BBKA Module 1 – Study Group

After the success of the recent joint Module 2 “Honey Bee Products and Forage” study group, involving both Reigate and Croydon BKA (divisions of Surrey BKA), a few participants got the bug, and now feel inspired to set up another study group, this time for Module 1, “Honey Bee Management”.

Once again, this will be a joint venture between Croydon and Reigate BKAs, and is supported and endorsed by both Associations.

Anna Slade writes …

The objective of this study group is to offer the opportunity to study, and gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of: hive types; selecting apiaries; prevention and detection of swarming; methods of swarm control; seasonal management; signs of queen status – these are just a few of the topics covered in the syllabus.  

Who is Module 1 ideally for? Well, anyone who has kept bees for more than one year, and preferably has completed (or is working towards) the Basic Practical Assessment (BPA), is welcome to participate in this group. Module 1 complements the BPA, but is best completed afterwards, building on the foundations of the BPA to widen and deepen the knowledge gained. It’s a logical step for those who have taken their BPA to move on to modular learning, and many undertake Module 1 first, although the modules can be taken in any order (except for Module 8, which has to be taken last). In this study group, we intend to complete the Module 1 syllabus in time to take the exam in November 2022, although there is no obligation to sit the exam.

Those also taking the BPA need not be too concerned to the depth Module 1 goes into for their preparation for the practical exam; however there are many synergies between the Module 1 syllabus and the BPA, so your practical learning will complement your theoretical learning in Module 1. 

There is NO financial cost to you as a participant, as long as you are a current member of either Reigate or Croydon BKA. However there is a cost in terms of your time and your participation in assisting group learning, whilst also respecting others in the group, as those leading, presenting or assisting are all volunteers, each one at a different stage in their beekeeping journey, and many juggling full-time jobs and families.

The course arrangements are as follows:

  • Weekly meetings on Tuesday evenings at 8pm, on Zoom (cost to be met by Croydon BKA), led by Anna Slade
  • The first meeting will be on Tuesday 17th May at 8pm
  • Zoom recordings and study notes available for review for those who can’t make the weekly meetings, or are busy with their bees!
  • Shared participation in a correspondence course (cost to be met by Reigate BKA)
  • Access to resources on Dropbox (courtesy of Keith Mackie), where we can share presentations, study notes, past exam papers, and resources from previous groups
  • A WhatsApp group (managed by the Module 1 Leadership Team) where we can ask for, and share, advice and support, including from RBKA Master Beekeepers and more experienced members
  • Access to study materials from RBKA and CBKA libraries

If you are interested, or have any questions, please contact Keith Mackie on 07786 024325 or, Debbie Burney on 07810 172938 or, or Anna Slade on 07947 431053 or

Thank you for your interest, and we look forward to studying with you!

Kind regards

The Module 1 Leadership Team (formed of RBKA and CBKA members)



BBKA Module 2 – Study Group

Ever thought about how to produce better quality honeybee products & what our bees forage on?

Then join a Joint Surrey BKA Division Study Group.

16 brave souls from both Croydon and Reigate BKAs have already teamed up to study for the BBKA Module 2 – Honeybee Products & Forage. 

Keith Mackie writes …

The intention is to undertake the exam in March 2022, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to, and don’t be shy about coming along and joining the study group on Zoom.  The plan is to do fortnightly study groups on a Monday, from 8pm till 9:30pm, working through the syllabus of this module. 

Debbie Burney, Alexandra Collins, and myself are coordinating the groups progress through the theory of this course, culminating in what we hope will be most of the group taking the exam.  We plan that different members of the group, will present sections of the syllabus to the others in the group; to share the work and as a group work together using shared research notes. 

Croydon BKA (CBKA) has kindly funded the BBKA correspondence course & Zoom facility for the Study Group.  The correspondence course provides sample exam papers to be completed and submitted to an outside assessor for marking and annotation, providing a wonderfully complete set of answers which can then be used for revision and exam practice.  The revision / study notes will be compiled to create an array of study material which will then be available to CBKA’s members for their use in future years. 

