BBKA Modules and Certificate Courses

Cheshire Beekeepers’ Association Education Programme

Winter Study Groups 2019 - 2020

These Study Groups are loosely based on the Syllabuses for the Module Examinations of the BBKA. These syllabuses can be found on the BBKA website. Follow the trail from “Services” at the top of the page, then “Courses and Education”, click on “Please log into Members’ Area....” then scroll down to the Module you want.

Each course will consist of about nine sessions, beginning in October/November 2019 and ending in February/March 2020 in time for people to prepare to sit the examination if they so wish. Please note there is absolutely no pressure on people to take the exam, nor any expectation that they should do so.

The Study Groups are open to any member of Cheshire Beekeepers’ Association who has at least three years’ experience of keeping bees and has passed the BBKA Basic Assessment, preferably with Credit.

There may be a small charge to cover venue hire and refreshments.


Study Group Module 2 - Honey Bee Products and Forage

This study group will be led by Pete Sutcliffe and, depending on numbers, will probably take place at his  house in Holmes Chapel, starting Monday 28th October at 7.30pm and meeting at roughly fortnightly intervals. However both time and venue of meetings will be chosen to suit those attending. We will try to find a meeting place which is reasonably central to the group.

The group will be looking at:

  • Current UK statutory regulations effecting honey for sale
  • Methods of uncapping honey, extractors, preparation and bottling of honey for sale and storage
  • Moisture content and spoilage of honey
  • Preparation of beeswax
  • Bee products
  • Major nectar and pollen producing plants and flowering periods
  • Pollination and fertilisation
  • Extra-floral nectaries
  • Composition of nectar
  • Factors affecting nectar secretion
  • Honeydew Honey
  • Process of converting nectar to honey
  • Analysis of pollen content of honey


For further details, contact Pete Sutcliffe at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 01477 532171.


Study Group Module 3 - Honey Bee Diseases


This Study Group will be led by Pam and Stuart Hatton starting Thursday 31st  October 2019 at 7.30pm. and meeting roughly fortnightly from then. Venue will be either Frodsham Community Centre or Hatton Lodge Cottages, depending on numbers. A charge of £15 will be made to cover room hire and refreshments.

This course will cover –

  • The various diseases of honeybee brood and adults, their signs and diagnosis
  • Treatments available, their methods of use and efficacy
  • Methods of treatment and control of Varroa, including Integrated Pest Management.
  • Viruses affecting honeybees.
  • Signs of poisoning in honeybees and action to be taken.
  • The steps that can and should be taken by a beekeeper to prevent disease and its spread
  • Knowledge of legally notifiable diseases and pests
  • Legislation regarding the importation of honeybees
  • The biology of the honeybee with relation to disease
  • Damage caused to colonies and equipment by mice, woodpeckers and other pests, including wax moth, and how to prevent this.


For further details please contact Pam or Stuart at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or Tel. 01925 263023


Study Group Module 7 – Queen Rearing


This study group will be led by Graham Platt and will start end of October/beginning of November, at a venue near Northwich. Charge probably around £15.

This course will cover –

  • Genetics and the principles of breeding
  • Selecting colonies for breeding
  • Various practical methods of queen rearing
  • How to organise a queen rearing programme
  • How to harness bee behaviour in order to produce colonies with desired traits.


For further details, contact Graham at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or ring 07767 826 366




If you have any questions about any of the above courses – or if you have suggestions for other training that CBKA could organise - please feel free to contact Pete Sutcliffe (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 01477 532171)



More about the Modules 

Junior Certificate

Under 18 and want to test your beekeeping knowledge? Then this could be the one for you.

The Junior certificate consists of 4 elements

·         10 minutes of oral questions

·         A short written paper

·         Making a frame

·         Present your beekeeping diary

This examination is intended to meet the requirements of schools, Scout and Guide groups together with those not qualified to enter for the Basic Assessment. Additionally, it is intended that the examination will reflect the candidates interest of apiculture and encourage them to go forward to the next examination, the Basic Assessment.



Basic Assessment

To take the Basic Assessment you should have managed at least one colony of bees for a minimum of 12 months.

The Basic Assessment syllabus can appear daunting at first glance but closer inspection will show that it merely lists the basic things which all beekeepers should know.

The assessment is completely practical/oral and takes place mainly at the hive in a local apiary.



General Husbandry Certificate

Have you been beekeeping for 5 years and passed your Basic Assessment? Then this is the next practical step

This assessment is designed for beekeepers who prefer the practical approach rather than the written examinations.  On the day, your assessment is conducted by two BBKA Assessors and consists of:

inspection of the candidate's apiary, equipment and honey handling equipment.

manipulation of one or more colonies of the candidate's bees

demonstration of a method of selective queen rearing

Advanced Husbandry Certificate

So, you have the General Certificate in Beekeeping Husbandry and want to pass on your knowledge.

Open only to those who have passed the General Certificate in Beekeeping Husbandry. This assessment is designed for beekeepers aspiring to lecture and demonstrate the craft of beekeeping to others. The Assessment will be conducted at a suitable location and will consist of the following tasks:

Manipulation of one or more colonies as required by the Assessor

Short presentation on a practical topic to a small audience

Demonstration of dissection for acarine and nosema analysis

Discussion and practical on methods of queen rearing

Discussion on other aspects of beekeeping as given in the syllabus



Microscopy Certificate

Never has bee health and disease diagnosis been more important!

This assessment provides a qualification and measure of achievement for those beekeepers with an interest in pollen, anatomy, and disease relevant to the honey bee. Knowledge and skills are tested through a number of practical tasks and oral questioning.  The candidate will need to prepare 6 pollen slides and 3 anatomy slides during the year prior to the assessment.  For the assessment, which lasts between 2 and 2 ½ hours, the candidate will need to provide 2 suitable microscopes and equipment necessary to carry out dissections and make slides.  Full details are in the syllabus.

Prospective candidates should have passed the Basic Certificate.

A pass in the Microscopy Certificate gives exemption from the Adult Bee Diseases section of the Advanced Husbandry Assessment.


 BBKA Modules

A chance to test your knowledge on all aspects of apiculture.

The BBKA website has more information regarding the Modules Here

The Modules are written examinations held at a centre in your region with each paper taking 1½hrs. You can take up to 4 modules in each session. There are seven modules to be studied:


Module 1 - Honey bee Management


Module 2 - Honey bee Products and Forage


Module 3 - Honey bee Pests, Diseases and Poisoning

There is no Module 4

Module 5 - Honey bee Biology


Module 6 - Honey bee Behaviour


Module 7 - Selection & Breeding of Honey bees


Module 8 - Honey bee Management, Health and History


Module 8 must be the last module to be taken, otherwise they can be tackled in any order.



After passing modules 1, 2, 3 and one other from 5, 6 and 7 you are awarded the Intermediate Theory Certificate and after passing all modules you are awarded the Advanced Theory Certificate.