British Beekeeping Association

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The BBKA was founded in 1874 as an independent beekeepers club. It only later took on the role of an umbrella organisation for county and other local associations which already existed. Over the years it has not always had a happy relationship with local associations. For instance, separate Welsh, Scottish, Ulster and Irish associations founded over the years have left the BBKA representing mostly England, although there is overlap elsewhere through individual membership and some territories with more than one association such as the Institute of Northern Irish Beekeepers. Historical development left a structure which varies in geographical coverage. Some area associations are members directly, some through federations such as Harrow and the Middlesex federation, some are affiliated as counties and have a local branch structure. Not all English counties are affiliated to the BBKA, Bedfordshire and the Leicester and Rutland association among them. Other associations have left the BBKA and returned several years later.

There are a small number of individual BBKA members but the vast majority are members through affiliated associations. A capitation fee per active member gets the BBKA newsletter, third party insurance and access to the BBKA examination structure. The BBKA claims a membership of around 24,000 beekeepers (2013) a substantial increase on the 9,000 at the low point of UK beekeeping around 2001.