Swindon & District Beekeepers Association has it’s own Apiary entirely dedicated to teaching & training of Beekeepers, new or experienced. Our Apiary is managed and run by a team of volunteers from within SDBKA.

Training Days


Taster Days

If you are interested in discovering what beekeeping is all about, perhaps to take it up as a hobby, or simply want to know more about honey bees and beekeeping then this course is for you. The aim of this one-day course is to provide attendees with a good understanding of:

  • what a honey bee colony is,
  • that a beekeeper is only a guardian of honey bee colonies and involves responsibilities,
  • what it is like to inspect a hive with hands-on experience (subject to weather), and
  • what is involved in taking up beekeeping

The course runs from 10am –  4pm and the cost is £35.00  contact

[email protected]

Taster Days will be held on the following dates:

14 May 2022  (now full)

11 JUne 2022

9 July 2022  (now full) and

6 August 2022

Starting Beekeeping

This course is intended for people who have decided they do want to start beekeeping. A pre-requisite is that you should have attended an introductory course on what beekeeping is about, or already had some hands-on experience with inspecting honey bee colonies and have read much about bee keeping. The aim of this course is to provide attendees with enough knowledge and experience to start keeping honey bees with confidence and success. The course will run over 2 days, with each session lasting 3-4 hour:

  • Lifecycle of the honey bee, rules of colony inspection and kit for inspecting colonies,
  • Hives, frames, bee-space and swarm management,
  • Identification and management of diseases and pests,
  • Choosing your apiary site, health & safety issues, and other guidance for starting bee keeping.

Each session will include hands-on experience with inspecting colonies and handling bees (subject to weather conditions). The cost of the course is £45.00.

STARTING BEEKEEPING (A TWO WEEK COURSE) on the following  dates:

28 May 2022 and 4 June 2022

Please contact Kathy Hobson – [email protected] for more information

Apiary Skills Sessions

Regular apiary skills sessions are held at the SDBKA Apiary during the summer season. These sessions are suitable for all existing beekeepers. They are also an opportunity for prospective beekeepers to get their first hands-on experience. The aim of the sessions is to:

Familiarise beekeepers with the ‘golden rules’ of hive inspections and the reasons for these

Develop their habit of regular colony inspections and improve their familiarity of what they should be looking for.

Help beekeepers cope with preventing loss of bees by swarming, including application of artificial swarming, and dealing with other seasonal issues

These sessions are a good opportunity to compare your experiences with other attendees and seek answers to problems you might be having.

The sessions take place on Saturdays, please check with Kathy Hobson,

email : [email protected] 


Basic Beekeeping Certificate –

If you are interested in studying for your Basic Beekeeping Certificate,
Please contact Kathy – [email protected]

Intermediate Modules –

Please contact County Education Officer Ricard Oliver on: 01380 812368 or e-mail: [email protected].

Additional Beekeeping Skills

Special training and demonstration sessions can be provided on honey extraction and wax processing. Please ask the committee if you have a particular need for some other beekeeping skill.

Basic Beekeeping Certificate Study Group

The Study Group meets during winter months to help established beekeepers (who have kept bees for at least 12 months) prepare for the BBKA Certificate in Basic Beekeeping. All established beekeepers are encouraged to gain this certificate. If you would like to do the Certificate then contact Kathy Hobson: [email protected]

BBKA Module Support Group

Beekeepers who have gained the Basic Beekeeping Certificate are encouraged to pursue further study for the series of modules for the BBKA Intermediate and Advanced Certificates. The aim of the group is to provide support to achieve the level of study required through use of past papers.

Microscopy Group

Microscopy is a useful, interesting and fun skill for beekeepers. It is useful for identification of acarine and nosema diseases, interesting for the examination of bee anatomy and fun for the identification of pollens. The group is in its early days and welcomes those who already have some related experience. An aim of the group is to provide support to those preparing for the BBKA Microscopy Certificate.

For more information

Most of the above courses and skills sessions organised by SDBKA are held at TWIGS (Therapeutic Work in Gardening, Swindon), Manor Garden Centre, Cheney Manor Industrial Estate, SN2 2QJ.
For more information about any of the above contact:
Kathy Hobson; email: [email protected]
A similar range of training and instruction (except the groups) is available from Ron Hoskins at his Stanton Apiary on a more ad-hoc basis. Ron is generally at his apiary on Saturday afternoons ~ but contact Ron beforehand to confirm.
Ron Hoskins, tel: 01793-525364; mob:07737400515, email: [email protected]