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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,045

    Default What to cover in a 2 to 3 hour class?

    Our little town has an active gardening community and burgeoning local sustainability movement. A new acquaintance has asked if I'd teach a class which I'm glad to do. Love the sound of my own voice and love to talk about bees! So anyway my problem will likely be condensing everything I'd want a noob to know into three hours. Off the top, I'll certainly cover:

    equipment: choices, sources. Smoker use. Protective equipment

    getting bees

    basic colony inspection/manipulation

    colony location: site considerations, good neighborship

    stings and allergy

    bees: colony and individual behavior, seasonal cycles, life cycles, swarming, castes and age division of labor

    queens: races, supercedure, emergency replacement

    Management choices : none, IPM, soft only, medicate like it's going out of style, etc.

    Disease, pests and predators

    Feeding

    I'll ask the woman hosting if this is to be a details class like for folks wanting bees in spring (in which case obviously we'll need some follow-up) or to get some information out there and get people interested. But either way, anyone see anything big I'm missing? Or have an outline to share?

    I'm just dying to do this! The only other person doing classes in the area, besides the clubs which for some reason don't seem to get great attendance, charges like $100 a head for a class ! And then tells people varroa is caused by extractors no less .
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Macon, GA USA
    Posts
    948

    Default

    Our local club did a 3 hour class a couple weeks ago. We packed the room with 52 attendees. We covered just the basics as you listed. We stressed not to look for a "cookie cutter" approach or to try to exactly copy any beeks methods. We only scratched the surface and hopefully generated enough interest to try to learn more. The only handout we had was a list of resources starting with local willing mentors along with books, mags, and of course beesource.com.

    Part two of the class is coming up and will be in a beeyard where smokers will be lit and hives opened.

    We found the best advertising to be through the county extension agents. Master gardeners make great beekeepers. We also got a free ad in the local newspaper. You can also spread the word through local groups like food coops, homeschool groups, CSAs, farmers markets, etc.

    There is a ton of interest in beekeeping from the general public right now.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Pigeon Falls, WI
    Posts
    2,528

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Brewcat View Post
    , charges like $100 a head for a class ! And then tells people varroa is caused by extractors no less .
    Seriously!?!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    White County, Arkansas
    Posts
    874

    Default

    Our county's Master Gardener rookie training has beekeeping in the cirriculum. A very quick down and dirty. A lot like what you have, just not a lot of detail. One thing that was covered VERY well was telling the difference between honeybees and wasps and hornets. Good Luck!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Default

    first I would guess you would need to determine if the class is 'book work' or application in nature.

    secondly.. if you haven't taught before the number of items you can stuff into any time slot is much smaller than you might guess. limit the number of items you might wish to cover and do that well. trimming the list of topics to essentials is a good first step here.

    I personally have a fondness for 'doing it' kind of stuff. Many times when folks lecture in regards to bees they seem to spend a lot of time discussing all the problems (which seems to be a listing growing longer by the season). sometime I think (to myself of course).... oh no not the varroa thingee, followed by the nosema thingee, followed by the ccd thingee. <sounds like extremely poor salesmanship to me to harp and harp on all the bad stuff that MIGHT happen without one second devoted to any of the good stuff that might come out of beekeeping.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,770

    Default

    You need to leave time for Q&A for sure. Especially at the end where a lot of folks want a subject expanded. If you have a lot of kids, all bets are off with questions...which is a good thing!
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    VENTURA, California, USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Default A good opportunity

    You have a good opportunity to present the benefits of pollination.
    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,045

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Beeslave View Post
    Seriously!?!
    Seriously. Actually he's a really good guy, serious bee advocate. Passionate about sustainable beekeeping, but maybe a little too passionate in that he does say that topbar bees don't get mites or indeed any disease at all (caused by reintroducing combs "contaminated" by extraction), "poodle bees" are cloned and that's why his bees are disease free (because they're not cloned), you get the picture.

    For those of you not familiar with Boulder, CO it's hard to explain how some really good people are "out there" in a way that you could understand if there were a tiny part of it you could identify with . A local author put it best (paraphrasing) "I laughed, I cried, I spilled decaf soy latte all over the faux leather seats of my hybrid luxury car". Boulder: where the cheese is dairy free.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
    Posts
    575

    Default

    Hi Ben,
    I am also doing a program for our local garden club soon. Looks like you got all the basics covered...however...the garden club leader here said that they were particularly interested in learning about plants that are beneficial to honey bees. So, you might include that if you need a little extra stuff for your presentation. I might add that I am also going to caution them regarding their use of pesticides in the garden especially at times when fruit trees or garden plants are blooming. Hope you have great success! God bless...
    "My child, eat honey, for it is good." (Proverbs 24:13)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    North Bend, WA
    Posts
    504

    Default

    I think it might be important to talk about swarming and bee identification. Probably quite a few of these people will never be beekeepers, but all can be swarm-watchers. If they know what to look for, who to call and most importantly know not to panic they'll be good bee-friendly neighbors.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Thousand Oaks, CA USA
    Posts
    1,206

    Default

    Great stuff, and timely for me. I'm scheduled to speak with the Burbank Garden Club in June. Interestingly enough, Burbank is not a bee-friendly city in terms of its rules and reg'lations. I figure I'll hit on that a little bit, try to start a little groundswell of change.

    I'm only speaking an hour or so, so I'm bringing in a hive with frames that have pictures of healthy brood/pollen/honey on them. And I like many of the suggestions here; such as difference between wasps and bees; bee-friendly plants; etc.

    Thanks, all.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Tip of the Thumb, Michigan
    Posts
    676

    Default

    Three hours REALLY isn't a whole lot of time to cover even the basics!

    Count on the last hour to be questions. LOTS of questions.

    That leaves two hours, which I'd fill by trying to get people interested in taking a WEEKEND COURSE about beginning beekeeping! And THEN let them drink from the fire hose of knowledge.

    Keep things simple. These people want to know "what time it is" and not "how to build a watch"! That comes later. (In the weekend course, maybe?)

    DS

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,045

    Default

    Just found out it'll be a two hour "interest whetting" kind of thing, so I think I'll keep it very simple and bring lots of toys (extractor, display colony, smoker and veils etc).
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Sparta, Tennessee
    Posts
    2,139

    Default

    If you have a question and answer period, you can kill an hour answering questions on AHB's. I recently spoke to an audience for a session sponsered by the "The Science Cabaret" and the folks really were focused on Africanized honeybees.
    Last edited by Jeffzhear; 03-15-2009 at 06:52 PM. Reason: spelling

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