Beekeeping Associations should
and can be great places to meet and learn about beekeeping, share tips and
advice, news, chatter, purchase used beekeeping equipment, or even to gain discounts
on new beekeeping equipment organised via the group.
There are local groups, and these
can usually be found via the internet (association websites) or sometimes via
directories (both paper and internet).
Local libraries and councils may also have further information.
There are country wide beekeeping
associations, as well as international and continent wide groups. Some of these come together for a very
specific purpose, and/or also engage in campaigns, such as the European
There are also other groups,
trusts and societies which engage in particular activities of interest to
beekeepers, such as the IBRA (International Bee Research Association), Bees For
Development (which focuses on beekeeping as a way to create a sustainable
livelihood, among other things), and groups at a national level, such as the
Natural Beekeeping Trust – the UK arm of a movement to encourage what they term
‘Natural Beekeeping’ methods.
Associations - what do they do?
That is a matter of personal
opinion, and may vary according to your own ideas. But here are a few ideas of mine – how many
boxes does your beekeeping association tick?
- Welcomes all beekeepers, new and
- Helps new members learn how to start beekeeping.
- Is a good place to share advice,
ideas, tips and contacts, and to attend informative lectures and receive
helpful news on anything from keeping bees, purchasing bees and to buying equipment.
- Is a place where matters can be
discussed and different methods of beekeeping can be embraced without
prejudice, and experience shared for general interest.
- Has a good outreach programme
that inspires people about bees, and overcomes fear of bees in some members of the
public, as well as put them in perspective.
- Encourages the people and local
councils to go ‘bee friendly’ with regard to gardening and planting schemes, and the
avoidance of pesticides.
- Absolutely cares about the
welfare of bees themselves – not merely honey bees, but also other bee
- Represents beekeepers to enable
them to take advantage of discounts and offers for the purchase of equipment.
- Listens and respects the view
point of all members, and ensures all of their views are taken into account e.g.
through a proper ‘one beekeeper, one vote’ system.
- Unites with other relevant bodies
to protect bees in the environment, and ensure they are not exposed to
unacceptable harm – such as via neonicotinoid pesticides.
- Ensures fair systems and support
exist for bees and beekeepers at government level – such as proper recording
and action taken for poisonings or malicious harm, as well as appropriate
compensation and insurance. Ensures
beekeepers are well informed in such areas (e.g. how to take action, how to
identify poisonings etc).
- Supports good husbandry practice
and training, such as disease identification and risk minimisation.
- Promotes responsible beekeeping
in the community (and responsible behaviour by beekeepers generally), and
advocates the right to keep bees within local councils (unless for sound
- Ensures beekeepers are properly
informed about issues that affect them, such as fairly and accurately as
possible conveying information about the latest research, changes in law,
relevant government and environment reports etc.
- Quite simply, beekeeping
associations that keep in mind that beekeeping should be enjoyable, and the
bees themselves should be properly cared for and cherished - surely that's what all beekeepers
want from their group?
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