It's Bee Season! Classes and More in 2016

Want to learn more before jumping into a beekeeping class or lecture? Check out our backyard beekeeping articles and videos.

Beekeeping is an ancient art, that is gaining in popularity. We spend a lot of time down here at the feed and farm dispensing information and equipment for beekeeping. The spring is the time to get new bees, when they arrive by the tens of millions, all packaged up by the pound in wooden boxes. But if you’re thinking about taking up this fascinating hobby, a good bit of advance planning is in order. You’ll want to have all your equipment ready, long before the bees themselves arrive, if at all possible.

But are you really going to do all that work without having a clear idea of what you’re getting into? It can be hard, from the outside, to determine whether you have what it takes, in terms of time, attention, temperament, and environment, to keep bees.

To Bee or Not to Bee

We offer a class every year, which we strongly encourage folks who are considering beekeeping, take. It’s called…To Bee or Not to Bee. And it’s just what it sounds like. It is a broad-ranging and lively overview, of everything an aspiring beekeeper might want to know, and many things the bees themselves might wish to tell a beekeeper, too!

As of yet, we cannot understand the dances they use to communicate, nor can we decipher the pheromones they release that make up so much of their communication. But by deduction, and careful observation, and the watchful patience of so many beekeepers both past and present, we have learned a good many things about beekeeping, and so in some way we speak for the bees here, too, when we encourage all aspiring beekeepers to take this class.

Frequently asked questions, terminology, equipment, and time requirements will all be covered in great detail. Mark your calendars for January 31st!

To Bee or Not to Bee
Beekeeping Introduction Lecture
Saturday 1/31, 5-8 PM Park Hall Ben Lomond
Free
RSVP Required - Please call us at (831) 336-8876 to RSVP. 

Winter Management

For those of us that have been keeping bees all year already, we offer another treasure trove of information, specific to winter management. In the cold of winter, when we spend less time outside and the flowers are few and far between, bees can fade from our immediate attention. But for both bee and beekeeper, the winter is an important time.

The bees are hunkered down into survival mode; too cold to fly, and little forage to find if they do go out in search of food. They must rely on the stores they have gathered from the bounty of summer. In a lean year, like this one has been for many area bees, there may not be enough to survive the long winter. The usual light sugar syrup that a beekeeper might feed them in summer will not do in these cold winter days.

There are mites to contend with, as well, and the issue of pollen supplements. What’s a beekeeper to do? We have dear Karla De Long, President of the Santa Cruz Bee Guild, on hand to help beekeepers take the very best care of their bees throughout the winter months. A colony that successfully overwinters, perhaps with a little help from the beekeeper, will be ready to start pollinating and gathering nectar early in the spring. The Winter Management class will be held on January 24th!

Details for this class can be found in the class schedule below...

2016 Beekeeping Class Schedule

Honey Bee Colonies: Winter Management & Spring Preparation
This class will cover the ins & outs of winter management when you need more than just your eyes to figure out what is going on.
Sunday 1/24, 10-1pm, Alba Schoolhouse Ben Lomond
$45
Register Online

To Bee or Not to Bee
Beekeeping Introduction Lecture
Saturday 1/31, 5-8 PM Park Hall Ben Lomond
Free
RSVP Required - Please call us at (831) 336-8876 to RSVP. 

Beginning Beekeeping Intensive Class Lecture Only
$35

Sunday 3/13, 10-2PM Felton Hall
Register Online

Beginning Beekeeping Intensive 2 Class Series
$75
3/13 and 4/2 REGISTER ONLINE
3/13 and 4/9 REGISTER ONLINE
3/13 and 4/16 REGISTER ONLINE
3/13 and 4/23 REGISTER ONLINE



A 2 day series to prepare you to be a successful beginning beekeeper. The lecture is a prerequisite for taking the apiary class.

This is a series: one class of lecture and one class of hands-on apiary exploration. You must take the lecture class to take the apiary class. If you wish to only take the lecture class, you can register for that by giving us a call. Personal protective gear is required for the hands-on portion of this class.

Refunds on classes will not be given without 72 hours notice.