We are often asked if it’s mandatory to join your local beekeeping association, the short answer is – No. However there are many reasons that you may want to think about joining up with your association, and we’re going to explore that today.
There is a long list of things to do before receiving your bees and starting your life as a beekeeper. Joining your association just seems like another tick box, but do you really need to join? You can choose to not be affiliated with the British Beekeeping Association, but there are so many benefits to joining that it is hard to pass it up. Let’s take a look.
Community & Support
This will vary depending on which association you have joined but by and large the community of beekeepers are friendly and supporting of new members. You will likely meet people who will have a range of beekeeping experience and will find many people to learn from (or even become your mentor).
Most associations run a beginner beekeeping course that run throughout the winter and the season, classes will be conducted in their chosen meeting place and at their association apiary (or maybe even online these days). It is a great way to get to grips with beekeeping as you have a wealth of knowledge supporting you.
You will be able to take advantage of possible ‘isolation apiaries’ for example if one of your colonies re-queens itself and shows bad temperament then you may be able to access a site away from the public.
Membership with the BBKA will cover you for third party public and product liability insurance for up to £10,000,000 (with an excess of £250 for third party property damages, paid for by the member). So what does that mean? It means that any damages caused due to your beekeeping activities will be covered. Whether that be collecting a swarm, conducting an experience day or selling your honey at a market.
However, if beekeeping activities become a significant part of your income then you will need commercial insurance and have to look beyond the BBKA.
The liability insurance does not cover any losses you suffer personally due to bee diseases, adverse weather or equipment theft. These are optional add-ons though at a very reasonable rate.
Receive a 5% discount off National Bee Supplies to start your beekeeping journey for all members of BBKA. Individual associations may have also negotiated with suppliers to gain an exclusive discount for their members but you will have to enquire with them personally!
As a member of the BBKA you will receive a copy of the BBKA News, an extremely informative and up to date magazine to keep you in touch with the latest developments of research. In particular, their monthly section ‘in The Apiary’ is very helpful for the beekeeper that is starting out, it will give you a pretty in depth look into what you should be looking out for in the month and how to tackle common problems that usually occur.
In fact, February’s edition has a piece written by none other than Master Beekeeper Celia Davis on how to get started with beekeeping. In addition there are some very wise words from David Williamson on ‘Becoming a Beekeeper’.
Who knows, maybe you will be the next one writing an article for the magazine!
For such a reasonable membership subscription the benefits are definitely extensive. Mind you, we haven’t covered all of them, but the reasons that may be important to those of a beginner. The BBKA has usually at least one association per county, and represent thousands of beekeepers throughout the nation. They have an unceasing amount of resources to take advantage of and a wonderful community surrounding them.
Learn more on BBKA’s Official Website: https://www.bbka.org.uk/