Maine State Beekeepers Association

NEW FOR 2023:
A comprehensive list of bee schools in Maine!

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.

Augusta (in person)

Kennebec Beekeepers Association 

Introduction to Beekeeping – one day
Saturday January 21, from 9:00 am -1:00 pm at Viles Arboretum. Cost is  $35.00. Thinking of getting into beekeeping but not sure what it involves? This short introduction will give you the basics of what’s required to set up and keep bees in a one day class. The perfect opportunity for anyone looking to start a hobby hive, or simply to learn more about the fascinating process of beekeeping!

Beginner Bee School
Saturdays February 18 – March 18, from 9am – noon at Viles Arboretum. This is a 5 week class that includes all class material for the beekeeping year, multiple open hives, honey extraction class and winterizing class.  $80.00  Contact Sheri Zimmerman at iloveireland2005@gmail.com or check out our Facebook page, or our website kennebecbeekeepers.mainebeekeepers.org

Damariscotta (in person)

Knox-Lincoln County Beekeepers

A 7-week interactive course designed for first and second year beekeepers. Beekeeping basics, equipment needs, seasonal management, honey bee diseases and pest management will be presented.

Classes will be held on consecutive Wednesday evenings from 6:00 to 8:15 p.m. in the downstairs community room of the Assembly of God Church, 672 Main Street in Damariscotta beginning on February 22nd and continuing through April 5th. If inclement weather results in a cancellation, class will extend for one week to
April 12th. Formal presentations will be followed by rotational hands on learning stations in break out rooms. Abundant time will be allowed for questions and answers. The course fee is $65.00 (payable by check or cash) which includes a textbook, emailed handouts and a pro-rated yearly membership to KLCB.

Registration: please send an email to rmllamas1@gmail.com with your name, address and phone number where you can be reached. For further questions contact Jane Dunstan at (207) 586-6800.

Lubec (in person)

Beekeeping 101 Registration Now Open

Jan 19, 2023 – Feb 23, 2023

LCOC welcomes Master Beekeeper Andrew Dewey for a six week Beekeeping 101 series- the perfect way for you to learn the ins and outs (and ups and downs) of becoming a Beekeeper.

The class will run six weeks on Thursdaysfrom 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm beginning, with 2 “flex” weeks as needed should weather cancellations crop up. 

Instruction will include:

  • honeybee basics, 
  • how to get started,
  • beekeeping equipment,
  • feeding and care,
  • swarms,
  • honeybee diseases, and so much more.

Class fee is $75 per person and includes a book. Space is limited and advanced payment is required to hold your seat. 

CLICK HERE to register and pay.

 

Mexico (in person) 

Western Maine Beekeepers Association 

Bee School for Beginning Beekeepers is an 8 week course at Region 9 cafeteria at 377 River Rd in Mexico

Wednesdays, January 18 – March 15 from 6:30-8:30pm (no class on February 22. If there is a snow day for RSU10, Bee School will not be held.) 

Registration will begin on January 18 at 6 pm. Cost is $65 which includes a textbook and 1 year membership to WMBA. Preregister or ask questions by calling Al Borzelli at 207-388-2120.

While we believe that in-person class will give students the best Bee School experience, we will include a synchronous zoom option. We will do our best to make that experience as beneficial as possible.If students would like their books shipped to them, they will need to cover the additional costs. Come on January 18 to register. We are hoping to post online registration information on our website soon.  

Portland (online)

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.

Four sessions available:
Tuesday evenings January 10th to February 7th, 6 pm – 7:30 pm
Saturday mornings January 14th to February 11th, 10:30 am-12 pm
Tuesday evenings February 21st to March 21st, 6 pm – 7:30 pm
Saturday mornings February 25th to March 25th, 10:30 am-12 pm

Course fee of $145 includes the textbook “The Backyard Beekeeper” (Flottum) and e-binder with handouts and weekly outlines. *Communication and links to the class will be done via email. Please be sure to use an address you check regularly, then please check it regularly. Each class is limited to 45 students. Course instructor:  Phil Gaven, EAS certified Master Beekeeper. Please call the shop for more information: 207-773-9333.

Sophomore/Sustainable Beekeeping is a five week 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.

Two sessions available:
Wednesday evenings January 11th to February 8th, 6 pm – 8:15 pm
Wednesday evenings February 22nd to March 22nd, 6 pm – 8:15 pm
Course fee of $145 includes the textbook. *Communication and links to the class will be done via email. Please be sure to use an address you check regularly, then please check it regularly. Course instructor:  Geoff MacLean, Red Brook Honey Please call the shop for more information: 207-773-9333.

South Paris (in person)

Oxford Hills Honey Bee Club Beginner Beekeeping School

Six week course March 6 – April 10

Held at the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School on Monday evenings from 6:00-8:00 pm. For more further information and fees, contact Oxford Hills/Nezinscot Adult Ed 207-743-8842 

Topsham (in person)

Merrymeeting Adult Education     

Introduction to Beekeeping
This one-day course will provide an overview for those considering beekeeping or just wanting to learn more about honey bees. The course will cover equipment, equipment sources, cost, level of effort, basic bee biology and care, etc. It will provide basic background information in order to help determine if beekeeping is for you. The course is not intended to function as a full beekeeping course. If your goal is to become a beekeeper it is highly recommended that you enroll in “Fundamentals of Beekeeping” (see below). Thursday, January 19th, from 6 pm to 8 pm at Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham. $35

Fundamentals of Beekeeping
SCBA’s six-week “Fundamentals of Beekeeping” course is designed for those who wish to become a beekeeper. The course will cover the what, why, and how of beekeeping. Topics include but are not limited to honey bee biology, equipment requirements and setup, seasonal management techniques, diseases, pest management, and honey bee benefits and products. The goal of this course is to develop a foundation for new beekeepers to be prepared to keep bees. A course book will be provided to each student. Classes will be held on Thursdays, January 19th to March 23rd, from 6 pm to 8 pm at Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham. $110
Taught by members of Sagadahoc County Beekeepers 

Whitefield (in person)

Spicer Bees

Beginner Beekeeping School  with instructors Brian Mason and Rick Cooper

Saturdays on March 25th, April 1 & 8th from 1- 5 pm at 463 Mills Road in Whitefield. Cost is $75 . Students are also strongly encouraged to continue learning about bees during our open hive Saturdays that run throughout the beekeeping season. 

For more information and to register: https://spicerbees.com/product/beginning-beekeepers-class/

ONLINE ONLY

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. Registration is open at www.HeroesToHives.com now and closes Feb. 28, 2023.

Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association 

Beginner Beekeeping3 part webinar series with sessions taking place on January 22, January 29, & February 5 from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. online on Zoom. Sliding scale, $40-$100 for all 3 parts; free for Journeypersons and BIPOC community members. Join Master Beekeeper Karen Thurlow to help you get ready for your first season keeping bees. She will begin by preparing you for the earliest decisions you’ll have to make when starting out: what equipment to get (and where), how to put together a new hive and where to situate it, and what bees to order and in what “form” (package or nuc). Then she will introduce you to the bees themselves – what their roles and basic needs are – as well as what you need to look for when inspecting your hives and what each of the four seasons as a beekeeper will require. See the MOFGA website for a list of what will be covered in each session.

 

FREE ONLINE COURSES 

Many online courses and YouTube videos are helpful as a supplement to 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

SCBA Bee School