Module Past Papers
BBKA European & Worldwide Memberships (NON-UK)
1 July 2020
The latest survey from the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) shows higher losses of 17.3% of colonies compared to last year when losses were 9%. But the losses are under the average measured across all the surveys we have carried out so far which is 18.2%.
Thank you to everyone who took part in the survey. We had around 2,600 replies online which is 10% of our membership.
The highest survival rate was in the South West ( 10.2% losses) and the worst was the South East ( 21.7% losses).
You can find more information in the latest edition of BBKA News which is available in the Members Area of the website: https://bbkanews.com/issues
The survey, and results of all the questions, will be placed on our website later.
30 June 2020
PoshBee scientists, who are backed by the BBKA, have issued their second newsletter which shows some of the technical innovations they have made in order to study the effects of chemicals on honeybees, bumblebees and solitary bees.
The first is a clear plastic box they can place over bumblebee nests to ensure safe handling of the bees and to allow photographs to be taken of what is happening in the bumblebee nest.
The second innovation is a trap fitted onto the entrance of a honeybee hive to catch dead bees when they are dragged out by the workers which will allow more accurate counting of deaths.
The third is etching serial numbers lasered onto every frame they put in a honeybee hive which allows easy identification both in the field and lab.
You can find out more about these inventions and how they are being used here: http://poshbee.eu/show/2802_tech_innovations
The BBKA Spring Convention Programmes
The Spring Convention has been held every year since 1977 Regrettably the 2020 Spring Convention was cancelled due to the Coronavirus outbreak. 2021's Spring Convention will be 16-18 April. Mark this on your calendar now! The Convention Committee are busy investigating options including the much loved Harper Adams Convention and/or an online event, so that we are prepared for whatever the future brings. The (cancelled) 2020 programme is available below to download and we have included the past few years too, so you can really get a flavour of what the BBKA's Spring Convention is all about.
Spring Convention 2020 Programme
Spring Convention 2019 Programme
Spring Convention 2018 Programme
7th June 2020
The BBKA introduced Queen Rearing Courses last year to encourage people to breed their own queens. Now surveys have shown high satisfaction with the knowledge they gained.
All photos by Rachel Hills
The reason for doing this is to encourage beekeepers to buy bees that are locally adapted to their area, which are successful and avoid the risk of bringing diseases into the country and into their apiaries. The most recent example of this is Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus (CBPV) which has appeared in many areas of the country and is associated with the importation of bees.
Funding was granted by Defra and late last summer 5 two-day courses with 10 beekeepers were run at four locations. Each course was taught by two Master Beekeepers, the lead tutor was Sean Stephenson.
The 62 beekeepers were shown the two simple and successful methods of getting a new queen - grafting and the Miller Method, although other methods were also briefly discussed.
Wednesday 3rd June, 2020
A small nest of hornets in an outbuilding in Monmouthshire has been destroyed but Defra have not confirmed that it was an Asian Hornet nest.
Beekeepers in the area are keeping an eye out for Asian Hornets.
This is the picture of the nest and hornet emerging before it was destroyed.
All beekeepers are asked to be vigilant for hornets and keep looking for nests in sheds and trees on their walks outside.
A honeybee colony swarming is a natural process. It's the colony reproducing by the old queen leaving with some of the bees. They leave their hive and find somewhere to hang in a cluster until the scout bees decide on their new home. If you think you've got a swarm please use our Swarm Collector map to find a local beekeeper to come and remove the honeybees.
The photos below have been shared by our members to show you some of the beautiful examples of swarms that you might see.
Sometimes the swarm really stands out!
And sometimes not!
This swarm (photos by Joe Smith from Darlington) was almost hidden
Swarms have less to land on in towns! This is not a normal bin collection! Here's a swarm on a bin being collected!
Sometimes they land on a wall
Or a gate post
Or on a bridge
Sometimes they're huge! This photo from a member of NSBKA was he biggest swarm (and the easiest to collect) that the experienced beekeeper called o...
