Bumbling Beekeeper Beginning Bee Class 2021

Welcome to the self-study version of the bee class. This class was held live in the early spring of 2021 and you will be viewing the recordings of the zoom class. In addition to the recordings, you may also want to print out the slide deck I use and make notes along with the class. The slide deck pdfs are set up so you can put them in a notebook for later references.

Please note that things in the beekeeping world change at a rapid pace, so I’m never surprised when I find that something I shared is now out of date. So if you find something like that, please let me know. Also, keep 2 things in mind:

  • It’s not uncommon for beekeepers to disagree on things. In fact, it’s pretty uncommon to find 2 beekeepers who agree on most things.
  • The bees adapt to their environment and the beekeeper is part of their environment. So what works for me may not work for you. Trust your bees to lead the way!

The book used for this class is “The Beekeeper’s Handbook” by Diana Summataro. If you purchase the book on Amazon through our link, a small portion of the sales will go toward maintaining our bee yard.

Jump ahead to any class: Class 2 || Class 3 || Class 4 || Class 5 || Class 6 || Class 7 || Class 8 || Class 9

Class 1: Overview (53:59)

[ slides for class 1 ]

In this class we’ll start to discuss things that you need to consider before becoming a beekeeper. What do you need to think about before you buy your bees? Where to keep them, do you need to order a package or a nuc, what else will you need to learn about to be successful.

Class 2: Equipment, Clothing, and Tools. (1:31:10)

[ slides for class 2 ]

In this class we’ll mainly be talking about the 4 types of hives and the components you will need for each type. We’ll also touch on protective clothing and tools you’ll need to get started.

Our special guest this week is Elise Clark who shares on Top Bar Hives. Elise has been successfully keeping bees in top bar hives since 2011.

Class 3: Races, Life Cycle of Bees, and Beginning Biology (52:38)

[ slides for class 3 ]

In this class we talk about the different races of bees that are prevalent in the US, the lines and hybrids that are currently available, the life cycle of bees, and we start to talk about the biology of the bee.

I also provide pdf versions of some of the slides as handouts:

Class 4: Bee Biology and Pheromones (51:15)

[ slides for class 4 ]

This class covers more in-depth discussion about the parts of the bees biology including vision, smell, pheromones, glands for feeding larvae, wax making and honey making.

Class 5: Diseases, Pests, & Pesticides (1:03:58)

[ slides for class 5 ]

This class focuses on the diseases, pests, and pesticides that affect our hives and includes some suggestions about how you can manage or prevent them. The IPM (Integrated Pest Management) approach is covered here as well.

Class 6: Stings, Under Your Hive, Nucs & Packages, Community (57:21)

[ slides for class 6 ]

In this class we talk about stings, the types of reactions, what to do if you get stung, and when to call 911. We also talk about what to put under your hives to help with maintaining the space around the hives and what you can do to help prevent Small Hive Beetles that pupate under and around the hives. We revisit installing nucs and packages and being prepared plus what to do in the first week or 10 days after the installation. An aside conversation was about screened bottom boards vs. solid bottom boards. And finally we talk about the importance of building and learning from the bee community — including conferences, webinars, club meetings, and resources available through clubs and the bee community at large.

Class 7: Working Bees & Spring Management (1:10:18)

[ slides for class 7 ]

In this class we talk about going into the hives, doing an inspection, and a bit more about smokers and fuel. There’s a short video of me in my hives demonstrating some of the things I cover. We also talk about Spring Management and dealing with the tricky balance of managing for nectar flow and keeping your bees from swarming. We also cover splits and equalizing hives.

I also provide pdf versions of some helpful handouts:

Class 8: Summer, Fall, & Winter Hive Management (56:13)

[ slides for class 8 ]

In this class we started with talking about how to mark a queen, did a quick review of Spring Hive Management, and discussed what we need to do and pay attention to during the Summer, Fall, & Winter.

Class 9: Products of the Hive (1:03:18)

[ slides for class 9 ]

In this class we talk about taking honey from the hive and how to process and label for sale. We also talk about cleaning, melting, and uses of wax. We touch on collecting and using propolis, pollen, royal jelly and end with a story on using bee stings for apitherapy. This is the last class in this series.

Our special guest is Janice Tate of tatesapiaries.com.