Maine State Beekeepers Association

Maine Bee Schools in 2024

Acquiring some basic but essential skills is critical to becoming a successful beekeeper. “Bee School” will  get you off to a great start. Classes run for varying lengths from January through April, all over the state. They are conducted by local chapters, adult education programs, beekeeping supply businesses and in cooperation with county extension offices.

These practical courses are a must for beginners, and a great chance for intermediate level beekeepers to update and refresh their skills. In-person learning has many advantages, but due to public health concerns some programs have been switched to online. Either way, acquiring an educational foundation in beekeeping will greatly improve your chances of success!

If you are a new beekeeper, 
locate a chapter in your area to get help or find a mentor. Most of these clubs also hold open hive demos during the summer months.

2024 In-Person Courses (by location)


Swan’s Honey
Beginner Beekeeping Class

  • 1st class is Saturday March 16 from 9 am to 11:30 am
  • 2nd class is Monday March 18 from 6:30 pm to 9 pm
  • 3rd class is Wednesday March 20 from 6:30 to 9 pm
  • 4th class is Saturday March 23 from 9 am to 11:30 am
  • Field day will be first or second Saturday in May depending on weather

Advanced Beekeeping Class

  • 1st class is Saturday March 16 from 12:30 to 3 pm
  • 2nd class is Tuesday March 19 from 6:30 to 9 pm
  • 3rd class is Thursday March 21 from 6:30 to 9 pm
  • 4th class is Saturday March 23 from 12:30 to 3 pm
  • Field day will be first or second Saturday in May depending on weather

Class is $65 per person and includes book and all handouts. All classes held at Swan’s Honey 332 Bessey Ridge Road Albion. For more information visit their website or call (207) 437-2251.


Kennebec Beekeepers Association 
Beginner Bee School
Saturday Feb 10 – Mar 16 ( No school Sat Feb 24th), class will be from 9-12pm at Viles Arboretum, 153 Hospital Street, Augusta.
The cost is $85.00 which includes all class materials, open hives throughout the summer, our honey extraction class, a winterizing class in the fall and a 1 year membership to the club. We also provide you with a mentor. Please contact Sheri Zimmerman at or check out our Facebook page at Kennebec Beekeepers Association for detailed information.


Sagadahoc County Beekeepers Association
Fundamentals of Beekeeping course through the Merrymeeting Adult Ed. Program.  The course will be offered at Morse High School, Bath Maine. The cost is $110, which includes a textbook. Visit the Merrymeeting Adult Ed website to register.
An Introductory Workshop to Beekeeping
Thursday January 18th, 2024,  6:00 – 8:00 PM
This introductory course will provide an overview of beekeeping for those considering beekeeping or just wanting to learn more about honeybees. The course will cover equipment required, equipment sources, cost, level of effort required, basic bee biology and care, etc. The course is intended to provide basic background information and a general understanding of beekeeping, to help determine if beekeeping is for you. The course is not intended to function as a full beekeeping course; it is highly recommended that a full “Fundamentals of Beekeeping” course is completed if your goal is to become a beekeeper.
The Fundamentals of Beekeeping  
January 18th to February 29th, 2024. 6:00 – 8:00 PM.  *NO CLASS: 2/22.
This six-class course of instruction is designed for those that wish to become a beekeeper. The course will cover the what, why, and how of beekeeping. Topics include but are not limited to bee biology, equipment requirements and setup, seasonal management techniques, diseases, pest management, honeybee environmental benefits, and hive products. The goal of this course is to develop a foundation for new beekeepers to be prepared to keep bees. A course textbook will be provided to each student. Meets in Rm 160.

Blue Hill

Tri-County Beekeepers
Beginner Beekeeping School
  • Saturday February 17th, 10:00am – 12:30pm, Introduction to Beekeeping and Hierarchy of the Hive
  • Saturday February 24th, 10:00am – 12:30pm, Hive Equipment Overview
  • Saturday March 2nd, 10:00am – 12:30pm, Pests and Diseases of the Hive with State Apiarist Jen Lund
  • Saturday March 9th, 10:00am – 12:30pm, Seasonal Management of your Beehive

The classes will take place in the Howard Room of the Blue Hill Library. The cost is $55 for the course and includes a membership to the Club.

