Excellent results at WBKA Basic Assessment

Ten PBKA members took the WBKA Basic Assessment on Sunday 21st August and we are delighted to report that all of the candidates passed with flying colours!

The WBKA Basic Assessment consists of two elements, practical and theoretical, to demonstrate a good level of understanding of the management of bees.

We would like to congratulate them all on their success, which was down to sheer dedication and hard work on their part, as well as a desire to be better beekeepers.

Well done indeed!

We are very proud of them all and hope to have more PBKA members enter the Basic Assessment next year!


Basic Assessment training Thursday 14th July

A reminder to all of the candidates for the WBKA Basic Assessment, that there will be a training session at ‘The Georges’, 24 Market St, Haverfordwest, SA61 1NH, at 7pm this Thursday 14th July.

Please ensure that you arrive in good time in order that we can start promptly and make the best use of the session and also bring any notes or questions you may have, plus a notebook and pen.

If you have any queries, please contact Paul Eades.

WBKA Basic Assessment

The PBKA is very keen to improve its education and training programme, which includes encouraging members to take the WBKA Basic Assessment in order to promote high standards of beekeeping. We would like to hold an assessment here in Pembrokeshire if we can get enough participants, so if you would like to enrol please contact Lynfa Davies, WBKA Exam Secretary, at education@wbka.com as soon as possible please.

Alternatively, PBKA members who attend the ‘Improvers’ apiary meetings at Scolton Manor can enrol at this Sunday’s (15th May) meeting at 2pm. Note that the fee for taking the exam is £15.00, payable by cheque made out to the WBKA, together with completion of an WBKA Basic Assessment Entry Form, copies of which will be available on Sunday.

Inspecting a hive at Scolton Manor 3

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