Expectations and Preparation

Mentors will expect you to have a basic understanding of the Honeybee and Colony life cycles. Taking a beginner beekeeping course is recommended.  There are some excellent local courses and resources available at certain times of the year.  When in person courses become possible again, we will update the list below with some more recommendations.  Please be aware that with so much information on-line not all of it applies to our locale, exercise caution.   

On-line For FREE

1)      University of BC – This course is webinar format, only available once a year in March and requires pre-registration. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/animals-and-crops/animal-production/bees/bee-courses

2)      Not a course per se but a good resource for beginners and experienced alike. University of Guelph Honeybee Research Centre where you will find 60 short How-to video lessons https://honeybee.uoguelph.ca/videos/video-list/

On-line For a FEE

3)      Penn State Extension – This is a course, recommended by one of our own new beekeepers. 9 hrs. 159US$ available year-round  https://extension.psu.edu/beekeeping-101

4)      Ontario Beekeepers Assoc. – This is another good on-line 2-part course at $85 each (22 hrs. total) offered once a  month – two weeks at a time https://www.ontariobee.com/outreach/workshops/apiology101

5)      NAIT  Alberta, offers a comprehensive on-line certificate course, avail. early Sept – Oct., 30 hrs.  $450. https://www.nait.ca/coned/beekeeping?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIzsGj24b57wIVoTytBh1teAwZEAAYASAAEgI77_D_BwE


In Person Beginner Courses for a FEE

6)      Wendi Gilson (Provincial Regional Inspector) – 12 Month course, monthly assignments, reading and quiz., includes two field days per month at a hands-on teaching apiary (Live from the Hive Videos during COVID).  $400. Contact wendigilson@yahoo.ca Mentorship Support Group Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=blackhorse%20apiary

7)      Don Fowler – Beginner to Intermediate Beekeeping course. Jan. Coombs Fair Grounds, Boardroom, 1014 Ford Road. 6:30 to 8:30 PM. Everything from beginning basics and splits to queen rearing, occasionally intense you will learn what is needed to get your bees through your first winter. 7 sessions and a 1/2 day in the bee yard with experienced beekeepers. $285 Its recommended you join the Oceanside Hive. Meetings at the Arrowsmith Hall. For more info. contact Don at pinebug@gmail.com

In Person Private Mentor for a FEE

1)      Rachel of Home Grown Bee here in the Valley https://www.homegrownbee.ca/store-1/p/mentorship-program offers a one-on-one personal Mentor service for a fee, 5 one hour private consultations at your site, $200 (plus travel where applicable), see Rachel for details info@homegrownbee.ca .

NEWBEE CORNER and Meeting Attendance

Our club meetings start with an opportunity for new beekeepers to ask questions and have a hands-on experience prior to the business part of the meeting.  The seasons activities and critical points of treatment and management are discussed in real time.  You can dig deeper into any subjects or issues for clarity.  It has been said that if a new Beekeeper attended every meeting for one beekeeping season it would be the equivalent to the best beginner course offered.

Apiary Tour

As a new Beekeeper, having exposure to many different apiaries is a great way to observe and learn from others experience, choosing an approach and developing your own methods.  Our Club organizes an apiary tour each season and all new beekeepers should make time to attend.

Club Library

Books seem quaint and old fashioned to some but do not let that deter you. You can learn a lot by browsing through any of the books in the Club Library, a great selection of interesting and valuable books and publications available to take home for study or pleasure.  Just one more resource for the new Beekeeper paving the way to beginning your beekeeping journey with knowledge and confidence.

The learning never ends

Be sure to develop a Varroa Plan with your Mentor and become informed of the options available, pro’s and con’s of each.

“Keep in mind that there are two different things: (1) bee biology—which does not change between beekeepers; and (2) beekeeping management—which is personal beekeeper preference and varies and contradicts between people and the advice they will get.”  Peter Smith, CVBC Mentor       

Our goal is to have more successful beekeepers which results in more healthy bees in the valley which is good for everyone.


Please see the Club Executive page for the current contact information for the mentorship program email.