Spring lecture series 2018

Each year Aberdeen Beekeepers run a series of evening classes intended for beginners.  The classes are open to all, and there is no obligation to become a beekeeper or to join the association afterwards.  Some people just want to learn more about the fascinating world of the honey bee.  However, those who do wish to progress will be given sufficient knowledge and practical skills to start on this popular hobby in a way which is both enjoyable and mindful of the bees’ needs.

The seven-week programme will cost £10 for ADBKA members who joined in 2017 or earlier, and £30 for non-members  and new ADBKA members who join in 2018, payable on the first evening of attendance.

ADBKA members in full-time education can attend free of charge.  If space is limited, priority shall be given to ADBKA members.  The lecture series is open to people of all ages to attend.

It is our intention to offer ADBKA members the opportunity to take part in hands-on beekeeping sessions at our Crathes apiary until you have sufficient confidence to look after your own colony of bees with help from more experienced beekeepers when required.

The classes will take place in the lecture theatre at Aberdeen Grammar, Skene Street on seven Thursday evenings, commencing 15th February at 7:30pm.

Fees will be collected at the start of the first class (cash or cheque only) but attendees are requested to register in advance by contacting  David Morland.


15 Feb – The Life of the Honey Bee
22 Feb – The Hive and the Apiary
1 March – Equipment, Bees, and getting Started
8 March – Products of the Hive
15 March – Help, there is Something Wrong with my Bees
22 March – The Beekeeping Year
29 March – Practical: Assembly of Hive Parts


ADBKA Annual General Meeting

The ADBKA Annual General Meeting is on 24 May this year and all members will be welcome.  As is customary, the roles of Office Bearers (Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer) are up for re-election.  Last year’s Chair, Graham Torrie, and Secretary, Rosie Crighton, will not be standing again.

Any member can put themselves forward for nomination.  Contact Rosie if you are interested (01224 791181) .

We are also looking for a few enthusiastic beekeepers to join the committee as Trustees of ADBKA. We will give preference to members who have kept bees for some time and who would like to be involved in the running of one of Scotland’s largest beekeeping associations. This will require active participation in running and organising events or becoming part of the core crew at the apiary.

Contact David Morland (07768244420) if you are interested.

Agenda AGM 24 May 2017

Minutes of AGM 2016

SBA / Dundee University overwinter survey 2017

From John Durkacz:

As spring slowly arrives I write to ask if you could inform your members of this overwinter colony survival survey. The survey questionnaire and explanatory sheets are attached in 3 different formats (older Word, new Word, and PDF). Responses should be in by the end of April. There will be reminders in the magazine and the SBA website as we hope to have as many returns as possible in this final survey.

The accumulation of 6 years of data from this Dundee / SBA collaboration will be assessed by independent experts after the collection of the Spring 2017 data which will look at geographical, weather, reported Varroa load and land use factors and their effects on our bees.

Many thanks for your help,


John E Durkacz

[Photo: Ian Mackley]

Oilseed rape and beekeeping

Gavin Ramsay

Talk: Saturday 18 February 2017 at 2.00-4.00pm
The Kinellar Community Hall, Fintray Road, Blackburn AB21 0JQ

Oilseed rape is perhaps the most obvious forage plant for honey bees and produces more honey  in the UK than any other. The crop has been at the centre of a number of controversies over the years. Is it safe, might it give me hay fever, will it contaminate my honey with GM pollen, do modern varieties still yield as well as the old ones, what is biodiesel rape all about, and, not least, are any pesticides used on it going to harm my bees? Most beekeepers in OSR areas end up relaxed about most of these issues and instead concentrate on how to manage their bees for a wonderful honey crop and how to handle that honey.  Those beekeepers with the most data on their beekeeping, the most to lose if things go wrong,  and the greatest experience tend to agree that oilseed rape is an excellent spring forage for their bees, sets them up well for the rest of the season, gives substantial honey crops in most years and poses no additional risk compared to any other spring forage.

Continue reading “Oilseed rape and beekeeping”

Varroa mites, honey bees and viruses – an intertwined relationship

Dr Ewan Campbell, University of Aberdeen

Talk: Saturday 21 January 2017 at 2.00pm
The Kinellar Community Hall, Fintray Road, Blackburn AB21 0SS

As beekeepers you will be aware that global apiculture is currently facing a deep crisis, characterized by increasing parasite and pathogen pressure, exposure to a cocktail of agrochemical products and a rapid loss of biodiversity. Not to say that the “beemageddon” as shouted about in the press is true, but our bees are under severe pressure from many different sources!

Continue reading “Varroa mites, honey bees and viruses – an intertwined relationship”

Learn about Beekeeping


To be held at Aberdeen Grammar School Skene St, Aberdeen AB10 1HT.


  • 16 February: The biology of the bee
  • 23 February: The beehive
  • 02 March: What do I need to keep bees?
  • 09 March: The products of the hive
  • 16 March: Help! There’s something wrong with my bees!
  • 23 March: The beekeeping year

Starting each evening at 7.30pm, the six-week programme will cost just £15, payable on the first evening of attendance.

The programme is ideal for those thinking about starting out beekeeping, but would also be of interest to novices preparing to take the next step, or even experienced beekeepers wishing to update their knowledge.

It is our intention to offer attendees the opportunity to take part in hands-on beekeeping sessions at our Crathes apiary on the conclusion of the programme.

No need to book.  Just turn up.