Online Core Bee Course

Beekeeping class from the comfort of your home!

This is a live online class! Checkout instructions:
1. Add class to your cart. 2. Proceed to checkout, and enter your home address as the ship-to address (Yes, this class is online, but our system still requires a ship to address). 3. Enter payment, and submit order. 4. You will receive an order confirmation email right away. 3-5 days before the first class meeting, you will receive a second email with detailed sign-in instructions.
  • Item Code: COREBEE
  • 49.95 USDPrice: $49.95

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As Betterbee reimagines our beekeeping curriculum, our first priority is to offer an affordable, useful, and interesting Core Bee Course for new beekeepers. This is meant for beginner beekeepers and prospective beekeepers who want to learn about keeping bees but who may have never approached a hive before. After taking the Core Bee Course, you should be prepared to order bees and hive equipment, and to keep your bees healthy, happy, and productive throughout the year.

The Core course is divided into three sections, with time after each section for students to ask questions and discuss the best equipment for their needs:

Section 1: Covers the biology and life cycle (development) of honey bees. Understanding the normal functions of a colony is key to recognizing what is normal or abnormal when we examine a hive. We will learn about the different castes of bees (the queen, workers, and drones) and their roles in the life of the colony, and how to tell them apart. There will be photographs of combs with pollen, brood, eggs, and honey, and the differences will be explained so you'll know what to look for when examining a hive. We will also spend a few minutes on the history of beekeeping and what innovations made modern beekeeping possible.

Section 2: Covers two main subjects: hive equipment and personal protective equipment. We will present the various options available in beehives and the advantages and disadvantages of each design. We will also cover the different options for obtaining the most important equipment for your first colony: the bees!

Section 3: Covers hive inspections and seasonal management. Emphasis will be on determining the status of a colony and what it needs from you. We will talk about what a "good brood pattern" looks like, and how to decide whether colonies need supplemental food or need to be given extra hive space for storing surplus honey. We will also go through "a year in the life" of the colony and will talk about what to expect and what needs to be done during each season of the beekeeping year. Finally we will emphasize how important it is to understand, recognize, and control honey bee pests and diseases. Many beginning beekeepers watch their colonies die from disease, and our hope is to prevent that in all of our students.

No preparation is required to take our Core course, but we encourage students to review a beekeeping book (or a few!) before they come to class. One excellent text we like is Diana Samataro's The Beekeeper's Handbook.

Dates and times: We offer our Core courses in two scheduling formats:

  • An "all-day" format that consists of three separate class meetings during a single day (with an hour-long break between each meeting). These are currently scheduled for specific Saturdays, starting at 10am and ending at 5pm.
  • A "multi-day" format where the three class meetings happen on three different days during the week. These are currently scheduled for specific Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 6:30pm-8:30pm.

Either format includes three online meetings that will end with time for questions and discussion between the instructor(s) and the students.

Note: We also offer a class called Core Bee Plus Course. The class topics are similar, but this course assumes that students may have one or more hives already, and have probably spent at least a year doing some amount of beekeeping. Less time will be spent on the basics, and more on swarm prevention, Varroa destructor management, and other foundational topics.

Fulfills the New Jersey requirement that new beekeepers take a class in their first year of beekeeping.