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Education

The BBKA Examination structure runs from Junior Certificate, Basic Assessment, General & Advanced Certificates in Beekeeping Husbandry, through to Master Beekeeper and National Diploma in Beekeeping. In addition there are 7 theory Modules, Show Judging and Beekeeping Microscopy. Below are details of the some of the exams.


Basic Assessment
To take the Basic Assessment you should have managed at least one colony of bees for a minimum of 12 months.

As a branch we would like to see as many people as possible take their Basic Assessment. Over the past few years we have had quite a few new members who will now be in a position to study for this assessment but anybody who meets the requirement is encouraged to take this exam.

The Basic Assessment is the starting point and entry requirement for all other examinations and assessments in Beekeeping. It is a practical test which assesses the basic skills and knowledge of the craft. To take the Basic Assessment you should have managed at least one colony of bees for a minimum of 12 months.

At first glance the syllabus seems daunting, but closer inspection will show that it merely lists the basic things which all beekeepers should know. The assessment is completely practical/oral and takes place mainly at the hive in a local apiary and lasts for about an hour.

A short training course run by East Devon Beekeepers helps to prepare you for Assessment with the exam in June or July. If you are interested, please contact either Richard Simpson or John Badley by the end of April (see Contacts).


General Certificate in Beekeeping Husbandry

Have you been beekeeping for 5 years and passed your Basic Assessment? Then this is the next practical step.

This assessment is designed for beekeepers who prefer the practical approach rather than the written examinations. On the day, your assessment is conducted by two BBKA Assessors and consists of:

1.  inspection of the candidate’s apiary, equipment and honey handling equipment.
2.  manipulation of one or more colonies of the candidate’s bees.
3.  demonstration of a method of selective queen rearing.

You will need to keep records of your hives for a year as these may be used by the Assessors. Your application form and cheque need to be sent off to the DBKA Examinations Officer by the closing date of 28th February.
More information may be obtained from education@edbk.co.uk or the BBKA website.


Modules – A chance to test your knowledge on all aspects of apiculture.

The Modules are written examinations held at a centre in your region with each paper taking 1½hrs. You can take up to 4 modules in each session. There are seven modules to be studied:

Module 1 – Honey bee Management

Module 2 – Honey bee Products and Forage

Module 3 – Honey bee Pests, Diseases and Poisoning

Module 5 – Honey bee Biology

Module 6 – Honey bee Behaviour

Module 7 – Selection & Breeding of Honey bees

Module 8 – Honey bee Management, Health and History

Module 8 must be the last module to be taken, otherwise they can be tackled in any order.

After passing modules 1, 2, 3 and one other from 5, 6 and 7 you are awarded the Intermediate Theory Certificate and after passing all modules you are awarded the Advanced Theory Certificate.

The entry requirements to sit the modules are the Basic Certificate and at least 2 years beekeeping experience.

More information may be obtained from education@edbk.co.uk or the BBKA website.


 

News & Events

Pesticide made from spider venom kills pests without harming bees
Funnel-web spiders have neurotoxins in their bite that can kill an adult human yet they might turn out to be our allies if the small hive beetle ever reaches the UK.
Scientists at the University of Durham and Fera Science think the spiders may provide the weapon we need to stop the beetles.
The spider venom contains a cocktail of ingredients and one of them – Hv1a – is toxic to most insects, including the small hive beetle, but does not seem to affect bees or humans.
Hv1a needs to be injected to be effective. Just swallowing the toxin is ineffective as it is degraded in their gut. To get round this the team have bound Hv1a to a molecule from the common snowdrop which effectively carries it through the gut barrier.
In the laboratory the team fed the “fusion protein” in a sugar solution to beetles and their larvae. Within a week, all the beetles and larvae were dead.
Next step was to put beetle eggs on bee comb with brood, and spray with the compound. The honeycomb and bees survived virtually untouched, but most of the new beetle larvae died.
The selfish case for saving bees: it’s how to save ourselves
These crucial pollinators keep our world alive. Yes, they are under threat – but all is not lost.  Click here to read the article.
World’s largest bumblebee under threat.
The Patagonian bumblebee, the worlds largest bumblebee, is under threat from the import of species native to Europe.The growth of the bumblebee trade for agricultural pollination since the 1980s has been identified as one of the top emerging environmental issues likely to affect global diversity.Follow this link to read the article.
Best plants for bees: 5 yr study results by RosyBee
Follow the link to see the results of 5 years of monitoring which bees visit a variety of ‘bee-friendly’ plants.
http://www.rosybee.com/research
What’s that Buzz? Plants hear when bees are coming
New research has shown that plants can ‘hear’ sounds around them and flowers respond to the buzz of approaching bees by producing sweeter nectar. The research biologists from Tel Aviv University played recordings of flying bee sounds to evening primrose flowers and found that after a few minutes the sugar concentration in the flower’s nectar had increased by 20% on average when compared with flowers left in silence or submitted to higher pitched sounds.
The authors of the report say that, for the first time, they have shown plants can rapidly respond to pollinator sounds in an ecologically relevant way.
Producing sweeter nectar in response to the sounds of bees can help entice the insects to visit the flowers and increase the chances of its pollen being distributed.
Thanks to Ann P. for spotting this article in the Times.