Beekeeping Bootcamp

Adam Ingrao education Environmental Protection farming farming journey hive checks hive management honey bees

So, you’ve decided to become a BEEKEEPER!



Beekeeping is a rewarding hobby and small business opportunity that allows you to work with nature to create products that support the health and wellness of our families and communities. Although beekeeping has been a part of agriculture for over 4,500 years, beekeepers in the modern age are faced with new management challenges and pest issues that have led to annual colony losses in the US of 30 - 40% over the last decade. In fact, the US is currently at some of the lowest numbers of honey producing colonies in over 70 years.

Individuals new to beekeeping most frequently enter the industry with no formal education in apiculture (the science of beekeeping) or real-world experience managing bees. This lack of education and experience creates a situation where well-intentioned individuals lose their bees year after year because they don’t have the knowledge necessary to properly manage them. Within the industry, we call these individuals bee-havers; individuals who buy bees every year and every year those bees die due to mismanagement. This is expensive for the beekeeper and unsustainable for the US beekeeping industry.

At Bee Wise Farms we are beekeepers! Our colonies survive every year through some of the harshest winters in the US and every year we are able to increase the size of our apiary and sell excess colonies to our local beekeepers from splitting overwintered colonies. We use 100% organic pest management tactics and pride ourselves on our integrated pest management program for managing pest and pathogens of honey bees. The health of our bees is our top priority and it shows with annual losses consistently below 10% (15% is considered a sustainable apiary). Beekeeping Bootcamp is your chance to learn how you too can become a sustainable beekeeper!




Red Phase: July 5 – 14, 2021 (ONLINE)

White Phase: July 15 – 18, 2021 (AT BEE WISE FARMS)

Blue Phase: July 19 – 25, 2021 (ONLINE)

Beekeeping Bootcamp is a 3-week immersive beekeeping experience for individuals that are new to beekeeping or have had bees less than 3 years. The course consists of three phases that are focused on giving you a solid science-based foundation in biology and management, immersive hands on experience working live bee hives, and professional consulting to support you as you start on your beekeeping adventure. 

Our course is designed for an individual ready to commit time and effort to learning the art and science of beekeeping. If you have time to dedicate to learning, reading, studying, and a passion to become a beekeeper then this is the course for you!!!

2021 BOOTCAMP Schedule:

Red Phase: July 5 – 14, 2021 (Time commitment 5 - 10 hours)
  • Red Phase starts at home, on your computer. On July 5th, you will receive links to ~5 hours of private lectures developed by Bee Wise Farms. You are expected to watch and learn this material before you arrive at the farm for White Phase. These lectures will provide you with a solid science-based foundation in the following topics:
      • Honey Bee Biology: Successful beekeepers must understand the basic biology of honey bees. In this lecture, you will learn about the honey bee body plan and function, castes, division of labor, identification, and the biology of the colony (superorganism).
      • Equipment and Tools of the Trade: Understanding the names and uses of beekeeping equipment is key to successfully keeping bees. This lecture takes you through beekeeping equipment, tools and their function. Note, we will only be covering Langstroth style hives as they are consistently shown to be the best hives for keeping bees in northern climates.
      • Pest and Pathogens: Pests and pathogens are the leading cause of colony loss and successful beekeepers are able to manage these issues effectively to ensure colony survival. In this lecture, we will cover all the major honey bee pests and pathogens impacting honey bees in the Mid-West. You will learn how to identify them, what tactics are available to manage them, and best management practices.
      • Hive Handling and Inspections: An important part of beekeeping is understanding how to work bee hives gently when doing regular hive inspections. This lecture prepares you for the White Phase of the course where we will be working live bee hives. You will learn proper hive handling techniques and what we look for in our monthly hive inspections to ensure our colonies stay healthy all season long.
White Phase: July 14 – 18, 2021 (Time commitment 24 hours at Bee Wise Farms)
  • White Phase takes place at Bee Wise Farms in Newberry, MI. We are a 40-acre diversified farm focused on regenerative agriculture in the heart of the Eastern Upper Peninsula. We raise bees and ducks, grow cut flowers, lavender, vegetables, apples, and manage 30 acres of forest where we wild harvest mushrooms, blueberries, blackberries, and black cherries. Our apiary is home to ~50 honey producing colonies that have all been with our farm for years. We will work these colonies each day to hone your hive handling skills, inspection skills, and management decisions. 