It was discovered this week that an updated syllabus is being launched for the 2022 exams, with extra points added! These include the development history of extraction equipment, management of bee colonies for honey production from specialist crops, honey granulation and the properties and use of honey for wound care. 

The first three fortnightly sessions will cover the following topics:

  1. 18-Oct-21 (Week 1) – Debbie Burney will cover the main requirements of the current UK statutory regulations affecting the handling, preparation for sale, hygiene, composition, labelling and weight of packs of honey.
  2. 01 Nov-21 (Week 2)  – Alexandra Collins will talk about the methods used to uncap honeycombs and separating the wax cappings from honey, types of honey extractor available and their methods of use, including the history and design of the equipment, management of bee colonies for home production from specialist crops such as OSR, ling heather, along with straining and settling of honey after extraction.
  3. 15-Nov-21 (Week 3) – Anna Slade will cover the storage of honey, together with the preparation and bottling of liquid, naturally granulated, soft set and seeded honey as well as the preparation of section, cut-comb and chunk honey for sale, together with the theory of the process of honey granulation.

Further weeks will cover general topics such as the constituents of honey and beeswax, the use of other bee products, the main nectar and pollen producing plants of the UK and so on. 

The BBKA exams can now be taken at home under strict guidelines as well as at exam centres, which means that no travel time or costs need be incurred.  Those who took Modules earlier this year will be interested to know that the computer portal which ensured no internet access during the exam has been updated, requiring a new set of software protocols to be installed, but we can worry about this in the new year!,

Keith Mackie

Summer Season Programme 2021 Schedule – update

Our Summer Season commenced during April with RBKA On-Line activities.

The Basic Assessment Study Group commenced weekly online meetings on Tuesday 6th April, at 7pm, with subsequent sessions each Monday at 7pm.

The first phase (all on-line) of Weekly Summer Members Meetings provided live inspections of a colony beamed via Zoom followed by Q&A’s.

The current second phase is providing the opportunity for the Basic Assessment Study Group to conduct colony inspections with Hive Tutors; as well as maintaining on-line Zoom meetings for Q&A’s and exchanges of advice and guidance for all other members to participate in.

[Read more…]

Improve your Beekeeping

Learning Steps (2)We know that taking and passing the Basic Assessment or that just being a member of the Basic Assessment study group will help you to become a competent bee keeper.  After that though the direction you want to take with your bee keeping varies a lot.  Some will want to study and take the BBKA modules and even become a master beekeeper and others may want to follow their own direction.

In order to support members, we will endeavour to find the appropriate support for you as an individual or even better, as groups of members that would like to develop a particular skill.

To that end we encourage members to form groups around a particular topic and if you let us know what it is you are trying to improve, we will do our best to find a knowledgeable member to support you in that topic.

To start the process we would like to set members challenges and hope that self-selecting groups can then form around a particular challenge.   The challenges below are just a starting point, any topic is a valid topic.

Some Ideas for Challenges for 2021

    1. Learn one method of queen rearing suitable for the 3-5 hive beekeeper
    2. Take out a nuc for swarm control use BBKA text
    3. Swarm control without finding queen Use FERA Text
    4. Use Waring/Wilson to generate a new Queen use RBKA description
    5. Shake colony onto clean comb use FERA text
    6. Make a Taranov swarm use RBKA notes
    7. Get a Miller frame drawn for use in a queen raising colony use RBKA notes
    8. Use Snelgrove Procedure, a) for swarm prevention b) for swarm control
    9. Get brood box full of stores for winter using Wally Shaw recommendations
    10. Produce a photo of nosema


Mike Hill is planning on creating a brood box which has half of the frames 22mm wide and the other half 27mm which he hopes will show how 22mm spacing encourages brace comb. Mike has the necessary handouts on file for anyone interested in doing the same.

