Bee-ginners can get a buzz out of new training course

Members of BuzzWorks Association Hitchin

Members of BuzzWorks Association Hitchin - Credit: Archant

A beekeeper is calling for people to try an “enjoyable and fulfilling craft” by signing up to a beginners course which launches next month.

Robin Dartington, director of voluntary non-profit group BuzzWorks Association Hitchin, is hosting the course.

He said: “Honeybees today need more help from beekeepers to resist disease and climate change.

“Last year we started training 16 beginner beekeepers and have a few places left for the beginner’s course starting on March 23. Beekeeping is an enjoyable and fulfilling craft. It is not simply getting a hive of bees and putting them at the bottom of your garden.

“Beekeepers need to know how important it is that bees need gentle handling, how to manage a colony to prevent it swarming and how to identify any possible diseases.

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“Like us, honeybees don‘t like the rain and stay in their hives but this winter’s above average temperatures on dry days have helped our bees stay healthy over the winter. We have lost only one of the 24 hives used to make Hitchin Honey and to train new beekeepers.”

Over the last seven years, BuzzWorks Association has worked with North Herts District Council to develop its two sites – BuzzWorks Community Bee Garden in Old Hale Way and HoneyWorks Beekeeper Training Centre at the allotments in Burford Way – raising more than £58,000 for materials.

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It is applying for another £10,000 from the National Lottery to expand its activities which will include starting an improvers course and also breeding super bees to improve stocks.

Hitchin Honey, which Mr Dartington says can help hayfever sufferers due to the body being desensitised by the small amounts of pollen it contains, is sold at the monthly Hitchin farmers’ market stall run by the BuzzWorks Association.

To find out more visit the stall on March 4 – Shrove Tuesday – in Hitchin Market Place or visit

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