Dear all,

Thank you for taking part in the Members Survey 2020.

  • The results of the survey can be found here
  • The committee's feedback to members' comments can be found here
7th Sep AGM
5th Oct Charles Austin- Large Scale Beekeeping
2nd Nov Buckfast Abbey- A history of beekeeping at the Abbey
7th Dec Christmas Socially-Distanced Social (CoViD-19 dependant)
th Jan No Meeting
1st Feb Celia Davis- Nuc It!
1st Mar TBC
5th April TBC


Speaker Biography


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.

Buckfast Abbey

A History of Beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey – Why was Br Adam a celebrity beekeeper? His work is put into a historical context and reassessed in the light of contemporary scientific research. A contemplative journey into the roots of beekeeping at
the Abbey which finishes with how the bee department (alive and kicking) operates now. Clare Densley & Martin Hann.

Celia Davis B.Sc. NDB

Use and production of nucleus hives. Celia has two great passions: gardening and insects, more particularly bees. She started beekeeping 40 years ago, holds an NDB but has now reduced her beekeeping to 2 colonies at the bottom of the (new) garden. In an earlier life she was a teacher and lecturer, a visiting lecturer at 2 universities and now talks to various groups, including many beekeeping organisations. She also writes articles and has written two highly regarded books on bees. She has held various posts in Warwickshire Beekeepers Association over many years.


Second Chat:

TUESDAY, 14 APRIL 2020 FROM 11:00

- Honey Bee Diseases

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.

Spring is an excellent time to check your colonies for disease because the population in the hive is than in summer.

To carry out a disease inspection each brood frame is carefully checked for the queen before the bees are shaken into the brood box: this means that the combs are bee-free and easier to check!

The most important thing for a beekeeper to know is what healthy brood looks like. If you know what it SHOULD look like then you know when something isn't quite right! 


Identifying Healthy Brood

Healthy brood glistens a pearly white. The larvae are "c" shaped and sit at the bottom of the cells. You can see the segmentation in their body. They are swimming in a little pool of brood food.

Healthy pupae under the caps are at first white but as they develop into adults, their colour darkens. The eyes begin to colour first.

Cappings are uniformly brown, tan or cream. Each cap is slightly raised or convex, without any holes, except in a few cases where the cell cap has not yet been fully built.

The general appearance of the brood pattern is regular with no dead larvae or pupae


Below are a selection of handy disease recognition cards (click to see more) which you should familiarise yourself with. Non of it belongs to Barnsley BKA, we have borrowed the text and photos from Bee Base and put them into an easy to use (well I think so) format.


Bee Base is an important resource for all beekeepers and you should be registered with them, and your apiaries marked, so that you can get updates about disease in your area. 

Bee Base also has a very useful eLearning course on diseases and pests. Once you login, down the left hand menu you will see an option for eLearning.

It's important that you are familiar with the contact details for our Regional Bee Inspector: Dhonn Atkinson coordinates a group of Seasonal Bee Inspectors.

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.

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