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 2018 course continues a tradition of hands-on beekeeping at the Montgomery County (Skippack) 4-H Center Apiary!

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

Montgomery County Beekeepers New Beekeepers Course

Online Enrollment

New Beekeepers Registration - Individual

New Beekeepers Registration - Family

Enrollment By Mail

Click here to view the registration PDF. Mail completed registration to:

MCBAPA
PO Box 903
Skippack, PA 19474

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 June and August classes.

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.

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. 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 8, 2018

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 weather proofing equipment
  • Selecting hive locations
  • Honey bees and varroa mites

Thursday, March 8, 2018

6:00 pm

Class #2

  • In the beeyard: Lighting smokers. Bring your smokers.

7:00 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

Thursday, April 12, 2018

 

6:00 pm

Class #3

  • In the beeyard: feeding bees – bring veil, no gloves.
  • Sugar roll and mite assessment

7:00 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

Thursday, May 10, 2018

6:00 pm

Class #4

  • In the beeyard: Working bees – bring veil, no gloves.
  • Sugar roll and mite assessment.

7:00 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

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

6:00 pm

Class #5

  • In the Beeyard: Working bees – bring veil, no gloves. 
  • Sugar roll and mite assessment

7:00 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

Thursday, July 12, 2018

6:00 pm

Class #6

  • In the Beeyard: Honey harvesting – bring veil, no gloves.  
  • Sugar roll and mite assessment.

7:00 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

Thursday, August 16, 2018

6:00 pm

Class #7

  • In the Beeyard: Colony evaluation – bring veil, no gloves.
  • Sugar roll and mite assessment.

7:00 pm

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

Thursday, September 13, 2018

6:00 pm

Class #8

  • In the Beeyard: Mouse guards – Bring veil, no gloves.  
  • Sugar roll and mite assessment.

7:00 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