Training – Beekeeping Courses

Education and Training

Swarm Management Course for Intermediate Beekeepers – SORRY NOW FULLY BOOKED!
After successfully overwintering a colony and watching it build up over the spring, any beekeeper would be very disappointed if they swarmed.  This course outlines the signs that a colony is preparing to reproduce and how this process can be managed to maximise the benefits to bees and beekeeper.
The focus is on swarm prevention rather than swarm control methods.  The second half of the course introduces ways to divert the natural reproductive urge towards queen rearing and colony increase.  It is aimed at:
  • beekeepers in their 2nd year of beekeeping onward who already have basic levels of knowledge and experience.
  • those interested in small-scale queen rearing for their own apiary needs or as part of a local group
  • those who want to increase their stock by using relatively simple selective methods
The course is free to DBKA members.
There are 4 weekly Zoom sessions on Thursday evenings from 11th April to 2nd May.

Interested?  Register with Kathy Lovegrove, Devon Education Officer, by email


We will be running a series of beekeeping courses again in 2024. There will be two during the winter, one for Beginners and one for Improvers.  Then in the spring there will be a weekend Beginners course. Our courses are run by David Packham, previously a Seasonal Bee Inspector with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). David has kept bees for over 40 years, having been under the spell of honey bees since a swarm encamped in his garden almost 50 years ago. As a bee inspector, David inspected over 700 bee colonies each year, and remains a British Beekeeping Association (BBKA) assessor. When he’s not tending his bees, you will find him walking the moors or coast with his wife Christine. David brings a fresh perspective to his courses and his sense of humour and enjoyment of interactive elements of his courses make them very popular.

In the summer, there will also be four Beekeeping Basics sessions aimed at helping new beekeepers through their first year and covering specific items relevant for that time of the year in more detail.

The Beginners Spring weekend course 2024 dates are 11th and 12th May 2024, Saturday and Sunday, 9am – 4pm. The mornings are inside at Woodbury Salterton Village Hall and afternoons at the Exeter Beekeepers’ branch apiary in Woodbury Salterton (near the Greendale Business Park)

Course topics are:
• Getting started – hive types, equipment, cost and time commitments
• Honey bee natural history – honey bee life cycle, queens, drones and workers
• The beekeeping year – inspections, managing colonies
• The importance of plants and pollination
• Swarms!
• Honey!
• Bee health and hygiene

Practical sessions:
A chance to meet the bees – Beekeeping basics, correct use of equipment, how to inspect a colony safely, how to check the health and development of the bees.

Cost £125* (to include 12 months’ membership of the Devon Beekeepers Association and the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) ‘Guide to Beekeeping’ book.
*If you are attending the course with a partner living at the same address, or if you are already a member of Exeter Beekeepers, please contact the Education Officer for a discounted course rate.
To reserve your place please book on Eventbrite (see link below), your reservation will be confirmed once you have completed the DBKA membership form. Places are limited.

Beekeeping for Beginners weekend course May 2024

*Please note the practical sessions are weather dependent and so subject to change.

Beekeeping for Beginners 2024
Discover all you need to know about safe and successful beekeeping on our winter course for new or aspiring beekeepers. The winter courses comprise six weekly evening classes in a face to face setting. The weekend course has a full weekend schedule with mornings spent learning the theory of beekeeping and afternoons spent gaining practical experience in our apiary. Both lead into a weekend practical session in the Spring when the hives are active. We will also hold four practical ‘Beekeeping Basics’ sessions during the summer season to cover topical subjects at the relevant time of year. The Beekeeping Basics sessions are aimed at helping new beekeepers through the major events of their first year of beekeeping and cover some of the course topics in a bit more detail.

Beekeeping Improvers 2024

This course is designed to improve the skills and knowledge of existing beekeepers. You will need to have completed the beginners course and ideally have at least one year’s practical experience of keeping bees. The Improvers course is an ideal next step for new beekeepers as the content will enable you to consolidate your knowledge. The course comprises six weekly evening classes in a face to face setting, with plenty of room for social distancing.

Course topics are:
• Principles of hive design, frames and spacing
• The beekeeping year
• Apiary hygiene
• Swarming
• Queen rearing
• The importance of plants and pollination
• Bee health and disease management

The 2024 course dates are 24th January, 31st January, 7th February, 21st February, 28th February and 6th March 2024

Wednesday evenings, 7pm – 9pm

Cost £95

To reserve your place please book on Eventbrite (see link below). Places are limited

Beekeeping Improvers course

Happy beekeeping!
Caroline Taverner
Education Officer




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