The Introductory Day


This is an introduction to beekeeping for beginners. During the course of the day, we aim to explain the nature of the honey bee and how it can be kept and managed to the benefit of both the bees and the beekeeper. It is held at the Church Hall, Shillingstone [DT11 0SW]. The hall is located off Blandford Road just opposite the road to Okeford Fitzpaine.


The day is divided into two parts. In the morning there are talks, an exhibition of equipment and lunch; then in the afternoon there is a visit to the apiary where people can look inside a hive, suitably equipped with a bee-suit and assisted by an association member. As with most beekeeping, the afternoon is weather dependant, and if it is raining this part of the Introductory Day is postponed to the following weekend.

The morning session (10.00am):


The event starts with registration and housekeeping, together with tea and biscuits.


Topics covered during the morning talks usually include:

  • How bees develop (workers, queens and drones), and how they behave.
  • The jobs bees perform in the hive: feeding young, attending queen, processing honey, wax building, hive ventilation, guarding, collecting nectar, pollen, propilis and water.
  • The techniques involved in keeping your bees healthy and how you can look after them safely and in harmony with your family and your neighbours.
  • The benefits of keeping bees, including the importance of pollination and an outline of how to harvest the honey and wax products that your bees will provide.
  • An explanation of the problems that bees and the beekeeper face, together with the way in which they can be overcome.
  • The different types of hives, equipment and protective clothing together with an explanation of their use, availability and cost. Some of these will be on display for examination


The subsequent Beginners Course lasts for 12 sessions from April - August, which is the main beekeeping season. It is a practical, hands-on course right from the start and covers all the main concerns of beekeeping. Theory is also introduced as part of the course. The course is also held at Shillingstone Church Centre and at our nearby apiary from 2 - 4 pm most Saturdays in summer. It is hoped that during the course each member will acquire bees. The cost for 2022 is £175, which includes the Introductory Day and registration with the British Beekeeping Association.


If you are interested in either the Introductory Day or the Beginners Course, please contact our Training Officer initially: Terry Payne, Tel 01747 811251 or use the contact page to email us. Places for 2022 can be booked from now; a non-refundable deposit will be requested to confirm a place. The Beginners Course has a limited number of places each year, but the Introductory Day is more flexible on numbers.

Lunch (12.30pm)


A light lunch is provided together with tea and coffee and there is a general discussion with experienced members of the association on any areas that are of concern or need clarification. We do provide a vegetarian option for the lunch that we provide within the cost of the day, but not Vegan or other specialist dietry needs, so those requiring a special diet will have to bring their own food.

The afternoon session (2.00pm):


Weather permitting, those attending will be loaned protective top/ jacket and veil. You are advised to wear thick jeans (denims) and bring with you wellington boots and gloves – Marigold washing up gloves are ideal.


Course attendees are escorted to our apiary nearby where members will supervise and explain the use of protective clothing to ensure personal safety. Experienced members will supervise each group in opening up a hive and examining the bees and combs. The members will explain what is being observed and what you can expect to see and why. Attendees will be encouraged to handle the bees and combs themselves if they wish – but it is not compulsory.


The day finishes at 4.00pm with tea and coffee and a discussion on the days events to answer any further questions that arise.


The day invariably proves to be interesting as well as instructive, and new members are also assured of our continued help and support, together with a sociable framework of meetings throughout the year with a mix of lectures, presentations and practical apiary visits.


If you would like to take part in the Introductory Day or enrol for the Beginners Course or just want to ask questions about the courses please contact Terry Payne: 01747 811251 : Email or use the feedback form on the Contact page (click on Contact in the menu above).

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