ann arbor backyard beekeepers 2014 courses
Ann Arbor Backyard Beekeepers (A2B2) is offering two new fee-based courses in 2014 at Matthaei Botanical Gardens for beginning and intermediate beekeepers. The courses are held both indoors and in the apiary. Participants will learn about equipment, bee biology, pests, honey extraction, and fall and winter preparation. The free monthly drop-in A2B2 Tuesday evening classes are still being offered. Check our web calendar for drop-in class descriptions.
The beginning course takes the new beekeeper through year one, and covers equipment, bee biology, basic management, and the many situations that beekeepers face throughout the year. This course also provides hands-on experience in basic hive inspection and skills.
Each class begins with an indoor lecture/discussion time and then moves to the teaching apiary (except for the February class, which will be entirely indoors). Participants are expected to bring their own veils/protective clothing. The teaching hives at Matthaei Botanical Gardens will be used for hands-on skill training.
- see below for detailed syllabus
The $150 course fee includes electronic resources and printed handouts. Matthaei-Nichols members receive a 10% discount. Just add your member number when registering. This membership will also waive all parking costs at the gardens for the year. Registration is through A2B2. After filling out the form participants will receive confirmation and payment information.
If you would like to become a member, visit this page to learn more.
Class Dates - All classes are in room 139, unless specified below.
Instructor: Meghan Milbrath
Matthaei Botanical Gardens
1800 N. Dixboro Rd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
All classes held Saturdays, 1-4 pm in room 139, unless specified below:
2. March 29 Equipment
3. April 12 Bee biology / Check over wintered hives Rm 125
4. May 17 Splitting hives/ Swarm prevention RM 131
5. June 7 Supering / honey production
6. June 21 Inspections/ pest indentification
7. July 19 Varroa mite monitoring
8. August 16 Honey extraction
9. September 27- Fall management
10. October 11 Preparing for winter
- February 15 - Equipment
This class will cover the equipment options for keeping bees. We will discuss pros and cons of different hive types and various beekeeping tools. Participants will have an opportunity to examine equipment and gear, and will be lead through the equipment decision-making and purchasing process. This class is designed to decide what equipment to buy and exactly where you can get it to get started in beekeeping
- March 29 - More Equipment
Everyone must bring their smoker and some smoker fuel. This class will focus on setting up the hive and answering questions about assembling equipment. We will bring in a series of more specialty equipment for participants to examine, and we will bring in tools and jigs to help assemble equipment. Participants are welcome to bring in any equipment that they have questions about or need help assembling.
- April 12 - Bee biology / Check the overwintered hives
We will discuss the different types of bees and the basic biology of bees. We will look at anatomical adaptations and focus on the natural cycle of the colony over the season. We will discuss different types of bees, and strains of bees in the US. Weather permitting, we will check the hives at the gardens and learn how to do a first check of overwintered hives, and get them ready for the upcoming season.
*Also in April: Bee package installation in the apiary. Date and time TBD based on package arrival.
- May 17 - Splitting hives/ Swarm prevention
In the apiary We will discuss swarm biology and behavior, and examine the hives for signs of swarm preparation. We will discuss and possibly perform splits or other types of swarm management, and discuss options for prevention, catching, and dealing with swarms.
- June 7 - Supering / honey production
In the apiary We will discuss major honey plants and honey flows and discuss how to manage the hive for honey production. We will discuss different supering strategies and hive arrangements. Possibly making nucs/ managing queens and swarms as well.
- June 21 - Inspections/ pest identification
In the apiary We will go over major honey bee pests and pathogens and learn how to inspect the hive to monitor hive health and to determine the presence of pests. We will discuss diagnosis and treatment options for sick hives, and discuss best practices.
- July 19 - Varroa mite monitoring
In the apiary Varroa mites are the worst enemy of hives. We will discuss the biology of this pest, and learn to perform various monitoring techniques, and discuss treatment and management options.
- August 16 - Honey extraction
In the apiary We will learn how to tell what honey to extract, and how to decide how much to take, and discuss various options for extracting honey from the hive and for making various products from the hive. We will discuss all types of extraction equipment and methods.
- September 27 - Fall management
In the apiary This time of year bees are already getting ready for winter. We will discuss how to prepare a hive so that it is at an optimal strength and size for overwintering.
- October 11 - Preparing for winter
In the apiary We will set up the hives for overwintering, and will discuss various options for managing moisture, food, and heat in the hives.
This course is designed for those with basic beekeeping experience. The course addresses management strategies for beekeepers who want to expand their apiaries to achieve more overwintering success, or for those who are ready to move beyond basic beekeeping. We'll take a more in-depth look at swarm prevention, splits, overwintering hives, pests and disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention, queen rearing, and tricks of the trade. The classes are scheduled to be slightly ahead of when participants would perform the tasks on their own hives, so that they are better prepared to manage their hives throughout the season.
Each class begins with indoor lecture/discussion time and moves to the teaching apiary (except February, which will be entirely indoors). Participants are expected to bring their own veils/protective clothing. We will use the teaching hives at Matthaei Botanical Garden for hands-on skill training.
Course fee - $120. Includes electronic resources and printed handouts. Matthaei-Nichols members receive a 10% discount. Just add your member number when registering. This membership will also waive all parking costs at the gardens for the year. Registration is through A2B2. After filling out the form participants will receive confirmation and payment information.
If you would like to become a member, visit this page to learn more
1. February 16 - Equipment needs / Biology question and answer
2. March 30 Dealing with dead outs and overwintered hives
3. May 4 - Swarms and Splits
4. June 1 Backyard queen rearing
5. June 29 - Hive inspections
6. August 10 - Products from the hive
7. September 14 - Preparing the bees for winter
8. October 12 - Preparing the hives for winter / Question and answer
- February 16th Equipment needs / Biology question and answer
a. This first class is designed to get you ready for the upcoming season. We will answer questions about your current equipment and discuss your needs for the upcoming season. We will look at what tools are necessary to have on hand, and examine other tools and toys that can expand your operation, or make your work lighter. b. We will discuss best places to source equipment and group purchasing strategies. c. We will also take time to answer any biology related questions that may have come up over the winter in your reading, or that were noted from last year.
- March 30 - Dealing with dead outs and overwintered hives
a. We will focus on preparing an overwintered hive for the upcoming season. i. Space needs for spring ii. Spring feeding iii. Safely using old equipment iv. Swapping out frames b. We will also discuss potential causes for winter loss i. How to diagnose a dead out ii. How to clean and store equipment
- May 4 - Swarms and Splits
a. We will focus on how to identify if your hive is preparing to swarm b. How to manage a hive so that it does not swarm c. Making splits/Nucs
- June 1 - Backyard queen rearing
a. Basics for raising queens for making nucs or for replacements. b. Making starter hives, grafting methods, timing, mating biology c. We will learn how to raise a queen for replacement or back-up or sale
- June 29th - Hive inspections
a. Identification of various pests and pathogens b. Discuss and try various varroa management strategies. c. Discuss treatment options
- August 10 - Products from the hive
a. Discuss honey extraction methods /options b. Uses and methods for other products (pollen, propolis, royal jelly, wax)
- September 14 - Preparing the bees for winter
a. This is a key time for bees making sure the colony is strong enough to enter winter. b. Discuss combining, feeding, and hive options
- October 12 - Preparing the hives for winter / Q&A
a. We will discuss different ways that hives can be made to withstand cold, lack of food, and moisture b. We will answer any questions that arose over the season.