Info for schools and groups

We are always pleased to hear from schools and other groups who would like to know more about bees and beekeeping. We are fortunate in having several excellent speakers who are willing to give illustrated talks.

The Association has an observation hive, where the bees can be seen on their comb behind a glass panel, and a virtual hive, which realistically shows the inside of a full size hive using actual hive components and full size colour photographs.

If you would like us to attend a meeting or event in the Forest of Dean or surrounding area, please get in touch with our Secretary. Email: DFBKA Secretary

For teachers we can recommend the Bees4kids section of the BBKA web site, where you can find an explanation of the importance of bees, suggestions for teachers, and details of a Schools Pack available from the BBKA. British Beekeepers Association

Meetings and conventions

Beekeepers have many opportunities to learn about the current and future issues which affect bees and beekeeping, and to share their experience.

Members of the Gloucestershire Beekeeping Association may attend the meetings of any of the seven branches. The web sites of the branches, where you will find details of their meetings, are listed on the GBKA web site.

Gloucestershire Association meetings are usually open to non-members, as are the meetings of most other beekeeping societies in the UK. To check, just ring the Secretary.

Conferences and conventions are organised by a number of beekeeping societies.
The BBKA arrange the biggest convention, which is held in April each year. The date is included in our Calendar.
BBKA Convention
Somerset Beekeepers Association organise a Lecture Day in early spring each year. Somerset Beekeepers Association
The Welsh Beekeepers Association organise a convention every spring, usually held at Builth Wells. The date is included in our Calendar. WBKA
Avon Beekeepers Association puts on a day of general interest talks, usually on a Saturday in the autumn. Avon Beekeepers Association.
The Midland & South Western Counties Convention (MSWCC for short) organises a weekend beekeeping conference every September. All beekeepers are welcome. The conference is residential, but you can also attend for individual days as a day visitor. Midland and South Western Counties Convention

Training and examinations

The course that all beekeepers should take is the BBKA’s Basic Assessment in Beekeeping. It covers:

  • natural history of the honey bee
  • beekeeping principles and practice
  • equipment and clothing
  • disease poisoning and pests
  • manipulation of a honey bee colony

The assessment is an interview at your association apiary with a local assessor and can be taken after you have been keeping bees for 12 months.

BBKA also provide more advanced examinations and assessments.  There is a diagram here that explains the structure: BBKA exam and assessment structure

There are seven Modules which cover specific areas of beekeeping and are tested by written assessment.

Higher level all-round qualifications are the General Certificate in Beekeeping Husbandry and the Advanced Certificate in Beekeeping Husbandry.

Other Practical Assessments available are Microscopy Certificate and Show Judge.

For more information see the BBKA web site. The syllabus for each course is available on the site, and provides a useful checklist, whether or not you wish to take the examination.

More information on the Modules, including Study Notes made available by Mid Bucks Beekeeping Association, is available here: Module Study Notes

BBKA Examinations and Assessments


BeeCraft is a monthly journal that aims to provide the latest beekeeping ideas and scientific research for both beginners and seasoned apiarists. A 12 month subscription costs £27 for paper copies, £16 for the digital version.

Bees for Development promotes sustainable beekeeping for all enthusiasts. They produce a quarterly magazine ‘Beekeeping and Development‘ and have an online book store. Bees
for Development


In addition to the research sponsored by the National Bee Unit (see BeeBase above) these sites may be of interest:

Scientific Beekeeping
This excellent site run by Randy Oliver has copies of his articles from the American Bee Journal presenting the latest worldwide scientific research on bees and beekeeping.
Scientific Beekeeping
International co-ordination between national beekeeping societies is carried out by Apimondia. A world conference is organised every two years. Many of the papers presented at their conferences are available on their web site.
University of Sussex
Their Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects conducts significant research, including projects which make up the Sussex Plan for  honeybee Health and Wellbeing, which Dean Forest Beekeepers have helped to fund.
University of Sussex
The Bee Improvement and Bee Breeder Association runs conferences and lectures with an emphasis on bee breeding. It encourages members to set up local breeding groups. BIBBA

The International Bee Research Association was set up to increase people’s awareness of the vital role of bees in agriculture and the natural environment and to promote the study and conservation of bees. It is linked to Cardiff University and runs International conferences. It has a library service and produces publications such as ‘BeeWorld’.


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