It would be great to hear about the progress of groups at our weekly meetings, with information on how to carry out, say queen rearing, being shared and produced, hopefully including photographs and videos to pass on to other members

Jim Wynn,

2021 Education Plan

Learning Steps (2)During a first ever RBKA Committee Meeting by telephone conference in mid March, 2020. the clear need to develop an alternative Education programme and means of delivering it to members was first discussed. It was also recognised that any programme ideally needed to at least start to be rolled out during April.

Since then we held weekly Zoom meetings from April to September and then monthly meetings through the winter. Recordings of all of the meetings can be found under the RBKA ONLINE tab on the home page of this website. 

RBKA’s Education Plan for 2021

RBKA will provide weekly theory meetings via zoom until Government  rules allow us to meet physically again.  These meeting will be aimed at those planning to take the BBKA Basic assessment in July.   These meetings will start in early April.

To support inexperienced beekeepers we will endeavour to broadcast live inspections (or videos of inspections) each week on a Wednesday at 6:30pm.


RBKA Members Facebook groups

We have decided to suspend the Facebook ‘Members Network’ and ‘Education Forum’ groups due to the small numbers of participants.

RBKA Online 

As mentioned above, all of the talks from the 2020 season are available under the RBKA Online tab. This year we will record the Basic theory and inspection sessions each week. After the inspection sessions on Wednesdays, we will have a Q&A session about the issues raised in the inspection and once a month have a short talk on a relevant topic.
We would like to encourage people to make their own videos on any topic and we will add them to our growing archive for our own members to watch. Don’t get hung up on perfect video quality- its all about sharing and support! 

Improve your Beekeeping 

We know that taking and passing the Basic Assessment, or that just being a member of the Basic Assessment study group will help you to become a competent bee keeper.  After that though, the direction individuals may want to take with their bee keeping may vary a lot.  Some will want to study and take the BBKA modules and even become a master beekeeper, while others may have more modest ambitions and follow their own direction.

In order to help support differing needs, we have put together a set of challenges for those wishing to improve their beekeeping. Check out the Improve your beekeeping section on the education tab to see what we have in mind.

‘RBKA Crew’ WhatsApp Group

For those members that choose to use the WhatsApp smart phone application, there are number of interest groups that that have been set-up and are managed by members, independently of RBKA, but for use only by RBKA Members. Currently prominent amongst these groups is ‘RBKA Crew‘, managed by Keith Mackie. In addition to providing an informal social network between participating WhatsApp user members, the group provides opportunities to share topical beekeeping news as well as to seek and offer beekeeping help and advice.

BeeNews, Members Website, Public Website & Email

These communication tools are working well, so remain as before. Please supply photos of interest and any news to Sue Scates (BeeNews editor) and/or Richard Bradfield. Website(s) Webmaster & Editor

  • BeeNews = Formal. Regular: monthly. Internal: for members only
  • Members Website = Formal. Regular & Ad Hoc. Internal: for members only
  • Public Website = Formal. Ad hoc. External: for General Public & Media
  • Emails = Formal. Ad Hoc. Internal: for members only. Urgent News only!

BBKA Exams & Assessment Dates & Fees 2021

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Closing dates for registration of BBKA Examinations and Assessments for the current year and provided here.

Further information including Examination/Assessment application forms and syllabi are available from BBKA’s web site 

FEECLOSING DATENOTES (also see appropriate syllabus)
JUNIOR£5  As Basic CertificateAged under 18 only in small groups.  
  BASIC£201 month prior to taking the assessment
May be held at any suitable apiary. Normally small group of candidates examined on same day Last Assessment 31st August
  MODULES£30 each  31st January

30th September
ALL MODULES held on 24 April 2021  

ALL MODULES held on 13th November 2021  
Must hold Basic Certificate. May be held at any suitable apiary. Normally small group of candidates examined on same day Last Assessment 31st July
Must hold Basic Certificate. Held at apiary of Candidate.
Must hold Basic Certificate. Held at apiary of Candidate.
Must hold General Certificate in Beekeeping Husbandry To be held at Stoneleigh on 28/29/30 May 2021 and 11/12/13  June 2021 depending on numbers
  SHOW JUDGE  £40    N/A
Must hold Basic Certificate.  See entry requirements in Prospectus
  MICROSCOPY  £60  31st August
Must hold Basic Certificate.  To be held at various venues 20th/21st  November 2021 plus other dates as required  

