Where we are, how we got here and how we can move on……

As with other things in life, beekeeping has changed. The modern beekeeper has access to “information” and bees that may not be appropriate to their region, where beekeepers in the past used bees that survived best in their district and managed them to suit.

Many beekeepers think that all bees are the same, but they aren’t, with some considerable differences, often with the same advice freely given, irrespective of the type of bee or the conditions. A colony of bees is telling you something all the time, the skill comes in interpreting what they are trying to say, which of course comes from observation and experience.

Many beekeepers judge their bees by the size of the honey crop, but is that always advisable? There are several reasons why a colony may produce more or less honey than another colony in the same apiary. We should also take into account the time taken on inspections and the amount of feeding required.

A colony of wild (feral) bees is subject to the forces of natural selection, which is often masked by beekeepers who, as a matter of course, over – feed, insulate and medicate their bees, just to keep them alive. Close observation of wild colonies has shown me they are often quite different from many managed colonies. The reasons for this will be discussed with a view to encouraging the keeping of bees with similar characteristics. What suits nature should suit us.

  • Type of Event: Online (Webinar)


27 Oct 2020


7:30 pm - 8:30 pm



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  • Roger Patterson
    Roger Patterson

    Roger was brought up on a farm in West Sussex and started beekeeping in 1963. He has travelled widely, speaking on and demonstrating practical beekeeping, where his down to earth approach gained by observation, lateral thinking and being taught by many colonies of honey bees for over 50 years is appreciated. He is privileged to have seen different bees being kept in different conditions, which, together with removing several hundred wild/feral colonies has formed his opinion of what bees are best suited to our fickle climate.

    Roger encourages beekeepers to use simple management techniques and keep good tempered, healthy and productive bees that suit their locality. He has not bought an imported queen for well over 50 years, preferring to rear his own from the best of those that have survived locally.

    He is a prolific writer and owns and manages Dave Cushman’s website www.dave-cushman.net, that is accepted as one of the world’s most comprehensive beekeeping websites.

    In his three webinars, Roger will attempt to cover some points the other speakers may have omitted. He will address some of the issues that face beekeeping and some the previous speakers may have raised. Apart from a few short spells, honey bees have been imported on a fairly large scale for over 100 years. Importation doesn’t seem to have solved anything, other than to weaken the stock that is already here for short term gain.