Beekeeping Courses and Workshops for Beginners to Advanced

Have you been thinking about beekeeping courses to help you to get started in beekeeping?

Learning to become a beekeeper can seem daunting for anyone who has had no exposure to bees. 

Online beekeeping resources such as YouTube and Facebook groups can be helpful however there is nothing like the real thing.  

Our beekeeping courses and workshops can be structured to suit your beekeeping experience level.  

Glenn Locke, our experienced and qualified trainer, can deliver informal, one on one introductory beekeeping classes to people who have never handled bees.  

Glenn can also tailor more advanced topics for beekeepers who want to take that step further into beekeeping.  

Beekeeper training can be delivered to individuals, families and groups at a time that is convenient for you.

We are based in Coffs Harbour on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales.

Mt. Coramba Apiculture offer four types of beekeeping workshop experiences.  

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Beekeeping courses and workshops  – Taster.

Have you ever considered what it takes to become a beekeeper? 

Are you or your family thinking about purchasing a Flow Hive and wondering if you can do a Flow Hive course?

The beekeeper for a day taster is a basic beekeeping course for people who have never handled live bees. 

Tag along with an experienced beekeeper and ask anything you like before you take the plunge and buy expensive beekeeping tools and equipment.

The topics we cover are:

Safety – personal protective equipment and bee stings.

Legislation – what you need to do about complying with beekeeping bio-security requirements.

Beekeeping tools and equipment – smokers, hive tools, beehive parts.  Everything you will need and where to get it.

Hands on experience – open a beehive and handle live bees.  Find the queen and observe the life cycle of honeybees.

Cost $100.00 per person.  Children must be 16 years and over and accompanied by an adult.

We require a 10% deposit prior to accepting your booking.  This deposit is non-refundable.

Course times 9 am to 1 pm or noon to 4 pm. 

Contact us about the beekeeper training – Taster.

beekeeping courses and workshops

Beekeeping courses for beginners

Beekeeping courses and workshops  – Beginners.

This one-day beekeeping course covers the basics of how to get started in beekeeping and is closely aligned with the core elements of the nationally recognised Certificate III in Beekeeping.

(NOTE:  Mt. Coramba Apiculture is NOT a registered training organisation and we do NOT offer the Certificate III in Beekeeping)

The following topics are covered:

Using a beekeeper’s smoker.

The ability to effectively use a smoker is one of the most critical skills in the beekeeper’s toolkit.  We will show you how to select the appropriate fuel to use in your smoker then demonstrate the best way to light a beekeeper’s smoker in a way that results in a flow of steady, dense, cool smoke.  Our trainer can pass on the secrets to applying smoke so that your bees remain calm and workable.

Open and reassemble a beehive.

Opening a live beehive can be daunting without some necessary skills.  Our trainer will take you through the process of assessing weather conditions, applying smoke, and opening the hive.  Emphasis is placed on demonstrating how to disassemble the hive and lift frames out correctly using your hive tool.

We can show you the skills that will ensure the inspection process is safe for you and less stressful for your bees.  Our style of non-adversarial beekeeping will help you to avoid bee stings.

 We focus on teaching the skills to recognise good and undesirable bee behaviour and what you can do as a beekeeper to minimise disturbance to the hive.  By following our methods, you can learn to work your bees confidently without gloves and minimal protective gear.

 

 

Manipulating brood combs 

Beekeepers manage honeybee brood combs for many reasons.  During spring frames of brood are removed and placed above the queen excluder to make space in the brood box for the queen to lay.  Brood combs are cycled out every year to reduce the incidence of disease.  Brood can be removed from strong hives and placed into weaker hives to even them up.  We can take you through various scenarios in our production and queen raising colonies.

Managing honeybee pests and diseases.

Our trainer can demonstrate how a healthy beehive looks.  It is crucial that new beekeepers can carry out thorough brood inspections and recognise signs of disease such as American Foulbrood, European Foulbrood and Chalkbrood.  During inspections, we will discuss methods for minimising the impact of Small Hive Beetle.  

Selecting and establishing an apiary site.  