Please note
Module exams in April 2021 will be online only
All practical assessment arrangements will be dependent on COVID 19 restrictions

Refunds and deferrals

  1. If there is a valid reason for not taking an examination or assessment, a refund can be given.
  2. Generally, there will be an administration charge of £10.00 deducted from the refund except:
    • no refunds will be given after the closing date for modules, or Advanced Husbandry;
    • no refund will be given for Microscopy or General Husbandry if withdrawal is within one month of the assessment
  3. Deferral of an exam or assessment is allowed, as an alternative to a refund, provided due notice is given. This is for one year only and there will be an administration charge of half the entry fee, payable on re-application. After 1 year the full fee will be payable. Candidates who have deferred an exam must send an application form with the deferral fee when they wish to take the exam/assessment.
    Non Members
    • For the Junior Assessment, BBKA Membership is not required
    • For Members of Welsh BKA, Scottish BKA or Ulster BKA an additional fee of £9 will be required.
    • All other candidates must hold BBKA membership of some category.

BBKA Autumn Exams & Assessments

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The BBKA Exam Board has issued the following statement regarding the exams and assessments due to take place this Autumn (2020).  

  (The notice will also appear on the website and social media and in the BBKA News.)

‘The global outbreak of COVID-19 has meant that we have had to limit socialising and gatherings, to help prevent the spread of this disease. Inevitably, this has had a huge impact on the BBKA exam system, that relies on candidates, assessors, and invigilators to meet in close proximity or travel some distance away from home.

 Following the feedback from many associations and individuals on the matter, we have taken the difficult decision to cancel the BBKA assessments for the remaining part of 2020. These include Show Judge certificate in October as well as Module exams and Microscopy assessments in November.

The main concern of the Exam Board is the safety of all candidates, assessors and invigilators. While some associations have indicated that they may be able to facilitate the Module exams, others have advised against it. We want to offer equal opportunities to all members who wish to take the BBKA exams. With the current situation however, we do not feel this is achievable for all involved.

Candidates who have applied for assessments in 2020 will get free transfer for 2021, or get their fees refunded if they prefer. Due to the cancellations of the exams, the condition that candidates need to have taken all Modules within 12 years of the first module taken has now been removed.  

We know how much value beekeepers put on the BBKA exam system. To support those who continue on their learning journey, we are exploring alternative ways to hold the Module exams and hope to have solution in place for the early part of 2021.’

RBKA On-Line Meetings – Usage Guidance

The power of on-line Video and/or Audio conferencing is being utilised to bring RBKA’s Education Programme … and more … direct to you in your home.

To help you the get the most from the the experience, Jim Wynn has produced a few guidelines, tips and examples of the Zoom screens you will encounter.

Click on the PDF icon to download and open the presentation.  

Look for emails from arriving in your Inbox during the weeks ahead.

They will be providing invitations and unique links to conference sessions.

Due to the increased frequency with which we will be needing to circulate virtual meeting invitations and notices to all our members by email, Reigate Beekeepers has commenced using Mailchimp as a secure means of storing and using an email circulation list derived from our Membership records. Please be assured that we will continue to ONLY use email addresses that you have provided in the communication of Reigate Beekeepers activities and events.




BBKA Exam Applications – Registration Closing Dates

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Registration to take

Modules and Assessments

need to be submitted 


The application details [click here] can be found on the BBKA website (You need to be logged into the BBKA website to view)

Application forms for March 2020 Module Exams …

need to be with Celia Perry by Wednesday 5th February.  

Application forms for 2020 Assessments in Honeybee Health, General Husbandry & Advanced Husbandry …

need to be with Celia Perry by Friday 21st February.  

