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Beginners

Beekeeping for Beginners Course 2018.
East Devon Branch of Devon Beekeepers’ Association

Full tuition, practical experience and mentor support to help you get started.

Course Coordinator: Richard Simpson, 07900 492 242, education@edbk.co.uk

The course will begin in the classroom, moving to outdoor practical experience once the weather permits. Meeting dates will be on Saturday mornings initially, starting with 10th February at 10am.  2 – 2½hr per session. Subsequent dates will be 17th Feb, 24th Feb, 3rd Mar, 10th Mar, 17th Mar then either Saturday 24th Mar or Sunday 25th Mar at your choice.

The venue will be at our new Apiary Building at Hunthay Farm, EX13 5RJ, between Kilmington and Axminster (see Maps).

The cost will be £95 which includes the initial course, plus:

  • A full twelve month programme of beekeeping events and tuition,
  • A colour text book to keep for future reference,
  • Membership of Devon Beekeepers and British Beekeepers Associations, with all their accompanying benefits including insurance and two regular beekeeping magazines.

There is a discounted rate of £45 for second members of the same household, if applicable, as they will not get another book or magazine copies.

The course is aimed at people with no, or very little, previous experience and is designed to enable you to take your first steps in beekeeping with the benefit of tuition and support.

In the first instance please contact the Course Coordinator, Richard Simpson, see details above.

The Beginners Course consists of approximately 14 hours of classroom tuition covering all the basic aspects of beekeeping, followed by summer sessions at the branch apiary. The course topics include:

  • Managing the bees’ nest during the colony lifecycle
  • Queen, Worker, Drone, division of labour, individual life cycles
  • Bees and man during recorded time
  • Present day hives & their components
  • The year’s work
  • Keeping healthy stock
  • Apiary Management. Swarms and swarm collection. Stings, Immunity & Anaphylaxis
  • Pollination and how bees forage
  • How do you start? Suitable sites, costs, clothing and equipment
  • Hive products. Honey, beeswax, propolis
  • Practicals: Tasting and trying samples. Cake judging. Honey tasting. Microscopy
  • Practicals: Making up frames. Building a hive from a kit

This will be followed by ‘hands on’ sessions in the Branch Apiary starting 7th April, weather permitting.

The 2018 honey cake competition prizewinners and frame making session
Thanks to Helen Bithrey and assistant Ffion for judging.

Cake competition 2018

A record number of entries

Cake competition winners

Cake competition winners: l to r David 3rd, Lizzie and Steve 1st, Tim 2nd

Frame making

Frame making session

Frame making

Success

 

Honey Cake Recipe

You may like to try the recipe yourself.

Ingredients:

  • 5 oz / 140g butter
  • 6 oz / 170g clear honey
  • 4 oz / 110g soft brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 7 oz / 200g self raising flour
  • 1 tablespoon water or milk

Method:

  1. Place butter, sugar, honey and water into a saucepan and heat until the fat has melted, stirring all the time.
  2. Then remove pan from heat and allow contents to cool to blood temperature.
  3. Gradually beat in the eggs.
  4. Add sieved flour and mix until smooth.
  5. Do not over-mix.
  6. Pour mixture into a greased and lined 7″ (180mm) round cake tin and bake for about 1 hour until risen and firm to the touch.
  7. As a guide, oven temperature 350°F / Mark 4 / 180°C

Tips:

Stick to the schedule. Ignore the temptation to spice it up with raisins, icing, ginger or whatever.

Honey browns quicker than sugar. It can quickly appear dark-verging-on-burnt in a cake

Honey contains water, typically c.17-18%, so be cautious about making the mixture too wet.

Honey cooks quite slowly, so try to make sure it is cooked through, but not dry or burnt. The judges will check the inside as well as the outside.

Cracking is not fatal. Taste and aroma will outweigh minor cracks, but a ‘smiling’ cake will lose to a perfect top if other factors are equal.

A honey cake should taste and smell of honey. A stronger flavoured honey (usually that means a darker honey) imparts more ‘kick’ to the cake than a light honey, but some can be a bit too strong when cooked. Heather imparts a good, strong flavour, but is not easy to find outside heather areas and is quite expensive.

You may use any honey and make as many trial cakes as you wish. We are not responsible for your figure!