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Bees and Queens for Everyone - Course Flyer

Tuesday, 08 January 2019 14:52
Published in News

Sustainability - Bees and Queens for Everyone using low-cost, simple methods

Saturday 9th February 2019

Frodsham Community Centre, Fluin Lane, Frodsham, Cheshire WA6 7QN

There is growing concern amongst beekeepers of all abilities and experience about the ever-increasing importation of bees and queens. This is on several grounds, including the possibilities of introducing pests, diseases and pathogens, aggression in subsequent generations and the unsuitability to our fickle climate.

Defra has recently conducted a Queen Replacement Survey that shows the majority of beekeepers prefer home-reared queens but need help to produce them. In addition, many BKAs are unable to produce enough bees for their beginners and queens to head them.

 In response to the obvious need the Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders Association (BIBBA) are staging a series of one day regional events during the 2018/19 winter. These are to help and encourage everyone from the small-scale beekeeper upwards and BKAs to produce bees and queens from local stock, by using simple techniques that may be little more than a variation of what many beekeepers already do and at little or no cost.

 Topics include:-

  • Why raise queens?
  • Addressing perceived problems in producing queens in the U.K.
  • Overwintering bees and queens.
  • Demystifying queen rearing.
  • Simple queen rearing methods.
  • Simple and efficient ways to produce nuclei.
  • Methods for small and larger quantities.
  • Queen rearing as a collective exercise.
  • Producing bees and queens, yet still getting a good honey crop.
  • Including queen rearing and bee improvement in BKA teaching programmes.
  • Reducing winter losses.

 It will be helpful to beekeepers of all abilities from beginners to the most experienced, as well as BKA officials, beekeeping teachers, apiary managers, and demonstrators.

The all-day event (10.00am-4.00pm) costs £10/head (around 30% of the price of one queen and 5-10% of a nuc!).

Refreshments will be provided, but please provide your own lunch.

Booking must be made in advance.

For further details and to book

Or send a cheque, payable to Cheshire BKA, to: Pamela Hatton, 2 Hatton Lodge Cottages, Warrington Rd, Hatton, Warrington WA4 5NZ.    Tel: 01925 263023

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Bee Dating Agency 2018

Saturday, 17 February 2018 15:02
Published in News

The Bee Dating Agency 2018

My name is Lesley Parker and I will once more be running the Bee Dating Scheme for 2018. The purpose of this scheme is to put suppliers in touch with those members who have no bees, either because they have lost their bees or because they are just starting out in beekeeping. 

The scheme is entirely voluntary and free but to participate you must be a paid-up, registered member of Cheshire Beekeepers. 

Most purchasers will be beginners looking to buy a five-frame nucleus. For this reason the scheme is not intended for package bees or swarms, but some buyers may consider a full colony.

Sellers can register an intention before they have the bees ready for sale. I will not pass on your details until you are ready, but I would like some idea of what is likely to be available. Please don’t sell more than one colony to each buyer. 

The principle of “first come, first served” will apply.


The following guidelines are based on BBKA advice (leaflet L014, which can be read in full on the BBKA website) and intended to ensure beginners get a good start. They are meant for standard National nucs and some adjustment can be made for hives with larger frame sizes.

Criteria for a suitable nucleus.

• Standard brood frames with wired combs in good condition.

• Not less than five frames, combs all fully drawn, with a minimum of three containing brood and two with stores to last at least two weeks.

• Brood at all stages and bees covering all frames.

• Not less than 30% sealed brood, a good brood pattern, less than 15% of the total area drone comb and no active queen cells.

• All brood to have been laid by the queen provided.

• Locally raised queen marked Yellow for 2017 or Red for 2018.

• The bees to be normally good tempered, when handled by a competent beekeeper.

• Adult bees and brood should show no signs of disease, though, as varroa is endemic, a very small number of mites seen on adult bees is acceptable.

• The supplier to provide a written record, with dates, of any treatments administered to the nucleus.

• The bees to be in a hive, ready for moving. Suppliers are advised to charge a returnable deposit on the hive.

• Buyers to collect the bees and transfer to their own hive after the bees have settled down a few days later.

• Empty hive to be returned to the seller within an agreed period.

• Any after-sales problems to be resolved between buyer and seller. 

Beginners should consider seeking help at their local branch, for inspection of the bees before purchase and when transferring the nucleus to their own hive.

Finally, a word of caution to buyers; be wary of nucs offered before June. In this area, in most seasons, nucs with a locally reared queen, raised in the current year, are unlikely to be available before June. Unless you can be sure it is a genuine over-wintered nucleus, headed by a queen reared during the previous season, then you may be buying a nucleus headed by an imported queen.  CBKA discourages the importation of queen bees and colonies from outside the UK.  Buyers should satisfy themselves of the origin of bees offered for sale.

It will be assumed that those registering for the scheme, will be buying or selling bees on standard British National frames, unless advised otherwise. 

To register

Contact Lesley Parker on 01829 760695 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the following information: -


Your name, `phone number, email address if you have one, the area where you are based and any other info you think pertinent. 


Your name, `phone number, email, area the bees are situated and how many colonies you are likely to have available. Price and other details of the sale are to be negotiated between the buyer and seller. (The price of commercial nucs currently varies between £165 and £255.)


Lesley Parker