FAQs

Join MCBA (5)

How do I become a member?

There are two ways of becoming a member of MCBA:

Take the Beekeeping Class. Upon graduation you will automatically become a member and first year's membership is free.

Join on this website. First, create a user account, and log in. Next, follow the "Join MCBA" link in the Main Menu. You will be asked to pay the membership fee using PayPal. As soon as the transaction is completed, you will become a member of MCBA. It's that simple. Please note that the website will set up a recurring yearly payment for your membership dues. If you wish to stop the recurring payment, you must choose to terminate the membership by clicking on the "My Membership" link and following the instructions. If you cancel your membership, please note that we offer no refunds for any unused portion of the membership.

What are the benefits of joining MCBA?

  1. Free use of the Association’s honey extractors
  2. Monthly newsletter with articles discussing local beekeeping topics
  3. Bulk purchases of equipment, feed, medicine and other supplies
  4. Option to sell honey and products of the hive at the Montgomery County Fair
  5. Free registration for refresher Beekeeper Classes
  6. Annual Holiday Party!
  7. Opportunity to teach, mentor, and promote beekeeping

Can I cancel my membership at any time?

Yes, you can, by following the "My Membership" link in the User Menu. Please note that if you cancel your membership, MCBA does not offer any membership fee refunds. You will have access to this website for the remainder of the year, but your membership will not be renewed.

Is there a membership fee?

Yes, the membership fee is $20 per year. When you register online, you must pay the fee using PayPal. The site will set up a recurring annual payment. If you cancel your membership, the recurring payments are cancelled also. If you cancel the payments through PayPal, the website will cancel your membership and you will not be able to access the members-only content.

What about my privacy?

Our Association and this website do not collect or store any personal information besides your real name, user name, and password. All other information in your profile is optional. You may reveal as much or as little of yourself as you wish.

This website does not collect or store any payment information. All payments are conducted securely through PayPal, and we have no access to any of your personal information.

General (6)

Where can I keep my bees?

There currently are no zoning restrictions on beekeeping in Montgomery County Maryland.   Bees can be kept on farms, suburban back yards, townhouse back yards, and even city apartment verandas and roofs.  There may be neighborhood, community, development rules however.  If you live in such a neighborhood, check first.

If you don’t have an appropriate space to keep bees, talk to your friends; post a notice at the library or your church.  Lots of people are interested in having someone keep bees in their backyard.

We are proud of our Montgomery County reputation of being good neighbors.  Please be a good ad responsible neighbor.  Work with your neighbors and place hives where they can be enjoyed and not become a nuisance.

How much will getting started in beekeeping cost?

Most beekeeping supply companies offer beginner’s kits that include a basic hive and beekeeping tools for about $500. A three pound package of bees will cost about $100 to $150 and a 5 frame nucleus hive now goes for about $150 to $200 dollars (as of Spring 2014). We recommend that most beginners feed their colonies sugar water for the first year to help get them established.

How much honey will I get?

Don’t expect any harvestable honey from a new colony in its first year.  From then on, how much honey you will get is dependent on where you keep your bees and how well you care for them.   In Montgomery County, MD, we expect a well-tended beehive to produce between 30 and 50 pounds of honey a year.  Although we sell much of our honey for $8.00 to $12.00 per pound, few of us are beekeepers for the money.

Will I get stung?

The best source of beekeeping information will be your local beekeeping association and bee supplier.  We recommend that you take the beginning beekeeping class identified on this web site.

Where do I go for more information?

The best source of beekeeping information will be your local beekeeping association. Also try your local Public Library, your local Agricultural Extension Service, and your State Apiary Inspector.

I want to start beekeeping. What do I need to do?

First, if you haven’t already done so, introduce yourself to your local beekeeping association. Take our beginner’s course. Get a beekeeping book. We recommend The Beekeeper’s Handbook by Diane Sammataro and Alphonse Avitabile (available at all the online bookstores).
A quick internet search will yield several beekeeping equipment manufacturers who will sell you just about everything you need.  Finding bees can be a bit trickier but send us an email for some help.
Bee colonies should be started in the spring, the exact time being dependent on where you live. In general, the sooner in the spring a colony is started, the better. You will probably want to get a beginner’s kit from one of the beekeeping equipment suppliers, and order your bees from either a local beekeeper (a “nuc”) or order a package of bees from one of a number of suppliers. Your local association can help you pick which suppliers give good results in your area.
Once your hive is set up, take care of it as you learned in your beginner’s course. You shouldn’t harvest any honey from it in the first year. From then on, if you tend your hive properly you should enjoy a fine crop of honey in future years.

Beekeeping Class (3)

Where do I send my check for the Class?

If you have already registered for the class online, please make your check payable to Montgomery County Beekeepers Association (MCBA) and send it to MCBA c/o Paul Erickson, 214 Baden St., Silver Spring, MD 20901.

If you have not registered online, please do so before sending your payment.

What happens if I miss a class?

Each session of the Beekeeping Class is loaded with information, and fairly brisk paced. As much as you can, please try not to miss any of the sessions. In case you do, please use your textbook to learn about the topics you've missed in the class. If you have questions or you would like to discuss anything related to the class or the textbook, we encourage you to reach out to any of the class organizers and presenters during breaks in subsequent sessions. They will be more than happy to talk to you.

Will I know how to care for bees after I finish the Beekeeping Class?

Yes. The Class will provide you with all the theoretical and practical knowledge to start one or two colonies. Please be advised however that beekeeping requires ongoing learning and practice. The Class tuition includes a year's membership in the Montgomery County Beekeepers Association, and you are encouraged to actively participate in the Association's activities, seek out mentors, and use our resources to obtain the help you need.