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Balanced Beekeeping Events 2018


at Furzeleigh Farm, Ashburton, Devon
with Phil Chandler


Are you an absolute beginner, or do you just want to explore different methods? Are you still thinking about how you can best approach this subject, or do you want to try your hand at raising queens and improving your bees' temperament? Do you want to have a jolly good natter with other like-minded beekeepers, or get some help with your trickiest problems? Then our Balanced Beekeeping weekends are for you!

"Balanced beekeeping" is a continuous quest for the improvement of our relationship with bees. It recognises that keeping bees is not natural, because in nature, only bees keep bees. It acknowledges that our desire for honey may not be matched by the bees' willingness to give it up. It recognises that the bees have their own lives and they would probably prefer that we left them alone, however much we are kindly disposed towards them. It is a search for the best ways to be with bees.

Balanced Beekeeping courses comprise a mixture of illustrated talks, practical demonstrations and discussion. Questions are encouraged throughout. Teaching materials and methods are adapted to meet the needs of students as much as possible.

Balanced Beekeeping for Beginners

Learn about 'balanced beekeeping' in top bar and frame hives: a simple, practical way to have healthy and happy bees in your garden, with the possibility of your own honey harvest, but without the costs and complications associated with conventional beekeeping.

This course is intended for people with no previous knowledge of bees or beekeeping, and will provide you with all the information you need to decide if, when and how you will become a beekeeper.

  • Why do we keep bees?
  • What do you need to get started?
  • The lifecycle of a colony
  • The nature of honeybees and flowering plants
  • Principles and philosophy of balanced beekeeping
  • Principles into practice: how to get started
  • Hive design from the bees' point of view
  • Comparing vertical and horizontal hives
  • How to attract free swarms
  • How to take a swarm from a tree
  • Your first year: what to look out for
  • How to recognise common pests and diseases and what to do about them
  • Feeding: what, when and how
  • How and when to take honey and other hive products
  • Your first winter: how to prepare and what to do
  • Your second year: getting to know your bees

Suggested reading: An Introduction to Balanced Beekeeping

Beginners Events 2018

  • March 9-11

Starting at 7pm on Friday; 9:30-4:30 Saturday and Sunday with breaks for lunch and refreshments (included).

Fee: £135.00 single, £230 for two people, plus £115 per additional person.

Price includes meals on Friday evening and Saturday and Sunday lunchtimes, and all teas, coffees, etc. And cake!

Camping on site is free: please ask for details of local accommodation if needed.

Questions and booking, call Jo on 07914 922 554 or 01364 643524

Improving your Balanced Beekeeping

A hands-on, exploratory course for people with some beekeeping experience (with any type of hive).

Some beekeepng knowledge is assumed, so rather than focusing on the basics, we will have time to explore particular aspects of the craft in more depth. You are encouraged to ask questions and share your own experiences, and we welcome your problems! Beginners are welcome, as long as you are prepared to do some preparatory reading.

  • Principles and philosophy of balanced beekeeping
  • Balanced beekeeping in conventional hives
  • Hive design from the bees' point of view
  • Comparing vertical and horizontal hives
  • Swarming and swarm management
  • Making increase and combining
  • Choosing a method of queen rearing
  • Queen mating and introduction
  • Bee breeding: can we improve our stocks?
  • How and when to take honey and other hive products
  • Treatment-free beekeeping: what does it mean and should we be doing it?
  • How can we manage our bees without chemical interventions?
  • We will have a number of different hives to show you, including horizontal top bar, Warre, log hive, National and the Flow Hive. You will also be able to handle Phil's new Quadratic hive, which may be the most versatile hive in the world!

You are encouraged to bring your beekeeping problems with you to this event - but not your actual bees! You may bring a frame or a comb if necessary in order to identify particular issues, but please ensure that they are sealed inside transparent plastic bags to avoid the possibility of spreading diseases.


Suggested reading: An Introduction to Balanced Beekeeping

Improvers Events 2018

  • May 11-13 - places currently available

Starting at 7pm on Friday; 9:30-4:30 Saturday and Sunday with breaks for lunch and refreshments (included).

Fee: £135.00 single, £230 for two people, plus £115 per additional person.

Price includes meals on Friday evening and Saturday and Sunday lunchtimes, and all teas, coffees, etc. And cake!

Camping on site is free: please ask for details of local accommodation if needed.

Questions and booking, call Jo on 07914 922 554 or 01364 643524


You can camp on site (basic facilities; no extra charge), or you can stay at one of many local B&Bs or hotels.

Fee includes: Friday evening meal; lunch on Saturday and Sunday; refreshments (tea, coffee, etc) all weekend. If camping, please bring your own breakfasts.

The weekend will start on Friday evening, with a meal and introductory discussion. Saturday and Sunday will have a mix of indoor and outdoor sessions. There will be ample opportunities to ask questions and discuss different approaches to beekeeping.

Local facilities (including Buckfast Abbey) are within walking distance and hotel/B&B accommodation is available nearby. Dartmoor (we are just inside the National Park) and the historic towns of Totnes and Ashburton are a short drive away.

Be sure to BOOK NOW to reserve your place!


To book and for further information, Jo on 07914 922 554 or 01364 643524






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© 2018 Phil Chandler    Friends of the Bees
Balanced Beekeeping at Furzeleigh Farm