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Richmond Beekeepers Association in North Yorkshire
Richmond and District Beekeepers' Association, North Yorkshire





Training/Education | Teaching Apiary

RDBKA offers a range of courses for those who would like to become involved in beekeeping, and for those who are already involved; indeed, we are able to offer advice and guidance to anyone from Beginner through to Master Beekeeper.

Becoming a knowledgeable and responsible beekeeper, whilst adopting beekeeping’s best practices are the aims. We follow the British Beekeeping Association’s (BBKA) programme of courses, wherever possible and practicable.


‘Experience Sessions’ and ‘Practical Handling Sessions’ at the Teaching Apiary.

During the ‘bee season’ (from Apr to Jul) we hold 2-hour ‘Experience Sessions’ and ‘Practical Handling Sessions’ of bees at our Teaching Apiary, accessible for Friends/Members of the Association

Experience Sessions are designed to test whether or not beekeeping is a desirable pastime for those who are thinking of taking up beekeeping as a hobby; Practical Handling Sessions are for those who have undertaken one of our courses. Both allow safe, practical handling of bees under supervision.

These are dedicated sessions primarily for absolute beginners and/or for those who have attended one of our Beginners’ courses, and are for those who don’t yet own bees but would like to ‘test the water’; although any beginner with bees is welcome to attend these sessions.

RDBKA Mentor Scheme

For all those who newly become Friends or Members of the Association, for those who wish to keep bees and have attended our Introduction to Beekeeping Courses, and for Beginners who have already have bees, a RDBKA Mentor may be assigned, should they wish.

This will be an experienced RDBKA beekeeper who is close to the Apiary site, and who is able to act as a first point of contact for beekeeping matters. This has proved to be very popular for newcomers to beekeeping.

Should you wish to ask for a RDBKA Mentor, please contact the Secretary

An Introduction to Beekeeping Weekend at Foxglove Covert

This is normally held over the Bank Holiday weekend in late May.

It is a 2-day, weekend course on the theory of beekeeping, combined with a practical ‘hands-on’ experience (weather dependent). Delivered by experienced beekeepers, it is aimed at the newcomer to beekeeping; ideal for those who would like to ‘test the water’.

Those attending do not need to be members of the Association but will be encouraged to join either as a Friend or Member. For those who do join, and subsequently take up bees, they will be assigned an RDBKA Mentor, an experienced beekeeper close to home, who will act as a first port of call for beekeeping matters.


Download the course Information

RDBKA-Intro-Weekend (30kb pdf download)

Interested in this course?

Apply now

RDBKA Introduction to Beekeeping for Beginners’ Course

Modelled on the BBKA Beginner’s Course, it is an evening course of 10 x 2hr sessions of tuition every other week from 7.30 pm to 9.30pm, held over the winter months from end November to end April. This equips beginners for the start of the ‘bee season’. In addition, the course offers 2 x dedicated Practical Handling Sessions for students at the Teaching Apiary in May/June.

Focussed very much on the beginner, it is a comprehensive course, which teaches all you need to know about beekeeping from ‘What is a bee?’ to ‘Getting Started’. Ideally it is for those with no experience and without bees, but beginners with bees may also attend.

This course is open to any member the public, but places are limited. Friends/Members of the Association will take preference. It is for those who are serious about keeping bees and should be regarded as a pre-requisite for responsible beekeepers. The expectation is that those who attend will be/or become at least a ‘Friend’ of the Association, or, if bees are already owned, a ‘Member’ of the Association in order to take advantage of the necessary bee insurances. Membership information.

Those who do join the Association will have a RDBKA Mentor assigned. Cost £70.00


Download the course Information

RDBKA-Intro-Beginners (32 kb pdf download)

Interested in this course?

Apply now

RDBKA Novices’ Course

Modelled on the BBKA Novices’ Course this is an evening course, which builds upon the knowledge and experience of the RDBKA Beginners’ Course.

This is for those who have completed the Beginners’ course previously, for those who have both kept bees and for those who have successfully overwintered bees for at least one season.