Questions for beekeepers
This page will have new questions added regularly. The questions are for beekeepers and will help provide feedback on topics and issues for those involved in beekeeping. Bookmark the page and return every month! Sacbrood is a relatively common disease during the first half of the brood-rearing season and can often go unnoticed, affecting only a small percentage of the brood. It does not usually cause severe colony loss.
Initially during an infection, the virus particles replicate in the developing larva, which appear to develop normally until after being capped over. Typical symptoms include:
The infected larva then turns from its usual pearly white to a pale yellow colour;
The larva will eventually die and begin to dry out, turning a dark brown to black colour, giving rise to the characteristic ‘Chinese slippers’ or ‘gondola-shaped’ scales;
As the larvae die, the workers will uncap the cells to expose the...
purpose is to raise money for a cause, charity or non-profit organization.... Events are used to increase visibility and support for an organization as well as raising funds.
There are over 250 types of bees in the UK but there is only one european honey bee (Apis mellifera).
Please see below to identify what type of bee you have and who to approach for help and information. Our members are volunteers who can only help with honey bees.
If you feel you need to have the bees destroyed please contact a local pest controller. Bees are endangered but they are not protected.
Our beekeepers are only able to help in cases of SWARMS OF HONEY BEES.
See our page of photos of honeybee swarms
To Jump straight to the Swarm map click here
To support the work of the BBKA please DONATE
STEP 1: Identifying honey bees
If the insects are not honey bees, this part of the website shows you how to recognise other insects and gives some advice on what to do.
Bumblebees are often confused with honeybees. However they are rounder, larger and furrier and come with a variety of coloured stripes across the end of the...
I am a BBKA member who specialises in urban beekeeping and work to raise awareness of the importance of bees to our ecosystem and to help create more bee friendly areas.
If you've got some honey at home, why not try a recipe with honey in. Share your photos of your honey cooking with us on social media!
Pineapple and honey upside-down-cake
An easy and tasty way of making the most of a large tin of pineapple found at the back of a cupboard, some imperfect honey and only 4oz of precious SR flour! Makes 8. Two didn’t survive for photography!
6-8 rings of pineapple
3-8 glacé cherries (whole or halved)
6-8 dessert spoons of liquid honey
6-8 small round flan / yorkshire pudding tins, or a single swiss roll tin.
A cake mix
Put a dessert spoonful of honey in each tin, then a ring of pineapple and a cherry or half cherry in the centre. If using a large baking tray, space out pineapple rings appropriately. Top with preferred cake mix. This was a Victoria sandwich mix (4 oz margarine, creamed with 4 oz sugar, two beaten eggs whisked in gradually and 4 oz SR flour folded in) but fatless swiss roll...
What bee is this?
In summer we get many calls and questions from people with bees in their buildings, outbuildings and bird boxes. Often these turn out to be bumblebees.
Step 1 - Identification
As well as honeybees there are around 24 species of bumblebee and over 240 species of solitary bee in the UK. To find out what type of bees you have please see the pictures below.
There can be variation in the colour of the main body or abdomen of honeybees, from honey coloured Italian bees to very dark native Black honeybees but all will form a distinctive cluster when they have settled as a swarm. Honeybees have large hairy eyes, a furry chest or thorax and distinctive bent antennae.
This is a swarm of honeybees gathered on a wall. There are more pictures of swarms here honeybee swarms
If you are sure they are honeybees then again follow the link at the bottom of the the BBKA website swarm page http://www.bbka.org.uk/swarm. This allows you t...
Friday 17 April 2020
Dr Alasdair Bruce is acting Chair of East Devon Beekeepers Association ( EDBKA ). He says just before the lockdown for corona virus he needed hospital treatment.
"Just before the world entered into global disarray, I had to undergo some minor treatment at the Royal Devon & Exeter hospital, where I received the most amazingly excellent care. So, it occurred to me that with the added pressures and stress the staff there are now under, a small gesture from a grateful member of the beekeeping world may be of use."
This then blossomed into a bigger idea of the branch to offer a larger amount of honey for the staff to enjoy.
"So, with the backing of the EDBKA committee to raid the apiary supplies, I asked the hospital if a donation of honey for the staff would be useful.....back came a resounding YES!"