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Completed forms and cheques payable to ‘BBKA’ should be given or posted in good time to:- Celia Perry – County Exam Secretary 

For the postal address, or if you have any related queries, please contact Celia either by phone; on 07903 991120 or by email at;

Please do not leave it until the last minute to send in your form and cheque, because all the forms and payments still need to be forwarded, by Celia, to the National Beekeeping Centre at Stoneleigh within a week of the above deadlines.

Basic Congratulations

Thumbs_UpA BIG thumbs up message from our County Exam Secretary and member of the BBKA Exam Board … Celia Perry … for Reigate Beekeeping Division candidates who took the BBKA Basic Assessment this July 2019 at the Henfold apiary..

“I am very pleased to say you all passed, so very well done, that is a credit to all your hard work”

With a pass mark being 50% and a credit being 70%, the following members now have their beekeeping ‘wings’.

Nick Clark, (Pass)
Lisa Gallo, (Credit)
Sue Hanley, (Credit)
Deborah Jardine , (Pass) 
Brian Kay, (Credit)
Andrea McIver, (Credit)
Richard Pfeil (Pass)
Helen Stocker (Credit)


“Your certificates and badges will be presented to you at the AGM in November”

And this from Andrew Cornwall

“Many Congratulations to all those who took their Basic Assessment this year. Another Full House of Passes and Credits. Well done to you all!
And thanks also to Colin Clement and Jim Cooper who deserve much credit for all their work tutoring on the hives & helping me in the Weekly Theme sessions.
Next year you’ll get the chance to either have a go at co-tutoring a Beginner’s hive or joining an Improver’s hive, under the joint direction of Vince Gallo & Mike Hill.
Thank you for being such a challenging and engaged group. You’ve kept me on my toes with your questions!
Many Congratulations again! Your hard work obviously paid off. You are now Beekeepers, no longer mere keepers of bees.”

Finally thanks, and well done to Andrew Cornwall and all the hive tutors for another great job with the Education Programme and once again to Celia Perry & Bob Maurer for providing the Mock Assessment experience.

Exams may not necessarily be the reason why people take up bee-keeping, but it is hoped that some of the candidates will want to go on and try either the Modules or the General Husbandry, or maybe both, in due course.

For more info on ‘life after the Basic’ Click here.

Honey Extraction 2019

Extraction of honey from the club’s supers is planned to be undertaken during Saturday 3rd August in the Pavilion at Henfold Copse, under the guidance of Andrew Cornwall.

Set-up will start on the 2nd and be completed Saturday morning, when experienced hands will also then be needed to run each work station and mentor less, or inexperienced, participants in procedures and use of the equipment.

New and new’ish members are encouraged to participate and learn how to extract honey.

Participants are expected to sign up for the full day of activity, from 9:30am until clearing up is completed … likely some time after 4:30pm. Drinks provided, but bring a packed lunch.

All offers of help and participate to Andrew Cornwall please.
Either provide your name and contact details to Andrew during Wednesday evening or send Andrew an email message.

Module Passes

Thumbs_UpCongratulations to Keith Mackie and Trevor Keast for their achievements in the November 2018 sessions of BBKA Written Module Examinations.

  • Keith was successful in passing Module 1, Honeybee Management.
  • Trevor was successful in passing both Module 1, Honeybee Management and Module 2, Honeybee Products & Forage. 



Module 1 Paper Nov 2018 – Sample Answer Paper

Andrew Cornwall has written a sample answer paper to the November 2018 Module 1 paper.

The content of the document is provided  in an endeavour to add more support for members embarking on the BBKA module exams. 

Click on the icon to open the pdf file

BBKA Examination Board Nomination – Celia Perry

Congratulations to Celia Perry upon being re-elected to the BBKA Examination Board for a further 2 year term at the 2019 Annual Delegates Meeting (ADM) on 12th January. 

Celia was first elected to the Exam Board for a three year term in 2016.  

