Beekeeping Associations



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 Beekeeping Coordination, which has been very active in its campaign against neonicotinoid pesticides.

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.



What Makes Good Beekeeping Associations?

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 existing members.  
  • 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 species. 
  • 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 reasons).
  • 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.

    And finally….
  • 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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