Dr Bruce and his wife ordered special labels and spent Easter Monday morning jarring up and labelling over 130 jars of honey for the staff.
The Role of BBKA Associations and Beekeepers concerning Asian Hornets
The BBKA are asking every Association to select teams of 15 members to work with a co-ordinator to help identify the hornets. This team will assist with local requests for help in identifying Asian Hornets. It is vital that all Beekeepers can identify Asian Hornets. Each branch or group can establish their own team so that individuals will not be asked to travel vast distances. They should establish a good communication network between each other, so that the nearest team member can answer a call about a potential siting and call for back up if necessary. To qualify for insurance you must undertake this exercise
Asian Hornet Team Exercise
What Does the Team do?
Form a communication network of people confident in identifying what could be an Asian Hornet.
Know how to report a suspected hornet
Distribute identifying literature and inform individuals, businesses, markets gardeners etc in...
"The telling of the bees is a traditional European custom in which bees would be told of important events in their keeper's lives, such as births, marriages, or departures and returns in the household."
Here we remember our fellow Beekeepers.
Bill & Mary Dartnall, Southampton & District Beekeepers Association
Sadly Mary and Bill Dartnall passed away, beside each other, on Easter Sunday, 12th April, 2020 in Southampton General Hospital. They had both tested positive coronavirus.
Mary was a Past President of BBKA from 1996 – 97 and an Honorary Member of the BBKA. During her presidency she campaigned for farmers to limit spraying of chemicals to protect bees. Both Mary and Bill were Joint Presidents of Southampton & District Beekeeping Association, a role they thoroughly enjoyed. They had been married for 63 years and their daughter, Rosemary, said "They came as a pair - they were a team. Life wasn't always a...
30 March 2020
BBKA Winter Colony Survival Survey 2019/20
The annual survey by the BBKA has been running year-on-year since 2007. It aims to determine its members' honey bee colony survival and to understand the causes of success and failures in overwinter colony survival. The survey time period is from 1 October 2019 to 31 March 2020.
So, as you complete your first inspections of your colonies, please fill it in.
The survey has finished, we will share the results later in the year.
National Bee Unit Beebase advice about COVID-19 and Beekeeping It is suggested you print out and carry a copy when going to tend your bees at your BeeBase registered apiaries.
Updated version with Logos 200403_COVID19_guidance.pdf
As well as social distancing and apiary hygiene advice please note the following paragraph
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or are displaying symptoms of COVID-19, however mild, you should be self-isolating at home and should not be visiting other premises. Ideally, another beekeeper should take on this duty wherever possible. We are suggesting that local associations consider how they can support those confined or unable to attend their bees at this difficult time for all of us.
If you are not registered with Beebase, or have apiaries that are not registered then please visit http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/
Update 26th June 2020
The changes on 4th July to the social distancing may mean that some beekeeping acti...
24 March 2020
BBKA Chair Anne Rowberry says: "The swarm collection service will still be in operation during the pandemic.
Swarm collection can go ahead but you must take into account social distancing.
Risk assess the situation and do not take unnecessary risks as health services will be under pressure due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
As always, only collect when it is safe to do so. We are working with DEFRA."
You can find info on swarms and our map of collectors here: www.bbka.org.uk/swarm
Help us to help bees, please donate
Office Temporary Closure The BBKA is offering a reduced service due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Shop orders will be processed once per week so please be patient. The phone lines will still be answered but please bear with the staff during this time as there may be delays. The phone lines are being redirected but only one call can be taken at a time. It will be easier for staff if you send an email to email@example.com or direct to the team member if you know their email address.
Advice for beekeepers tending hives during Covid-19 Pandemic Swarm Collection curing Covid-19 Pandemic
If you are enquiring about Swarms please see our swarm page
If you have a beekeeping question please join the BBKA Forum
If you have made an order from the shop after 24/3/2020 it will not be processed until staff return to the office.
If you have a question about Asian hornets please see our AHAT map page If your question relates to be added as an AHAT t...
