Beekeeper Training for Natural Beekeepers and Bee Talks
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Natural Beekeeping workshops as a part of the "Meadow Connections" event. Lively discussion and a lovely lunch!

A training day at The Bee Centre aimed at established beekeepers. An Introduction to Top-bar Hives also had quite a few beginners attending.

Another challenge. This time with Lancaster BKA and a talk about the benefits of allowing bees to swarm naturally.

More challenging than usual! Talk for Lyh Valley Farmers about pollinators and modern farming practices. Some interesting discussions!

A talk for Sedbergh Wildlife Trust talk on the History of Beekeeping and the need for Natural Beekeeping.

Great to return to Brinscall Hall for another weekend of talking with those about to set out on their beekeeping adventure.

Yet another fun weekend with enthusiastic beginners at The Middlewood Trust. The bees on site in both the top-bar hive and Warre were well behaved and seem to be doing well.

The 2016 Friends of the Bees Northern Gathering proved another success. Diverse talks on many be related subjects and a talk on commercial mead production and sampling! Many thanks to all who attended and especially to those involved in the organization.

"Natural Beekeeping in a Top-Bar Hive" was presented to Bradford BKA and well received with plenty of thought-provoking questions after. Their next beginners practical day was dedicated to the top-bar hive, building and management

Another visit to The Middlewood Trust to deliver a beginners course. Despite a loss of electrical power for a short while, the weekend went well and included a look into a top-bar hive on the site.

A great weekend at the Friends of the Bees Northern Gathering! 
Talks about bees, cake, mead, soap and balms making, and great people - what more could you want? Many thanks to all who can and made the weekend a success.

                                 Meals                                               Cake                                     Adam's "Jenga" hive                                     Jo's "Tyre" hive with living roof  
Photographs © - Copyright Jane Carter 2015

A return trip to Western Galloway Beekeepers Association for Q&A on top-bar hive use and to help look through colonies with some minor cross-combing issues.

Photographs © - Copyright Grant Dempster 2015

A beginners course over three weeks in Natural Beekeeping at The Middlewood Trust in Lancashire was oversubscribed! The trust and I are discussing dates for a future course as so many couldn't get to this one. Details coming soon on the Natural Beekeeper Training page.

A fun weekend spent working alongside Phil Chandler ( on a "Starting in Balanced Beekeeping" course at Brinscall Hall near Chorley. The students met up with the Lancashire Balanced Beekeepers group on Sunday, who were at Brinscsall to help build a top-bar hive for one of the members.
    Making top-bars                 Preparing the roof        Result! (beekeeping Kaftan?)  TBH window @ Brinscall            Brinscall Hall hives
 Photographs © - Copyright Jane Carter 2015

A short trip this time to a Friends Meeting House where some of the congregation plan to have a top-bar hive in a community garden. The aim of the visit was to explain what people in the locality could expect from having bee hives nearby and answer any concerns. The team involved are keen to begin this year, but wanted to be sure that all were in agreement before getting a hive. There were some searching questions, but the answers appeared to satisfy most, if not all, present. I'm looking forward to updates from the group in the near future!

Following my talks at the Natural Beekeeping Northern Gathering in August, I was invited to talk to West Galloway Beekeepers Association about Natural Beekeeping in Top-Bar Hives at one of their meetings in Glenluce. As it is around a four hour drive, I was offered overnight accommodation with one of their members. Mary & George were excellent hosts!
The talk was very well received by new and established beekeepers alike and many comments and questions arose, especially when looking at the hive I had taken along. The bee related chat continued into the wee hours when we got back to the house.
A fun evening with great people in a lovely part of the world! Thanks to all concerned.

Just had a great afternoon talking with reception, Year 1 and Year 2 children at Old Hutton C of E Primary School about the importance of bees. Very impressed to hear some of their searching questions and enjoyed looking at the drawings they did. They were fascinated by wild honeycomb and the boys enjoyed the smoker! I was a bit concerned about their reaction to me wearing a bee suit, but they took it well and came up with more questions! The future of bees starts to look bright!

 Just had a great afternoon at Brinscall Hall  helping the members of Lancs Balanced  Beekeepers to build a top-bar bait hive  each in  preparation for the swarming  season next year.  A group of 14 working  well together to a  common goal! 

Photographs © - Copyright Jane Carter 2015

I have been volunteering for The Bumblebee Conservation Trust for a few years. They have just released some bumblebee presentations so I can now offer bumblebee talks to adults or school children. Please see the Bumblebee Talks page (below Talks in the menu above).

I've been giving occasional talks for some time to my Beekeepers Association and local organizations, but though that as talks are now my main focus I should offer some idea of where I talk and what about. Other talks I've done in the past are listed on the Beekeeping Talks page.

Lancaster BKA - "Alternative Approaches to Beekeeping"
At the beginning of this month I spent a day with Lancaster BKA who had organized a day of "Alternative Approaches to Beekeeping" talks and workshops. The day was well attended (about 30 in the audience) with some travelling quite a distance (Ireland!).
Lancaster BKA Chairman, Fred Ayres opened the day with an introduction to why alternative approaches are seen to be an important option in the current beekeeping climate and what the most popular options are.
My talk in the morning was "Natural Beekeeping in Top-Bar Hives", which covered how Natural Beekeeping evolved, it's main principles, benefits of the top-bar hive, and some of the management techniques used with a TBH.
After a delicious buffet lunch the audience split into three groups which rotated through three workshops.
  1. Warre hives (The People's Hive) - a vertical hive using natural comb developed by the Abbe Emile Warre, a French Abbot.
  2. Zest Hive - a (very) deep horizontal hive using frames and focused on plenty of insulation
  3. Top-Bar Hive - the workshop that I facilitated
The TBH workshop covered the construction techniques and options possible for the hive and more on management and how bees seem to see the hive. The workshops were very interactive with "hands-on" my demonstration hive and plenty of varied questions.
Fred rounded off the day with a summary and we answered final questions.

B.E.S.T. - Natural Beekeeping in Bentham
B.E.S.T. stands for Bentham Environmentally Sustainable Town. I have been involved with B.E.S.T. and talked for them a few times now. I was invited to give an update on the Natural Beekeepers progress in Bentham (there are four of us now) at their Green Cafe last week. Green Cafe is a relaxed evening event which usually involves a talk on a "green" subject, refreshments and a discussion on the chosen topic. Around 20 attended, some for the first time, some considering beekeeping, some just interested in pollinators. 
Principles of Natural Beekeeping were summarized for those who hadn't heard about it before, followed by a summary of the beekeeping year for each of the beekeepers in Bentham. We then talked a little about the bees life-cycle and swarming. We've grown from three colonies to ten through some artificial swarming, swarm collection and swarm baiting. 
The discussion that followed the refreshments (honey cake) was focused mainly on pesticides and the moratorium on neonicotinoid use in Europe and how effective (?) it is for pollinators.