BBKA Modules and Certificate Courses

Courses being run by Cheshire Beekeepers in 2018/2019

Winter Study Groups

These Study Groups are loosely based on the Syllabuses for the Module Examinations of the BBKA. More derails on the syllabuses can be found below.

Each course will consist of about seven sessions, beginning in October 2018 and ending in February-March 2019 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 1 - Honey Bee Management

This study group will be led by Pete Sutcliffe and, depending on numbers, will probably take place at his house in Holmes Chapel.

The first meeting of the group will probably be Monday 19th November, starting at 7.30. 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:

  • Advising beginners, siting of apiaries and apiary hygiene;
  • Hives, frames, spacing and foundation;
  • The year’s work in the apiary;
  • Feeding honeybees and the value of nectar, pollen, water and propolis to the colony;
  • Swarming and control of swarming;
  • Nuclei – the various uses of nucleus colonies and how to make them up;
  • Queenlessness, drone-laying queens and laying workers;
  • Bee-stings.


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 5 - Honey Bee Biology

This Study Group will be led by Pam and Stuart Hatton and depending on numbers, will probably take place at their house, starting Thursday 25th October 2018 at 7.30pm.

If an alternative venue has to be found (probably Frodsham Community Centre) there will be a small charge.


The group will be looking at:

  • How bees eat and digest
  • The excretory system
  • The respiratory system
  • The circulatory system
  • The nervous system
  • The reproductive system
  • The various glands and their functions
  • The development of the egg, larva, pupa and adult bee
  • The anatomy of the honeybee
  • The castes and how they develop
  • Pheromones and their roles
  • How the bee stings
  • How the bee flies



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 Tel: 01925 263023


Study Group Module 6 - Honey Bee Behaviour

This study group will be led by Graham Platt and will start mid-November, at a venue near Northwich.

Charge probably around £15.

The Study Group will cover – 

  • the stages of life and various roles of the worker
  • mating behaviour
  • swarming behaviour
  • decision-making by the colony
  • learning behaviour


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


We also hope to run courses on disease management, husbandry, and queen-rearing in 2019 as well as the usual beginners' courses and occasional days on various topics.

Check back here for newly posted courses

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



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.