2019 – Beginners’ Courses

Places for Courses for 2019 are now fully booked.

Learning to be a beekeeper is a journey that can last a lifetime. In the eight sessions listed below, all I can offer you is an introduction to this time-consuming hobby. All sessions are important, but the sessions in April and May are fundamental. You will soon discover why.
The High Weald Beekeepers’ Association offers you the possibility of support and you will need to avail yourself of this if you are to successfully keep bees.
It will be a steep learning curve for every beginner, but the pleasure you will get from successfully keeping bees is immeasurable. They are the most fascinating creatures.

Malcolm Wilkie (training officer)

The courses will normally be run on Saturday afternoons between March and September 2019 - Times vary for each session as indicated below.

The Beginners’ Course will be structured into two sections

  • An Introduction Course consisting of 3 sessions, costing £60 (a further £170 payable if you wish to upgrade to include the Main Course - total £230)
  • A Main Course consisting of a further 5 sessions, (the Full course comprising both the 3 introductory sessions and the further 5 main sessions - total £210 - a reduction of £20 if you book the Full course from the outset)

The Introduction Course will give an overview of beekeeping, and an opportunity to handle bees. It will give you a good idea of whether beekeeping is for you.

The Full Course aims to give you enough knowledge, experience, and confidence to start beekeeping. Membership of the High Weald Beekeepers’ Association until October 2019 is included.

Introduction Course

  1. Sat 16th of March 2019 - 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    Hive types, positioning of your hive, where to purchase your hive, building frames, the concept of bee space.
    A short film about the life cycle of the honeybee.
  2. Sat 6th of April 2019 - 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm
    Bee suits, lighting a smoker, hygiene.
    If possible, opening a hive with an experienced beekeeper. This will be dependent on spring temperatures.
  • Sat 13th of April 2019 - 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
    (meet at the bee shed at Cherry Gardens)
    Advice for those who need it with building their flat pack hive. Building frames. Sterilising wooden hives and sterilising poly hives.
  1. Sat 27th of April 2019 - 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm
    Handling bees.
    Introduction to your bee buddy for those of you who have got bees or who are about to get bees.

Main Course

  1. Sun 19th of May 2019 - 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    Dealing with swarming. How to do an artificial swarm. How to take the Queen out into a nucleus box.
  2. Sat 15th of June 2019 - 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    Handling bees. Feeders. Robbing.
  3. Sat 13th of July 2019 - 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Bee Safari.
    Make sure you come for the whole day as it is only those who see all the scenarios who really improve as beekeepers. We will be visiting as many of your apiaries as possible.
  4. Sat 3rd of August 2019 - 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm
    Honey extraction.
    Discussion of treatments to maintain the health of your colony. Volunteers will be needed to place the honey supers back on the hives. This will be done at about 7:00pm.
  5. Sat 7th of September 2019 - 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm
    Feeding, preparations for winter, insulation, quiz.

These are just to give you an idea of the length of the course, and the amount of time commitment required.  We may alter or change a few dates.

Dates are indicated for each session above. Most sessions will conclude with a debrief.

Meeting for most practical sessions will be at the Cherry Gardens Hill, TN3 9NY (this can vary, so please check joining instructions).

As you turn in towards the Farm Shop at Cherry Gardens Hill, parking is to the right and behind the main car park.

N.B. The content of any session can change depending on the weather, the season, and what the bees are doing at that current moment.

We provide you with beekeeping overalls, veil, gloves etc, and you will have use of the Association’s bees, and equipment, so there is no need to purchase anything in order to do the Introduction Course.

As the course is subsidised by the High Weald Beekeepers’ Association, it is expected that you will renew membership in October (the Full Course includes membership until October 2019). This will allow you to continue to receive topical tips and to have access to the winter sessions that are organised. Some of these sessions are crucial if you are to be able to keep your bees for a second season. Sessions typically deal with how to build up healthy colonies, and how to prevent swarming, the latter only being cursorily dealt with on your course and being something that challenges all beekeepers every year!

(please see a summary of these further sessions and other membership benefits on the "Events page" and in our Membership Guide).

We are not asking for any money at this stage, this is simply a registration of interest in the next year’s course.  We finalise the bookings in December or January.

Please register your interest in a course by completing our Course Application form - (click here for a link to the form).