton Branch will reimburse the Basic Exam fee (currently £25) for those branch members taking the course who subsequently take and successfully pass the exam.



Current (2020)

BASIC Beekeeping Certificate Syllabus

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. Our Basic Course Trainers will be happy to arrange a refresher tuition session prior to the exam date. Pass or fail, you will receive valuable feedback on your bee handling skills.

An application form to apply to take the Basic Assessment may be obtained by emailing the DBKA Examinations Secretary, Lynette Rogers at:-


Basic Assessment Training Course

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 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:

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 Branch Chair, David Wolley or Branch Secretary, Will Pyne (see the Contacts page).

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.