Hastings and Rother Division (HR) is running both an Introductory/Taster Session and a Main Beekeeping Course in 2018.

Attendance of both courses is advisable if you have not kept bees before; however the introductory session gives an insight into beekeeping and can be booked as a stand-alone course before committing to the main course.  Details are provided below.  Attendance is limited and participants must book a place in advance.

We teach to the British Beekeepers’ Association syllabus for basic beekeeping. Further lectures suitable for beginners are given at the Hastings and Rother Divisional meetings as part of its Winter Programme.  Practical experience and information can also be obtained during the Hastings and Rother Divisional Apiary meetings that are usually held on the first Saturday of the month over the summer.


Introductory/Taster Session:

Saturday March 10th:  10.00 am – 1.00 pm.  Points to consider before taking up beekeeping with Jill Sales


Main Beekeeping Course:

Saturday April 14th: 10.00 am – 4.00 pm.  Theory Session at Ivyland Farm with Jill Sales

Saturday April 21st: 10.00 am – 4.00 pm.  Theory Session at Ivyland Farm with Mike Cullen

Saturday May 5th:     1.00 pm  2.30 pm    Practical Session* at Ivyland Farm with Jill Sales

Saturday June 2nd:  1.00 pm – 2.30 pm     Practical Session* at Ivyland Farm with Jill Sales and Mike Cullen

    * Weather and bees permitting.  Both these sessions precede HR apiary meetings to which course members are welcome.


The courses will be held at Ivyland Farm, Netherfield, Battle, TN33 9QB.


Directions to Ivyland Farm::

 Coming from the Battle or Heathfield areas after you turn off the main road in Netherfield, you pass the Netherfield Arms on your left and soon after that, just before the traffic-calming measure, there is a drive down a sharp turn to the right. Coming from the A2100 towards Heathfield, the turning to Ivyland is on the left just after the traffic-calming measure and the village hall, which is on the right.   There is parking at the bottom of the drive in the yard to the left and the classroom will be clearly marked.


NB There is a deep ditch on the right hand side of the drive, please take care when driving down to the classroom.  We are also asked to keep off the grass when driving and when parking. If the parking area by the classroom is full there is additional parking further along the main drive, by the farm buildings at the end of the drive. 

Location of the Courses

A map showing Ivyland Farm's location and directions can be found by clicking here


Introductory/Taster Session: £22.00, payable in advance. Deadline for payment: 24/02/18


Main Beekeeping Course: £140.00*, payable in advance. Deadline for payment: 31/03/18

(*for those who book both the introductory and main course the cost of the Main Course will be £118.00).  This fee includes membership of this Division and the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) for the year commencing on 1st October 2017.


Introductory Session Details:

Covering the questions that should be addressed before starting to keep bees. For those with no experience of bees and beekeeping:


The questions include: What does beekeeping involve? How much space is needed?  What sort of equipment is needed?  How much will it cost?

Topics, touched on briefly, include:  Introduction to the honey bee, Equipment: choices and costs, Setting up an apiary: space and other requirements, Honey and legislation, Pests and    diseases

Sources of information help and support

The emphasis is on: Commitment, Knowledge and Responsibility.

All of these topics will be covered again, in much more detail, in the Main Course.

Tea and coffee will be provided.

Main Beekeeping Course Details:

This course covers the basics needed to keep a few colonies of bees, the aim of this course is to give potential beekeepers sufficient knowledge of the honey bee and good beekeeping husbandry that will allow them to:

- understand the basic biology and requirements of honey bees

- manage a few colonies of bees,

- make up and maintain equipment

- produce and prepare honey

- be aware of their responsibilities and legal obligations as beekeepers and/or honey producers

Topics covered include:

Beekeeping, Reasons and Responsibilities: why keep bees, the responsibilities involved in keeping bees.

Honey bee biology: external features of different castes, colony make up, life cycle and development, work of different castes, internal anatomy and physiology relevant to husbandry and disease.

Equipment: Hives and their structure, equipment needed, protective clothing.

Keeping and manipulating bees: Obtaining bees, approaching a colony, why and how to inspect a colony, signs to look out for, use of smoker, feeding, cleanliness, record keeping.

Colony management and husbandry: How and where to set up an apiary, prevention of nuisances, swarming and swarm control, taking a swarm, uniting colonies, a year’s work for the beekeeper.

Diseases and pests: causative agents, signs of disease and treatments/actions.

Honey collection, preparation and sale: clearing bees from supers, removal of honey from hive, extraction and bottling, regulations and practice in preparation and sale of honey.

Autumn/Winter preparation: Overwintering colony, feeding, prevention of robbing, cleaning, storage and preservation of comb, hives and equipment.

As far as is practically possible, participants are given the opportunity to handle bees, inspect a colony and to build hive parts.  Protective clothing (Bee suit) can be provided in the first instance but participants are urged to buy their own as soon as possible.


Please bring a packed lunch (or use the pub/s at lunch time).  Tea and coffee will be provided.


Further information:  For training enquiries, please contact Kerry by email:,  or call 01424 830357

       Alternatively for general enquires please contact the secretary by email:       or call 01424 814837

     Click here to download an application form for the above courses

Subpages (1): Ivyland Farm location