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Saturday 3rd April. 4.00pm. BIBBA Webinar – “Some things I need to be aware of” – Roger Patterson.

This follows on from “Some Simple Things You May Not Have Been Told”, because in beekeeping there are a lot of things that are stumbled upon as beekeepers progress in the craft, that more experienced beekeepers are aware of and assume that everyone knows

Access through BIBBA / Zoom link –

Saturday 3rd April. 7.30pm. BIBBA Webinar – “Queen cells – their recognition and uses.” – Roger Patterson

Beekeepers often decide what type of queen cells they have in their colonies by where they are placed on the comb, because that is what they are taught or read in books. This can be very unreliable, resulting in the wrong action being taken, often leaving the colony hopelessly queenless. There will be some clear guidance on what to look for, so colonies can be managed accordingly. There will be tips on how to use queen cells.

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Tuesday 6th April. 7.30pm. BIBBA Webinar – “Bee improvement in a group – some ideas.” – Roger Patterson

Bee Improvement Groups are easy to set up and run, but there may be many different circumstances. Are they one or more individuals? Are they part of a BKA? Are they formally constituted? Are they simply an adhoc group of interested beekeepers? Do they have sufficient knowledge within, or do they need help? Do they have a site, or use an existing one? Is there local opposition? These and other questions will be addressed in this presentation that will be aimed at all beekeepers, whatever their level of expertise. In a group situation, even the least experienced beekeepers can play a part, as well as learn a lot from others.

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Wednesday 7th April. 7.00pm. SWHB Members meeting – “Senses of the honeybee.” – John Hendrie

We are delighted to invite you to a talk entitled ‘Senses of the bee’ by Master Beekeeper John Hendrie. We will learn more about the bee’s senses: Taste, Smell, Touch, Hearing, Sight, Gravity and Time. A topic we are sure everyone will find interesting.

Access through the SWHB / Zoom link sent out with the SWHB March Newsletter

Saturday 10th April. 4.00pm. BIBBA Webinar – “Keeping a colony alive.” – Roger Patterson.

Colony losses occur during both summer and winter and at a higher rate than they should. A loss of a colony isn’t just something to be easily accepted, but a queen that could be good, a colony of bees, probably considerable stores and next years crop. It is annoying for an experienced beekeeper, probably more so for a beginner, who may not know the reason. Many losses are the fault of the beekeeper, although some will deny it. This presentation covers the major colony losses and gives advice on how they may be reduced.

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Saturday 10th April. 7.30pm. BIBBA Webinar – “Bee inspection service and how it works.” – Sandra Grey.

The National Bee Unit (NBU) Delivers the Bee Health Programmes on behalf of Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Welsh Government (WG) in England & Wales. It has been involved in the management and control of bee pests and diseases, along with training and dissemination of information to beekeepers for over 60 years. Sandra will explain how the NBU works, why and how inspections take place and the laboratory diagnostics (FERA Science Ltd) 

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Tuesday 13th April. 7.30pm. BIBBA Webinar – “Colony assessment and selection for all Beekeepers.” – Roger Patterson.

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Thursday 15th – Sunday 18th April. BBKA Spring Convention – An Armchair Event

An event for all levels of experience, with a mix of over twenty practical and scientific presentations, plus more social events. You need to register to take part, but free-to-view content includes Dr David Aston’s Keynote Address, 7.30pm, Thursday 15th April; the Market Place, for your favourite beekeeping equipment suppliers plus other exhibitors; and the Beacon Schools Presentation, 3.30pm Sunday 18th April. Best viewed on a full-sized screen, but available on phones and tablets too.

Those wishing to attend the full event need to pay for entry: The fee is £10 for all three days, if registered in advance, (by Thursday 15th April) or £12 during the event.

For fuller details, visit

Saturday 17th April. 4.00pm. BIBBA Webinar – “Are you confused? Your questions answered.” – Roger Patterson.