Many of you have asked for videos of the lectures you would have seen at the Spring Convention. BBKA is grateful to both the C.B.Dennis Trust and the Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers for generous sponsorship of all three recordings below. These have been provided by Professor Tom Seeley, of Cornell University, who was to have been a speaker at the Convention. We hope you enjoy them!
Lecture 1: Bee Hunting. This presentation will show you a fun way to locate wild colonies of honey bees, using the tools and techniques of a bee hunter. It is a kind of treasure hunt, though these days the treasure is the discovery, not the honey in the bee tree. Sometimes, though, it will lead you to a beekeeper's hive, but that is fun, too!
YouTube Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcA3kKY5pK8
Lecture 2: The Lives of Bees. This presentation will give you an overview of what is known about how honey bee colonies live in the wild, that is, when they are not livin...
Social distancing guidelines and information for Area Associations Govt advice Social Distancing Advice
Additional Advice 20 March 2020 - Further measures for Social Distancing
Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for the charity sector - includes advice on postponing AGM or use of teleconferencing.
Main Coronavirus advice page
Please check regularly as this advice may change.
Please read BBKA Chair Anne Rowberry's statement on Training Courses and Tending Bees in response to the Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19)
Associations and branches can risk assess their training and courses with the following in mind.
Categories of people – consider who provides the training, and who receives the training
Over 70 - isolate under 70 with certain conditions All - Generally avoid unnecessary contact Specific location advice – consider where you meet for training and apiary Avoid large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller publi...
19th March 2020 A Statement from the BBKA chair, Anne Rowberry on Training Courses and Tending Bees in response to the Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19)
The impact of the Coronavirus could not have been foreseen but the BBKA is working hard to support members. We regret that all the BBKA training courses at Stoneleigh have been cancelled, this includes the Healthy Hive training, General Husbandry and Advanced husbandry training. The Exam Board have cancelled the Module Exams, the Assessor Training and will be publishing information on the Healthy Hive and Basic Exams.
We are suggesting that Beginners courses and other Branch or Association organised training courses are postponed. It is important to keep the health of members at the front of our minds. It may be possible to deliver some aspects of these courses online. I would welcome suggestions as to the best way this could be achieved ; possibly some Associations have information that they would be prepared to share. We...
How do I become a Beekeeper?
I need help with a swarm of bees
I want to set up a fundraiser for the BBKA
Where is my local beekeeping group?
What bee is this?
Is this an Asian hornet?
How can my school become a beekeeping school?
March 17 2020
The BBKA Exam Board has decided today to cancel the Module Exams and the following statement has been sent to Exam Secretaries:
"Yesterday, there was a new statement that escalated the precautions we need to take to limit the spread of Coronavirus to a different level. Consequently, it is with great regret that the Examinations Board has decided they must act within the Government guidelines and cancel the Examinations on March 21st.
"We know how much work the candidates have put into the preparation for these exams, and the decision has not been made lightly, but we do now wish to put invigilators or candidates at risk for an activity which is not essential.
"The free transfer of fees and applications will extend to March 2021."
The Spring Convention annual education event attracts up to 1,500 visitors from across the UK and Ireland, mainland Europe, the USA and Canada. It includes small workshops and includes a number of group dinners and overnight stays for attendees, so in the interests of public safety this seems the most sensible course of action.
The dates for the 2021 Spring Convention are 16-18 April at Harper Adams University in Shropshire.
Asian Hornet Week 2020 7-13 September
We are asking everyone to be vigilant in looking out for this alien species, the Asian Hornet, Vespa velutina. This hornet could decimate our pollinators including our honey bees, it is important to have everyone actively looking for it.
Autumn is the time for trapping as wasps and hornets lose their sources of floral nectar and find hives full of honey very attractive. We are asking beekeepers to put an hour aside every day to watch for hornets hawking their hives during Asian Hornet Week.
Effect on Biodiversity
From the Invasive Species Compendium
Hornets are well known for their attacks on other hymenopteran species, especially honey bees. Studies by Muller et al. (2010, 2013) in France demonstrate that V. velutina preys on a range of insects and the carcasses of mammals and birds.
The prey spectrum consisted of 59% hymenopteran species [of which bees (Apidae) represented over 35%], 32% dipterans, and 9% others...
