The government has recognised the importance of bees to the national economy by lending support to backgarden beekeepers
The Course in a Case project, announced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) today, seeks to improve beekeepers’ skills in caring for their bees through free training and advice.
Winter is a particularly perilous time for bee colonies, with heightened risk from pests, disease and starvation. But amateur beekeepers can alleviate the risk with a few autumn-time precautions, including treating the hive for mites or leaving enough honey for food during the cold months.
Under the initiative, 400 volunteer teachers across England and Wales will train alongside government bee inspectors, who already offer advice to beekeepers on pests and diseases. Training materials will also be delivered through local beekeeping associations.
The project comes under the government’s Healthy Bees Plan. It will be run in partnership by the British Beekeeping Association (BBKA) and National Diploma of Beekeeping Board (NDBB), and jointly funded by Defra.
Environment Minister Lord Henley said:
Bees are essential to putting food on our table and worth £200m to Britain every year through pollinating our crops. This training will help the many new beekeepers keep their hives healthy and bees buzzing.
Read the National Bee Unit’s top tips on Preparing honey bee colonies for winter (PDF, 68.8KB)..
Visit the National Bee Unit’s Beebase website..