Since 2012, Celia has also been the Surrey BBKA Examinations Secretary; dealing with the organisation of Basic Assessments and Honey Bee Health Assessments and making arrangements for written module exams … for all Surrey candidates.

For the last two years on the BBKA Exam Board, Celia has set and marked module papers. With the first term coming to an end at the 2019 ADM, Celia remained keen to continue to serve the Board for further term of office.

From the Personal Statement in Celia’s nomination form:

“I realise that the exam system is not for everyone, but by making it as relevant as possible to all beekeepers we can only improve the general level of understanding and knowledge”.


Registering for BBKA Modules & Assessments

Planning to sit Module exams or undergo Assessments this year?

Closing Dates for completed registration forms, with payments or proof of payments as appropriate, for entries to take BBKA Module exams and Assessments in 2019 to have been RECEIVED by Celia Perry ( ) … are:

  • Modules taken in March 2019 –  register by 3rd February 2019
  • Modules taken in November 2019 –  register by 23rd September 2019
  • Honey Bee Health assessment in 2019 – register by 21st February 2019
  • General Husbandry assessment in 2019 – register by 21st February 2019
  • Advanced Husbandry assessment in 2019 – register by 21st February 2019

Visit BBKA website for Registration forms and details of fees and payment methods.


Do you want to take a module exam?

Whilst it is still recommended that you pass the Basic Assessment before attempting any of the written modules, from March 2019, you will be able to take a module without having passed the basic Assessment.

Up until now, if you wanted to take one of the written module exams, you had to first pass the Basic Assessment.

The BBKA Examination Board has taken this decision in the interests of inclusivity, to enable those people who, for whatever reason are unable to keep bees, to go through the module system if they wish.
You will still need to have passed the Basic Assessment if you want to take any of the practical assessments such as the Honey Bee Health Certificate.

Celia Perry
Surrey BKA Exam Secretary
BBKA Examination Board member

After “The Basic” – What Next?

bee readingThe BBKA Basic Assessment is an enabling exam that all beekeepers should plan to take within their first few years of beekeeping. But what happens next?               

Until this year, other than simply practicing what you have learnt to date, the next formal qualification options would have been to … study for the academically focused BBKA Theory Modules, … work towards the Microscopy Certificate, … or to prepare for the more practical BBKA’s General Husbandry Assessment. To take all of these you need to have passed the Basic Assessment.

From 2018 there will also two new practical assessments which are intended to help beekeepers achieve a better awareness of the needs of honey bees and their management. They are ‘Honeybee Health’ and ‘Breeding Honey Bees’.  [Read more…]

What is the ‘Basic’ about?

Teacher Bee IconYou’ll hear people talk about ‘doing the Basic’ and you might wonder what it is all about. Celia Perry explains …

The Basic Assessment  is set by the BBKA and if you pass, it demonstrates to the rest of the world that you have reached a certain level of competency in beekeeping. 

It has been compared with the driving test. But just as you can throw away your L plates on passing, it doesn’t mean you know everything there is to know about driving (or beekeeping). If you want to keep your bees on land belonging to someone else or on allotments, you may be asked to show you have achieved a certain standard and this is it. [Read more…]

Basic Training Weekly Themes – available for 2017

Learning Steps (2)The topics of the BBKA’s Basic Syllabus to be covered each week at Henfold Copse are set out in a single PDF file to download for viewing and/or printing from this website.

The document and related information can be found under the EDUCATION menu tab above, or click here.

Please note that the document and its contents, all prepared by Education Coordinator Andrew Cornwall, is for the sole use of Reigate Beekeepers members and is not for further publication in any form.

Basic Assessment Study Notes – available for 2017

Learning Steps (2)The set of Basic Assessment Study Notes that accompany the Beginners and Basic training hives at Henfold Copse, are now also available as a single PDF file to download for viewing and/or printing from this website.

The document and related information can be found under the EDUCATION menu tab above, or click here.

Please note that the document and its contents, all prepared by Education Coordinator Andrew Cornwall, is for the sole use of Reigate Beekeepers members and is not for further publication in any form.