We provide several ways to help members develop their beekeeping skills and knowledge.
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).
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.
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.
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 has a library of over 250 books which can be borrowed by members. Members can find access the library catalogue here.
We issue a monthly Newsletter where we welcome contributions from members such as articles about their beekeeping experiences and adverts.
We also run a private Facebook page; there is a link to the Facebook group from the OBKA website.