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close this bookManual for Trainers of Small Scale Beekeeping Development Workers (Peace Corps, 1983, 392 p.)
close this folderSession 7: Bee colony cycle - introduction to Trainee facilitation
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View the documentAttachment 7A: The essence of beekeeping


Trainer Note

· This is the first of a series of Trainee-facilitated sessions. The transfer of skills and information is a primary task of a Peace Corps Volunteer. This series of sessions provides the Trainees an opportunity to further develop communication skills by independently designing and delivering a training activity. Trainees will conduct a session and receive feedback from their peers on the effectiveness of the design and delivery of the session. These Trainee-facilitated sessions encourage the individual to acquire and effectively present beekeeping information.

· In addition to the objectives described in each session, this series of sessions is designed to enable the Trainees:

· To develop a list of effective training design criteria.
· To develop a list of effective facilitation skills criteria.

· The session plans should be made available to the Trainees to help them in their preparation. However, encourage the Trainees to be innovative in both their session design and delivery.

· Always be available as resources to help Trainees in preparing their sessions.

· For this first session, give a copy of the session to the Trainee who will facilitate. When the Trainee has completed the presentation through Step 3, continue with Steps 4 to 7, using the Trainee's presentation as a basis for establishing the format for session evaluation.


2 hours


A good understanding of the bee colony cycle and the factors which affect it is essential for successful beekeeping. Overall hive management objectives during the cycle are the same wherever beekeeping is carried out. This session will discuss the bee colony cycle, the management objectives during each part of the cycle and the practices used to ascertain the colony cycle for an area. This will prepare the Trainees to adapt their beekeeping skills to any area where they may be working.


· To discuss the bee colony cycle.

· To explain the effects of weather on the cycle.

· To examine management objectives and schemes for each part of the cycle.

· To discuss methods to ascertain colony growth, available bee plant resources, and the impact of weather patterns on the colony.


- Small Scale Beekeeping, Chapter 4.

- The Hive and the Honey Bee, Chapters 11, 12, 16.

- Beekeeping in Zambia

- Attachment 7A, "The Essence of Beekeeping"


blackboard, chalk, newsprint, markers, graph paper, monthly temperature and rainfall charts of areas where the Trainees will be working


Trainer Note

· The attached article, "The Essence of Beekeeping", provides a basic outline for this session.

Step 1: Introduction (5 minutes)

Introduce the session with the idea that the activity in the colony changes throughout the year and, that as a result, management objectives change. Explain that the beekeeping cycle is basically the same everywhere beekeeping is carried out.

Step 2: Graphing the Cycle (30 minutes)

Draw on the Trainees' observations and experiences to reproduce the population graph of the cycle. Introduce terminology for the bee cycle in the languages which the Trainees will be using as Volunteers. Note that the bee cycle is influenced primarily by rainfall patterns in the tropics, while in temperate regions and in the subtropics, temperature patterns influence the cycle. Relate this to the flowering (nectar-producing) characteristics of plants in these regions.

Provide each Trainee with graph paper and make available, on newsprint, monthly temperature and rainfall data for the area where the Trainees will be working. Have the Trainees graph the data by months and then predict the bee colony cycle on the graph. Relate their predictions of the yearly growth and decline of the colony population to weather patterns in the areas where they will be working.

Step 3: Management Objectives and Schemes (30 minutes)

Discuss the overall management objectives for each portion of the cycle and examine the management practices used to meet these objectives. Point out that good beekeeping involves understanding the bee colony cycle and carrying out management operations at the right time.


Step 4: Introduction to Session Evaluation (15 minutes)

Explain the difference between session design and facilitation. Briefly discuss the importance of good training design and facilitation skills in the role of a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Explain the format of the evaluation process for session design and facilitation skills. Point out that there will be a series of Trainee-facilitated sessions during the training program. At the end of each of these sessions, time will be set aside to evaluate the design of the session and the facilitation skills used by the Trainee. As these evaluations occur, an on-going list of session design components and facilitation skills will be developed. These lists will be posted permanently in the classroom and will be referred to and amplified throughout the program.

Step 5: Evaluation of Session Design (15 minutes)

Ask the Trainee who facilitated the session to evaluate the design of the session, then ask the remainder of the group for their evaluation. Have a Trainee begin a list, on newsprint, of the components of good session design. Guide the evaluation process with the following questions:

- What generalizations can be drawn regarding the design of this session?

- What was good about it?

- What were some points where it could have been improved?

- How might this session be designed differently for working with agency level personnel or with small-scale farmers?

Step 6: Evaluation of Facilitation Skills (15 minutes)

Ask the Trainee who conducted the session to evaluate the facilitation of the session, then ask the remainder of the group for their evaluation. Have a Trainee begin a list, on newsprint, of facilitation skills. Guide the evaluation process with the following questions:

- What did the facilitator do to help the session go smoothly?

- What behaviors of either the facilitator or participants were particularly effective in facilitating learning? Which were not so effective?

- Would these same behaviors be effective when working with host country farmers, or agency-level personnel?

Step 7: Identifying Trainee Facilitators (10 minutes)

Post, on newsprint, the following list of Trainee-facilitated sessions and the dates they are to occur:

Session 11 Functional Biology of the Honey Bee
Session 16 Types of Bees and the Bee-Human Relationship
Session 17 Foraging
Session 20 The Bee Space and Types of Hives
Session 21 Obtaining Bees
Session 26 Swarming, Supersedure and Absconding
Session 28 Constructing a Swarm Board and Swarms
Session 30 Extractors and Solar Wax Melters
Session 33 Melliferous Plants
Session 36 Honey
Session 37 Other Hive Products
Session 46 Bee Diseases and Pests
Session 47 Insecticides and Bees

Briefly explain the content of each of these sessions and explain that the approach used in these sessions should be directed toward agency-level personnel.

Ask Trainees to volunteer to facilitate the listed sessions and ask for a different Trainee to volunteer to conduct the evaluation of each session. Suggest that the same Trainee may want to facilitate Session 26, "Swarming, Supersedure and Absconding" and Session 28, "Constructing a Swarm Board and Swarms.. Also suggest that a Trainee with good building skills facilitate Session 30, "Extractors and Solar Wax Melters", point out the Session 21, "Obtaining Bees", can be facilitated effectively by two people (see Trainer Note, Session 21), and suggest that Session 33, "Melliferous Plants" be done by a Trainee with an interest in botany.

List the names of the facilitators and evaluators on the newsprint and leave it posted in the classroom. Point out that less time should be needed for evaluation during ensuing Trainee-facilitated sessions as the evaluation and feedback skills of the group improve.

Trainer Note

· Fifteen minutes are scheduled at the end of each Trainee-facilitated session. This should be sufficient to evaluate the session using the format described in Steps 5 and 6.