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If you are fascinated by the idea of keeping bees and possible producing your own honey, an online beekeeping course may be just what you need. Conveniently available when you have time to learn, a good online beekeeping course should give you all the basics. Get ready to delve into the world of the honey bee and enjoy the sweet rewards.
Beekeeping Courses for Beginners
In the past, the easiest way to learn how to keep a hive of bees was to find a local beekeeper. Then you could ask lots of questions.
Most beekeepers love talking about bees so that was an easy way to get some free beginner beekeeping information.
This is still one of the best resources for learning about honey bees. Unfortunately, it is harder today to find a beekeeper with the time to help.
Also, the popularity of beekeeping has resulted in an influx of new hobbyists. That results in fewer mentors to help all the new folks.
Benefits of Online Bee Keeping Courses
Online beekeeping courses are a great way to learn from different people who have experience with bees. There are several advantages:
- full curriculum
- expert instruction
- visual learning experience
You can watch your online beekeeping class anywhere you can get an internet connection.
Most online classes cover all the basics of setting up your hive and getting through the first season. It will have an overview of dealing with pests and diseases. But, remember a beginner course may not delve too deeply into these topics.
When buying a class online, consider who the instructor is and what are their qualifications. Does it seem they have experience in teaching people how to do things?
I am a Master Beekeeper and I have spent years training new beekeepers through my local beekeeping association and other outreach. But guess what – I don’t know it all – no one does.
Look for a beekeeping class that has a newsletter that will continue to send you updated information from the beekeeping community.
With a mix of videos, images and print instruction – this type of learning is great for people who learn best through visual learning. Another benefit is that you can watch the videos and refer back to them later.
This is a great way to learn and gives you the flexibility of a self-paced schedule. No matter what you work schedule – you can learn when you have time.
Investing in a good beekeeping class or online beekeeping course is money well spent. And, it may just save you from wasting hundreds of dollars too!
Skills Obtained in a Good Course
Having successful beehives is about more than just buying some bees and putting them in a box. You have hive management chores to do.
A good beekeeping courses can help you know:
Worker bees, drones and the queen all live inside the hive. It is important to know how to recognize each one and understand their role in the hive. Otherwise, how do you know if you have the right percentage of each?
Routine hive inspections are necessary to keep your bees alive and productive. How do you open the hive with a minimum disturbance to the bees.
Once the hive is open you need to know what to look for – what is normal for a hive? All these helpful beekeeping tips should be covered in your beginner course.
How to Find A Beginner Beekeeping Class
Not every class is the same and maybe that is a good thing. It allows you to learn many different ways to be a good beekeeper. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- contact local bee groups
- ask beekeeping friends for recommendations
- look online for classes
Most regions of the country have beekeeping groups. And, most of them hold beginner beekeeping classes in the late Winter.
This is the time of year when the beekeepers are not busy with their own hives. Some regions offer a Spring and Fall class, while others are only available in later Winter.
If you are not aware of any groups in your region, contact your state agriculture department for contact information. They always know where the beekeepers are.
Ask other beekeepers, but be prepared that they may not have taken a class. Of course, only an average of 20% of new beekeepers make it past the first year. Beekeeping is not hard but it requires preparation too!
Local classes don’t fit everyone’s schedule. That’s the main reason I developed my online beekeeping course. It provides a good quality class for those who could not attend a local course or had missed it .
Take More Than 1
Does it surprise you that I recommend taking more than 1 beekeeping class? Why would I say this?
Well, I have completed several beekeeping courses myself (and I still do when the chance arrives).
I have seen the benefits of having different teachers. Every beekeeper has expertise in different areas-few do well in all areas.
And, some people are great beekeepers personally but may not be great at teaching others. Teaching is a skill too.
If you have had any connection with the world of beekeepers, you know that we are an opinionated bunch. That’s okay, but its not the most effective teaching technique.
The basics of honey bee biology and the needs of bees are obvious. But, be prepared to hear a lot of opinions.
This is another reason that I support the idea of taking more than 1 beekeeping class. This gives you a better perspective and you learn more than 1 way to do things. Because in beekeeping, there are certainly many ways to manage bees.
Do You Have to Take a Beekeeping Course?
Do you have to take a class to keep bees? No, of course not. If you are able to read and comprehend well, there are some amazing books for beginner beekeepers that can give you the basics.
And of course, various videos on YouTube and other internet locations offer beekeeping advice. This availability though can be a problem as well as a benefit.
Some of the information learned through online videos is not always legal or practical. Vet the references of those producing the video.
What About Free Classes?
I am sure you have learned by now that nothing is free. Even if you are not paying cash for the class, you are paying with your time, exposure to things they sell, etc.
You can learn a lot from some of the free classes about basic beekeeping tips. However, most are centered around what products that business wants to sell you.
Take the class, it may have some great information, but don’t let it be the only beekeeping course you experience.
And, keep an eye out for classes offered by universities that have active entomology departments. Those are often very good.
Knowledge is the key to success. Successful beekeepers know that the time invested in beekeeping education will pay for itself in many ways.