Have you ever wondered what it looks like inside a hive? Are you looking for something different to give a friend or loved one who has an interest in bees and beekeeping as a gift? We provide a two hour ‘Taster Session’ that will give the participant an insight into the world of the honey bee and beekeeping. You will be able to find out about the honey bee lifecycle and put on a beekeeping suit to look into a live hive and watch the honey bees at work.
To book a taster session please use the link below:
Book A Taster Course
The 2024 Introduction to Beekeeping Course is now open for bookings below.
The introductory course is suitable for complete novices and aims to provide the knowledge and experience you will need to take on the management of your first colony of honey bees.
4 Theory Sessions usually take place at Necton Community Centre (or another venue in the Swaffham area) followed by 4 Practical and 3 general training sessions at WNKLBA East Walton Apiary.
Theory sessions take place on Tuesday evenings in Febuary and March with Practicals starting in April on Sunday afternoons, the provisional timetable can be found below. The theory sessions will include the basics of bee biology, types of hives, where to keep them, other essential equipment, how to care for bees throughout the year, apiary safety & hygiene, extracting your first honey and an introduction to the most common bee pests and diseases.
The practical sessions will give you the chance to don a beesuit and experience the inspection of colonies of bees under the expert guidance of some of our experienced beekeepers. On the first visit you will observe the volunteer beekeepers as they explain what they are doing and why. But in later weeks as your confidence grows you will learn to handle the bees yourself and practice what you will need to do to look after your own bees during their first season.
The cost of the course is £125 and for insurance reasons you will also need to become a full member of WNKLBA in January 2024 at a cost of £38. Should you already have bees then it would be advisable to become a member as soon as possible so that you have cover under the BBKA insurance policy and the WNKLBA membership benefits including our group buying scheme and beekeeping events.
Booking is now open below.
2024 Provisional Course Dates
||Tuesday 13th February 7pm - 9pm
||Tuesday 27th February 7pm - 9pm
||Tuesday 12th March 7pm - 9pm
||Tuesday 26th March 7pm - 9pm
||Sunday 14th April 2pm - 4pm
||Sunday 28th April 2pm - 4pm
||Sunday 19th May 2pm - 4pm
||Sunday 2nd June 2pm - 4pm
|Autumn Treatment Day
||Saturday 3rd August 2pm - 4pm
|Preparation for the Next Season
||Sunday 6th October - 10.30am - 1.30pm (TBC)
|Autumn Treatment Day
||unday 3rd Novmber 12 noon - 2pm
If you have any questions or difficulties using the booking system please email Contact us here.
We look forward to introducing you to the wonderful world of beekeeping!
Some Important Information for Prospective Beekeepers
Beekeeping is a wonderful hobby but, like most hobbies, it has a significant cost. In addition to the course, you should budget £800-£1,000 to cover first-year set-up costs (to include a hive, a starter colony of bees and all the essential equipment) and you will need a second hive early in the 2nd year (cost from £200).
Most new beekeepers do not get a honey crop until their 2nd year.
There is also a significant time commitment. Bees are livestock and must be properly cared for. They must usually be inspected every week between April and August, which will take about an hour per colony to begin with (but will get quicker with more experience and more colonies). During the winter, the hives are not opened but should be checked regularly, and there are tasks that must be done at specific times of year.
Expect a few stings! For most people this is a minor inconvenience, perhaps a minute or two of pain and a day or two of swelling, and you will get used to it. However, if you know you are allergic to bee venom, please contact us before signing up.
The course is tailored to finish around the best time to buy bees, in late May/early June. We will provide a list of reputable local bee breeders at your first practical session. There is no obligation at all to buy bees - enjoying and learning about them and then deciding that beekeeping is not for you, or that now is not the right time, is a perfectly valid outcome.
Once hives are established, it is difficult to move them at certain times of the year. Please be aware that, should your circumstances change eg moving house, the moving of your bees may need to be planned a few months in advance.
This is free to Association members only who have done the Beginners course and is designed to take members to the point where they can gain their BBKA Basic Certificate in Beekeeping. There is no charge for this course.
Please Contact Jill