A whole days learning how to improve your bees.
BIBBA are committed to helping beekeepers to improve their bees and those of the surrounding area, by raising queens from their better colonies and culling the poor ones.
Bee Improvement should be of interest to all beekeepers and for a number of reasons including temper, quietness on the combs and suitability to the locality.
The queen is an important factor in the characteristics of a colony, so colony assessment and queen selection need more attention than many beekeepers give them. This does mean rearing queens, but the bees give us many opportunities during the summer to raise new queens with little effort needed by us.
“Bee Improvement for all” is a one day course that is designed to help beekeepers use these opportunities to improve their bees, as well as giving information to those who wish to raise more queens. Some speakers and books don’t serve the beekeeper with a few colonies very well, as they often use methods that are beyond the needs of the ordinary beekeeper. This course is organised to help and encourage beekeepers of all abilities to improve their bees, using simple techniques without the need for specialist equipment.
Amongst the topics covered will be:
- Setting the criteria you want in your bees.
- How to assess your own and other people’s colonies.
- Recording your assessments using simple methods.
- Rearing queens from local bees to avoid relying on buying them.
- Deciding which colonies to use queen cells from and which queens to cull.
- Using natural queen cells the bees build.
- Producing “Artificial” queen cells for those who want more queens.
- Changing queens in colonies.
- Making up mating nuclei.
- Getting queens mated.
- Working with other beekeepers and the local BKA.
There will be plenty of information on colony management, with emphasis on understanding what is happening inside colonies and keeping things simple.
Many beekeepers believe some of the current bee problems have partly been caused by the continued importation of bees and queens. This course will help beekeepers to rear their own queens from local stock and not rely on imports.
“Bee Improvement for all” courses are organised by BIBBA on a nationwide basis, sometimes in conjunction with local BKAs or bee breeding groups. They are all day events, but the timings will depend on local arrangements.
The very successful BIFA days were started during the winter of 2013/14, with 11 events in Berkshire, West Sussex, Lancashire, Cheshire, Guernsey, Jersey, Shropshire, two in Yorkshire, Worcestershire and Wiltshire. There were around 1,100 attendees and the feedback was tremendous. There were 15 events in 2014/15 winter, and eight in 2015/16.
The hosting BKAs did a brilliant job in organising the events and publicising them locally. They were a huge success and they should take the credit for it. This shows that everyone worked together for the benefit of bees and beekeeping. The real benefits were gained by the beekeepers who have been given a lot of simple information that will allow them to improve their bees.
If you would like to have one of these courses in your area please contact BIBBA Conference and Workshop Secretary Roger Patterson by email