60% of all the crops we grow are pollinated by bees including vegetables, such as peas and beans, as well as apples, pears and strawberries. Ensuring that there are sufficient pollinators around is an essential factor in successful crop production.

So, have you ever thought of keeping bees? It is not as difficult as you might think provided you take the time to prepare thoroughly and learn the basic techniques.

To help you do this, Lune Valley Beekeepers have produced an on-line course to introduce you to beekeeping and raise your awareness of all the things you should consider before buying any equipment or acquiring any bees.

The course comprises of a brief introduction and 16 sessions covering matters such as Why Keep bees?, Types of Beekeeper, The Beekeeping Year, Life history of the Honey Bee, Hives and equipment, and Bees, the Law and Insurance. The total running time is 135 minutes but sessions can be viewed separately and in any order.

This course would make an ideal Christmas present for the potential beekeeper.

After completing the course, if you are still interested in beekeeping, we run a number of one day introductory practical courses in May and June to let you try your hand at most of the essential basic beekeeping skills, including opening up a hive and meeting the bees inside.

Honey bees are wild creatures that cannot be domesticated. Our approach is to manage them with the minimum of interventions and in ways which most meet their needs rather than those of the beekeeper.

To ensure that beekeeping is as accessible as possible, we have designed an innovative bee hive which removes the need for lifting heavy boxes, and which can be effectively managed by those in wheelchairs.

Lune Valley Beekeepers maintain a Club apiary close to the centre of Lancaster where, throughout the season, members can come to gain practical experience before getting their own bees.

For more information or to order the course, visit: www.lunevalleybeekeepers.co.uk

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