2015/2016 Sessions    2016/2017 Sessions     2017/2018 Sessions


The PDBKA Improver Training sessions are based on the BBKA ‘Improvers’ Course-In-A-Case Red Course:

1 Hive Design & Equipment
  • Hives and frames
  • Design of hives, bee space
  • Apiary hygiene
  • Correct use of equipment
  • Personal protective equipment
2 Apiary Location & Management Siting of apiaries
  • Layout of hives and equipment
  • Temperament and aggression
  • Natural food sources for an apiary
  • Drifting and problems that may occur
  • Annual cycle of management of a hive
  • Preparation of hives for the winter
  • Spring Management
  • Reasons for regular comb changing
  • What to do before opening a hive
  • Time and reasons for adding supers
  • The principles of feeding honeybees
  • Robbing and the causes and prevention
3 Natural History and Biology
  • Differing races of honeybees
  • Other honey bees and problems
  • Features of queens, drones and workers
  • Life cycle of queens, workers & drones
  • Natural mating of queens
  • Seasonal variations in hive strength
  • Work carried out by worker bees
  • Summer and Winter bees
  • Basic function of the exocrine glands
  • Detection & use of alarm pheromones
  • Bee dances
4 Foraging
  • Benefit of local forage crops
  • The special requirements of some crops
  • Undesirable sources of honey
  • The composition of nectar
  • Source and characteristics of honeydew
  • Conversion of nectar to honey
  • The use of pollen to identify honey
  • Other forage, water, pollen and propolis
5 Pests and Diseases
  • How to examine a brood comb
  • The visual symptoms of EFB
  • The visual symptoms of AFB
  • Other notifiable pests
  • Action on notifiable pests and diseases
  • When a Bee Inspector calls
  • Monitoring various levels of varroa
  • Recognition of Nosema infection
  • Recognition of Acarine infestation
  • Recognition of chalk brood
  • Recognition of sac brood
  • Recognition of virus infections
  • Integrated Pest Management
  • Other methods of disease management
  • Mice, woodpeckers and larger animals
6 Honey Removal, & Processing
  • Legal and hygiene requirements
  • Extraction and bottling facilities
  • Removal of Supers from Hives
  • Storage before extraction
  • Preparation for extraction
  • Types of extractor
  • Extraction
  • Storage after extraction
  • Melting, straining and bottling
  • Labelling and the legal requirements
  • Selling honey, sections and cut combs
7 Swarm Prevention and Control
  • Biology of Swarming
  • Preparation for swarming
  • Swarm prevention
  • Basic elements of swarm control
  • Basic Swarm control methods
  • Taking and Hiving a swarm
8 Other Products, Nuclei and Packages
  • The reclamation of wax
  • The preparation of wax for sale
  • The collection and uses of pollen
  • The collection of venom
  • The collection and uses of propolis
  • A nucleus and a package
  • The method of making nuclei
  • The standards of nuclei for sale
  • Preparation & standards and packages
  • Showing
9 Beekeeping Procedures
  • Preparation for moving colonies
  • Artificial swarming and equipment
  • Queen Introduction
  • Queen Marking
  • Queen colours
  • Queen Clipping
  • Bailey comb change
  • Shook Swarm
  • Uniting Colonies
10 Summary of course and discussion
  • Dealing with an aggressive colony
  • Normal Reactions to Stings
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Preparing for further study
  • Learning to Teach others
  • Getting involved with organisations
  • The national beekeeping scene
  • BBKA and NBU