- Are you serious about bees and beekeeping?
- Have you completed a Basic Beekeeping course?
- Have you kept your own bees for a couple of years, attended beekeeping lecture meetings and apiary sessions, and read widely on beekeeping?
If so, why not consider taking the Welsh Beekeepers’ Association Basic Assessment?
In 2016, five members of Conwy BK took the Basic Assessment. They all passed with flying colours, including one with only a year’s beekeeping. We arranged a pre-assessment informal apiary meeting at our apiary at Tal y Cafn, where members compared and shared their beekeeping methods. We also held a very useful Healthy Bees Awareness Session at Tal y Cafn for the candidates, with Jonathan Garratt, our local Seasonal Bee Inspector. The formal Assessments were done by Wally and Jenny Shaw at the Anglesey BKA Apiary.
We plan to encourage another batch of candidates in 2017. Would you like to be one? Members of other BKA’s should contact their BKA secretary.
The Basic Assessment consists of
- Making up a frame of foundation, supplied by the candidate. Bring your own tools.
- Opening up a hive of bees, handling combs of bees with confidence, examining and describing a colony of bees, answering questions, and closing the hive.
- A question and answer session, covering any aspect of the syllabus. Most candidates find the Pests and Diseases section the most testing, and this requires serious study.
Candidates are assessed by an experienced member of another BKA, not already known to the candidate. The pass mark is 50%. Candidates should provide their own clean protective clothing and their own smoker, hive tool, uncapping fork etc. We suggest you bring a container for bits of brace comb, and one for smoker fuel and a good toolbox, not an old plastic carrier bag. Valuable points are at stake here.
The next step
You’ve passed the Basic, you’ve had a few more years with the bees, you’re passionate about beekeeping, and you are at risk of becoming a beekeeping anorak.
Now is the time to tackle the Modules!
1 – Honey bee management
2 – Honey bee products and forage
3 – Honey bee Pests, Diseases and Poisoning
5 – Honey bee Biology
6 – Honey bee Behaviour
7 – Selection and Breeding of Honey bees
8 – Honey bee Health, Management and History
Module 4 has been discontinued.
The module exams take 90 minutes each. Many candidates start with modules 1 and 2, which can feasibly be done on the same day. The pass mark for the modules is 60%.
The Modules can be taken at Rowen Memorial Hall, Conwy Valley LL32 8YA, and at other venues in Wales. Closing dates for applications are end of September and end of January.
Preparing for the modules
Make no mistake, the modules are a big step up from the Basic. They require commitment and serious study over several years. Working to a deadline will certainly increase your beekeeping knowledge quickly. We will put local candidates in touch with each other, and suggest that they form self-help groups, to work through past exam papers and share their knowledge.
We encourage candidates to take advantage of any opportunity to increase their beekeeping experience and know-how, by attending short courses, beekeeping conventions and lecture meetings, helping with instructing at our apiary meetings, and assessing Basic candidates.
Peter McFadden, Secretary, Conwy BK.