    The White Phase training schedule:

    • Thursday, July 14th (10am – 4pm)
      • 10am – 11am: Introductions and farm tour
      • 11am – 12pm: Assembling hive equipment using hand tools and pneumatic tools
      • 12pm – 1pm: A farm fresh lunch will be provided
      • 1pm – 2pm: Lighting and using a smoker and proper use of a hive tool
      • 2pm – 4pm: In the apiary - Proper hive handling and identification of all parts of a working bee hive.
    • Friday, July 15th (10am – 4pm)
      • 10am – 12pm: In the apiary - Hive inspections and record keeping 
      • 12pm – 1pm: A farm fresh lunch will be provided
      • 1pm – 3pm: In the apiary - Solo hive inspections (you will do your first hive inspection and report back to the group)
      • 3pm – 4pm: Debrief: What went well during inspection and where did we struggle?
    • Saturday, July 16th (10am – 5pm)
      • 10am – 12pm: In the apiary - Hive inspections and varroa mite monitoring using the sugar role and alcohol wash tests
      • 12pm – 1pm: A farm fresh lunch will be provided
      • 1pm – 3pm: In the apiary: Integration of pest and pathogen monitoring into your hive inspections 
      • 3pm – 5pm: Developing an integrated pest management plan for your apiary. Varroa management plan and treatment options: When and how to properly use them.
    • Sunday, July 16th (10am – 3pm)
      • 10am – 12pm: In the apiary: Solo hive inspection (you will do your second hive inspection and report back to the group)
      • 12pm – 1pm: A farm fresh lunch will be provided
      • 1pm – 3pm: In the apiary – Final review of inspections and open Q and A
      • 3pm Conclusion of White Phase
    Guidelines for White Phase:
    • You must provide your own beekeeping veil and will not be allowed in the apiary without a proper veil. This can be a face veil, jacket with veil, or full coveralls with veil.
    • Gloves are not required but are highly encouraged for those new to beekeeping so you are comfortable when you first start handling bees. Ensure these gloves are either NEW leather beekeeping gloves or nitrile/latex gloves (old leather beekeeping gloves can transmit diseases between apiaries and will not be allowed). Leather gloves offer maximum protection but poor dexterity (which is critical to good hive handling). Nitrile/latex gloves offer some protection from stings but maximum dexterity. Your instructor will be using nitrile gloves and will encourage you to eventually get to that point once you feel comfortable working bees.
    • Do not bring your personal hive tools or smokers to Bee Wise Farms. Part of the integrated pest management plan we have developed to keep our bees safe is focused on biosecurity to ensure pathogens don’t enter our apiary from outside sources. Therefore, we will provide you with hive tools and smokers to use in our apiary and no outside tools or smokers will be allowed in the apiary.
    • Check with your physician before registering for this course to ensure you are not allergic to bee stings. You will be working bees for 4 days straight and it is very likely YOU WILL GET STUNG. Honey bees are generally not aggressive but most often beekeepers accidentally smash bees with their hand when picking up equipment which results in a sting. Every new beekeeper should note that bee stings are a regular part of beekeeping. 

    Blue Phase: July 19 – 25, 2021 (Time commitment 1 hour)

    • Blue phase is a 1-hour one-on-one virtual consultation with Bee Wise Farms that we will set up the week after you leave White Phase. In this consultation we will discuss your goals and your plan for moving forward. We will provide you with expert consultation on the plan you have developed for your beekeeping adventure and will provide you with expert advice on how to maximize the education you have received at Bee Wise Farms. This will also serve as a forum for you to ask any questions or solicit any advice about beekeeping.


