As a new beekeeper I would like to have a mentor

It is generally recognised and recommended that new beekeepers have a mentor to help and guide them through their first year of beekeeping – see for example the advice of The Apiarist.

 

Mentoring can take many forms, from just having someone on the end of a phone to call when you are not sure what to do to someone who is able and willing to come to your apiary to help you with your bees.

 

We try whenever possible put beginner beekeepers in touch with a more experienced OBKA beekeeper as a mentor. If you would like us to try to find a mentor please send an enquiry to the OBKA Secretary.

 

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Can you put me in touch with other beekeepers in my area?

Unfortunately we cannot do this at the moment as we have not (yet) asked members if we can share their personal information (i.e. their name and addresses) with other members. We are looking into how we can seek members permission to share this information but we need to reassure ourselves that we can manage this given that people may change their minds during the year and we would need a robust process to keep members wishes regarding sharing their personal data up to date.

 

But what we can do for you is to put an advert on this website (in the members area) and in the newsletter saying that you are interested in making contact with other beekeepers in your area. Please email the Secretary at secretary@obka.org.uk including, of course your location (town/area; we won’t put your full address in unless you give us permission to) and how people could contact you.

 

An alternative way to contact other members is via the OBKA Facebook closed group.

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I’ve not received my copy of the monthly OBKA newsletter

Firstly, there are a few things worth checking:

 

  • Has the email with the newsletter ended up in your ‘junk’ folder?
  • If your membership status is Partner you will not receive the newsletter.
  • Have you unsubscribed from emails? If you have received a previous group email from OBKA and clicked on the ‘unsubscribe’ link at the end of the email then you have in fact unsubscribed yourself from all OBKA group emails. Yes, we know this is a bit of a bug as you might want to see some, but not all, emails from OBKA but this is an ‘all or nothing’ service that we get for free from BBKA.

 

If you have gone through the above, or indeed have clicked unsubscribe, then please emails the membership secretary at membership@obka.org.uk  (please include your membership details) and the problem will be looked into.

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I am about to join OBKA (or have just joined) – what do you offer new members?

We provide several ways to help members develop their beekeeping skills and knowledge.

 

Training


Our main offering is Beginners training. This course, which involves five practical sessions, gives beginners sufficient knowledge to manage a colony through the year. We also run a beekeeping taster session in August which is a simple demonstration of handling bees for complete novices. Both courses are described more fully in the Learning About Beekeeping section of the website.


All training takes place at our dedicated training apiary at Marlborough School, Woodstock.

 

Talks and Apiary visits

 

We run talks on beekeeping topics, mainly in the winter months, and occasionally arrange apiary visits during summer. We also have two apiary sessions each year where an experienced beekeeper gives a demonstration of handling bees as part of our training apiary tidy-up sessions. (Spring and autumn Apiary tidy-up sessions). These are all listed in the Events calendar on the website (see below).

 

Mentoring

 

It is generally recognised and recommended that new beekeepers have a mentor to help and guide them through their first year of beekeeping – see for example the advice of The Apiarist.

 

Mentoring can take meny forms, from just having someone on the end of a phone to call when you are not sure what to do to someone who is able and willing to come to your apiary to help you with your bees.

 

We try whenever possible put beginner beekeepers in touch with a more experienced OBKA beekeeper as a mentor. If you would like us to try to find a mentor please send an enquiry to the OBKA Secretary.

 

BBKA Exams

 

We encourage beekeepers to improve their knowledge of beekeeping and to attempt the British BeeKeepers Association’s (BBKA) examinations. Where possible we hope to get some members each year through the BBKA Basic exam, the first step on the BBKA beekeeper qualifications ladder.

 

Website

 

We run a website which is our primary means of communicating with members and the general public. In the public area there is an Events calendar that lists all events in detail that are happening at OBKA plus other events that could be of interest to members and beekeepers generally.

There is a members only area which contains a lot of information for members and is the place to access the library (see below) and other member-only information such as a ‘classified adverts’ section.

 

OBKA Library

 

OBKA has a library of over 250 books which can be borrowed by members. Members can find access  the library catalogue here.

 

Newsletter

 

We issue a monthly Newsletter where we welcome contributions from members such as articles about their beekeeping experiences and adverts.

 

Facebook

 

We also run a private Facebook page; there is a link to the Facebook group from the OBKA website.

 

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I haven’t been able to get on the Beginners course this year but I want to keep bees. What can I do to find out more about beekeeping?

Our beginners course uses the Haynes Bee manual as a reference. It’s not especially expensive and readily available so well worth buying as your first book on beekeeping as it gives clear, simple explanations of what is involved managing a colony. There are a number of similar books available covering beekeeping for beginners.

 

There are various beekeeping websites, some of which are helpful, others less so. We suggest you start with the British Beekeepers Association’s website. Another website, aimed more at existing beekeepers, is BeeBase. This is run by DEFRA and aims to promote bee health; it contains a lot of excellent information on bee diseases, for example and has a dedicated page Advice for New Beekeepers.

 

There are a number of beekeepers that have blogs. We would suggest you have a look at the blog by The Apiarist and perhaps, for a USA view,  Scientific Beekeeping

 

You will probably need to buy some beekeeping equipment. There are of course various suppliers on the internet about although as a charity we are cautious about mentioning any specific supplier, let alone recommending any. There is a list of beekeeping equipment stockists at the end of the BeeBase Advice for New Beekeepers page

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Can I join the Beginners course after it has started?

Unfortunately not. Notwithstanding that in most years the course is over-subscribed and we therefore have a reserve list, we don’t think that it is of benefit to a new beekeeper to miss one of the sessions.

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