BEEKEEPING IN THE NORTHEAST - An account of my beekeeping, not a treatise of expertise, but for friends & family who wish to keep bees vicariously through me, and for the occasional apiarist passer-by.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Learning How to Keep Bees - Links

Learning this craft is about finding your own successful, sustainable, management plan specifically tailored to your own apiary. It can become a lifelong pursuit for a beekeeper. Here are some links to programs, often taught with the help of volunteers, to help you on your way:

YouTube - for supplementing local instruction: 

We may share similar latitudes with popular YouTube broadcasters but pay attention to growth hardiness zones & climate. Beekeeping is very climate specific when it comes to raising bees in a cold climate. New Hampshire's hardiness zones range from 3 in the north to 6 in the south, depending on where you plan to have bees. West coast states in contrast are primarily zones 6 to 10. Beekeeping practices and studies done in warm, dry zones may not apply to our bees here in New Hampshire. Look for articles on .edu websites and videos uploaded by Universities that share our cold climate concerns and similar forage (natural food sources for bees) as they have the most up-to-date and relevant information for New Hampshire's long winters and continuous but brief nectar and pollen season. Examples are Guelph University in Ontario, Canada and Cornell's Dyce Bee Lab in Ithaca, New York.

New Hampshire Getting Started courses:

New Hampshire state clubs offer a standard 5 - 6 week course intended to give beginners the confidence to get bees and start learning on the job, sometimes providing mentors during the 1st season. The hope is that you will participate in supporting the club and eventually volunteer as mentors and educators. New Hampshire Beekeepers' Association has links to clubs-click here.

Adult Education & University Courses: These are semester courses that take a realistic period of time to help new or experienced beekeepers find out ways to start or continue with a better chance for success. They provide the "big picture" of beekeeping with an in-depth look at honey bee history, behaviors, biology, and an exploration of management practices. Carroll County Adult Ed offers such a course - click here (This is my fifth year teaching this class and includes mentoring). See below for University links to Cornell and the University of Montana online beginner courses.

Crash Courses: Some clubs and individuals hold weekend "crash" courses. These are most useful for reviewing what you have experienced in your first season of beekeeping. They are also helpful to a beginner who has a family member or friend acting as a mentor or if they have taken courses before or plan to attend a continued education course at adult ed or at the university level. If someone has never had bees it can feel overwhelming but is a good introduction to beekeeping culture. You will meet real beekeepers and find out if keeping bees is for you. CABA or Capital Area Beekeepers Association is holding such a course in person in 2023. Find out more here.

Master Beekeeping Programs
Just a few I am familiar with:

Cornell University now certifies directly as part of their two year well orchestrated educational program for beekeepers. This is a great course for someone with just a few years of beekeeping who wants to learn current science and improve their management skills. Certifying is not required to pass the course. A one time fee for the online program is required with possible travel expense to Cornell for Certification.

EAS - Eastern Apiculture Society certifies seasoned, experienced beekeepers who have a goal to serve in the beekeeping community as EAS Master Beekeepers. This is not an educational program. A university level advanced beekeeping course is required before application. It can get expensive with application fees, travel and accommodations to the conferences where certification is in person, but EAS is the oldest certification program in the USA.

The University of Montana with a long history of cold climate honey bee research, certifies at three levels, culminating in a Master Beekeeper Certification following a challenging two to three year program taught by experts in many fields. Seasoned beekeepers and educators do best in the final stage of this course. Certification is part of passing each program and is entirely online. Tuition is required for each level of study achieved.

I hope this has been helpful.

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