Beekeeping for Absolute Beginners

The next course will be held on Saturday 19th March 2022.
This course is now fully booked. If you would like to go on the waiting list please 
email Richard - include your name, postal address and telephone number:
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We will email the joining instructions at the beginning of March 2022.

If for any reason the course does not run, the fee will be refunded.

Day/Time - Saturday 19th March 2022 10:00-4:00

Cost - £25.00

Venue Itchen Abbas Village Hall 

About the course

If you are interested in keeping honey bees, we offer an informal one day classroom based course: Beekeeping for Absolute Beginners. This course is ideal for anyone who has an interest in bees and starting beekeeping and aims to help you decide whether beekeeping is right for you. 

Topics covered

  • Learning resources – books, magazines, online, assessments and exams.
  • Bees and apiaries – types of bees, planning an apiary and dealing with stings.
  • Honey bees – sub species, castes, anatomy and how to get bees.
  • Equipment – clothing, hand tools, hives etc. and costs.
  • Inspections and manipulations – swarms and extracting honey.
  • Diseases, problems and seasonal jobs.
  • Next steps – what to do before you start keeping bees.

During the day there will be plenty of opportunity to talk to us individually about your own situation. The course does not involve handling live bees but we will invite you to join us at an apiary meeting during the summer.

After attending the course, we strongly recommend you undertake further reading and gain practical experience before you get your first colony of bees. 

If you are unable to book on a course you may be interested in other ways of learning about beekeeping. Please see Learning resources. You are strongly advised to get practical experience of handling bees before keeping bees yourself. 

We offer Associate membership of WDBKA as part of the course fee.

 Further support after the course

  • Before you get your first colony.
    As an Associate member we can usually allocate you a mentor, who is an experienced beekeeper. You will be able to ‘follow’ your mentor for a season to give you practical seasonal experience.
  • Getting your first colony.
    You must upgrade your membership to full member so that you have Public Liability and Bee Disease insurance. Your mentor will continue to give you advice and practical support to help you get started.
  • Ongoing help.
    As there are always jobs that need another pair of hands, your mentor may be able to help, otherwise it is useful to find another local beekeeper to give you a hand and we may be able to help find someone local to you.

Please note that while we will make every effort to find you a mentor, it may not always be possible. We can only allocate mentors to members of WDBKA.

If you live outside our area you should, of course, join your local Beekeeping Association. 


Feedback from our 2019 attendees:

'We both found the course extremely beneficial. We learnt a lot and found all the presenters very knowledgeable and approachable.'

'Many thanks for laying on such a fantastic day. I’m really looking forward to taking the plunge into beekeeping and can’t wait for the apiary visit.'

'All the subjects were completely new to me so I particularly appreciated the ‘warts and all’ approach by the instructors. It must be difficult to convey the pleasure of beekeeping to drum up support while highlighting the downsides and putting people off.' 

'I did very much enjoy the course on Saturday. Overall it was just what I needed to help me make a decision whether beekeeping is for me.'