Anyone who is interested can fill out our form to be added to the mailing list, or contact us at:  or


The University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Cumberland County

Beginner’s Beekeeping Class

Five sessions, every Thursday from Jan. 4 to Feb. 1, 2024 (snow date: Feb. 8) or Feb. 15-March 14, 2024 (snow date March 21). Focus on honey bee biology and beekeeping basics – Suitable for individuals considering buying their first hives or in their first year of beekeeping

Taught by experienced EAS Certified Master Beekeepers, held at the UMaine Regional Learning Center, 75 Clearwater Drive, Ste. 104 in Falmouth – Fee: $110 per person (textbook included).

Advanced Apiary Management Course (Zoom only, see Online Courses below)

Intermediate-level Artificial Swarming and Swarm Management Course

Two sessions, on Feb. 14 and Feb. 21, 2024 – Topics include swarm biology and behavior, preventing and managing swarming, and swarm retrieval – Held at the UMaine Regional Learning Center – 75 Clearwater Drive, Ste. 104 in Falmouth – Led by EAS Certified Master Beekeeper Erin Evans – Fee: $35

For more information and to register for any of these courses, visit the University of Maine Cooperative Extension website or contact the Cumberland County office.


The University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Washington County

Introduction to Beekeeping Course

Learn the basics of keeping honey bees in the traditional Langstroth bee hive, from hive construction to honey bee behavior and honey production, with our expert instructor. Text Book (included in course fee): Simple Smart Beekeeping by Kirsten S. Traynor, PhD & Michael J. Traynor. Questions about the course may be addressed to Andrew Dewey at email or call 207.266.7294.

Wednesdays, February 7 through March 27, 2024 (eight sessions)
Snow dates: April 3 & 10, 2024
6:00-7:30 p.m. University of Maine at Machias, 116 O’Brien Avenue, Machias, ME
Science Building, Room 102. $75.00 per person (per couple if willing to share materials). Register Here


Western Maine Beekeepers Association

Beginning Beekeeping

An 8 week program starting January 20-March. Classes are held on Saturdays 10 am till noon. (We plan for 2 snow days and 1 school vacation day). The cost is $65.00, this includes a book and a year membership. The classes are at Region 9 School, Mexico Maine. Pre-registration is helpful. Please contact or call (207)778-1313 and leave contact information.


Knox-Lincoln County Beekeepers

Beginner Bee School

Saturday mornings from 9 am to 12 noon, at the American Legion Post 37, 10 Watts Avenue, Thomaston, ME 04861. Dates are: Feb 24, March 2, March 9, March 16, March 23, No class March 30, April 6, April 13.

Course fee is $65. Please contact Jane Dunstan at or text at  207-586-6800 for more information or to register for the class.


Spicer Bees
Beginner Beekeeping
3 day class, March 30, April 6 and April 13, Saturday afternoons 1-5pm
6 day class, March 5, 12, 19, 26 and April 2 and 9, Tuesday evenings 5-7pm
All classes will be at Spicer Bees, 463 Mills Road in Whitefield. The cost for the class and reading material is $75.00.  Both of these courses will cover information needed to effectively manage and maintain bees for the entire first season including, we hope, the harvesting of your first honey crop.  Please sign up online.


Backwoods bee farm

Beginner Bee School

  • Tuesday evening class
    Tuesdays 6- 8:30pm
    January 9th-February 6th
    5 sessions
  • Saturday class
    February 24th-March 9th
    3 sessions

The course fee for either the Tuesday or Saturday class is $100 per person includes text book, or $150 per couple sharing one text book. Max 12 people per class. Classes will be at Backwoods Bee Farm, 106 Page Rd, Windham, ME. Call to register:
207-893-2847, or for more information visit


2024 Online Courses

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension

Advanced Apiary Management Course

Five sessions, every Wednesday from Jan. 10 to Feb. 7, 2024 – Designed for experienced beekeepers with 5-8 hives and at least 3 years of experience – Covers advanced topics like overwintering hives, disease and pest management, and swarm management – Conducted over Zoom – Led by EAS Certified Master Beekeeper Erin Evans. Fee: $75 (textbook not included)

For more information and to register, visit the University of Maine Cooperative Extension website or contact the Cumberland County office.

The Honey Exchange

Beginner Beekeeping is a five week Zoom class* (not a webinar) that takes absolute beginners from setting up a new hive, managing it throughout the season, getting ready for winter, and planning for the following spring. The class has a special focus on urban, suburban, and chemical-free beekeeping.

*Communication and links to the class will be done via e-mail. Please be sure to use an address you check regularly, then please check it regularly.

