First Chat:

TUESDAY, 7 APRIL 2020 FROM 11:00

With the current situation, and with our association apiary visits cancelled, we have decided to host a weekly Online Bee Chat to keep up spirits and to ensure that our members, particularly those new to beekeeping, have a place to ask questions and follow along with colony development.
We are proposing Tuesdays at 11am. The sessions will be hosted on Zoom, an online conferencing system. This can be accessed from a computer or laptop, mobile phone or tablet. For the technophobes out there - Zoom is really easy to use, but here is a Youtube video with some helpful information about entering your first chat:
We will record the sessions and post them on our private Facebook Group, just in case you can't make one of the virtual session (and even if you can make the session - join the group! ). In the first bee chat we will discuss concerns that any members have about getting to their apiaries to check on bees, so if you are struggling to get out to inspect, either join the meeting or drop a message/email to us so that we have an idea of who needs support. I hope that you will be able to join us. If you are struggling to get setup, please contact me rather than missing out: Webmaster
The link for each week's Zoom Bee Chat will be posted on the private Facebook Group and emailed to current members.

We are very pleased to announce that the following people have passed exams this year:

BBKA Basic Assessment

Paul Sally Peter


To take the Basic Assessment you have to have managed at least one colony of bees for a minimum of 12 months. The Assessment consists of four parts and the Candidate must achieve the pass
mark in all four parts:

  • Manipulation and Equipment. Practical Assessment of the Candidate’s ability to handle bees and beekeeping equipment and the ability to interpret
    what is observed.
  • Oral questioning and Assessment of the Candidate’s knowledge of Natural History and Beekeeping.
  • Oral questioning on Swarming, Swarm Control and effects.
  • Oral questioning on Diseases and Pests.

If you are interested in taking the BBKA's Basic Beekeeping Assessment, you can find more information on the BBKA website or by speaking to our Education Officer.


BBKA Honey Bee Health Certificate



To take the Honey Bee Health Certificate you must have been awarded the BBKA Basic Certificate and have at least three years of beekeeping experience. The Assessor tests the Candidate’s practical skills and knowledge of the important aspects of beekeeping (as defined in the Syllabus). The Assessor observes:

  • The Candidate’s practical skills at opening and manipulating colonies and notes the correct use of beekeeping equipment and apiary hygiene.
  • The Candidate's awareness of the procedures adopted by The National Bee Unit Inspectors and ability to demonstrate them.
  • The candidate's: management and hygiene, brood disease inspection, two further practical tasks and the discussion.

If you are interested in taking the BBKA's Honey Bee Health Certificate, you can find more information on the BBKA website or by speaking to our Education Officer.

During the summer season, we will be meeting at the association apiary each Saturday.

2nd Sep AGM
7th Oct Val Francis- “Help, I can’t find the Queen” 
4th Nov Gerry Collins – Solitary Bees, Social insects and Wasps
2nd Dec Christmas Social
6th Jan No Meeting
3rd Feb Jim Pearson- Queen Rearing Methods Other Than Grafting
2nd Mar Mark Millard- What to do with Wax
15th Mar Apiary Tidying Session - Wentworth Castle
6th April Charles Austin- Large Scale Beekeeping


Speaker Biography

Val Francis

Val is chair of Barnsley Beekeeping Association and a seasoned beekeeper. Along with her husband Garry, Val has kept bees for many years. Val is also the BBKA's Examinations Board Secretary. 

Gerry Collins

Started beekeeping in 1958 at the age of 11 years (as junior member of Hagley and Stourbridge branch of Worcestershire BKA) passed BBKA preliminary (now called “the Basic”) in 1959. Today a BBKA Master Beekeeper, Senior honey judge and Holder of the National Diploma in Beekeeping.  

Jim Pearson

Jim Pearson is a member of the Wakefield and Pontefract branch of the Yorkshire BKA. He is a practical beekeeper who applies science where required and where he sees the relevance to his beekeeping. As a progressive beekeeper he is always trying to understand bees more and in doing so he has discovered that some of what has become standard information is not always correct. A keen enthusiast of native and near native bees, he manages around 30 colonies with his brother Geoff, one apiary being in the foothills of the Pennines 800 ft above sea level. Jim is a Master Beekeeper who is an assessor for BBKA Basic, General Husbandry and Microscopy assessments.

Mark Millard 

Mark Millard is a BBKA Qualified beekeeper, (which means he’s passed the General Husbandry assessment and has passed 4 Module exams). Mark is also secretary for Wakefield and Pontefract Beekeepers. 

Charles Austin

Our very own Charles Austin is an engaging and experienced beekeeper with 30 plus years of beekeeping experience. He runs around 150 colonies and is also our Winter Apiary Manager. Charles is an fan of Keld Brandstrup’s gentle Buckfast Danish bees. Charles is also a keen scuba diver.