Barnsley Beekeepers

CaSCA Events

CaSCA Events

BIBBA CaSCA One-Day Course 2024

Sat 27th Jan

Ossett Community Centre Prospect Road, Ossett, Yorkshire. WF5 8AN


Sun 28th Jan

Clayton Community Centre Northwood Lane, 
Staffordshire, ST5 4BT


Sat 3rd Feb

Lawshall Village Hall, Harrow Green, Suffolk IP29 4PB


Sun 4th Feb

Denton Village Hall, Vicarage Lane. Northamptonshire NN7 1DT


“From hobby to business; grow your beekeeping, grow your income”

A one-day course for beekeepers who sell their hive products

9.00 Registration

9.25 Introduction and welcome

9.30-10.15 Roger Patterson: “CaSCA: What’s it all about?”

10.15 – 10.30 Break

10.30 – 11.15 Karl Colyer: “Efficiency & economy”

11.15 – 11.30 Break

11.30 – 12.15 Kevin Thorn: “Running the Business”

12.15 – 1.00 Lunch (bring your own and refreshments)

1.00 – 1.45 Roger Patterson: “Beekeeping: Can we make it pay?”

1.45 – 2.00 Break

2.00 – 2.45 Kevin Thorn: “Adding value”

2.45 – 3.15 Break

3.15 – 4.00 Karl Colyer: “Expanding the enterprise”

4.00 General discussion and close

Cost £10 + booking fee. £20 on the day if sufficient space.
Please bring your own lunch and refreshments.
Parking may be limited. Please share transport if possible

About the course

There are many beekeepers, even with 5 hives or less, who have surplus hive products. What do they do with them after giving some away, or bartering for other items? They usually look for an outlet to sell them, which could be as basic as from the garden gate. They could be considered semi-commercial, even though they may only be reducing the cost of their hobby or, if higher colony numbers, augmenting their income. As the number of colonies grows, unforeseen problems often arise, especially for enthusiastic, but inexperienced beekeepers. A different approach with more efficient and suitable management methods may need to be adopted. Methods that suit a small number of colonies may by inappropriate for larger numbers, as it isn’t always the best option to do the same as you would do to a colony or two, to more colonies.

Often, this important sector of beekeepers, with perhaps less than 40 hives, isn’t well served, as they are too large for many local BKAs and too small for the professional body. BIBBA have recognised this and have introduced a facility aimed at “Commercial and Semi-Commercial Apiarists”, with the acronym “CaSCA”. This course explains the issues and how there is help from other beekeepers in a similar position. CaSCA is not another organisation, but a group within BIBBA to cater for beekeepers with at least one regular outlet.

Speakers and Presentations

Karl Colyer

Karl Colyer

Karl has been keeping bees since 2003. For many years, it was a pastime exploring how to make hives and obtain the best bees for where he lived in Cheshire. After learning the theory and practicalities of queen rearing, there came several years of increase leading to colonies in 21 apiaries in Cheshire and even an apiary in Kent. Some of the bees were kept on Saddleworth Moor to explore the concept of isolated mating and the effect of adverse conditions on bees.

Over 500 colonies have been reared and many of the hives and nuc boxes, through necessity, were made from waste wood obtained locally. Various hive designs and methods of operation were explored to understand how to have the simplest, most flexible, cost and time-effective way of managing a large number of bees whilst working full time in a traditional job until 2017. Currently, Karl has several dozen mini-nucs and over 100 nuc boxes, rearing locally-adapted bees for enjoyment, education and income as his sole source of income which includes a somewhat specialist contribution from Bee Rescues.

Efficiency & Economy”

Creating a sustainable apiary and bee business is a careful balance between adequate sales and carefully managing your time and costs. This talk will explore options to standardise your equipment, your beekeeping practices and the way you utilise your time and beekeeping kit. If you wish to optimise what you do and have the capacity to expand the enterprise, you must review how you get the best outcomes for minimal effort.

“Expanding the Enterprise”

Having acquired enough colonies to create a meaningful cash surplus from the bees and bee products, how much and which way could and should you expand to fully immerse yourself into your beekeeping business as your sole source of income? There are choices to be made along the way that cannot be avoided, but many are based on your personal preferences and your current and potential skills. This talk explores how to understand how many bees and bee products you may wish to handle based on your own personal goals, creating a source of income that will reward the input effort.

Kevin Thorn

Kevin Thorn

Before becoming a beefarmer, Kevin spent 32 years with Midland Bank plc and HSBC Bank plc. In this time Kevin ran a team of commercial and Agricultural relationship managers across Norfolk, Essex and Suffolk advising thousands of small, medium enterprises on their financial needs and assessing business plans and proposals.

Since becoming a beefarmer in 2015, Kevin transformed his beekeeping hobby into a profitable bee-farm, Stour Valley Apiaries and in 2017 his wife Julie Thorn founded Busy Bees Cosmetics to utilise the beeswax byproduct. Busy bees supplies wholesale cosmetics to 30 beekeepers and bee farmers across the U.K.

Kevin operates 100 colonies in South West Suffolk and North Essex and sells his honey wholesale in jars across East Anglia.

“Running the Business”

Expanding the enterprise isn’t just about producing more product, as there are other considerations needed. In this presentation, I will briefly cover business planning, structure, taxation and outsourcing.

“Adding value”

In this presentation I will cover the important topics of bee farming business models and markets.


Roger Patterson

Roger Patterson

Roger started beekeeping in 1963 and has always been involved with more stocks than the average beekeeper. In addition to a full-time job and a young family, he managed 130 colonies for about 15 years, selling honey, bees and queens, in addition to supplying bees, mainly for top fruit pollination, to the many small-scale growers in his area of West Sussex. He currently has about 35 stocks, in addition to being apiary manager of Wisborough Green BKA.

“CaSCA: What’s it all about?”

CaSCA is a new initiative from BIBBA that is intended to help beekeepers who sell hive products through at least one regular outlet, which could be anything from the home or workplace, to a network of outlets. Once colony numbers are increased, there becomes a need to increase efficiency, reduce costs and adopt colony management methods that are more advanced than the ordinary beekeeper is taught.

This presentation discusses the history of CaSCA, the purpose of it and how it can help beekeepers who wish to progress from their initial training.

“Beekeeping: Can we make it pay?”

This wide-ranging presentation looks at several ways in which beekeepers may reduce the costs of their hobby and perhaps produce a surplus. Suggestions given are based on experience that has been gleaned from over 60 years of beekeeping with up to 130 colonies. There are tips for those who wish to expand their hobby to provide an income, whatever size, with suggestions to make savings in time and expense, as well as using simple and more efficient management techniques than are often used.

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