Due to the high demand for places on the Bee Health Courses that the BBKA are running in March, we have arranged an additional date - Sunday 29th March 2020 at the National Beekeeping Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth.
For more details and to book a place, please go to the shop on the BBKA website.
This email has been sent to all Area Association eR2 Managers, would you please share this information with your branches and members?
Tuesday 11th February 2020
The BBKA’s first Asian hornet conference was held on Saturday 8th February 2020 at Myton school in Warwick. Anne Rowberry, chair of the BBKA organised the event. It comprised of a series of talks by Asian hornet experts and concluded with a question and answer sessions. The day was well attended by Asian Hornet Action Team members and feedback received was good. Talks were: Professor Steven Martin – Life History and current research
Xesus Feas - Asian Hornet research in Spain and Portugal
Alistair Christie The Jersey experience in 2019
Peter Kennedy Research in 2020
Belinda Philipson NBU update on 2019 and policy moving forward update on 2019 and policy moving forward as well as Sandra Gray
Anne Rowberry gave a short talk about Gaining Recognition for your position as an Asian Hornet Co-ordinator and Team members: short certification qualification explained which included a couple of questions to show examples.
The BBKA was founded in 1874 and originally brought together some 26 county beekeeping associations, not to replicate their work, but to be in a stronger position to represent their interests at government level and to facilitate a nationwide educational structure supported by a common examination process.
Currently we run as an umbrella to our 74 Associations. Each Association has one elected member who votes on all things beekeeping in the UK, at our Annual Delegate Meeting (ADM), at the beginning of every year. Appointed at the ADM are the President and 12 Trustees, who collectively comprise the Executive Committee (EC) that is the governing body of the BBKA. Delegates may adopt propositions at the Annual Delegate Meeting that provide policy direction to the EC.
We are now a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO)
This page lists the trustees for 2020.
This page also includes an email address for each trustee as well as information about w...
We hope you all have an excellent year beekeeping in 2020 - well done on a fantastic achievement.
The bees are dieing very quickly but if you help I will get all the science research to create new one
Why join Beebase?
BeeBase is full of useful information including:
Advice for Beekeepers
Apiary Inspections & Training
Bee Pests, Diseases & Maps
Consumer & Environmental Protection
Legislation, Imports and Exports
Research and Development
Varroa calculator to work out if you need to treat for varroa
E-training on Honey Bee Pests, Diseases and Viruses
Join BeeBase here for free
By signing up to BeeBase as a Beekeeper you can then take advantage of the free services the NBU offer. Their website is packed with useful information, documents and downloads. If you have any disease concerns you can contact your Regional or Seasonal bee inspector and they can visit your hives. No charge is made for an apiary visit by a fully qualified Bee-inspector. The inspector will check for signs of disease or pests, and will provide you with help and advice on good husbandry, a...
19 November 2019
A calendar from National Bee Supplies (NBS) is raising money for the BBKA and may be the perfect Christmas gift for someone you love. The photos of bees are from a competition run by NBS earlier in the year and like the amazing one above are incredibly detailed and beautiful.
Sam Arnold from Suttons Seeds (By Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen Seedsmen) who own NBS said:
"We were genuinely blown away by the quality of photographs entered into #nbspoty, which made our job of choosing a winner near-impossible! It was so difficult, in fact, that we have decided to showcase some of the runners-up in our first ever National Bee Supplies Calendar.
"Each and every image we’ve included was worthy of the crown, and we hope that you enjoy admiring the tiny details and breath-taking beauty as they take pride of place in your home! Better yet, we are proud to donate £1 from every calendar sold to the BBKA (Brit...
Gregor Gorjanc, PhD Chancellor's fellow in Data Driven Innovation for AgriTech We have placement for a fully-funded PhD position in the EASTBio Doctoral Training Programme competition - www.eastscotbiodtp.ac.uk. UK and European students are eligible for this programme.