Course fee of $145 includes the textbook “The Backyard Beekeeper” (Flottum) and e-binder with handouts and weekly outlines. Class is limited to 45 students.

Course instructor:  Phil Gaven, EAS certified Master Beekeeper. Please call the shop for more information: 207-773-9333.

  • Session 1 – Tuesday evenings 6:00pm – 7:30pm
    • January 9th, January 16th, January 23rd, January 30th, February 6th
  • Session 2 – Saturday mornings 10:30am-12:00pm
    • January 13th, January 20th, January 27th, February 3rd, February 10th
  • Session 3 – Tuesday evenings 6:00pm – 7:30pm
    • February 27th,March 5th, March 12th, March 19th, March 26th
  • Session 4 – Saturday mornings 10:30am-12:00pm
    • March 2nd, March 9th, March 16th, March 23rd, March 30th

To enroll in Beginner Beekeeping click here.

Sophomore/Sustainable Beekeeping is a five week intermediate Zoom class* (not a webinar) intended for novice beekeepers with at least one season with a hive of their own.  Expanding on the beginner’s curriculum, the focus of the course is to move toward a sustainable apiary with emphasis on swarm prevention, nucleus colony and honey production, and a closer look at disease control.

*Communication and links to the class will be done via e-mail. Please be sure to use an address you check regularly, then please check it regularly.

Course fee of $145 includes the textbook. Course instructor:  Geoff MacLean, Red Brook Honey. Please call the shop for more information: 207-773-9333.

  • Session One – Wednesday evenings 6:00-8:15pm (includes a brief break)
    • January 10th, January 17th, January 24th, January 31st, February 7th
  • Session Two – Wednesday evenings 6:00-8:15pm (includes a brief break)
    • February 28th, March 6th, March 13th, March 20th, March 27th

To Enroll in a Sophomore Class, click here


Beekeeping for Beginners

This is a three part webinar series with sessions taking place on: January 27, January 28 and  February 4  from 3-4:30 p.m. Snow date: February 10. All sessions will be recorded & the recordings shared with registrants.

This series has been priced on a sliding scale of $40-$100 for all three events to make the course as accessible as possible; please pay what you can afford. Registration is free of charge for BIPOC community members and veterans.

Visit MOFGA to learn more and to Register

Beekeeping Through the Seasons

This class is the first in a series of 9 classes. Classes are on Zoom and will meet on the third Wednesday of every month, March-November, from 7-8 pm EST. The first class will be on March 20, 7:00 pm-8:00 pm. Classes will be recorded. This sliding scale registration price of $100 – $275 covers all 9 classes and is designed to make the class as accessible as possible; we ask that you please pay what you can afford. Scholarships are also available. Registration is free for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) community members and participants in the MOFGA Journeyperson Program.

Join Master Beekeeper Karen Thurlow for our first-ever foray into beekeeping through the seasons. From getting hives going in March to feeding and putting them to rest in November: this series will trace the shifting activities, challenges, and hive dynamics that beekeepers engage with through the active portion of the year. This is a perfect chance for folks who are in their first few years of beekeeping to fall into seasonal rhythms, ask questions, and troubleshoot with Karen and classmates.

Visit MOFGA for more information and to Register

Free Online Courses

Many online courses and YouTube videos are helpful as a supplement to in-person Bee Schools, but they may not be an adequate substitute for local learning. Your beekeeping management must be geared to Maine’s climate conditions.

University of Guelph (Ontario)

Honey Bee Research Centre
“How-To Beekeeping Video Series” a comprehensive library of videos from getting started to more advanced topics.

National Cooperative Extension Resource

First Lessons in Beekeeping: Honey Bee Biology
Basic Beekeeping Techniques

Scientific Beekeeping

First Year Beekeeping is presented by biologist and commercial beekeeper Randy Oliver

Heroes to Hives

Free online beekeeping program for Veterans, Reservists, Active Duty or National Guard members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their adult children, spouses, partners and caregivers.

Hives for Heroes

Hives for Heroes® is a national non-profit service organization focusing on sustainability, conservation, and providing a healthy transition from service. Through our national network of beekeepers, we provide connection, purpose, and healthy relationships, through access, resources, and funding for Active Duty, Veterans, and First Responders.

Watch videos here to learn the step-by-step process, roles, responsibilities, and expectations of Hives for Heroes members.

SCBA Bee School