The Fascinating World of the Honeybee; An Introduction to Natural Beekeeping, Hampshire


The course will be an introduction to the biology of the honeybee super-organism and its natural life cycle. We will examine how a colony lives throughout the year and learn how thousands of individual bees work in harmony for the good of the colony. The amazing intelligence of the Bee becomes apparent as it maintains optimum nest conditions and manages a complex swarming process to reproduce, find and build a new home. This course will help to understand the nature and needs of the Bee as well as how to care for her in a manner that gives benefit, primarily to the Bee, but also beekeeper.

When: Saturday 27th September and Sunday 28th September 2014

Venue: The Over Wallop Church Hall (The Church of St Peter); SO20 UK.

Over Wallop is between Andover and Salisbury on the A343

Please bring a dish to share for lunch. Tea and coffee will be provided. Cost: £80 per person.

Day 1: The Bee and its Environment

  • Biology and life cycles of individual bees and the colony super-organism.
  • The nest; its construction, enclosed environment and management.
  • Swarming and its importance
  • How Bees maintain health and vitality.
  • Forage and nutrition
  • Bees’ part in the wider environment and ecosystem.

Day 2: The Bee and the Beekeeper

  • Responsibilities of the Beekeeper.
  • Non-intrusive observation of a hive, interpretation of bee activity and deciding when to intervene.
  • Beekeeping over 18 months – what to expect.
  • Introduction to different hive systems and their merits for Bee and beekeeper.
  • Natural cavities, Skeps, Topbar hives and Framed hivesThe tutor will be John Haverson.

    Contact Chris at for a booking form.


1. The course will comprise lectures, film clips, working group discussions and practical Bee and hive observation as well as appropriate manipulation sessions.

2. Discussion will involve bee-specific language and students are strongly recommended to have completed some reading; I suggest ‘Bees and Honey from the Flower to the Jar’ by Michael Weiler.

3. Numbers will be limited to a maximum of 8 to allow meaningful participation and to ensure individuals receive optimum attention.

4. Complete beginners will be given advice on how to start beekeeping; where to get advice and practical experience with bees, relevant literature and the planning and preparation needed before actually accommodating a colony of bees.

5. Apiary visits are scheduled on both days (weather permitting). Please wear suitable clothing; trousers and long sleeves of smooth fabric. Bring a protective hat and veil, or a beekeeping suit if you prefer. Beekeeping clothing should be freshly laundered.

The Tutor

John Haverson has enjoyed a lifelong interest in nature and the environment. He started his own apiary 10 years ago and has carried out swarm liaison in Andover for 8 seasons. Seven years ago he began to study the nature of the bee and scientific research into bee health. This led him to adopt Demeter ‘organic’ beekeeping standards; starting in National hives. He has used Warré hives, with no chemical treatments, for 6 years and has progressively adopted bee-centric husbandry. Thriving colonies are showing adaptation to varroa and improved temperament as well as providing a modest harvest.

JH 15 Jul 2014


1 Response to The Fascinating World of the Honeybee; An Introduction to Natural Beekeeping, Hampshire

  1. Pingback: Natural Beekeeping Course 27th & 28th September 2014, Hampshire | Simple Bees

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