The success of your hives can depend a lot on where they are situated.  Numerous factors come into play, particularly in an urban beekeeping situation.  Our trainer can discuss and demonstrate good hive locations with emphasis placed on aspect, water availability and adequate flora.

Constructing beehives.

New beekeepers can choose between buying equipment unassembled or fully assembled.  Beekeepers and make significant savings by assembling their equipment. Our trainer can show you how to make bee boxes and other hive parts.  We can demonstrate how to construct and wire a beehive frame in a fast and easy way.

Removing a honey crop from your hive.

The availability of pure, fresh honey is one of the main reasons people want to learn about beekeeping.  It is essential that beekeepers can determine when honey is ripe enough to be harvested.  We can demonstrate popular methods of removing your honey crop from the hive and transferring them for extraction.

Extracting honey.

The process of getting honey from your frames into a jar is a relatively simple process.  Our trainer can show you how to uncap frames and extract honey quickly and just with a minimum of equipment.  

Requeening your beehive. 

Requeening of hives should be carried out on a regular basis to ensure that you maintain docile, productive bees.  Our instructor will show you the signs that you should look for to indicate that your queen may be absent or failing.  We will demonstrate how to correctly place a queen cage into a hive to maximise acceptance of the new queen.

Cost $200.00 per person per day.  Children must be 16 years and over and accompanied by an adult.  Course times 9 am to 4 pm.

Contact us about beekeeper training – Beginners

Advanced beekeeping classes for beekeepers

Beekeepers at an advanced workshop.

Beekeeping courses and workshops – Advanced.

This one-day beekeeping workshop covers more advanced beekeeping techniques.

The following topics are covered:

Rearing queen bees.

Our trainer, Glenn Locke has completed the Certificate III Rear Queen Bees and has been raising queens for several years.  We can instruct you on rearing queen bees and take you right through the process of putting together cell starters, grafting, making up mating nucleus hives and assessing new queens.  Classes can cover many different methods depending on your needs and resources.  This class is best done on its own over a full day.

Spring management of bees.  

Spring is a crucial time for a beekeeper.  The success of your hive throughout the year can depend a lot on spring management of your beehives.  Our trainer can demonstrate how to handle a rapidly expanding colony in the spring to minimise swarming and maximise production.

Splitting hives.

Splitting beehives is a low-cost way of expanding your apiary.  Let us guide you through the process and show you the tricks around splitting hives to maximise your success.  

All methods covered including:

  • walk away splits,
  • splits using queen cells and,
  • splits using mated queens.

Merging hives.

The merging or joining of beehives hives is a common practice.  The resources from poorly performing hives can be merged with better hives to create one good colony.  As always with beekeeping, there are several ways of doing the same thing, and we can demonstrate a few options.

Moving hives.

Beekeepers from time to time move hives from one place to another.  Beehives can be moved a few metres or hundreds of kilometres.  The process of moving hives is sometimes poorly understood, and there is a lot of conflicting information about it on social media sites.  Our trainer can take you through all the methods of moving beehives that ensure the safety of yourself and your bees.  

Supplementary feeding.

Bees from time to time need to be fed pollen substitutes and sugar syrup.  We can take you through the process of supplementary feeding detailing the pros and cons of each method.  

Managing Small Hive Beetle

Small hive beetle has become widespread in the eastern parts of Australia since it was introduced around 2000.  Some methods work well, and others don’t.  We can demonstrate the techniques that we have found to be successful and show you how to implement them.

Cost $200.00 per person per day.  Children must be 16 years and over and accompanied by an adult.  Course times 9 am to 4 pm.

We require a 10% deposit prior to accepting your booking.  This deposit is non-refundable.

Contact us about Beekeeper training – Advanced 

Queen bee breeding workshop

Queen bee breeding workshop

Mentoring.

Once you have taken the plunge and own your backyard bees, you may need a little help from time to time.  Our beekeeper can come to your apiary to assist you with anything that you need to know about beekeeping.

We can help you with the following issues:

Identification of brood disease and assistance with honeybee pests: we can assist you to identify or rule out brood disease in your beehives and help you with any remedial action that may be necessary.  

