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.

[Please note: these lectures are now fully booked.]


15 Feb – The Life of the Honey Bee
22 Feb – The Hive and the Apiary
1 March – Equipment, Bees, and getting Started [cancelled due to adverse weather]
8 March – Products of the Hive
15 March – Help, there is Something Wrong with my Bees
22 March – The Beekeeping Year
5 April – The cancelled beginners’ class.  Further information including venue will be shared during the classes at Aberdeen Grammar before then.
29 March – Practical: Assembly of Hive Parts

Skep-making workshop – November, 2017

‘The first bit is the hard part’, instructor Bryce Reynard announced as six ADBKA members gathered for a workshop in the noble art of skep-making.  The tables were covered in straw. Bales of string and alarmingly large needles were ready for use. Bryce had kindly brought along a collection of his work, and after he had introduced himself and his background in forestry and his own introduction to basket-making via a birthday present, the workshop started with a discussion of skep-making around the various part- and fully-finished examples.  The wide variety of possible materials, from straw to brambles, nettles, various grasses and so on, was of interest to everyone. Continue reading “Skep-making workshop – November, 2017”

Murray McGregor – My Beekeeping Year, September – November

[This is the first of a series of articles based on interviews by Lindsey Macaulay and Olya Kurasova with Murray McGregor.]

My season starts in September when all my colonies are at the heather moors of Scotland waiting for us to harvest the honey crop.

The first thing we do is remove the bees from the honey crop within the hive. We do this by using a New Zealand type clearing board which normally clears all the bees in a matter of hours and, in my opinion, offers several advantages over the alternatives.  See Note 1.

Continue reading “Murray McGregor – My Beekeeping Year, September – November”

Sandy and Lilian Gordon

Meet the Members

This is a series of articles first published in our newsletter and based on interviews by Lindsey Macauley with Sandy and Lilian Gordon.


by Lindsey Macauley

Sandy and Lilian Gordon have been active and supportive members of the association and are some of the most recognised members. Today they continue to offer their services to house association loan equipment and offer their advice to beekeepers who call in.

Continue reading “Sandy and Lilian Gordon”

The Brood Food Theory of Swarming

From David Morland, ADBKA Chair:

I learnt recently that my grandfather was the first bee scientist at Rothamsted and one of the founder members of the International Bee Research Association (IBRA). His books and papers were passed on to Eva Crane whose own collection was the foundation of the IBRA library.

He was succeeded as Head of the Bee Section at Rothamsted in 1939, by Dr Colin Butler.

At Rothamsted, he initiated studies into the causes of swarming, so our members might be interested in a paper he had published in the Annals of Applied Biology, Vol XIII, No.1, February 1930 entitled ‘The Brood Food Theory’. I believe this is the reference at the start of Snelgrove’s book about swarming.

The article is taken from a photocopy of the original typescript he submitted and includes the diagrams and table from this original.  (Click here to view the full paper in PDF  view the full paper in PDF, or here to see a photocopy of the original.)

A paper copy of the paper will be found within the library at Crathes for members to borrow.

Continue reading “The Brood Food Theory of Swarming”