I got a little twinge of excitement yesterday as the post dropped through the letterbox. I saw a large A4 envelope with my name on it and the small postmark of the BBKA (British Beekeepers Association). I applied for membership to the BBKA a few weeks ago now and so this must mean that they have been mad enough to actually include me as a member. Why on earth they have done this I do not know! Anyway the welcome pack included the following……

  • The Standard welcome letter
  • A really useful booklet entitled “Advice for Beekeepers”
  • A bit about the organisational structure of the BBKA and its democratic notions (!)
  • A leaflet about “Bee books, new and old” which I could purchase through the BBKA. Quite useful but again interesting that there didn’t seem to be anything about the practical experience of beekeepers, they were all textbook orientated
  • A small leaflet which was entitled “BBKA Enterprises”; basically what you could buy through them
  • A leaflet stating that you could get some leaflets from them about all the diseases (I do wonder whether this shouldn’t just be freely available online now….)
  • A raffle ticket for me to purchase (must remember to do this)
  • A FERA (Food and Environment Research Agency) booklet about “Managing Varroa” – seems to be full of information
  • My first copy of the BBKA News (you are entitled to this once a month as a member and is a booklet with all the latest news)

Now I have to say that it was lovely to receive this through the post but, if I am completely honest, I feel a little let down by it. Now that may sound harsh, but I mean it from a constructive perspective. It is obviously a very historic organisation (founded in 1874 it states on the paperwork) but the impression I get from this information is that it is still run by those historic methods.

There are certain indicators of this; photocopied sheets of paper, advertising leaflets that you can send off for (they do state it is available on the website but only small and at the bottom) and the BBKA news – this is simply words and no pictures at all. The information is fantastic but it isn’t particularly inviting.

Now, I say this is only constructive as we are all aware of the explosion in Beekeeping at the moment (I was one of them for example). Surely this is the time to update methods and publications because I am sure that the new beekeeper coming forward will be like me. A slightly younger demographic (a sweeping generalisation I know but based on the evidence I have met so far it stands true!) and one that is not yet experienced in the art of beekeeping. Therefore, especially the BBKA news needs to be more inviting, readable and ultimately, it has to look after the new beekeepers coming into the trade.

I am thrilled to be learning how to be a beekeeper and I am sure there are many others out there who are as well, but lets bring it up to date and introduce it to a new generation. It is always better to start at the grass roots isn’t it…..

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