Beginners’ Bee Course


Calgary’s bee club does an amazing amount of work for our area’s beekeepers. It’s great fun being involved. The volunteer opportunities are enormous – mentoring, hosting visitors (Saturday at the Hive), catching city swarms, and bunches more. My contributions over the years included serving as the club’s president, acting as the chief honey judge, and helping with a team of teachers. The most best-est is teachering, which I find marvelously edifying. This weekend, I had the privilege of participating in the beginners’ beekeeping course!


Me, teaching. My friend Lisa Reimer took the squirrel photo at a family picnic.

35 new beekeepers attended our two-day course. Our first day of sessions included an introduction to bees (Bee Biology), hive equipment and costs (Getting Started), and then our Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter management modules finished the day. The next day we covered the necessary stuff on bee diseases and pests, government regulations and inspections, and handling and removing honey. The second day ended with a recap presented as a calendar which led the students through a typical year of beekeeping.

2016-11-bee-club-9The photo, left, is such a quintessentially Canadian pic, don’t you think? You can see the flag and (look closely) a 40-year-old portrait of the queen and her husband on the far wall.  The hall is a community centre (Canadians are big on community stuff!) with basketball foul lines (basketball was invented by a Canadian) and a very old piano, used mostly to play Oscar Peterson jazz tunes. The place is obviously wheelchair accessible (very inclusive culture here), and you can even see a typical Canadian skep-head – me!

Here are a few more pictures from our very busy, fun (and exhausting) weekend:




Neil, Tom, Glenda, Bert, and (seated) Ron

Neil, Tom, Glenda, Bert, and (seated) Ron

About Ron Miksha

Ron Miksha is a bee ecologist working at the University of Calgary. He is also a geophysicist and does a bit of science writing and blogging. Ron has worked as a radio broadcaster, a beekeeper, and Earth scientist. (Ask him about seismic waves.) He's based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
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4 Responses to Beginners’ Bee Course

  1. Erik says:

    That is pretty intense, to cover all that material in just two days. Nice of you to be involved. Our local club does a once-a-week course over six weeks to cover it all.

    You slide on “3 castes” is not accurate, btw. A caste in biology is within a single sex, so technically a drone is not a caste. Honey bees have two sexes, male and female, and two castes, both female. Check out


    Liked by 1 person

    • Ron Miksha says:

      You’re right! Very intense two days.
      Re: castes, the slide belongs to the friend who taught this piece, but I should have noticed it before you pointed it out! I think she was generalizing, but we should clarify it. Thanks, Erik.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Humungus Bee Meeting | Bad Beekeeping Blog

  3. Pingback: A Year of Backyard Beekeeping | Bad Beekeeping Blog

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