Weybridge Beekeepers runs a one year course which is part of our overall two-year programme of support for new beekeepers.

The course is intended for those with very little or no beekeeping knowledge or experience. It will provide the necessary theoretical knowledge for the setting up, handling and management of a bee colony, and will prepare students for the practical part of the course (working with hives of bees) that will take place in the summer. If you would like to apply for the course please download the form, save it to your computer, fill it in and either post or email back the form. If you cannot open or use a Microsoft Word Form please contact Sue Lawes the training coordinator; weybridgebees.training@gmail.com

Winter Theory Course

The Winter theory course consists of 10 two-hour sessions on consecutive weeks starting mid January each year. The theory sessions start promptly at 7.30 pm and are held at Suez EcoPark, Charlton Lane, Shepperton, Surrey TW17 8QA. For more information on all our events click here

The outline syllabus for the theory sessions is as follows:

Week No                                             Topic

  1. Introduction to beekeeping: why, how, when, where, etc?
  2. Honey bee colonies in the wild. Natural history of the honey bee; castes of bees.
  3. Types of beehives and beekeeping equipment.  Honey bee navigation
  4. Honey bee anatomy. Bees and plants.
  5. Plants important to bees.  Seasonal Colony management (1).
  6. Seasonal colony management (2). Varroa mite biology.
  7. Swarming and its control.
  8. Bee diseases and their control.
  9. Manipulations (comb change, etc.). Queen raising and introduction
  10. Honey – the process from hive to jar. Bee stings.

Spring / Summer Practical Course

The practical course consists of 10 weekly Saturday morning sessions and one or two Summer Meetings where other members of the division may attend. The total course is thus either 11 or 12 sessions.

The course starts in April (dates TBC) and the location of the practical course is planned to be at the Suez Eco Park Charlton Ln, Shepperton TW17 8QA at the WBK Teaching Apiary.

In addition to the formal training sessions there are generally up to five Weybridge Beekeepers Summer Meetings, of which two or three are targeted at beginners.  These normally cover topics such as: ‘ Beginning of the Season and changing brood comb methods’, ‘Preparing for the Honey Flow’ and ‘Preparing for Winter’.

Everyone who goes on the winter and summer training courses is then invited back to the following year’s summer meetings again.  These act as a great refresher and set you up to take the Basic Assessment qualification of the British Beekeepers’ Association (BBKA).  It is a requirement for this qualification that candidates have kept bees for at least a year.  Many people get their colony of bees at the end of their Summer Practical Course.

Course Fees and Booking

The total fee for the 2023 course is £190 (£170 for a second person at the same address).  This covers the tuition for both parts of the course (theory and practical). The course fee includes Digital BeeCraft magazine for 6 months,  copies of the Weybridge Division monthly newsletters for the year and rights to attend Weybridge meetings.  It does NOT include Surrey BKA or British BKA (BBKA) membership or Bee Disease Insurance. It is strongly recommended that once you start keeping bees you join WBK as a full member to you can get the insurance and other benefits.

In the past there has been a heavy demand for this course, and as the number of places is limited, early enrollment is recommended.

If you would like to reserve a place, please complete and return the Application Form (please click on the button above), together with your payment as detailed on the form. These should be sent as soon as possible, and not later than 1st December in the year prior to the start of the Winter Training course to:

Sue Lawes, 29 Sayes Court, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 1NA, or via email: weybridgebees.training@gmail.com

Or telephone:

Home number – 01932 843209;

Mobile 07767 273147

Confirmation and further details will be sent to you on receipt of the application.

Any administrative questions should be directed to Sue Lawes or if you have beekeeping questions to the principal tutor, Andrew Halstead at weybridgebees.chair@gmail.com

Under 18s on the Courses

WBK welcomes the attendance of under 18s on our training courses but due to child protection requirements WBK requires that either a guardian or parent also attends.  If a child is attending the courses without their parent or legal guardian, but with another guardian (e.g friend of the family) WBK requires a letter from the legal guardians/parents confirming that the other party is acting as the guardian of the child attending the WBK training course.