Bees are a form of livestock, and from a legal and regulationary point of view, beekeeping in the UK comes under the aegis of the Animal and Plant Health Agency of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The Agency operates the National Bee Unit, which maintains a database of beekeepers (BeeBase), monitors bee diseases and manages disease risks. Note that the details of all BSBKA registered members are passed to BeeBase. The National Bee Unit employs about 80 people comprising laboratory diagnostics, programme support, research personnel and 60 home based Bee Inspectors.
Normally the only contact individual beekeepers will have with the National Bee Unit is though the occasional visit of an Inspector or in the unfortunate event that they need to report one of the notifiable bee diseases in their hives. The BeeBase website does however have some useful resources including e-learning and maps of reported disease outbreaks.
The British Beekeeping Association (BBKA)
The BBKA was founded in 1874 and today represents at a national level the interests of some 25,000 amateur beekeepers in the UK. It operates through some 67 associations in the UK (such as the North Dorset BKA), with most associations being part of regional groups (Dorset BKA in our case) for ease of administration and the sharing of local knowledge and expertise. When you become a Registered member of the North Dorset BKA you will have access to BBKA benefits because we register you with them. All courses, modules and examinations are to standards set and administered by the BBKA. All Registered members receive a monthly colour magazine (the BBKA News). Website: www.bbka.org.uk
Dorset BKA events and contact details for the other Dorset associations. The DBKA produces a magazine called Honeycraft, which since early 2018 has been produced and distributed to Dorset association members electronically. Website: https://www.dorsetbka.com/
A number of people post beekeeping blogs on the Internet. Among those which some association members find interesting are:
Also: there is a new government sponsored app for smartphones to help you report any Asian Hornet sightings. RECOMMENDED Available for IPhone and Android. For more information, see here
Dave Cushman's huge resource of beeking information : http://www.dave-cushman.net/
A recent beginner's site : http://www.talkingwithbees.com/
Straw skeps are a traditional part of our beekeeping heritage and are invaluable tools for collecting swarms. In some parts of the world the skep is turned upside down and becomes the actual beehive. This was a method traditionally used in the UK. The skep hives would then be placed in recesses in a wall to protect the colony from strong wind and rain. Click here to see the instructions from the skep making day attended by members from this club. Our thanks to Richard Norman from Dorchester and Weymouth BKA.
Making Beeswax Polish
Polish is only one of the many bee related products that you can make - see Beeswax Polish