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New Beekeepers' Class

Registration for 2023 session is OPEN.  

Register here

This eight-session class is intended to give you an introduction to hobbyist beekeeping and help you through the first year of this challenging journey.  This class is only the first step in your ongoing research and education as a beekeeper.

The course is held monthly from February through September to prepare the new beekeeper for hive set up and management of the hives through the spring and summer honey flow and late summer and fall including preparation for winter.  Classes are in-person with time spent in the apiary (weather permitting) prior to the classroom presentation.

We teach fundamentals to give a good foundation during this first year.  There is much to learn as a beginning or newer beekeeper - bee terminology, obtaining equipment, setting up beehives, and obtaining bees. You will understand the responsibility of caring for thousands of honey bees (summer peak period, the colony can grow to 60,000 bees).  Beekeepers must monitor their bees’ wellbeing. They make sure bees have the things the colony needs to thrive (including food, water, shelter, and a viable bee community), and that the colony isn't suffering from things that cause honey bees harm or death -- (including parasites and diseases).  We give you information and resources to help you make management decisions.

This series of classes is for hobbyist beekeepers who are:

- curious about bees and beekeeping and what it takes to have a hive(s) of your own;

planning to purchase equipment and bees to set up their own apiary; 

already have hives and interested in taking a class or a refresher


Mail in registration 2023-new-beekeepers-registration.pdf

When?

Classes are held on the 1st Tuesday of each month from February to September with the exception of July, which will meet the 3rd Tuesday due to the holiday.

Hands-on activities in the apiary start at 6:00 pm. Please bring a face veil which is mandatory to wear near the hives. Classroom activities start at 7:00 pm.

Where?

Montgomery County 4-H Center, 1015 Bridge Road (Route 113), Skippack, PA 19426

What if I miss a class?

The course is designed to build on skills as you go, so hopefully you won’t miss classes, but we understand that conflicts will occasionally come up. Notes will also be provided via Google Classroom for all students. You will need a gmail email account to access.

What is the cost?

The cost for the course is $120.00 per individual or $200.00 for two adults living in the same household (couple) for the year’s classes. The fee includes educational materials, current year membership in MCBAPA (either individual or household membership depending on your enrollment level), eight (8) classes and one (individual) or two (couple) tickets to the MCBAPA summer picnic.

What do I need to bring?

Bring a face veil (not required for the first class). Outlines for each class will be posted in Google Classroom which you should print and bring with you. Bring a pen to take notes on the outlines. Bring your questions and curiosity!

Enrollment includes the following:

Eight (8) Classes with Hands-On Apiary Experience

Educational Materials

Current Year Membership in MCBAPA

One (Individual) or Two (Couple) tickets to the MCBAPA Summer Picnic

MCBAPA Membership entitles you to participation in club activities and general meetings 

Contact us with any additional questions!

Agenda
Topics are subject to change at the discretion of the instructor based on group interest and current environmental/honey bee behaviors observed. Don’t forget your veil for the beeyard each month.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Class #1

  • Welcome to Beekeeping - Sign-in and introductions
  • Why be a beekeeper
  • Considerations before starting
  • Choosing a site for your apiary
  • Hive components
  • Inside the hive - frames and foundation
  • Optional hive pieces
  • One hive or two
  • What to consider when buying
  • Protecting the woodenware
  • Protective clothing and tools
  • Purchasing bees - packages and nucs
  • The bees
  • How the colony works
  • Basic bee anatomy
  • Social structure of the colony

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Class #2

  • Setting up the hive(s)
  • Foraging
  • Using your smoker
  • Preparing for package / nuc installation
  • Installing package / nuc
  • Sudden cold spells in spring - what to do
  • Placing the entrance reducer and inner cover
  • Feeding sugar syrup and pollen
  • Honeybee life cycle
  • MITES - MITES - MITES
  • Apiary registration

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Class #3

  • Hive inspection - observations during inspections
  • Swarming
  • Observing bee behaviors
  • Pheromones - honeybee communication
  • Roles and responsibilities of the colony

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Class #4

  • Adding boxes
  • Bee brood diseases
  • Adult bee diseases
  • When to add a honey super
  • Bee parasites
  • IPM - Integrated Pest Management
  • Pests in the hive
  • Pest outside the hive

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Class # 5

  • Queen issues
  • Pesticide exposure to bees
  • Honey production and extraction
  • What is a nectar dearth
  • Robbing behavior in honeybees

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Class #6

  • Honey extraction - hands on extracting from our club apiary

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Class #7

  • Yellow jacket and wasp invading the hives
  • Winter bees
  • Varroa mites and winter bees
  • Weak or failing queen
  • Merging weak hives before winter
  • Supplemental feeding

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Class #8

  • Winter prep
  • Feeding bees in winter
  • The winter cluster
  • Dead bees in winter
  • Mite counts and treatments
  • Getting ready for spring

    About MCBAPA

    Serving Montgomery, Bucks and surrounding counties in Pennsylvania, the MCBAPA is an association of hobbyist and professional beekeepers. Our mission is to provide education, hands-on training, support and fellowship in all aspects of beekeeping. Both experienced beekeepers and novices participate in our monthly meetings, field trips and social events.

    Our meetings are held at:

    Montgomery County 4-H Center
    1015 Bridge Road (Route 113)
    Skippack, PA 19426

    General membership meetings are usually held the 4th Thursday of the month at 7 pm, but please check our calendar.

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