WCBKA Basic Course

Posted on: March 2nd, 2014 by

in partnership with the Duchy College

The Association in partnership with Duchy College, (Cornwall College’s Agricultural Faculty based at Rosewarne), offers Beginners Beekeeping courses which includes a practical teaching element. Details of the current year’s courses can be found in this linked Leaflet.

Beginners Beekeeping Part 1

This two term course of 36 hours provides all the basic information you will need to keep bees. It is aimed at those who have not yet got their bees, but will be useful to those who already have them and may explain many of the questions the bees have given you. We recommend that you join your local Beekeepers Association during the course (WCBKA student members do not pay a fee) so that you have the opportunity to learn from and consult with other experienced beekeepers.

The ten classroom sessions take place on Thursdays from 19:00 to 21:00, this year beginning on January 9 2014. The eight two hour practical sessions take place on Saturdays from April in the afternoons or alternatively on Thursday evenings.

Topics that will be covered include:

Purchasing healthy colonies; Siting colonies safely; The year’s work in the apiary; Opening a hive and assessing a colony; Swarm prevention, control and management; Keeping your colonies healthy; Keeping varroa under control; Maximising your honey crop; Taking, storing and presenting honey; Marketing the hive products; Modern hives and their maintenance; The life cycles of the honeybees; Helping to pollinate seed and fruit crops


Beginners Beekeeping Part 2

After 12 months of keeping your own bees a second course is available – Part 2, which can lead to the Basic Certificate in Beekeeping, awarded by the British Beekeepers Association. This course will deal with preparation for the basic exam and reinforce your knowledge of diseases, husbandry skills, swarming and manipulation of the bees,honey preparation and legal requirements. The course will also examine the BBKA Basic Syllabus.

Part 2 will consist of six two hour sessions, some classroom and some practical, culminating in the BBKA Basic Exam, the cost of which is included in the course fee and will begin after May.


Both these courses will equip you with the knowledge and practical skill to start your own apiary if you so wish and to carry out all necessary operations with confidence. It will also help novices to revise and extend their knowledge and skill. They will help you aim for the highest standards of beekeeping and anticipate some of the pitfalls of the early years. Beekeepers with experience will be as welcome as those with no knowledge at all.

All teaching will be at Rosewarne. West Cornwall Beekeepers’ Association has both an outdoor apiary and a bee-house at Rosewarne as a cornerstone of their developing partnership with the Duchy College. The course tutor is Rodger Dewhurst, a member of WCBKA. It is a presumption of the course that students will develop better beekeeping practices in the long term if their activities are firmly based on an understanding of how bees function and best practice from modern research.

Enquiries and applications to should be made to Admissions (Rosewarne) 0845 60 50 455 or email Duchy course enquiries.


6 Responses to WCBKA Basic Course

  1. eve worrall had this to say about that:


    I am intrested in your basic beekeeping part 1. Please could you tell me when the next one is starting.



    • Bernie had this to say about that:

      The course runs annually and details of the next course will be featured on this page as soon as they are finalised. If you cannot wait that long, then Matt Pitt runs short courses fairly regularly, for more details see http://www.prazebee.co.uk/

  2. Alaric Hobbs had this to say about that:

    Hello, I realise that I have missed the course appointments but I would like to volunteer in someway to learn about bee conservation please? Thank you, Alaric Hobbs.

  3. Zoe Parry had this to say about that:

    Hi, we live on the Isles of Scilly and would like to introduce bees to our farm. We are unable to attend the ten week courses but any help or advice you could give us would be very much appreciated. If somebody would like a little scilly holiday and is prepared to help get us started please do get in touch. Many thanks Zoe

    • Anne had this to say about that:

      That is a very attractive offer! which island are you on?
      Because I think that there is no varroa on Scilly (yet), I understand that one may not bring bees over from the mainland. Have you contacted any Scilly beekeepers for their advice and help?

  4. Rosie Felton had this to say about that:

    I Live on St. Agnes, Isles of Scilly and am also interested in keeping bees in the future – do you ever have courses for a few days rather than evening classes? There are other bee keepers here but I am unaware of a local group. (I shall contact Zoe though!)

    hello Rosie
    The course with which West Cornwall BKA is associated is held on a series of evenings, but you could contact Matt Pitt at Praze Bees who might be able to help.
    I don’t believe that there is a beekeeping group on Scilly, but you would be most welcome to become an associate member of WCBKA for which you would receive our newsletter and be able to come to our meetings if and when you are on the mainland. Please contact us again if you would like that.

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