As a beginner, you may have gathered all the information you possibly can. This could be from other beekeepers, teachers, mentors, demonstrators, lectures, YouTube, forums, books and other printed matter, etc. You have done it because you are probably keen, enthusiastic and want to do well. As most beginners do, you have probably found the information conflicts. There could be many reasons for this including a different climate, different kinds of bees, different hives, etc.
In this session questions can be asked and answered in a relaxed manner, thoroughly and appropriate to your own circumstances.

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Saturday 17th April. 7.30pm. BIBBA Webinar – “Some management techniques we all need.” – Roger Patterson.

To manage bees with care and efficiency every beekeeper needs to develop their own system. Initially they will probably closely copy their tutor. When they have gained more knowledge and experience they will probably modify their system to suit their own circumstances. In beekeeping, there are often many ways of achieving the same thing. They may all work, but in different circumstances. The important thing is to bring ideas together to make your system work well for you and your bees.
Good beekeepers understand bees, have open minds and are capable of lateral thinking. This allows them to assess what they have been told and shown or have thought about themselves, so they can decide if the possible changes will be an improvement or not.
This presentation will discuss some simple management techniques that we all need to perform at various times. They have been learnt from watching bees and beekeepers for over half a century. They may not be found in books and may not fit your system, but with a little tweaking, they may be suitable. This is how we learn and develop our own management systems to help improve our standard of beekeeping.

Access through BIBBA / Zoom link –

Tuesday 20th April. 7.30pm. BIBBA Webinar – “Never waste a queen cell.” – Tony Jefferson.

Far too much emphasis is placed upon queen rearing and not on the wider aspects of bee breeding, such as the selection of quality breeding stock. Bees have far more years experience producing good quality queen cells then we have, so why not keep things simple and let them produce their own queen cells? The talk will discuss the importance of positive selection of breeding stock, primarily drones, consider that during the summer months every beekeeper destroys many good quality cells in their efforts to control swarming, not having equipment to utilize the spare cells.
Hopefully it will lead to questioning why it is perceived as difficult to produce queens.
The main issue is how to use surplus queen cells, get the queens mated/laying, evaluating them for performance, then deciding how/which ones to use to build up into productive colonies.
This talk will explain in simple and practical methods how to select good quality breeding stock, the use of simple non specialist equipment that does not rely on keeping to dates/timetables, the difficulty on the NE coast due to unpredictable weather in the key breeding time in May

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Saturday 24th April. 4.00pm. BIBBA Webinar – “Are you still confused? More questions answered…if you need them.” – Roger Patterson.

We will try to answer as many questions as we can in the first session, but this second session will be an overflow if required.

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Saturday 24th April. 7.30pm. BIBBA Webinar – “Collecting, hiving and caring for swarms.” – Roger Patterson.

New beekeepers are often keen to get on a local swarm collecting list. It is often to get free bees when they start, but have they had adequate tuition from their BKA? Swarm collection is an important service provided by BKAs to the general public, so it is important those who collect swarms are competent. All experienced swarm collectors have stories to tell about some of the difficulties they have encountered, that may be difficult for the inexperienced to deal with.
Under discussion will be suggestions on what to ask during the initial call, what equipment to take and some of the situations you may be confronted with when you arrive. Having collected the swarm, there will be suggestions on hiving it and subsequent management.

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Tuesday 27th April. 7.30pm. BIBBA Webinar – “Bee faring with native/near native bees.” – Eoghan MacGiollacoda.

Climatic conditions mean that beekeeping can be difficult on the northwestern margins of Europe.  Although the Gulf Stream ensures that winters are generally mild, summer conditions are often cool and damp. The European dark bee, Apis mellifera mellifera, has evolved to cope with these conditions.  Due to such adaptations as a conservative brood-rearing nature, the native honey bee is able to respond rapidly to unpredictable and intermittent honey flows and is very thrifty with regard to stored honey.  The native honey bee also forages and mates at quite low temperatures, and foragers appear to be long lived.  It is generally very docile when pure and can be handled with minimal protection under non-ideal weather conditions.   It is excellent at exploiting late honey flows, such as heather or ivy, and requires little or no winter feeding.  Many of its characteristics can be readily improved via selection.  To optimise honey production, it is important for the beekeeper to consider such management factors as swarm prevention and control, bee health, hive records, colony evaluation and breeding.

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