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What are the Different Types of Beekeeping Courses?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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There are many different methods of taking beekeeping courses. Non-credit courses on beekeeping topics can be learned through books or on-site classes. Some beekeeping classes may be taken online. Many bee farms offer weekend beekeeping workshops.

Commercial bee farms often have weekend beekeeping courses that include lunch. The activities may involve learning to make honey or other bee products such as royal jelly. Royal jelly is a secretion from nurse worker bees that is made into nutritional supplements thought by some people to restore vitality to skin and hair as well as add many other health benefits.

Those interested in the profession of beekeeping can locate college credit or non-credit courses through a beekeeper organization or agricultural colleges or universities. For example, the Tennessee Beekeepers Association holds classes and events at the University of Tennessee and presents an annual Beekeeper of the Year award. The Institute of Agriculture at the University of Tennessee offers a Master Beekeeper Program.

Beekeeping courses may be a part of degree programs such as a Master's in Agricultural Management. In general, there are more non-degree beekeeping classes than credit courses as many beekeepers work part-time in the industry or are hobbyists. Beekeeping hobbyists are also called backyard beekeepers.

Whether a beekeeping course is degree or non-degree, it is usually aimed at a certain level of beekeeper knowledge such as beginner or advanced. A beginning beekeeper may have no experience, while an advanced one usually has experienced at least five years in the field of beekeeping.

The first level of beekeeping courses may cover topics such as local bylaws on keeping bees as well as biological information about the honey bee. Second level beekeeping classes may include a section on how to control swarming. Third level or more advanced courses may focus on the breeding of honey bees and bee colony management.

Beekeeping courses vary widely in their length. Condensed beekeeping classes typically combine an overview of the subject in an eight- or nine-hour class. An advanced condensed beekeeping course may be 12 hours long.

Online beekeeping courses are popular as they allow experienced or aspiring beekeepers to learn about the subject from any location. Electronic, or e-books, published by professional beekeepers can give interested learners extra tips and advice on beekeeping. Online beekeeping classes are also called beekeepers’ distance learning courses. Some online beekeeping courses include a blog written by a commercial bee farmer or a digital beekeeper magazine.

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Discussion Comments

By Talentryto — On Jul 30, 2014

Beekeeping is a hobby that requires careful attention to details and knowledge of handling the hives. Since it can be so tedious, I don't think that anyone should take an online beekeeping course and expect to know what to do. Hands-on instruction is important to learn beekeeping in my opinion.

By Rundocuri — On Jul 30, 2014

I don't think that anyone should tend to bee hives without a friend, relative, or neighbor close by to check on them. You just never know when the bees are going to get alarmed and sting. If you are going to dabble in beekeeping, make sure that the course you takes includes information to pass along to people who will help you in case of an emergency, including first aid for bee stings.

I have a friend who is a beekeeper and accidentally disturbed his hive while doing yard work. He was stung repeatedly, and by the time his family members returned home later in the day, he was lethargic and sick.

My friend recovered, but who knows what might have happened if his family had come home later. If someone who knew how to handle the situation had been there with him, he could have been given first aid and taken to the hospital to get the immediate care he needed.

By Heavanet — On Jul 29, 2014

If you are looking for a beekeeping course with the goal of beginning your own beekeeping hobby or business, you should choose a course that discusses safety precautions. This information should include necessary equipment, clothing, and methods that will keep you safe and prevent bee agitation, swarming, and stings.

Though beekeeping can be a fascinating hobby, it can also be dangerous. If bees swarm they are likely to sting, which can cause serious problems such as allergic reactions to the stings. Someone new to this hobby may not know what to do in the case of the bees getting out of control. This is why it is necessary to be prepared for the unexpected when it comes to maintaining a hive.

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