Introduction to Beekeeping Course

Keeping honeybees is a fascinating and rewarding pursuit. 

This is an informal, non-examination course where no previous knowledge or experience is required, to learn about how to get started as a beekeeper.

We concentrate on teaching the “basics” that include good colony handling techniques and factual things that all beekeepers should know in order to care for their bees responsibly, such as the life cycles of queens, drones and workers, the swarming procedure and disease recognition.

Our course runs for six weeks, held at the Lyndhurst Community Centre, on Wednesday evenings, 7.30pm to 9.30pm, starting mid-March each year.  To register for our course, please complete the registration form.

March – 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th April – 6th, 13th, 20th

The cost of the course is £75.00.  This includes two hands on ‘meet the bees’ apiary training and Associate membership to New Forest & District Beekeeping Association.  Associate membership includes monthly newsletters by email, together with opportunity of regular apiary days and joining our monthly members’ meetings, at Lyndhurst Community Centre and listening to our monthly expert speakers. 

Course outline:

Week 11.1 Introduction.
1.2 What is a Honey Bee?
1.3 Beekeeping equipment + introduction to different types of hives/hive parts.  
Week 2    2.1 The Colony – lifecycles workers/queen/drone
2.2 Division of labour; Summer/Winter bee
2.3 How to choose an apiary site.              
Week 3    3.1 Hives and hardware.  
3.2 History of beekeeping; bee space & modern hives.
3.2 Hive and Frame making.  
Week 4    4.1 Beekeeping year. Seasonal management of a colony.
4.2 Feeding and feeders.       
Week 5    5.1 Apiary hygiene and biosecurity
5.2 Pests and diseases.
5.3 Notifiable diseases             
Week 6    6.1 Swarming and swarm control.
6.2 Why bees swarm; what beekeepers can do to try to control swarming.
6.3 Honey extraction, jarring, and labelling.  

The association manages an apiary where we operate a training programme as part of the beginners course and for the benefit of the members of the association.  We do not operate a mentoring system.  We think time is best spent by teaching in groups where several members get a benefit of demonstrations and discussions.

We also organise ‘maintenance apiary days’ where we all muck in and help to keep the apiary looking tidy and workable.  But most of all, the hard work is rewarded with a social BBQ or ploughmans and always tea and cake. We are all trying to enjoy our own beekeeping and after all, we give our time voluntarily and it is a hobby that should be fun.

You don’t need to get bees in your first year, but if you do, you’ll probably multiply to two or more in your second year.

Before taking up the craft of beekeeping bear the following in mind: keeping bees involves managing livestock. They require looking after and even with a few colonies this requires a good deal of commitment. You have a duty of care to look after them properly.

Beekeepers keep bees for a number of reasons, for example to be able to watch these fascinating creatures in the garden and get away from the hurly burly of everyday life. But along the way many hope to get good honey crops. There is just something special about producing and bottling your own honey.