    In addition to the BEEKEEPING BOOTCAMP COURSE you will receive:

    • Farm fresh lunch prepared daily by Bee Wise Farms.
    • Our Bee Wise Farms’ Resources for New Beekeepers binder with reference material, record keeping templates, laws and regs for Michigan beekeepers, good agricultural management practices for beekeepers, and more!
    • 10% off your first nuc from Bee Wise Farms.
    • 10% off your first purchase at Bee Wise Farms Store (online or at the farm).
    • Bee Wise Farms reading list: A complete list of our favorite beekeeping books to help you continue learning plus links to entire libraries of downloadable beekeeping books.
    • Access to Red Phase lectures for one year so you can reference these lessons long after the program has concluded. 



    Dr. Adam is an agricultural entomologist and author specializing in honey bees and beneficial insects in agricultural systems. During his 14 years of beekeeping he has managed honey bees in California and Michigan, trained beekeepers from Eastern Africa, and for the last 6 years has led one of the largest beekeeping education programs in the country at Michigan State University, the Heroes to Hives program. He has authored numerous research papers on beneficial insects and recently was a contributing author for the upcoming beekeeping textbook, Honey Bee Medicine for the Veterinary Practitioner.

    At MSU, Dr. Adam is part of the MSU Apiculture Team, MSU’s team of experts dedicated to research and outreach around honey bees. He also serves as the US Department of Agriculture’s Michigan Co-Coordinator for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program where he helps farmers, researchers and educators find sustainable solutions to agricultural issues. His previous academic, education and research honors included receiving the MSU Plant Science Fellowship, the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, and in 2018 he was named as one US Fruit and Vegetable Industry’s 40 Ag Leaders Under 40. 



    Bee Wise Farms is located in the beautiful Eastern Upper Peninsula and is surrounded by some of the most beautiful sites Michigan has to offer. For those of you traveling to take the course, we have plenty of great lodging options near the farm in the city of Newberry that includes hotels, motels, and campgrounds. Each day you will be done at the farm no later than 4pm (except for Saturday), this gives you plenty of daylight during the evening to explore (sunset is around 9:30pm this time of year). Find all the amazing attractions and lodging near us at 


    All classes, workshops and educational opportunities at Bee Wise Farms are on a first come, first serve basis, so it’s important to register early. Below explains our refund/cancellation policy if for some reason you are unable to appear for the experience or if we are unable to host. Deposits or full payment are required at registration to hold your spot. Please note that our refund policy is strict due to a high demand for our educational experiences. 

    Cancelation by Participant- FOR DEPOSITS MADE: $275

    • Cancelations 60 days prior to event date. No Charge.
        • REFUND AMOUNT $275
    • Cancelations 59-30 days prior to event date. $75 Charge.
        • REFUND AMOUNT $200 
    • Cancelations 29 days prior to the event. $150 Charge.
        • REFUND AMOUNT $125 
        • REFUND AMOUNT $0
    • Full Payments need to be made at least 30 days prior to the event date. Invoices will be sent 90 days prior to event date. 

    Cancelation by Participant- PAID IN FULL: $550

    • Cancelations 60 days prior to event date. No Charge.
        • REFUND AMOUNT $550
    • Cancelations 59-30 days prior to event date. $75 Charge.
        • REFUND AMOUNT $475 
    • Cancelations 29 days prior to the event. $150 Charge. 
        • REFUND AMOUNT $400 
        • REFUND AMOUNT $0

       Cancelation by Bee Wise Farms:

      • If Bee Wise Farms is unable to fulfill our agreement, your payment will be refunded to you in full.

      We greatly appreciate your interest in this 3-week educational experience and we look forward to coming together in the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan for Beekeeping Bootcamp. 


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