BEE enthusiasts in East Lancashire are spreading their knowledge to residents of the Ribble Valley with beekeeping courses.

The East Lancashire Bee Association (ELBA) are bringing ‘Introduction to Beekeeping’ to beekeeping beginners and ‘Honey Bee Management’, the first module in the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) General Husbandry Certificate.

Janet Murray, chairman of ELBA said the introductory course is perfect for anyone with an interest in bees and beekeeping.

The course teaches about how to identify different types of bees, how to set up a colony correctly and how to spot basic potential bee diseases.

She said: “Beekeeping is a great and enjoyable hobby but must be taken seriously as keeping them takes a lot of time and care, this course makes how the keeping world works and gives people a better perspective even if they decide against keeping bees.”

The secondary course are for more experienced keepers who have had bees for at least a year, and looks at how to sustain colonies for many years and looks into bee health and general keeping in more depth.

Mrs Murray said: “People often get quite emotionally attached to colonies and it is heart breaking to see a colony perish in the winter due to ill preparation.

“It’s like losing a pet, lots of people after doing these courses join the group and stick with it.”

A BBKA survival survey released this year showed that 14.5 per cent of bees perished last winter.

Although significantly lower than 33.8 per cent in 2012/13, it rose by almost 5 per cent from 2013/14.

A spokesman from the BBKA in the report said: “Diagnosing the precise cause of death of a colony is not easy; however the comments extracted from the response forms indicate there is a number of factors including bee husbandry skills, disease and weather.

“These are influencing the health status of the honey bee colonies.

The introductory course starts on September 6 at the North Valley Community Centre, Birtwistle Avenue, Colne and will cost £70 for six weeks.

The secondary course will begin on August 26 in the conference room at Hanson Cement, West Bradford Road, Clitheroe and will cost £40.

For more information contact the East Lancs Beekeepers association at