What the beekeepers say - 2019 BBKA's 42nd Spring Convention in 2019 involved around 1,400 people over the three days of the event. It is held at Harper Adams University in Shropshire each year and we make sure the Convention covers all aspects of beekeeping to keep our visitors happy. Visitors from all over the UK Susie Hill: Susie Hill has been keeping bees for about 10 years and comes over from Northern Ireland. “I can catch up with people I’ve met through beekeeping. I pick up new ideas and generally network. I’m an ‘organiser’ at work but here I can just come and relax and learn.” Of interest to new and more experienced beekeepers alike Lucy Shier with Claire Hartry: Relatively new beekeeper: Lucy Shier from near Cleobury Mortimor in Shropshire has been beekeeping for about 2 years. “The Spring Convention’s brilliant. It’s well organised, the food is good value for money. It’s fantastic to go to free lectures and workshops. I’ve no complaints!” Breadth and range of lectures Nigel Plowright (pictured) Jane and Nigel Plowright came to their first Spring Convention in 2019 with three other Meon Valley (Hampshire) BKA members. Nigel has done the introductory beekeeping course. He said: “We really benefited from the tremendous expertise. I went to the beginner and intermediate lectures – it was really clear who they were targeted at. There were lots of seminars. For me the stand out one was about Asian hornets by Nigel Semmence which was massively coherent and detailed…It made me feel we have a massive educational need for the beekeeping community [about the Asian hornet] which the NBU and BBKA is focussing on really well. For the general public too, the key is identification’’. Jane Plowright said as a result of coming to the Spring Convention with her husband she is much more interested in beekeeping and will now do the introductory course. Jane arrived interested in cosmetics and left thinking about being a beekeeper in her own right. She said: “There’s so much to know… I want to come back next year to learn more and to understand more. There’s such fabulous erudition, for example the introduction to pollen identification lecture. Jane continued: “The trade show was very useful and very well organised. So many providers in one place. It meant we could compare products and prices. It was a fabulous welcome dinner. And the stewards in white coats – what a good idea. There were a lot of really friendly people, and a real breadth of courses offered.” See you at the next convention! As above, the BBKA Spring Convention is a key event for beekeepers' diaries. It acts as a great place for our UK beekeeping companies (and some from overseas) to show their new products and for our members to bag bargains! The Convention is also the perfect place for scientists to communicate their new research. It is also an important forum for the Government’s National Bee Unit to take the time to advise our membership on the action they have been taking to combat the various pests, diseases and invasive species in the previous year. We also learn how we can do more as beekeepers to support our community. The dates for 2021 are 16-18 April.