Are all associations affiliated to BBKA?

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House Bee
Mar 12, 2009
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Yesterday I had my first ever introduction to real live bees... I have to say, it was a day I will never forget and it was brilliant, but I digress.
I want to join a beekeeping association in order to learn as much as possible, but the one I was going to join has an affiliation with the BBKA... I have seen a few posts regarding certain aspects of their funding from Pesticide companies, but I have also read articles detailing their contribution to the prolification and conservation of beekeeping.
I am confused to say the least, and am wondering how I can best be part of an association without contributing to something I disagree with.
As I live in Hampshire, I wondered if there is an association that is not affiliated with the BBKA that I could join.
Any opinions would be great...
I'm in a similar dilemma - my local society are a nice bunch, but are affiliated to the BBKA - I'd like to be a member of their society, so am going to be honest with them - "I want to join, but do not wish to become in any way a supporter of the BBKA", and see what they say
If it comes to it, if there's no way that's possible, then I'll "go without" the support of a local society and rely on this and another excellent online forum.:)
It would, but I wouldn't want to be seen "plugging" another excellent forum on this one (where's the angelic smiley?):)
I am glad I am not the only one Brosville, I wonder if the BBKA are aware of how potential new members feel.
I think that being open and upfront with the local society can only be to the good - I ran into one of the members the other day, and I got a dose of the
"well they NEED to speak to the chemical companies......." line, to which I politely replied, "absolutely, but they don't need to take their pieces of silver and become a wholly-owned subsidiary"...... so there is still a great deal of mis and dis-information abounding at grass roots level, I am of the impression that very few members even begin to grasp what has gone on in their name.
My hope is that the local association will themselves start to ask questions if people like us ask the "awkward" questions - certainly there was already a great deal of disquiet amongst several members at the last meeting I attended who were of the opinion that all "head office" cared about was forever upping the contributions, and were distant and arrogant...
I'm not holding my breath as to being allowed to be "*exempt the political levy", so will probably end up asking this lot and the Biobees team a lot of daft questions instead!:)
("*exempt the political levy" was the clause whereby if, for instance, you wanted to work in journalism in the 70's, which was a "closed shop", you could refuse to pay the portion of union fees which went to fund the Labour Party)
It's a good sign that members are starting to question their actions tho, it may well lead to a change of heart of the BBKA... If that does happen, I will happily become a member. After all, I am sure there are a lot of organic farm product producers that would find some benefit from being endorsed by the BBKA... There would be no conflict of interest then.
In the meantime, like you, I will have to ask all I can on here.... the questions may be daft, but at least there are some clever buggers on here to ensure that the answers aren't.... always:)
I'd view an endorsement by the BBKA as it stands as about the same as erecting a neon-lit "sponsored by Bayer" sign .........:svengo:
When it means "the ethical, democratic, and totally untainted independent society for all beekeepers" then I might join too!:cheers2:
mmmm I know what you mean.... a bit like the Soil Association giving a pass certificate to a farm in Chernobyl..:)
The main reason that most people agree to be members of the BBKA is that they want the cheap insurance that goes with it. If you aren't going to go with the BBKA it is worth thinking about insurance. Who else does it now?
Can you not just buy independent public liability insurance? I know someone that used to get it to cover their metal detecting hobby.... in case they left a farm gate open or caused injury to people or livestock directly or indirectly. I might go for a google and see what I can find.
Yes Jenxy you can, but the BBKA also sell insurance against colony loss.. say you had AFB diagnosed and had to kill all your bees and burn all your frames, at least you would get enough back to buy new frames and foundation and buy a new queen, so that if you got a prime swarm you could afford to be a beekeeper, even if you got no honey that year.
Oh right, kinda got you over a barrel then :(
Just my oppinion,that bdi insurance is not worth having,and the other one is doubtful.
I have brought up the subject at my Assoc. and there is disquiet at the BBKA behaviour - and 'someone' apparently voted on our behalf without consulting anyone :banghead:. No-one knew she had!!! Can of worms opened there:toetap05:
Is there an alternative to the BBKA? - There seems to be an undercurrent of feeling to get something off the ground......
Right here goes time to be contensious.

I disagree wholeheartedly with the BBKA endorsment of any form of pesticide. On a side note I also believe that the whole sponsership thing comes more as part of a very politically savvy company taking advantage of the undoubtable naivety of the BBKA exec.

That said I am and will continue to be a member of my local association for a number of reasons.

1. It has provided me with a cost effective and competent start in beekeeping.

2. Most, even if not all of the talks are interesting and informative.

3. this one in my opinion is the most important, is it provides a diverse range of views on how to do something. Its all very well having a mentor but that only teaches you one way, you learn the good and the bad from someone. Having a diverse range of views although it can be confusing does to a certain extent allow you to find your own way, whilst hopefully avoiding the pitfalls of going it alone.

I know that this forum also provides a diverse range of view, but the chances of having someone from here stood next to you by an open hive is remote.

My suggestion basically boils down to dont cut off your nose to spite your face, most associations have a lot to offer aside from the BBKA affiliation.

Well put David. If it wasn't for my local association putting on a beginners course followed by practical apiary sessions, I wouldn't be keeping bees now. And with the media interest in bees, most beginners courses are fully booked. Surely it's better for us all to take advantage of what our associations have to offer whilst communicating back any discord.
I agree with David. BBKA did a financially stupid and politically naive deal with Bayer that was not in the interests of bees or beekeepers. Then to everyone's shock they renewed this deal. However the benefits of being in your local BKA are massive, especially if you are a beginner.

  1. you see bees handled differently and reacting diffrently
    you see what everyone thinks works and what is seen as eccentric or unwise
    you see what works locally and what doesn't - the beeks with the most to say are rarely those with the most honey and fewest losses
    you make some real bee buddies if you are lucky :grouphug:
Sadly they ignore disquiet.
I was told- a vote was taken and the majority were happy to be associated with Bayer. - Well, we were not asked,were totally unaware of the proposal and a vote was offered higher up, stating we were in agreement!! I am certainly not saying leave our local Assocs, but I just wonder how many other local Assoc were treated in this way. Was it legal??
I think what is emerging in this thread is that a great many people have no time whatsoever for the BBKA, or their recent actions/affiliations, but that the status quo carries on because of the perceived need for insurance, and quite reasonable liking for the cosy world of the local associations - and it is really easy to just bumble along (deliberate pun) whilst the executive continue to get away with blue murder, and still keep raking in the subscriptions.
A great many beekeepers are really nice, gentle people, who just want to get on and keep a few bees, and their trust is being grossly abused by the cynics who run the BBKA - I personally think the insurance is irrelevant, I'll bear the loss of a couple of hives and bees if it comes to it.
If there were an independent alternative association with a forum, an insurance scheme, and an informal "membership" it could all be done online, be truly open and democratic, and be considerably cheaper for the local associations than the BBKA........:)

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