Introduction to Beekeeping Course

Introduction to Beekeeping Course

Coronavirus Update

Due to the restrictions brought in to combat the Coronavirus epidemic we were not able to run the course face to face in 2020. We were able to give the theory part of the course online.

For 2021 we were hoping to offer some form of face to face course over the weekend of 24/25 April. This is of course subject to whatever restrictions are in place then so we will have to be flexible and may only be able to offer the online theory component of the course in April.

Each year in Spring the Branch runs a two day course as an introduction to beekeeping.

Our short course uses the British Beekeepers Association's (BBKA) 'Introduction to Beekeeping' teaching materials. The course's objectives allow people to :-

  • Be able to understand and recognise the basic parts of a hive.

  • Understand the life cycle of a honey bee.

  • Understand what is involved in keeping bees.

  • Be able to make an informed decision as to whether or not beekeeping is for them.

One of the course tutors

The course tutor in 2020 was John Hewitt who has been keeping bees for over ten years.

For the practical session on day two, suitable protective footwear and gloves should be provided by each student (Wellington boots and rubber Marigolds are recommended). Protective bee suits, veils and gloves will be loaned to those students who are unable to provide their own.

Members of the course having a practical demonstration in the apiary

On completing the course, and joining our Branch, new members are then able to extend their knowledge by attending a series of practical sessions held at our out apiary in King's Moss.

A worker cleaning a brood frame cell

We normally only run one course per year (over two days) with approximately 40 places available for students. The course fee for 2020 is £120.00 which includes :-

  • One place on the two day course (including light lunch).

  • Membership of our Branch and the BBKA for one year.

  • Eight or more 'hands on' practical sessions at our out apiary.

  • A monthly Branch newsletter (via e-mail or post).

  • Twelve copies of 'BBKA News' per year.

  • BBKA public and product liability insurance (up to £5M per incident, with a £500 excess on each claim excluding personal injury).

  • Bee disease insurance for up to three hives.

  • Reduced entry fee to the BBKA Spring Convention.

NB Any students who opt out of practical sessions or Branch membership will not be offered a course fee concession

Bees on a brood frame

We have been running this introductory course for over ten years and it has always proven to be very popular. Applications are also welcome from outside the Lancashire area. In previous years we have had attendees from as far a field as Oxford and Northumberland.

Typical activity on a brood frame


On each day of the course there will be two fifteen minute tea breaks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon and also a sixty minute break will be taken for lunch. Please note that a light lunch is provided as part of the course fee for both days.

Course attendees are advised to turn up promptly at 9:00 AM on Saturday and 9:45 AM on Sunday and for all sessions after a break. The itinerary for both days of the course is outlined below.

During day two the attendees will be split into two groups and will rotate the morning and afternoon sessions.

Drones and workers emerging from between brood frames

After the course there will be a two hour practical session at our out apiary every week starting at 2:00 PM on Sundays (unless there is a Branch meeting within a couple of days). The practicals normally run from April/May until the end of July.

You will need to bring normal beekeeping protection to practical sessions. However you might be able to borrow a veil or a beekeeping suit for the duration of the session on a first come, first served basis. Remember to bring your own Wellington boots and protective gloves (rubber household washing up/cleaning Marigolds are OK).

Any hive tools, beekeeper's smokers and basic woodworking tools will be provided. The aims of the practical sessions are for new beekeepers to be able to :-

  • Open up a bee hive with the correct tools.

  • Remove and examine frames.

  • Recognise eggs, larva, sealed worker brood, drone cells and queen cells.

  • Recognise 'ripe' honey.

    • To be able to assess the condition of the colony :-

      • Has it enough stores?

      • Are there eggs and brood at all stages?

      • Is there space for the queen to lay?

      • Is there space to store honey?

      • Is there anything unusual (may be disease, seek advice)?

  • Receive instruction in the assembly of hives and frames from flat packed kits.

  • Extract honey.

  • Light and maintain a beekeeper's smoker.

Each practical session is supervised by an experienced beekeeper and is held in a friendly and informal fashion. New beekeepers are openly encouraged to ask any questions that they might have during or after the session.

Any new beekeepers who obtain bees while the practical sessions are running can also ask for help and advice.

Application form

For an application form or for more information click here