An Introduction to Beekeeping

This short course is designed to introduce the important basics of beekeeping to anyone thinking about keeping bees as a hobby.  It would also suit existing beekeepers who, without having had any training, feel they could improve their knowledge and experience.  The course combines the basics of beekeeping theory with some practical experience at the club apiary.  By the end of the course you will have sufficient skills and knowledge to set up your own hive and handle your bees competently and responsibly.  Members of the club will be happy to offer continuing help and advice once the course has finished.  The course is run by experienced and qualified local beekeepers.
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By taking part in the course you will receive free associate membership of the Melksham & District Beekeepers Association (MBKA) for the remainder of the summer season, allowing you to attend our meetings, learn more about beekeeping, and meet established local beekeepers who will be able to offer vital advice and support to the new beekeeper.

MBKA has 125 members and is one of 4 district beekeeping associations within Wiltshire.  The others are Kennet, West Wiltshire, and Swindon.  These associations are affiliated to the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) which is the main national body for amateur beekeepers.  It is recommended that new beekeepers join their local association which will become an important source of support and information as well as offering a range of interesting and enjoyable social events.

MBKA holds monthly meetings in Broughton Gifford Village Hall.  The meetings usually include talks and presentations from local beekeepers and nationally known experts about all aspects of bees and beekeeping.  The meetings are usually attended by a beekeeping equipment supplier, giving you the opportunity to browse and buy seasonally relevant equipment and seek expert advice.  The club arranges visits to various annual national beekeeping events and holds several purely social events each year, as well as an annual honey show.  Membership of MBKA also allows you to attend any of the events and meetings held by the other associations in Wiltshire.

Course Details

Dates in March will be announced very soon.

The MBKA Introduction to Beekeeping Course is held in Broughton Gifford Village Hall, SN12 8PN. The course consists of 4 evening theory sessions. The theory sessions run from 7:00pm - 9:00pm, including a break for refreshments (free).
In addition, there are 2 practical sessions, handling bees in the Club Apiary in Rowde, near Devizes. The 2 practical apiary sessions will take place on a Saturday or Sunday after the theory sessions, but exact dates will be arranged nearer to the time, dependent on the weather.

Reading List

The contents of the course will teach you most of what you need to know before you start keeping bees.   However, if you decide to keep bees you will most definitely need one or two good beekeeping books from the beginning.   You may wish to acquire a book or two before the course starts in order to be prepared.   The following titles are recommended as good beginner's guides.


The Bee Manual: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Keeping Bees (New Ed)

by Claire & Adrian Waring

ISBN-13: 978-0857338099
The BBKA Guide to Beekeeping, Second Edition

by Ivor Davis & Roger Cullum-Kenyon

ISBN-13: 978-1472920898 (Make sure you get the second edition which is much better than the first)
Bees at the Bottom of the Garden

by Alan Campion

ISBN-13: 978-0907908975

An amusing bit of light reading, but not by any means a practical guide:

The Bad Beekeepers Club

by Bill Turnbull

ISBN-13: 978-0751544053