Why join a beekeeping association?

The bees in the borough project at offshoots
The bees in the borough project stall at the Towneley heritage and woodland day.

One of the main aims for the Bees in the borough project is to encourage people to start bee keeping, to educate new beekeepers and to encourage them to join there local beekeeping association. This blog post about beekeeping and aromatherapy in London explains why this is so important ….. Why join a beekeeping association?.  ……couldn’t of put it any better myself!  This is very much in keeping with the ethos of the British Beekeeping Association (BBKA) and the bees in the borough project.

some great pictures, this is a really nice blog

Bee Somebody





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Bees in the Borough

Honey Bee course project
Honey Bee course project

This is the leaflet for the bees in the borough Introduction to Beekeeping course taught  by David Rayner that I attended.  It was a six day course covering, the importance of beekeeping, the colony, the beekeeping year, pests and disease, forage and bee products, history, swarm control, queen rearing and getting started with bee keeping the course also contained a practical session that involved examining a bee hive. This leaflet describes what the bees in the borough course is and why it is so important.

Bees in the Borough Project Information:


” In early 2011, Offshoots Permaculture Project, situated in the walled garden of Towneley Park, Burnley was awarded a grant from the ‘Heritage Lottery Fund’ and the ‘John Paul Getty Foundation’ to focus on the re-introduction of the British native honeybee to the Borough of Burnley and surrounding areas. Offshoots has kept bees and delivered beekeeping training on site for over 9 years.

During that period, an alarming decline in honeybee colonies has been reported widely in the international press. Although no conclusive evidence has yet been published to establish the cause of this decline, there is a growing body of scientific opinion supporting the reduced genetic variation in bee colonies worldwide as a key factor. Therefore we believe that it is critically important to provide a local heritage solution to the serious threats faced by honeybee colonies.

Bees in the Borough is a practical and educational programme of reintroduction of our native honeybee and will highlight the heritage of this highly threatened indigenous bee species. The Project will aim to establish a thriving population of British native honeybees, expand the forage acreage for honey bees, train people in the skills of beekeeping, raise awareness of the plight of honey bees in general, establish nucleus colonies of native honeybees for local people and create and establish a nursery production of bee forage plants.

The overall aim of the Bees in the Borough project is to establish a thriving population of our British native honeybee, which is currently under threat of extinction, within the local area.  This will be done by a programme of queen rearing, colony establishment and training.  The boundaries of the Bees in the Borough Project are dictated by a belt of high moorland surrounding the Burnley and Pendle area, thereby isolating our bees from those in the surrounding areas. This means we can aim to improve the quality of our bees by a programme of selective breeding of the native honeybee, providing we do not import foreign bees.

The British native honeybee is now included on the  ‘Lancashire Biodiversity Action Plan’ species. This work was initially started by Bill Ainsworth and Arthur Bickerstaffe, local beekeepers, under the heading of ‘Black Bees in Pendle’. We are proud to take up the banner and continue this important work.

The Latin name of the British native honeybee is Apis mellifera mellifera. This honeybee is of a dark brown colour, almost black, and more adapted to survival in our cold, wet climate.  In the early years of the 20th century, the British honeybees were decimated by a disease known as the Isle of Wight Disease (IOWD). Such was the impact of the IOWD that beekeepers believed our native species to be extinct. Beekeepers wanted to replace stock rapidly, so imported honeybees were brought in from around the world, mainly the Italian honeybee (Apis mellifera ligustica).  However, recent DNA-based research at the University of Copenhagen confirms that the native honeybee continues to survive in Britain. Through surveys conducted, there are known pockets of native honeybees throughout Britain.  British native honeybees are more suited to our environment, are gentler in nature to work with, and are more frugal with their honey stores through the winter months.   “

If you are interested in attending a beekeeping course at offshoots there is a copy of the bees in the borough 1 day training flyer in a previous post – It is very much an interesting course, and David Rayner is very knowledgeable teacher – I strongly recommend it!

Offshoots at Towneley Exhibition

Saturday 29th September till Thursday 20th December 2012
Stocks Massey Gallery, Towneley Hall, Burnley

Offshoots Project Committee and Groundwork Pennine Lancashire are holding an Exhibition at Towneley Hall to showcase the individual talents and the many and varied crafts and arts that take place at Offshoots Permaculture Project.

offshoots exhibition at Towneley Hall
Offshoots exhibition at Towneley Hall

Exhibits include:
Stone carving by Alan Rhodes
Willow woman by Joevanka Gregory
Patchwork collage by Jackie Catenga and the Offshoots Craft Group  including ‘Ewe-man’ by Caroline Young
Yurt with slab & stick furniture by Glen Roberts
Dragon chainsaw sculpture by Chris Barber
Harmony in Blue and Harmony in Green paintings by Edward Foster
Wood turned bowls, boxes and tables by Hugh Stansfield
Beekeeping display
Offshoots display
Permaculture Association display

The Exhibition opens this Saturday and runs for three months.

Towneley Hall is open from 12-5pm Saturday to Thursday (closed Friday)
Entry is free to children, students and Burnley residents – non Burnley Residents £4
Towneley Hall Art Gallery & Museums, Towneley Park, Burnley, Lancashire, BB11 3RQ

More about the exhibition to follow!