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New Beekeepers' Class

Registration for 2022 session is OPEN.  

Classes will be in person as long as we are able to be and still stay in compliance with CDC regulations.

Register here

Are you interested in beekeeping, but have never done it before? Have you started raising honey bees and want to learn more? Perhaps you have been raising honey bees for a few years and just want some refresher techniques. If so, the Montgomery County Beginners Beekeeping Course is just the right thing for you! It offers classes that are timely to your seasonal beekeeping needs with a hands-on session in the apiary followed by lessons full of beekeeping insight and information in a classroom. The 2022 course continues a tradition of hands-on beekeeping at the Montgomery County (Skippack) 4-H Center Apiary!

Think this might be for you? Read a testimonial here from a 2018 Beginner Beekeeping student.

Mail-in registration form is found here. 2022-new-beekeepers-registration.pdf

****For information about the cost and time commitment beekeeping requires, click here to read this letter from our Beginner Beekeeping instructor, Mark Antunes, prior to registering.

When?

Classes are usually held on the third Tuesday of each month from February to September; there can exceptions in the case of bad weather.  We’ll let you know of the change as soon as we can.

Hands-on activities in the apiary start at 6:00 pm. Please bring a face veil. It is mandatory that you use a veil near the hives. Classroom activities start at 7:00 pm.

Where?

Montgomery County 4-H Center, 1015 Bridge Road (Route 113), Skippack, PA 19426. Classes will be IN PERSON as long as permitable by CDC guidelines.

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.

What topics are covered?

See the Agenda below Register Online for a detailed schedule of topics to be taught. Of course, the class will also address your questions, and any weather, environmental or behavioral influences that we observe in the 4-H Apiary.

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). Bring a pen and paper for notes. Bring your questions and curiosity!

Who do I contact if I have more questions?

Contact us!

Enrollment
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 

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 week.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Class #1

  • Welcome to Beekeeping - Sign-in and introductions
  • What level of commitment is required to keep honey bees
  • Getting tested for allergic reactions to bee stings
  • Equipment and gear needed
  • Ordering equipment, packages and nucs
  • Assembling and weatherproofing equipment
  • Selecting hive locations
  • Honey bees and varroa mites

Tuesday, March 15, 2022


Class #2

6:00 pm

Preparing for package arrival or nuc pick-up

  • Equipment needed (review)
  • Ordering equipment and packages (review)
  • Assembling equipment (review)
  • Hive locations (review)
  • Installing packages and nucs, feeding and pollen substitute
  • When and how to use smoke
  • Mite assessment and oxalic acid dribble/vapor

Tuesday, April 19, 2022


Class #3

6:00 pm

  • Varroa mite reproduction cycle, mite drop data collection and survey
  • Bee equipment
  • Feeding, looking for eggs and brood, checking the queen
  • Colony development, honey comb – good and bad
  • Varroa mite intervention and mite drop information

Tuesday, May 17, 2022


Class #4

6:00 pm

  • Spring management
  • Mite drop data collection and survey
  • Feeding bees, growing the colony, adding brood boxes
  • Pollen and nectar sources
  • Reading the honey comb
  • Analyzing the colony

Tuesday, June 21, 2022


Class #

6:00 pm

  • What your bees should be doing
  • Brood pattern, pollen and nectar storage
  • Mites – why, where, when, what to do
  • Mite controls – IPM, VHS bees, treatments, hard or soft vs. organic

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Class #6


6:00 pm

  • Honey extraction - Uncapping, spinning and drip, straining, cappings, wet supering
  • Post harvest management, restricting the queen
  • Colony management with little or no nectar flow
  • Post harvest mite control
  • Robbing protection and protecting weak colonies

Tuesday, August 16, 2022


Class #7


6:00 pm

  • Checking the colony health, stores assessment, brood production
  • Bee diseases and treatments
  • Parasites and predators
  • Preparing for fall – feeding mid to late summer

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Class #8


    6:00 pm

    • Fall queen assessment and re-queening
    • Fall management – feeding, queen management, preparations for winter
    • Feeding bees – fall vs. winter, colony strength evaluation, combining colonies
    • Overwintering bees – feeding, checking the colony
    • Overwintering supers – storing equipment
    • The beekeeper’s year – planning 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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