Beekeeping Classes

Due to risks of contracting Covid19, we are preparing to move our beekeeping classes on-line.

With the help of Dr. Katie Lee, our new Extension Educator, we are producing a new and improved set of course materials, updating some management techniques, and creating fun online instruction modules. Year 1 and Year 2 classes will be combined into one Beginning Beekeeping in Northern Climates class. 

The on-line class will be about 8 hours of instruction divided into modules. We will begin with a live, on-line presentation from Marla Spivak, Gary Reuter, and Katie Lee. From there, you will be able to work through the course material in modules at your own pace. You will have access to the materials for two years to allow you to review any module over two beekeeping seasons.  To accompany the class, you will receive a PDF version of the updated Beekeeping in Northern Climates and Honey Bee Diseases and Pests manuals. Upon completion of the course you will receive a certificate of completion. 

The on-line course is scheduled to begin on January 16th, 2021. Registration will be available through our Bee Lab website in mid-November, 2020. After the January 16th kickoff you can dig into the materials whenever you like. If you cannot join us on January 16, you can still register and begin the course anytime after that and watch the recorded kickoff.

We will resume teaching in-person when we can ensure everyone’s safety. We also will continue to offer the on-line course for those who prefer that type of venue, or who find it difficult to meet in person.

The cost will be $175.00 per person.  For comparison, the price for both Year 1 and Year 2 in-person classes was $275.00 per person.

We are excited to roll out our new material!


Beekeeping in Northern Climates Year 1 (Getting Started in Beekeeping)

Interested in becoming a beekeeper? Dr. Marla Spivak and Gary Reuter from the University of Minnesota Bee Lab will help you get started in beekeeping. If you have had no prior experience keeping bees in our cold climate, Beekeeping in Northern Climates, Year 1 will teach you everything you need to know for a successful first year.

When: Next classes see above
Where: University of Minnesota, on-line

Beekeeping in Northern Climates Year 2 (Keeping Bees Year After Year)

Need help keeping your bees alive and healthy year after year? If you have taken Beekeeping Part 1, this engaging course is for you. Taught by Dr. Marla Spivak and Gary Reuter from the University of Minnesota Bee Lab, Beekeeping in Northern Climates, Year 2 will help you maintain healthy bee colonies long term. This class can be taken the same year as Beekeeping Year 1, although we recommend you take it after your first year of beekeeping.

When: Next classes see above
Where: University of Minnesota, on-line

Beekeeping in Northern Climates Beyond the Basics

This class is exclusively for beekeepers that have had the following three experiences: 1) successfully wintered honey bee colonies in a cold climate; 2) introduced a new queen into an existing colony; 3) kept bees continuously for two years.

In Beekeeping in Northern Climates Beyond the Basics we will cover alternative management strategies to successfully winter colonies in northern climates, divide colonies in spring, requeen colonies in spring and/or fall, and maintain colonies on natural comb. We will not cover honey harvesting and extraction, or the basics of wintering colonies as these topics are covered in Beekeeping Part 2. Taught by Dr. Marla Spivak and Gary Reuter from the University of Minnesota Bee Lab.

When:  tba
Where: University of Minnesota, St. Paul Campus

Successful Queen Rearing Short Course

Why not rear your own queens? The University of Minnesota Queen Rearing short course teaches one method of rearing queens that works consistently for both hobby and commercial beekeepers. Topics covered include queen and drone biology, timing of queen rearing in northern climates, stock selection and breeding for hygienic behavior, setting up mating yards, and record keeping. Everyone will have a chance to try their hand at grafting larvae and raising their own queens. A unique feature of the course is the section on queen rearing equipment designs that will allow you to build your own!

When:  Next Class July 16-18, 2021
Where: University of Minnesota, St. Paul Campus

Bee Squad Mentoring Apiary Classes

Mentoring Apiary Program

The best way to learn successful beekeeping skills is through hands-on mentoring from experienced beekeepers.  Without beekeeping mentorship, new beekeepers often experience avoidable challenges resulting in colony death. The University of Minnesota Bee Squad’s Mentoring Apiary Program provides invaluable learning opportunities for beekeepers of all experience levels.

Check out our Mentoring Apiary page for class descriptions and registration information.