The Beginning Beekeeper's Course

education farming hive management honey bees

The Bee Wise Farms Beginning Beekeeper's Course is an on demand online course designed to take individuals new to beekeeping through an entire season of beekeeping specifically for those living in Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. The course includes 16 online lectures that discuss the foundations of beekeeping, and 19 instructional videos designed to show you how to do specific tasks and management in the apiary. The course is on demand so as soon as you purchase the course we will send you the entire course for you to view at your pace. You can also revisit the materials as often as you like and each purchase gives you access to the materials in perpetuity. Please note all materials in this course are Copyrighted so please keep all materials to yourself.

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 course, in fact we prefer you don’t keep bees until you complete the course 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.

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 30-90 mins each.
  • Instructional Videos cover specific topics and are meant to be visual guides for conducting specific tasks and run 5-30 mins each.
  • Handouts will be provided within the course in a digital format to support your education and access to support materials.

BWF Beginning Beekeeping course syllabus

  • Lecture 1: Honey Bees and Humans: Ancient Connections and North American Introductions 
  • Lecture 2: Beekeeping Equipment: Tools of the Trade
  • Lecture 3: Honey Bee Biology: The Individual Bee
  • Lecture 4: Colony Biology: The Superorganism
  • Lecture 5: Feeding Bees
  • Lecture 6: Record Keeping
  • Lecture 7: What’s in a hive?: Preparing for Inspections
  • Lecture 8: Hive Handling and Inspections
  • Lecture 9: Managing varroa effectively
  • Lecture 10: Pests and Pathogens of Honey Bees
  • Lecture 11: Swarms and Laying Workers 
  • Lecture 12: Mid-season Management
  • Lecture 13: Late Season Management
  • Lecture 14: Splits
  • Lecture 15: Overwintering in Northern Climates
  • Lecture 16: Honey Plants and Forage Habitat
Instructional Videos
  • Instructional Video 1: Purchasing Bees
  • Instructional Video 2: Assembling Frames
  • Instructional Video 3: Assembling Hive Bodies
  • Instructional Video 4: Assembling Bottom Boards
  • Instructional Video 5: Assembling Migratory Covers
  • 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
  • Instructional video 10: Inspection and mite monitoring (powdered sugar role and alcohol wash)
  • Instructional video 11: Mite treatment applications (Formic Pro)
  • Instructional video 12: Honey harvesting and processing
  • Instructional video 13: Wax processing and rendering
  • Instructional video 14: Yoga for Beekeepers
  • Instructional video 15: Last Steps to Prepare Hives for Winter
  • Instructional video 16: Winter Storage of Beekeeping Equipment
  • Instructional Video 17: January Winter Hive Checks
  • Instructional video 18: February Winter Hive Checks
  • Instructional video 19: March Winter Hive Checks


  • Handout 1: Bear Fencing
  • Handout 2: Hive Data Sheet
  • Handout 3: Starting and Keeping Bees in Michigan Rules and Regulations (Updated annually by Michigan State University)
  • Handout 4: UN FAO Value Added Products from Beekeeping Book

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.


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