Learn Beekeeping

Each year, particularly during the season when we see bees going about their daily duties, several of you think about taking up beekeeping.

The Southern Beekeepers and then the IOM Beekeepers Federation saw that many folk would like a bit of guidance as to how to start beekeeping.

About 15 years ago a course was set up using the ‘British Beekeepers Association’ guide lines.

The idea was to give seven evenings of theory and then carry on with practical sessions throughout the beekeeping year.

This has worked well and the number of attendees has remained high.

We have been very fortunate to have had first the Bee Improvement Apiary set up by Keith Osborn, then out of that, the Teaching Apiary emerged.

The Course starts at the beginning of January each year. We have two evening theory sessions each month until April.

You will learn about:

  • What a honey bee looks like, plus a small amount of anatomy.
  • What happens inside and outside the hive during the season.
  • The role of each member of the honey bee family.
  • Pests and diseases of honey bees.
  • Some history of bees and beekeeping.
  • What to look for when setting up your own Apiary.

The practical element is not just one afternoon it is available throughout the important beekeeping season.

In April those who have attended the theory are invited to attend practical afternoons at the Teaching Apiary.

Protective bee suits are provided for those who do not have them, and we open up hives of bees and let students get used to seeing them and handling them and the equipment.

It covers:

  • How to open a hive of bees.
  • What you are seeing inside the hive. Things that you should look for.
  • Understanding of swarming and how to look out for it, and control it.
  • Harvesting your honey crop. Taking care of bees before and during the winter.
  • Understanding that if you keep bees, taking a holiday during May and June are off the agenda, at least until you have made your artificial swarms!

After the first few sessions we will be making a rota of students to “man” the Apiary regularly so as to take you seamlessly through the beekeeping year.

There will always be an experienced beekeeper on hand to assist and instruct.

The Teaching Apiary will also help set you up with your colony of bees if you wish to go ahead into beekeeping. Please remember that it is illegal to import bees and used equipment to the Island.

You can sign up for the course between the beginning of October and the end of November using the application form that will be available here on our web site.

The details you supply will be held on a spread sheet for the year of the course, and on a mailing list just for the course.

Your details will also be passed on to your nearest Beekeeping Association of which you will be made an Associate member for one year.

The Apiary Manager will also be aware of your contact details.

At the end of your course year, your details will be erased except with the Association Secretaries.

The whole course will cost £60, payable from October/November. Please note that Entry for the 2020 Beginners Course closes on 30th November 2019. Anyone who has not paid their fee by that date will not be on the course.

Please remember that all the people who teach and run this course are unpaid volunteers!