WBKA Basic Assessment – Applications Needed by May 27

What is the Basic Assessment?

The WBKA Basic Assessment is the entry level examination which provides you with the evidence that you have reached an initial level of knowledge and skill in beekeeping.  You are likely to be in your second or third year of beekeeping and have attended the beginners course or regular meetings at the Association’s Apiary.

What is the benefit to me as a Beekeeper?

Studying for the Assessment will fill any gaps in your knowledge.  Successfully completing the Basic Assessment confirms that you have achieved a basic level of competence and knowledge in beekeeping and enables you to go onto more advanced modules to allow you to get the most from your beekeeping.

How can the Association help?

We will arrange for several assessments to take place on the same day at the Association apiary.  We will also arrange study groups for those taking the Assessment.

What should I do next?

Entries must be received at the latest by June 1st for this year.  The application form can be downloaded here and sent with the £10 fee (cheques payable to WBKA) to the PBKA Secretary John Dudman, Sevenoaks, The Kilns, Llangwm, HAVERFORDWEST, SA62 4HG to arrive by Friday May 27.  He will then make the arrangements.

The Assessment:

  • is oral and practical in nature, and normally lasts for between ¾ and 1 hour but may take a little longer in some circumstances;
  • is made by one Assessor who has been appointed by the Board. A trainee Assessor or Board member may be present as an observer with your prior agreement but their presence will have no influence on the outcome of your assessment;
  • usually takes place in the Candidate’s apiary, a local Association’s apiary or other mutually convenient place;
  • will take place during the active season, normally the months May to early September;
  • will normally be arranged for a mutually convenient time giving three weeks prior notice. In the event of bad weather the Assessment may be postponed at the discretion of the Assessor;
  • is divided into two parts:
    • (1) a practical session working with a colony of bees and
    • (2) a question and answer session during which any topics in the Syllabus may be asked.

Please be aware that a high priority is placed on your understanding and attitude towards honeybee diseases, especially those covered by Statutory Orders.

For the Assessment

you will need to have available:

  • a queen-right colony of bees having brood in all stages, with honey and pollen stores, and covering at least six brood combs;
  • the component parts of a brood frame and a sheet of wired foundation together with the necessary nails and tools for assembly;
  • a working smoker with spare fuel, hive tool(s) and any other items required to enable colony inspection;
  • your protective clothing and equipment as normally worn.
During the Assessment
you will be expected to be able  to:
  • demonstrate how to inspect your colony;
  • point out adult worker bees, drones and queen (if found);     Please note that you will not be expected to find the queen as part of this Assessment.
  • explain the general shape of the brood nest;
  • point out eggs, unsealed brood (larvae), and sealed brood;
  • distinguish between worker brood and drone brood;
  • point out or describe queen cells;
  • distinguish between the cappings of worker brood  and honey stores;
  • recognise stored pollen;
  • recognise propolis.
You will also be expected to be able to:
  • describe and point out healthy brood, both unsealed and sealed and describe the appearance of unhealthy brood;
  • to correctly assemble a brood frame and fit it with foundation;
  • demonstrate a safe method for moving bees.
What happens at the end of the Assessment?
  • Your Assessor is not permitted to give any indication of how you fared. This will be disclosed to you in writing by the Exam’s Board Secretary;
  • your Assessor will make a report to the Board whose Moderator is responsible for the final decision on your assessment;
  • successful Candidates will receive their Certificate sometime later. Local Associations are encouraged to present this on some suitable occasion such as an Annual General Meeting.

Need more help or guidance?

  • Make sure you have an up-to-date copy of the  Syllabus obtainable from the Examinations Secretary or downloaded from the WBKA website. This sets out the full requirement and the regulations for entry;
  • many beekeeping books of a general nature and those specifically intended for beginners make helpful reading.
  • application to enter should be made through your county or local beekeeping Association. In cases of difficulty and for any clarification on procedure please contact the Exams Board Secretary at the address below:

Examinations Board Secretary,
Ms D Sweet
Graig Fawr Lodge
CF 83 1NF

Feb 2010