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Bee School

*If Bristol Aggie is closed due to bad weather, there will be no bee school that night! Notice will also be posted on this website, facebook page or email!

2014 Bristol County Beekeepers Association

Beginner’s Beekeeping Course

Tuesday evenings 7:00 – 9:00

February 11 – April 8, 2014*


All classes are scheduled to be held in the Library of the main building at the

 Bristol County Agricultural High School

135 Center Street

Dighton, MA


*No School on February 18, 2014

*If Bristol County Agricultural High School is closed due to bad weather, there will be no bee school that night and that class will be rescheduled before the end of the course.   


This is the course you should take if you are thinking about keeping bees, or if you have tried beekeeping and want to learn more about it or if you are just curious about bees!


The cost is $45 which includes a textbook, “First Lessons in Beekeeping”, by Keith S. Delaplane, handouts and a 1-year membership to Bristol County Beekeepers Association. Please note that the membership is for an individual, a couple or a family, depending on how you want to sign up. Each “entity” is entitled to one vote.


Subjects will include the biology of honeybees, how to acquire your first bees, buying or building a beehive, plants for the bees, diseases and how to treat them, queens, extracting and bottling honey.  Colony management, a review of what to do during the four seasons, will give you an idea of what is involved.  There will be lots of time for questions and answers, and a chance to talk to people who have just started as well as veterans with 100 hives who can talk about tons of honey.


Classes are held on Tuesdays evening, from 7 to 9 pm with a 15 minute break.  There will be a general membership monthly meeting held during the course that students (as new members) are encouraged to attend.  Classes are scheduled to end on April 8th, however, if there are cancellations due to bad weather and Bristol Aggie closes, Bee School will be pushed a week.



Bristol County Beekeepers’ Association

Beginners’ Beekeeping Course 2014


Week 1

February 11, 2014:  Registration begins at 6:30pm.  Please bring payment, registration form, and pencil and paper for taking notes.  The normal starting time for class is 7:00pm, but on the first day, please arrive early in order to allow time for registration.

Bee School Registration Form 2014.pdf


Introduction to Beekeeping

  • About this classroom
  • Course overview/the “big picture”
  • Introduction to Bristol County Beekeepers’ Association
    • Why do you want to keep bees?
    • Integrated and safe beekeeping education
    • Mentors
      • Workshops
  • Resource list (library, web, bibliography, organizations, equipment suppliers,)
  • Basic equipment (smoker, hive tool, protective equipment, etc.)
  • Basic hive parts (bottom boards, hive body, supers, frames, inner cover, lid)
  • Making the decision to be a beekeeper: Time, cost, bee stings, when to order    bees.


February 18, 2014 - No School

Week 2

February 25, 2014 - Regular Monthly Meeting (Speaker scheduled).

Reading required for this session: Chp. 1 - The Place of Honey Bees in The World pgs. 1-5


Week 3


March 4, 2014 - Equipment and Assembly

Review of Bristol Bee recommended hive parts (bottom boards, hive body, supers, frames, inner cover, outer cover)

  • Other equipment (queen excluders, feeders, hive straps, moving frame, staples)
  • Plans for making own hive bodies and supers
  • Frame assembly (Bring a small container of (indoor-outdoor) wood glue and a hammer with you to class)

Reading required for this session: Supplier catalogs, Handouts: Plans from, textbook Chp. 3 - The Bee Hive and it’s Accessories pgs. 29-46

Tools required: Hammer

Week 4


March 11, 2014 - Starting a New Hive

  • Site considerations: location, neighbors, ordinances
  • Getting your own: package bees, nucs, swarms, buying an existing colony or split
  • Installing a nuc
  • Installing packaged bees
  • Feeding & caring for the bees (more to be covered in Colony Management)
  • Question & Answer time

Reading required for this session: Chp. 4 – Getting Started pgs. 47-62


Week 5

March 18, 2014 - Biology and Life Cycle of the Honey Bee

  • Biology of the honey bee
  • Individual caste life cycles, duties
  • Hive life cycle (intro to what bees do in each season)
  • Communication: pheromones, dancing
  • Brief intro to races
  • Colony Collapse Disorder

Reading required for this sessionChp. 2 – The Honey Bee’s World pgs. 11-25


Week 6

April 1, 2014 - Colony Management

  • Late winter/early spring
  • Honey flow build-up; post honey flow
  • Honey plants: nectar and pollen sources
  • Summer management
  • Fall and winter management

Reading required for this session: Chp. 5 – Management for Honey Production and Pollination pgs. 65-83, Chp. 6 – Products of the Bee Hive pgs. 85-96, Chp. 7 Off-Season Management pgs. 99-103.




Week 7

April 8, 2014 - Diseases, Pests & Common Threats

  • Diseases: AFB, EFB, chalkbrood, sacbrood and nosema
  • Pests: varroa mites, tracheal mites, SHB
  • IPM strategies: resistant breeds, screened bottom boards, proper maintenance, checking population, proper use of pesticides, mechanical controls
  • Extraction and processing
  • Marketing products from the hive (time available)

Reading required for this session: Chp. 6 and Chp. 8 Honey Bee Disorders, Parasites, and Next Invaders pgs. 105-141.


April 15, 2014 – Make-up day (if needed)

April 22, 2014- Regular Monthly Meeting (Speaker scheduled).


April 29, 2014 – Make-up day (if needed)