Study Groups

Winter (Video Conferencing) Study Groups 2023 – 2024

Once again we are offering three Study Groups loosely based on the Syllabuses for the Module Examinations of the BBKA. These syllabuses can be found on the BBKA website (if you search hard!). Log in as a member,  then click on “Beekeepers” (top right next to “Shop”), then “Examinations”, then choose “Written Exams”, then “Syllabi for written exams”, then “click here for updated syllabi for 2023 modules” and you will get pdfs of all 7 syllabuses. Alternatively, contact Pete Sutcliffe (see below) and he will send you one!

Each course will consist of about nine sessions, beginning in October/November 2023 and ending in February/March 2024 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.

There may be a small charge to cover costs of materials, Zoom licence etc.

Because we want members from all areas of the County to be able to take part in these study groups, we expect that most meetings will be held via Zoom in order to avoid long journeys. However, some sessions may be held in person if the group chooses to do so.

In order to fully participate, members will need a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone equipped with webcam and microphone. Zoom is easy to operate and full guidance will be given. If you have any questions or problems, please contact Pete Sutcliffe to discuss (see below)

Study Group Module 2 – Honey Bee Products and Forage

This study group will be led by Pam and Stuart Hatton, and will probably start on Monday 30th October, with the other dates being November 13th & 27th, December 11th, January 8th & 22nd, February 5th & 19th & March 4th, leaving time for an extra session before the examinations, if required.  

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 Pam or Stuart at, or Tel: 01925 263023

Study Group Module 3 – Honey Bee Diseases

This Study Group will be led by Lesley Jacques and will meet at roughly fortnightly intervals on Wednesday evenings. The following dates are planned – November 8th & 22nd, December 6th & 20th, January 10th & 24th, February 7th & 21st, March 6th, with an optional short session on exam technique by agreement if there are those that want it ahead of module exams on 23rd March.

Please note that this Study Group is now fully subscribed. Anyone expressing a wish to join the group will be placed on a waiting list in case a vacancy arises.

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, contact Lesley Jacques at or 07788 744086.

Study Group Module 7 – Queen Rearing

This study group will be led by Pete Sutcliffe and it is envisaged that it will meet on Monday evenings at roughly fortnightly intervals, probably starting on October 23rd and continuing November 13th & 27th, December 11th, January 8th & 22nd, February 5th & 19th, March 4th & 18th.

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.

Members who already have the Basic Certificate (preferably Credit or better) or who have passed one of the BBKA Module examinations previously, will have a better grounding for this Study Group.

For further details, contact Pete Sutcliffe at or 01477 532171.

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 ( or 01477 532171)

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