Aggressive hives: we can assist you to identify the causes of aggression in your colonies and work out solutions for more enjoyable beekeeping.

Swarming and Spring Management: We can help you to manage the spring buildup in your hives to reduce the incidence of swarming.  

In fact, Mt. Coramba Apiculture can assist you with any of those “Should I be worried moments”.

Cost $50.00 per hour minimum then $25.00 per half hour increments.  Travel is charged per km and varies according to the price of fuel.  This service is limited to a 100km radius of Coffs Harbour.

Contact us about mentoring.

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Frequently Asked Questions?

What makes our beekeeping courses and workshops different?

Mt. Coramba Apiculture’s beekeeping classes are hands-on and practical.  As a participant, you have the full attention of our trainer.  We run our courses with one to 5 participants. 

Where are our workshops held?

Each session is run in the field at our apiaries and our property at Nana Glen.  We don’t soak up hours of the day sitting in a classroom.

When are we running our next course?

Our beekeeping classes can be run at any time of the year and on any day that is mutually suitable to our trainer and yourself.  Naturally, it is easier to run our classes in the warmer months as the days are longer and more conducive to beekeeping.  A general rule of thumb would be from the start of August to the end of April.

Are the courses flexible regarding subject matter?

Yes most definitely. We can tailor your course (if you attend on an individual basis) to suit what you want to learn.  For instance, if you have some experience and are comfortable with lighting a smoker and opening a hive, we can spend less time on those activities and more time on others such as splitting and merging beehives or managing small hive beetle. 

What is included in our beekeeping courses?

Mt. Coramba Apiculture will supply personal protective equipment such as a beekeeping veil and gloves.  Morning and afternoon tea are included (tea, coffee and a slice of fruitcake or a few biscuits).  We will also supply cold water.  You will need to bring your lunch. We can keep your food cold in our car fridge.

How much do your beekeeping courses and workshops cost?

Our one-day workshops are $200.00 per person.

Our half day workshops are $100.00 per person.

We require a 10% deposit prior to accepting your booking.  This deposit is non-refundable.  

We regret having to ask for a deposit however we are consistently let down by people who change their mind, cancel at short notice or simply don’t turn up.

Can I bring my children?

Yes, no problems at all.  They must be at least 16 years of age & pay the full adult price.

Can I bring a friend or relative along?

Yes, observers are welcome provided they pay the full price of $100 for the half day taster or $200 for the full day beginners workshop.

What do participants need to bring?

Participants at our beekeeping courses and workshops will need to wear covered footwear & long pants.  A hat and sunscreen are essential as we will be outdoors most of the time.  Bring your lunch if you are doing a one day workshop.  Please don’t use too much deodorant or strong perfume before you attend as it gives the bees the gripes!

Are our courses suitable for a person with a Flow hive?

Yes.  We have a functioning Flow hive in our apiary and we are happy to structure our beekeeping classes with an emphasis on Flow hive management. 

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What qualifications does our trainer have?

The owner of Mt. Coramba Apiculture, Glenn Locke started beekeeping in the early 1980’s as a 14-year-old.  This lead to a lifelong interest in bees and apiculture.  After a career in the food industry, Glenn took up beekeeping again in 2009.  Glenn has formal qualifications in pests and diseases of honey bees and queen bee breeding.  Glenn also has a certificate IV in training and assessment.  He also volunteers in the NSW Rural Fire Service and regularly assists with training and assessment of other volunteers in the Mid North Coast district.  Glenn is a qualified first aider.

Is Mt. Coramba Apiculture a registered training organisation?

No.  Mt. Coramba Apiculture is NOT a registered training organisation and we do NOT offer the Certificate III in Beekeeping.

You can, however, do the Certificate III in Beekeeping at Tocal College.

Is Mt. Coramba Apiculture insured?

Yes.  We are always insured for public liability and products liability to a total of $20 000 000.

Learn beekeeping on our working hives

Learn beekeeping on our working hives

beekeeping course Flow hive