Hi Andrew. I remember years ago listening to a talk by a very erudite American Bee Farmer. He was based up by the Canadian border and had amazing photos of his hives in deep, deep snow. When he began farming he had a contract to move his hives for the apple orchard polination. Possibly due to insecticide spays against the coddling moth he was getting unacceptable colony losses. When he switched to honey only production and kept his bees on meadows then his winter losses plummeted. He also bred all his own queens and would have nothing to do with ‘packaged bees’.
With regards training. We run a ‘Meet the Bees’ session, followed by ‘beginners, ‘improvers’ and then ‘revision’. Mentoring is most important. If any interesting manipulation is in hand at the apiary then it is advertised on the webpage and all are welcome.
( would be interesting to here what tips our Scandinavian Chums get on).