Class Description

The Montgomery County Beekeepers Association of Maryland conducts a yearly beekeeping class which teaches beginner beekeepers the skills needed to successfully establish and maintain a bee colony through its first year and beyond. 

The class consists of 7 weekly lectures.  The timing of the class allows new graduates to begin their own hives immediately after graduation.

The course finishes with hands-on sessions in the apiary, where students can experience the excitement of working a hive.

As a prerequisite, we only ask that you be interested in learning about beekeeping. If you are unsure of your abilities, consider that bees have trained beekeepers for thousands of years, and they have gotten good at it.

The class meets Tuesdays,  7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m., in February and March.  Start and end dates vary each year, but you can find the dates when registration opens at the beginning of January.

COST: $70 (subject to change) and includes the textbook.

You must be a member to enroll in this Beekeeping Class.

Please note:  Membership in MCBA does not guarantee a seat in the class.  Enrollment is limited, and does fill up.

To enroll, Click Here!


Textbook is included with the course.

The Beekeeper’s Handbook (4th Edition)
Diana Sammataro and Alphonse Avitabile
Foreward by Dewey M. Caron
Comstock Publishing Associates

Syllabus for "Beekeeping Class for Beginners"

- Session 1 -

  • Understanding Bees – Chapter 1
    • Honeybee Anatomy
    • Bee Types
    • Life Stages of Honeybees
    • Races of Bees
  • Colony Activities – Chapter 2
    • Bee Roles Within the Hive
    • Comb Building
  • Beekeeping Equipment – Chapter 3
    • Hives – Langstroth and Top Bar
    • Beekeeper Protective Gear

- Session 2 -

  • Obtaining and Preparing for Bees – Chapter 4
    • Good Neighbor Policy
    • Hive Orientation
    • Record Keeping
  • Packages and Nucs – Chapter 6
    • Installing Packages
    • Releasing the Queen
    • Nucs and Installing Nucs
  • Feeding Bees – Chapter 7
    • Types of Feeders
    • Sugar Syrup
    • Fondant
    • Honey
    • Pollen

- Session 3 -

  • Working Bees – Chapter 5
    • Hive Examination
    • Bee Temperament
    • Apprehension in Hive Management
    • Pollination – Chapter 15
    • Planting for Pollinators
    • Insecticides and Honeybees

- Session 4 - 

  • Pathogens and Parasites of Honey Bees – Chapter 13
  • Pests of Honey Bees – Chapter 14
    • Nosema Disease
    • Amoeba Disease
    • Dysentery
    • Brood Disease
    • Viral Disease
    • Mites
    • Wax Moth
    • Small Hive Beetle
  • Products of the Hive – Chapter 12
    • Honey
    • Beeswax
    • Propolis
    • Extracting

 - Session 5 – 

  • Spring and Summer Management – Chapter 9
    • Spring Swarming
    • Feeding
    • Cooling Hive
    • Honey Flow
    • Adding Supers
    • Harvesting Hive Products

- Session 6 -

  • Fall and Winter Management – Chapter 8
    • Treating for Pests
    • Fall Feeding
    • Winter Cluster
    • Insulation
    • Ventilation
    • Winter Feeding
  • Special Management Problems – Chapter 11
    • Moving Established Colonies
    • Weak Colonies
    • Robbing
    • Swarming
    • Queen Supersedure
    • Swarm Cells
    • Laying Worker
  • Pointers for Urban Beekeeping
    • Locating Hives – Small Backyards and Roof Tops
    • Protecting Your Neighbors

- Session 7 –  (also Snow Day Make Up Session if needed)

  • Hands-On Demonstrations
    • Soap Making
    • Candle Making
    • Pest Recognition and Management
    • Lighting a Smoker
    • Clearing Bees from Frames
    • Installing a Package and Nuc
    • Box Assembly
  • Graduation


Field Days

Field days give new beekeepers hands on mentoring with an experienced beekeeper in the club’s bee yard at Brookside Nature Center.  Dates for field days will be determined based on weather and arrival of bees for installation in the hives.  All field days will be announced in advance via the MCBA ListServ.


Barbecue and Field Day

A Saturday in May, exact date TBD


Additional Mentoring

MCBA sponsors free Hands-On Hive management demonstrations throughout the Spring and Summer at Brookside Nature Center.  To receive emailed updates on demonstration topics, dates, and times, join the MCBA Listserv.



Additional Reading 

  • Backyard Beekeeper – author Kim Flottum
  • Top-Bar Hive Beekeeping: Wisdom and Pleasure Combined – author Wyatt A. Mangum


Bee Magazines


Beekeeper Equipment Suppliers



Electronic Hive Recordkeeping Website – Hive Tacks