The Beginning Beekeeper's Course

education farming hive management honey bees

The Bee Wise Farms Beginning Beekeeper's Course is an online course designed to take individuals new to beekeeping through an entire season of beekeeping in Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. The course includes 15 online lectures that discuss the foundations of beekeeping, 15 instructional videos designed to show you how to do specific tasks and management in the apiary, and a monthly live Q and A session via zoom. The course begins in March and concludes in October. Cost of the course is $150. Once you register, you'll be sent all needed information to access this course.

Course Expectations

  • This course requires a reliable internet connection as all content will be delivered online.
  • Discuss the risks of beekeeping with your physician​, and decide with them if beekeeping is a safe activity for you.
  • You do not need to own bees to participate in the program, in fact we prefer you don’t keep bees this year if you have never kept bees before because the course is not designed to follow the season but rather provides education in a format that builds upon itself over the entire course.
  • Be respectful.​ Make sure that you help maintain a supportive and productive learning environment. Offensive behavior and/or language towards others will not be tolerated.

Course Materials

  • Lectures will cover the foundations of beekeeping using the most recent scientific understanding of Apis mellifera (the western honey bee) biology and management and typically run from 30-120 mins each.
  • Instructional Videos cover specific topics in the apiary and are meant to be visual guides for conducting specific tasks and run 5-20 mins each.
  • Handouts will be provided throughout the course in a digital format to support your education and access to support materials.

BWF Beginning Beekeeping course syllabus

March 15, 2022 - Prerecorded and emailed to you at the email you provided

  • Lecture 1: Honey Bees and Humans: Ancient Connections and North American Introductions 
  • Lecture 2: Beekeeping Equipment: Tools of the Trade
  • Instructional Video 1: Purchasing Bees

March 23, 2022 - Live session via Zoom 7pm - 8pm EST 

April 15, 2022 - Prerecorded and emailed to you at the email you provided

  • Lecture 3: Honey Bee Biology: The Individual Bee
  • Lecture 4: Colony Biology: The Superorganism
  • Instructional Video 2: Assembling Frames
  • Instructional Video 3: Assembling Hive Bodies
  • Instructional Video 4: Assembling Bottom Boards
  • Instructional Video 5: Assembling Migratory Covers

April 20, 2022 - Live session via Zoom 7pm - 8pm EST

May 15, 2022 - Prerecorded and emailed to you at the email you provided

  • Lecture 5: Feeding Bees
  • Lecture 6: Record Keeping
  • Instructional video 6: Using a hive tool
  • Instructional video 7: Lighting a smoker
  • Instructional Video 8: Installing a Package
  • Instructional Video 9: Installing a Nuc

May 18, 2022 - Live session via Zoom 7pm - 8pm EST

June 15, 2022 - Prerecorded and emailed to you at the email you provided

  • Lecture 7: What’s in a hive?: Preparing for Inspections
  • Lecture 8: Hive Handling and Inspections
  • Instructional video 10: Mite monitoring (powdered sugar role and
  • alcohol wash)
  • Instructional video 11: Mite treatment applications (Formic Pro and
  • Oxalic Acid)

June 22, 2022 - Live session via Zoom 7pm - 8pm EST

July 15, 2022 - Prerecorded and emailed to you at the email you provided

  • Lecture 9: Pests and Pathogens of Honey Bees
  • Lecture 10: Swarms and Laying Workers 
  • Instructional video 12: Honey harvesting and processing
  • Instructional video 13: Wax processing and rendering

July 20, 2022 - Live session via Zoom 7pm - 8pm EST

July 23, 2022 - Field Day at Bee Wise Farms 1pm - 4pm EST

  • Location: 10192 State Highway M-28, Newberry, MI 49868
  • At this 3 hour field day you will be immersed in working with bees and will be instructed on how to properly work a beehive, hive handling skills, how to do a comprehensive inspection, and how to monitor and manage for varroa mites.

August 15, 2022 - Prerecorded and emailed to you at the email you provided

  • Lecture 11: Small-Scale Honey Harvesting and Processing
  • Lecture 12: Splits and Controlling Swarms
  • Instructional video 14: Bottling and selling honey in Michigan
  • Instructional video 15: Late season prep for overwintering

August 24, 2022 - Live session via Zoom 7pm - 8pm EST

September 15, 2022 - Prerecorded and emailed to you at the email you provided

  • Lecture 13: Preparing for Winter: Late Season Management
  • Lecture 14: Honey Plants and Forage Habitat
  • Instructional video 16: Final steps to prepare hives for winter

September 21, 2022 - Live session via Zoom 7pm - 8pm EST

October 15, 2022 - Prerecorded and emailed to you at the email you provided

  • Lecture 15: Overwintering in Northern Michigan
  • Instructional video 17: Winter storage of beekeeping equipment
  • Instructional Video 18: Winter Hive Checks

October 19, 2022 - Live session via Zoom 7pm - 8pm EST

About Your Instructor

Dr. Adam Ingrao holds a BS in Agriculture and Environmental Plant Science from California Polytechnic State University and a PhD in Entomology from Michigan State University. His expertise as an entomologist is rooted in the utilization of beneficial insects in agroecosystems to produce ecosystem services with a special focus on honey bees and natural enemies. He is the Co-Founder and National Director for the Heroes to Hives program (the largest beekeeping education program in the nation) and an Outreach Specialist at Michigan Food and Farming Systems. He has served previously as an Extension Specialist for Michigan State University Extension, the Director of the Veterans in Agriculture Network and the Executive Director of Farmer Veteran Coalition of Michigan. Dr. Ingrao has been working in agriculture for nearly 30 years and with honey bees professionally for the last 15 years. He has published numerous scientific articles on biological pest control, chemical ecology, and insect community analysis and was most recently a co-author of the book Honey Bee Medicine for the Veterinary Practitioner.

Hands-On Instruction

For those interested in hands-on education we offer a variety of workshops at the farm throughout the beekeeping season. These events sell out fast and are first come first serve.  Register here for those events. 



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