Registration for 2017 is closed.

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 2017 course continues a tradition of hands-on beekeeping at the Montgomery County (Skippack) 4-H Center Apiary!

Montgomery County Beekeepers New Beekeepers Course

Classes are usually held on the second Thursday of each month from February to September; there are exceptions to every rule, so be sure to mark your calendar! Exceptions: The special bee package classes in April and the September class.

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. Exception: The first class will be entirely in the classroom and no veil or equipment are required for that first class.

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

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.

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

The cost for the course is $120.00 per individual or $180.00 for two adults living in the same household (couple) for the year’s classes. The fee includes educational materials, current year membership in both MCBAPA and PSBA (either individual or household membership depending on your enrollment level), eight (8) classes and one (individual) or two (couple) tickets to the MCBAPA fall banquet.

Bring a face veil (not required for the first class). Bring a pen and paper for notes. Bring your questions and curiosity!

See below for online registration or see our brochure for mail-in registration. Class size is limited and enrollment is on a first come first served basis.

Enrollment

Enrollment includes the following:

  • Eight (8) Classes with Hands-On Apiary Experience
  • Educational Materials
  • Current Year Membership in MCBAPA
  • Current Year Membership (Individual or Household) in PSBA
  • One (Individual) or Two (Couple) tickets to the MCBAPA Fall Banquet
  • MCBAPA Membership entitles you to our club newsletters, and participation in club activities and meetings on advanced beekeeping topics.

PSBA membership provides you with 10 annual state newsletters and information sharing. In addition, your dues will contribute to state activities that promote bee research and encourage education at the local levels to promote rather than restrict beekeeping.

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.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

6:00 pm

Class #1 (No need to bring veil or any equipment – all classroom).

  • Welcome to Beekeeping: Sign-in and Introduction

7:00 pm

Welcome to Beekeeping

  • Equipment and Gear Needed
  • Ordering Equipment and Packages
  • Assembling Equipment
  • Hive Locations

To order bees, (packages or nucs) see our Marketplace page here.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

6:00 pm

Class #2

  • In the Beeyard: Lighting Smokers (Bring your smokers.)

7:00 pm

Preparing for Package Arrival

  • Equipment Needed (Review)
  • Ordering Equipment and Packages (Review)
  • Assembling Equipment (Review)
  • Hive Locations (Review)
  • Installing Packages
  • When and How to Use Smoke

Thursday, April 13, 2017

 

6:00 pm

Class #3

  • In the Beeyard: Feeding Bees (Bring veil, no gloves.)

7:00 pm

  • Bee Equipment
  • Feeding, Looking for Brood, Checking the Queen
  • Swarm Prevention

Special Saturday Class, April 1, 2017

12:00 pm

Packages arrive from Georgia.

  • Pick-up starts at noon
  • Special Saturday class at 2 pm
  • Location: Worcester Honey Farms, 2011 Shearer Road, Lansdale, PA

Weather dependent. Visit pabeekeeper.com to confirm date and time. Email packages@pabeekeeper.com or call (610) 584-6778 for more information.

2:00 pm

  • Installing Package Bees Demo
  • Feeding Packages Demo
  • Lighting Smokers (optional bring your smoker)

Special Saturday Class, April 22, 2017

12:00 pm

Packages arrive from Georgia.

  • Pick-up starts at noon
  • Special Saturday class at 2 pm
  • Location: Worcester Honey Farms, 2011 Shearer Road, Lansdale, PA

Weather dependent. Visit pabeekeeper.com to confirm date and time. Email packages@pabeekeeper.com or call (610) 584-6778 for more information.

2:00 pm

  • Installing Package Bees Demo
  • Feeding Packages Demo
  • Lighting Smokers (optional bring your smoker)

Thursday, May 11, 2017

6:00 pm

Class #4

  • In the Beeyard: Working Bees (Bring veil, no gloves.)

7:00 pm

Spring Management

  • Feeding Bees, Growing the Colony, Adding Brood Boxes
  • Pollen and Nectar Sources, Supering
  • Readying the Honey Comb, Analyzing the Colony

Thursday, June 8, 2017

6:00 pm

Class #5

  • In the Beeyard: Sugar Rolls and Mite Assessment (Bring veil, no gloves.)

7:00 pm

  • Introduction to Mites and Mite Control
  • Mites – Why, Where, When and What to Do
  • Mite Controls – IPM, VHS Bees, Treatments (hard or soft) vs. Organic

Thursday, July 13, 2017

6:00 pm

Class #6

  • In the Beeyard: Honey Harvesting (Bring veil, no gloves.)

7:00 pm

  • Harvesting Honey – Moving the Bees, Taking the Honey, Wet Supering
  • Restricting the Queen
  • Extraction – Cold and Electric Knife, Spin and Drip, Cappings

Thursday, August 10, 2017

6:00 pm

Class #7

  • In the Beeyard: Colony Evaluation (Bring veil.)

7:00 pm

  • Checking the Colony Health, Stores Assessment, Brood Production
  • Bee Diseases and Treatments, Parasites and Predators

Thursday, September 7, 2017

6:00 pm

Class #8

  • In the Beeyard: Mouse Guards (Bring veil, no gloves.)

7:00 pm

Fall Management

  • Feeding Bees – Feeding, Queen Management, Winter Preparations
  • Feeding Bees Fall vs. Summer, Strength Evaluation, Combining Colonies
  • Overwintering Bees
  • Overwintering Supers
  • The Beekeeper’s Year