Annual Beginning Beekeeping Course Information

We can certainly understand why you would want to learn about honey bees. However, you should be aware of two things:

  1. Demand for urban beekeeping classes wildly outstrips supply: more 300 households join the notification list for class announcements each year–the 2017 class sold out in 10 hours; and

  2. MidAtlantic courses begin in late Winter and conclude by late March or early April. By the time many think about including bees in their urban gardens, it is often too late to get the critical training needed.

Members of the DC Beekeepers Alliance get first priority for class registration. After that, those on the free notification list (you can sign up below) receive an email alert. Any remaining seats are then publicly announced. 

Student seats are not reserved until registration and payment are complete. 

We are not the only local source for quality beekeeper education! Other area beekeeping organizations that also offer courses include:

There are other options available via local beekeeping businesses: to learn more, we suggest that you join our Facebook or Google Group. Both of these are private and your request to join will have to be approved.

About our late-Winter/Early Spring "Short Course"

DC-area beekeepers need to set up their hives by early Spring in order to ensure winter survival. Therefore we offer beginning beekeeping courses annually in late Winter. Seats are always extremely limited and registration is generally full within one week or less. 

Course Description:  

UDC Extension and the DC Beekeepers Alliance offer an annual for-fee course that provides the resources and knowledge needed to successfully and responsibly keep bees in the District of Columbia. Those who complete all sessions receive a Certificate from UDC Extension, introduction to a mentor, and connections to suppliers of equipment and bees.

Course meetings begin the last week in January on a weekday evening TBD and last through mid-March (8 meetings total). The course will be followed by a hands-on field day and an equipment assembly workshop with date and time to be announced based on weather and student availability. The course fee of $120 covers all lectures, two text books, online resources and the field day. The text books will be distributed at the first course meeting.

Course meetings take place at the UDC Campus near Van Ness Metro. Classrooms will be announced by end-December.

Topics:

The introductory beekeeping course covers these topics:

  1. An Overview of the History and Practice of Beekeeping
  2. Bee Biology and Lifecycle, and Why You Need To Know It
  3. Beekeeping Equipment: Woodenware, Tools, and Protective Gear
  4. The Beekeeping Year in DC: How the Seasons Dictate Your Tasks
  5. Challenges to Bee Health: Diseases, Pests and Parasites
  6. Bee Forage: What Bees Eat in the MidAtlantic
  7. Products of the Hive: Honey, Wax, Propolis and How You Can Harvest and Use Them
  8. Downtown Beekeeping Close up; Q&A with a panel of both experts and beekeepers who have recently completed their first year
  9. Field session, including installing packages and nucleus colonies of honey bees into new hives
  10. Equipment building hands-on workshop

The beekeeping course will run for eight weeks (skipping a week for Spring Break), meeting once a week for two hours, providing a total of 16 hours of classroom instruction. The field day and equipment building sessions will take place in April, when weather will allow outside instruction. Upon completion of the course, participants will be presented with a certificate. The course will not carry academic credit.

Additional course goals include linking students with nearby mentors, connecting them with ongoing educational resources, and assisting in locating sources of bees and equipment.

Class sizes are limited by classroom space and mentor availability, usually 50 households/80 students per year.

Instructors:   

The class will be taught by active beekeepers, including local Master Beekeepers and experienced DC Beekeepers. Many DC beekeepers at all levels assist at each session.

For Notification (NOT Priority Access) When Course Registration Opens:   

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Four scholarship seats are available and those requesting consideration will be asked for additional information. The application process requires several days and may be complete only after all other seats are taken.
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