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The Healthy ‘BEES’ Project Courses

The Healthy ‘BEES’ (Bee Education in Scotland) Project Courses

Heavily subsidised by the Scottish Rural Development Programme, Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund, these courses are aimed at beekeepers of all levels and will be held in various locations in Scotland. If you own bees and have a desire to learn, you are very welcome! The overall aim of the project is to improve honey bee husbandry, beekeeping skills and honey bee health which will secure a sustainable and healthy population of Scottish honey bees.

Led by tutors qualified to a minimum of Scottish Expert Beemaster and limited to small groups they offer high quality training at an affordable cost.



Course Descriptions

Integrated Pest Management and Adult Bee Diseases (Classroom)

This course will examine in detail the life cycles of honey bee pests including the Varroa mite, Varroa destructor, Braula, Braula coeca, Tropilaelop species and wax moth along with the available methods to control them. Students will be provided with sufficient expertise and knowledge of IPM to combat varroa, including monitoring methods, biotechnical controls and chemical treatments and will have the opportunity to practice them. We will look closely at how colony health is affected by Acarine, Amoeba and Nosema and how these diseases can be managed. Practical exercises will allow students to perform field diagnosis and laboratory skills.  The potential threat from other exotic pests of honey bees such as the Small Hive Beetle and the Asian hornet will also be explored, including identifying features and how to monitor for them. This course includes Microscopy work. Microscopes will be provided.

SBA syllabus: Modules 3 & 9, Intermediate and Apiarian Practical Assessments

Date: 9/10th March 2019, where: Scotlandwell KY13 9GB

Swarm Control (Classroom)

We will examine swarming theories in detail, including triggers and influences within the nest  and  the behaviour of honeybees in the lead up to swarming, on issue of a swarm, selection and re-locating to a new nest site and back in the parent nest. A greater understanding of the theories will equip students to pprevent and control swarms. We will compare and practice all of the main swarm control methods – Pagden, Demaree, vertical split, shook swarm, nuc making, etc. We also consider efficient and effective approaches to collecting swarms including the use of bait hives and personal and public safety. The course is classroom-based and does not use live colonies allowing us to practice specific manipulations without any distractions.

SBA syllabus: Modules 1, 6, 8

Date: 13/14th April 2019, where: Caithness, KW7 6HA

Queen Rearing & Nucleus Creation (Apiary and classroom)

Selecting and breeding our own queens from desirable stocks allows us to improve our bees by spreading and encouraging favoured characteristics, not least by ensuring that our bees are healthy and well-adapted to their local environment. This course covers all aspects of stock selection and queen raising and ‘hands on’ activities include setting up a queen raising system, grafting, preparation and the stocking of mating nuclei.

This classroom- and apiary-based course is intended to provide students with sufficient information and insight to establish or expand queen mating operations for themselves or an Association.

SBA syllabus: Modules 7

Date: 25/26th May 2019, where: Elgin IV30 8SU

Intermediate Handling (Apiary and classroom)

This course aims to improve the confidence and competence of colony manipulation by experienced beekeepers. Specific management techniques will not be taught but we will practice a number of underlying skills such as efficient use of the hive tools, handling frames, queen finding, handling, and introduction, working efficiently with large colonies, dealing with difficult colonies, disease inspection, and colony destruction. It is a hands-on course that requires live bees for the students to work with.

The Intermediate Handling course will be particularly useful for those preparing for the SBA Intermediate Practical examination, the Advanced Colony Manipulations course, for those preparing for the SBA Apiarian. Both courses are also suitable for those simply wishing to improve their skills.

SBA syllabus: Intermediate and Apiarian Practical Assessments, module 7

Date: 8/9th June 2019, where: Dumfries, DG2 0RL

Advanced Colony Manipulations (Apiary and classroom)

A follow on from the Intermediate Handling course covering, Nucleus making, Feeding Bees, feed types, Shook swarm, Uniting colonies, Bailey comb change, Artificial swarm, Queen introduction, Progressive comb change, Ethanoic acid fumigation.

This course will assist those taking the SBA Intermediate Practical examination the Apiarian or for anyone simply wishing to improve their skills.

It is hands-on and requires live bees for the students to work with.

SBA syllabus: Intermediate and Apiarian Practical Assessments, module 1, 7 

Date: 20/21st July 2019, where: Elgin, IV30 8SU

Eventbrite - Advanced Colony Manipulations

Honey Bees, Plants and Balanced Nutrition (Classroom)

We will examine in detail flowering plants and their importance to bees. In particular students will gain an understanding of the special relationship between honey bees and flowering plants, including the processes of pollination and fertilisation, cross pollination strategies, pollinator signals and an appreciation of the major bee forage plants in Scotland. Honey bees rely entirely upon pollen as their source of proteins, lipids and other essential body-building materials. We will examine all aspects of pollen, from its production in flowers to its collection and utilisation by the bees and stress the importance of balanced nutrition for a healthy colony of bees. This course includes Microscopy work and a botany walk.

SBA syllabus: Module 2 & 9

Date: 10/11th August 2019, where: Perth, PH1 3LP

Eventbrite - Honey Bees, Plants and Balanced Nutrition

 Honey Bee behaviour (Classroom)

We will explore honeybee behaviour in areas such as the population cycle, communication, foraging behaviour and organisation, workload, reproduction, and swarming. In each of these we will discuss what is understood of honeybee behaviour, and the factors that influence this behaviour, which will give students a greater understanding of the ‘colony mind’. Through understanding the natural behaviour of honeybees, students will be better prepared to predict and/or respond to their needs.

SBA syllabus: Modules 1, 2, 6, 8

Date: 28/29th September 2019, where: Dalkeith, EH22 3LL

Eventbrite - Honey Bee Behaviour

Bee Farming – The Move from Hobbyist to Bee Farmer

This course is for the hobby beekeeper looking to make the move towards professional bee farming. It covers the practical issues affecting bee farming on a larger scale, as well as information on setting up a business, keeping accurate accounts, running a business and writing a business plan. Marketing and branding products will also be covered and the course will include a visit to a large scale bee farming extracting facility.

Date: 23/24th November 2019, where: Dumfries, DG2 0RL

Eventbrite - Bee Farming - The Move From Hobbyist to Bee Farmer