Beekeeping requires in-depth knowledge of bee anatomy, behavior, social structure, nesting requirements, pests, and diseases. This is besides the knowledge required on the beekeeping equipment, how to use it, the maintenance required at certain times of the year, and the harvesting of bee products from the hive.
Beekeeping courses are crucial for fast-tracking your studies to work safely, efficiently, and profitably with your bees. The courses range from informal to formal certified training, which can be done online or by physical attendance. Beekeeping associations also offer valuable local training.
Beekeeping courses are a way to fast-track your learning and get the knowledge you need to be a beekeeper, but where do you get the best training in this field? Enrolling in the right courses will give you the best option to expand your beekeeping knowledge and give you confidence working your own hives!
Best Beekeeping Courses For Beginner Beekeepers
Beekeeping courses are a great way to learn much of the theoretical knowledge required to be a beekeeper. Some courses offer a practical component that will give you hands-on in-hive experience, but this option is not practical for some training.
What beekeeping courses are available, and how do you choose the best course for your requirements?
Types Of Beekeeping Courses
Your needs and goals in beekeeping will largely determine the type of beekeeping course you choose.
For example, hobbyist beekeepers may have different training requirements from professional beekeepers that require a formal qualification.
- Online beekeeping courses. Online beekeeping courses can be formal or informal and provide the most flexibility from a time commitment and convenience perspective.
- Formal beekeeping courses. These training courses will offer a formal certification for those looking to pursue a career in beekeeping. A formal course of this nature is often a requirement when applying for a beekeeping job unless you are starting your own business. Formal courses often combine theoretical, online, and practical training.
- Beekeeping association courses. These courses are generally informal but are of great practical value to the beekeeper. The knowledge shared during these courses is usually region-specific, so you learn how to keep bees in your region, and there is a strong hands-on component.
Beekeeping is a very practical activity, and it is often easier to see what an instructor is talking about rather than visualize it theoretically.
Many online courses offer visual instruction through videos to overcome this challenge, showing the inside of a beehive and detailing the subject of the course. While this has advantages, the disadvantage is that it is impossible to ask questions if you spot something in the video content that you are unsure of or require clarification.
Most new beekeepers will use a combination of these training sources to gain knowledge about beekeeping and further their beekeeping skills.
Best Online Beekeeping Courses
There are many options for online beekeeping courses, so the choice is difficult to select the right training that offers value.
We have selected some of the best online courses that offer quality beekeeping content suitable for beginner to intermediate beekeepers, whether hobbyists or commercial beekeepers in training.
Udemy Beekeeping Courses
Udemy is a well-known online training platform that many people have come to use as a quality online study program.
The courses offered by Udemy range from complete beginner beekeeping training, including the basics of choosing hive types and equipment, to specific beekeeping activities, such as queen rearing.
Some of the courses offered include the following.
- Beekeeping For Beginners. How to Be a Successful Beekeeper. This is a great course as an introduction to beekeeping.
- Beginning in Beekeeping: Start Your Very First Beehive. This course explains how to get your first beehive running but focuses only on top bar hives.
- Beekeeping 101: A 10-Step Guide to Becoming a Beekeeper. This is a useful, comprehensive course, from choosing apiary locations to setting up your first beehive to hive inspections, harvesting honey, preventing swarming, and how to catch new swarms.
The advantage of these courses is the convenience of online study, video material, and self-paced study, and most of the courses are highly rated by the students.
The main disadvantage is not practical training, which requires the student to go it alone when putting theoretical training into practice.
The certification offered by these courses is not recognized as formal training, but these courses give a good foundation to anyone looking to get started in beekeeping.
Honey Bees Online Beekeeping University
Honey Bees Online is a beekeeping training program run by David Burns, a certified Master Beekeeper through the Eastern Apicultural Society (EAS).
The online courses offered are for beginner and intermediate beekeepers. They are comprehensive and well-presented and include both theoretical study and practical training via informative videos showing various aspects of beekeeping.
The advantage of Honey Bees Online University courses is that you can view them anytime, learn at your own pace, and receive a completion certificate signed by a master beekeeper.
The training facility also offers a mentorship program which you can join to receive personal training from David Burns. You can ask specific beekeeping questions, send in pictures and videos to query behavior in your bee hives, and have fast, reliable access to an expert in beekeeping.
Best Formal Beekeeping Courses
Many colleges and universities in North America offer excellent online beekeeping training. Many of these courses give the certification required to qualify as a master beekeeper, the training necessary to work in the industry as a professional beekeeper.
- eCornell Master Beekeeping Certificate Program. Run by Cornell University, this course is a 15-month-long comprehensive beekeeping certification program. The training is all online based, making it possible for students from far afield to participate.
- Rutgers Beekeeping courses. These courses are run by the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and fulfill the state’s legal requirements for beekeeper training.
- University of Montana Beekeeping Certificate Program. This program has 3 courses, taking you from apprentice to journeyman and master beekeeper level. Special topics are also available, such as Natural Beekeeping.
It would be better to find out from your local university or college if they offer a beekeeping program. Some courses offer additional practical components, making attendance easier if it is close to your home.
If the university is close to you, you can visit the university in person to learn more about the course.
Beekeeping Courses With Beekeeping Associations
Beekeeping associations are an excellent place to learn beekeeping, with content focused on beekeeping strategies relevant to your region.
Many beekeeping associations provide training at all levels of beekeeping, and you can often request certain topics to be covered in aspects of beekeeping where you need training.
The training is generally conducted by experienced beekeepers in your region with local knowledge, making the information specific to your beekeeping environment, and you can interact directly with the instructors. Sometimes, the instructors may even visit your apiary with you to give onsite advice.
This training can be invaluable to the hobbyist or beginner commercial beekeeper!
The main disadvantage of this type of training is that it does not come with a certification or credits towards a formal certification in beekeeping.
Beekeeping requires advanced knowledge of the bees and the industry to work with these creatures safely and successfully. While you can do the training on your own, a course will help you gain the knowledge faster and avoid making costly mistakes in your beekeeping.
Try an online course to learn at your own pace, or consult your local beekeeping association for targeted courses for your beekeeping needs.