I’d attended a training course last year on taking the General Husbandry and found it very useful. There were lots of useful hints and reminders about making sure you are well prepared as well as a run through of the syllabus. It also had a practical day where we were shown how to improve our techniques for carrying out some of the tasks.
I’d put everything into a folder and slowly evolved a list of things I needed to do prior to the actual assessment.
We started with the indoor stuff. Danish pastries had been bought, coffee made and passed around. We chatted through what would happen, and then got started. I showed them how I extract wax and filter it and what I do with it. I’d got a nice display stand (Made by my lovely husband) with my honey jars on it, the wax blocks arranged in front, my honey show wax with prize certificate, and my bundle of module certificates.
We went through my honey extraction kit, which filled the kitchen. I went through the process I use to extract honey.
I should have made my set honey earlier. It wasn’t setting yet because of the weather – the jar left in the fridge had, but I didn’t want to ruin the labels by putting the ‘as for sale’ jars back into the fridge. It had been scorching hot for weeks, with no respite from the heat even at night.
My spare kit had all been cleaned with the help of some very good friends and neatly put away in the large plastic storage box that someone had recommended. It makes getting to stuff much easier than looking through a stack of kit for a queen excluder or snelgrove board.
The examiners also checked out where I store kit in the house. One was impressed as his wife doesn’t let him keep anything in the house. Shh, I had to warn him, don’t give my husband any ideas. I’ve got quite a lot of kit in what used to be my study. I’m not an agent of Thornes though, despite the large stack of thornes boxes.
They looked through my honey super stacks outside too.
They read through my hive records.
We looked briefly at my nucs in the garden that I’d put queen cells in. These all worked – thank goodness. My first attempts at grafting this year were unsuccessful, but I’ll be trying again.
I collected the kit I needed to carry out the tasks and we went to the allotment apiary.
I use a wheelbarrow for carrying kit down there so loaded that up and they helped carry things too.
I carried out the tasks – this was where I was hugely nervous!
Disease brood inspection, making up a nucleus and swarm control.
But I did everything I needed to and then suddenly it was over. They left me to rearrange the bees and close up the hives. All done.
The letter came about 8 days letter saying I’d passed.
I feel the process has made me a better beekeeper. Just going on the course was useful but I’m glad I’ve done the assessment this year.
So what next for me? Advanced husbandry – but I can’t do that until 2020. So until then it’ll be practising good husbandry on my own bees, and I’m starting a module 3 study group for my branch. Although that’s been called a ‘bee disease chat evening’ and so far I have 8 people signed up to attend!
I’m also going to have to play at some microscopy as there’s some needed for the AH assessment. I’m not sure whether I’m going to do a microscopy course yet though or just teach myself.
This seems like quite a short write up compared to the three hour assessment. I will add things as they come back to me!