Honeybees pollinate the crops for about a third of the foods we eat, and produce honey and other products. The colonial social structure of bees allows us to observe, study and manage them in a way that is beneficial to us, to them, and to nature. These courses will provide the information, experience, and confidence you need to succeed as a backyard beekeeper.
These courses involve field trips to sites outside of the HSU campus. Participants are required to complete a Release of Liability form.
Learn the basics of keeping honeybees for pollination, to produce honey and other products, and to appreciate the lives of these fascinating creatures.
Learn bee biology, life cycle, and social organization. Study beekeeping equipment and management techniques, including how to keep your bees healthy in today's challenging environment. We will focus on basic skills and knowledge which are essential for any style of beekeeping.
Although alternative styles will be considered, we will focus on the standard Langstroth-type hives. During field trips to the intructors' bee yards, you'll observe the inner workings of a hive.
For those who want to start colonies, the class will organize a group purchase of bees and equipment.
Required textbook: Beekeeping for Dummies, 3rd edition, 2015, by Howland Blackiston. You are urged to buy the book and start reading it before the first class meeting.
Advanced Practical Beekeeping
This class is for those who already keep bees and/or have taken Practical Beekeeping.
Spring is the most intensive time of the beekeeper's year as the bees are building up their population for collecting honey in late spring and summer. Follow the progress and problems of several bee yards. Inspect colonies to assess their condition, discuss strategies for guiding them towards production and good health, and carry out these strategies.
Some situations we will encounter are hive and queen assessment, loss of queen, requeening, dividing and combining hives, feeding, identifying and dealing with diseases and parasites, and adding honey supers. Also, each week you'll be assigned to read up on a special topic to discuss in class.
Students are expected to have at least one bee book. The Beekeepers Handbook (Sammataro & Avitabile) is recommended.
Dick LaForge has about 20 years experience and manages eight hives near Freshwater. He taught the beekeeping classes for HSU from 1997-2009, and again in 2015. He produces on average six new colonies and several hundred pounds of honey each year.
Jeannine Kaprielian began beekeeping by taking Dick LaForge and Garrett Brinton's beekeeping class in 2009. She and Garrett developed an apiary on her small farm in the Hoopa Valley. Since then she has kept bees on several coastal sites, giving her insight into specific issues facing both inland and coastal beekeepers.
Steve Sottong is a backyard beekeeper in Eureka. His wife Joy Thomas was co-teacher in 2015 and he served as the beekeeping tech and photo show expert in 2016.
To be notified of future offerings of "Practical Beekeeping," be sure to get on the College of Extended Education & Global Engagement mailing list.