Beginners’ Course

The 2020 - Beginners' Course is 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 2020 - Times vary for each session as indicated below.

The Beginners’ Course will be structured as follows:

  1. Saturday 14th of March 2:00pm to 5:00pm

    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. Saturday 4th of April 1:00pm to 3:30pm

    Bee suits, lighting a smoker, hygiene.

    If possible, opening a hive with an experienced beekeeper. This will be
    dependent on spring temperatures.

  • Saturday 18th of April 10:00am to 1:00pm (optional extra

    (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. Saturday 2nd of May 1:00pm to 3:30pm

    Handling bees.

    At 4:00pm - introduction to your bee buddy for those of you who have got
    bees or who are about to get bees.

  2. Saturday 30th of May 1:00pm to 5:00pm

    Dealing with swarming. How to take the Queen out into a nucleus box.

  3. Saturday 20th of June 1:00pm to 3:00pm

    Handling bees. Feeders. Robbing.

  4. Saturday 18th of July 9:00am to 7:00pm

    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.

  5. Saturday 1st of August 1:00pm to 6:00pm

    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.

  6. Saturday 5th of September 1:00pm to 6:00pm

    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 Course includes membership until October). 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).