The aim of the PhD is to work on the "Design of breeding programs to improve honeybee health and production"
Detailed description: www.findaphd.com/phds/project/eastbio-design-of-breeding-programs-to-improve-honeybee-health-and-production/?p114336
Supervisors: Tom Freeman and Gregor Gorjanc
Industry partner: AbacusBio
This is a 4-year studentships to start in October 2020. The studentship covers fees, stipend, research training, limited research costs and a small travel/conference allowance. Successful student will join the EASTBIO training programme and undertake enhanced subject-specific, core bioscience and generic skills training and placement (3 to 18-months) with their industrial...
BBKA Spring Convention 2019 - Feedback
By Lesley Jacques on behalf of the BBKA Spring Convention Committee
The BBKA Spring Convention at Harper Adams University in Shropshire, 12–14 April 2019, saw around 1,400 participants attending a mixture of lectures, workshops and bee-related retail therapy at the trade show. The feedback from the event has been extremely positive, and it is interesting to learn a little more about the convention attendees so that we can build on the successes of the year and try to address any aspects that were less well received.
Feedback from convention attendees
The aim was to offer a feedback questionnaire to everyone attending the event. This year we had 125 completed questionnaires returned. These included feedback on all aspects of the meeting, some from multiple choice options and some from free-text input. Most of the completed questionnaires (85%) came from those who had full three-day wristbands, either purchased or as stewards/speakers, wit...
Friday 25th October
The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) annual survey of how much honey they have harvested from their bees shows the highest yield in 10 years.
The average crop was 40.25 pounds of honey. In 2012 they only produced an average of 8 pounds and the previous highest crop was in 2014.
Beekeepers report that the most important factors for producing a good crop are abundant forage throughout the beekeeping season, good colony health and the right weather. And this year the small number of colonies ( 2 %) moved to seasonal forage like heather and those colonies sited near wooded areas or forestry did the best.
Most of the 1,039 beekeepers who responded to the survey only had 1 or 2 colonies but next most popular amount was 5-10 colonies.
The highest average yield was in the South East followed by East region.
60% of BBKA members keep their honeybees in a rural/countryside landscape, 29% in suburban ga...
Whoever is the current Master of the Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers is patron of the British Beekeepers Association. They are an ancient City of London company governed by a Royal charter granted by King Richard 111 in 1484.
The business of a Wax Chandler was the preparation, making and sale of beeswax and beeswax products. Wax Chandlery included torches, images, wax for seals, medical uses and candles. Before the Reformation, acts of devotion to speed souls through Purgatory required vast quantities of beeswax for candles, tapers and images. Medieval trade relied on wax seals to attest contracts and the like and wax coated writing tablets were the BlackBerries of the time.
The current Master is Mrs Sue Green.
Today the Master of the Wax Chandlers sponsors lectures at the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) Spring Convention, awards a prize and a dinner to the beekeeper getting the highest marks in their Master of Beekeeping exams and has supported the BBKA when...
Yes they do sleep and we know this because of the efforts of a researcher called Walter Kaiser who in 1983 observed bees in his hive stop moving and made a new discovery: that honeybees slept.
As he watched, Kaiser noted how a bee's legs would first start to flex, bringing its head to the floor. Its antennae would stop moving. In some cases, a bee would fall over sideways, as if intoxicated by tiredness. Many bees held each other's legs as they slept.
It was the first record of sleep in any invertebrate.
Honeybees sleep between 5 & 8 hours a day.
More rest at night when darkness prevents them going out to collect pollen & nectar.
Some solitary bees have been photographed sleeping in flowers
In any hive there are thousands of honeybees. There are three types: a single queen, thousands of female worker bees and, in the summer, hundreds of male drones. The drone's sole purpose is to mate with the queen and every day they rise to the drone congregation area nearest to the hive to hang out with their mates and wait for a virgin queen to make her maiden flight. If they succeed in mating with her their sexual organs detach and the drone dies and falls to the ground. The unsuccessful drones are evicted by the workers at the end of the summer and die.
At the height of summer there is an average of 35-40,000 bees in the hive - a really big colony would have around 60,000 bees. Over the winter this falls to around 5,000 bees. The winter bees live for several months, their summer colleagues only for a few, intensely worked weeks.
Why do they sting?
A honeybee only stings for two reasons - they see you as a threat to the colony and they are protecting it or they...