It is therefore a course for Members with previous beekeeping experience and ideal preparation for the BBKA Certificate of Proficiency in Apiculture - the Basic Certificate. Those who attend this course will automatically be eligible to take the practical exam; whilst this is highly recommended, it is not mandatory. The Certificate is regarded as a formal ‘driving licence’ for beekeeping and we would encourage all beekeepers to achieve this basic level of proficiency.

The course comprises 7x 2hr sessions of tuition/revision every other week from 7.30pm - 9.30pm from mid January to end April. The course finishes in line with the beginning of the bee season (Apr-Jul) and offers, additionally, 2 x dedicated Practical Handling Sessions at the Teaching Apiary in May/June.

The Novices’ Course goes into greater depth on all the important areas of beekeeping: beekeeping year; swarming; uniting and colony heath and hygiene; and others. It also prepares the knowledge and practices needed for the practical examination. The BBKA Basic Assessment Syllabus (1mb pdf download) will be taken, for those who wish it, during the season directly following the course. Cost £60.00


Download the course Information

RDBKA-Intro-Novices (34kb pdf download)

Interested in this course?

Apply now

Ad Hoc Beekeeping Presentations

RDBKA is keen to widen and support the profile of beekeeping in our local community.

With prior agreement and subject to availability of presenters, we are able to offer bespoke presentations on beekeeping to groups, clubs and communities, as required.

We do not charge for such events but would gladly accept a donation to the Association. If you are interested please contact the Secretary, RDBKA.

Schools and Youth

RDBKA is very keen to ‘spread the word’ to the younger generations and to offer practical ‘hands-on’ experiences to engage youth.

Special conditions apply when considering those under 16, but with prior agreement and subject to availability of Instructors and equipment, the RDBKA can offer ‘Experience Days’ at our Teaching Apiary for bespoke groups of young adults during the bee season (Apr - Jul). These need to be agreed and planned in advance.

This initiative is in its infancy and schools wishing to partake in bespoke opportunities, midweek and/or weekends at out Teaching Apiary, please contact the Secretary RDBKA or the RDBKA Education Officer, for more information.

BBKA Basic Certificate of Proficiency in Apiculture

All the RDBKA courses at the practical level aim towards, and are fully in line with, achieving the BBKA Basic Certificate of Proficiency in Apiculture. Eligibility for the exam is subject to satisfying the necessary criteria - the main ones being ownership of bees and overwintering for at least one season.

The Basic Certificate Exam is a practical 1hr examination (approx) at an apiary, where candidates merely demonstrate basic frame handling skills, identification skills and a degree of beekeeping knowledge. Most who have kept bees for a while could obtain this certificate; it reflects only what beekeepers have to do and to know routinely!

We very much see the Basic as a minimum qualification to aim for - ‘a driving licence’ - which demonstrates a technical proficiency in beekeeping for those who are interested in receiving recognition for their efforts in the most rewarding of topics.

The BBKA Basic Assessment Syllabus (1mb pdf download)

Basic Exam Dates 2018 (tbc)

The BBKA Recommended Booklist (376kb pdf download)

Further Professional Development.

There are many other BBKA-run courses, en-route to becoming a Master Beekeeper, which can be done individually but supported by RDBKA, for those who wish to take beekeeping further.

Training Qualification and Assessment Framework Chart (39kb pdf download)

For any advice or guidance you require on any of the RDBKA courses and opportunities to further your beekeeping journey, written or practical examinations, from Beginner all the way to Master Beekeeper, please contact the RDBKA Secretary or Education officer.

Teaching Apiary

Richmond Beekeepers' Teaching Apiary

In 2015 the RDBKA built a new “Teaching Apiary” in lower Wensleydale, the purpose of which is to provide education and promotion of all aspects of the craft of beekeeping to all members of the RDBKA, regardless of experience. Our teaching apiary is the main location where we can provide ‘hands on’ teaching, with practical demonstrations and an opportunity to discuss all aspects of beekeeping.

Members have the opportunity not only to attend association meetings here but also to accompany the Apiary “carers” on their weekly visits (in season) to practice handling skills, hygiene methods and beekeeping techniques. The apiary currently hosts 2 working colonies for demonstration purposes. Both hives are modified nationals with mesh floors.

We welcome beginners and those considering taking up the hobby, and we can provide protective clothing for your visit. Contact us for more information