One of the best ways to become a successful beekeeper is through hands-on mentoring from experienced beekeepers. Join instructors from the Bee Squad in our teaching apiary for in-person workshops that will take you from spring to fall. Each class will focus on a specific seasonal management skill, with time for participants to try inspection techniques and ask questions about their own colonies.

We encourage beekeepers to sign up for multiple workshops over the season. Please note that participants should come into the apiary with a basic understanding of honey bee biology and hive structure AND their own protective equipment (bee veil or jacket). Depending on class size and topic, participants may be broken into groups based on experience. We welcome first year beekeepers and those who have taken the Beekeeping in Northern Climates course and want to try hive management before purchasing their own bees!

Gloveless Beekeeping

One of the core tenets of the Bee Squad’s beekeeping philosophy is to enter colonies without wearing gloves. This allows the beekeeper to have the dexterity and sensory feedback to handle frames and bee boxes in a way that minimizes harm and disruption to the bees. For the safety of all students and instructors, we require that all participants do NOT wear gloves in our teaching apiaries. We believe that the ability to manage a hive of honey bees calmly and confidently under a wide range of conditions is one of the most important skills gained from our program. Instructors work with all participants to demonstrate techniques to minimize stings to the beekeeper and disruption to the bees, but we cannot guarantee that participants will not be stung during our classes. Please feel free to contact us (ma-bees@umn.edu) with questions prior to registration or attending class!

Requirements to participate

  • Participants must be 18 years or older to enter the apiary
  • Bring your own bee veil OR bee jacket OR bee suit to wear in the apiary
  • Willingness to work without gloves in the apiary
  • Have taken the "Beekeeping in Northern Climates" course OR another basic beekeeping course OR have kept bees for at least one year
  • Willingness to follow ongoing COVID-19 protocols and stay home if sick

Fees and enrollment information

Each workshop is $30, and online registration closes at 8am the day of each class. If you miss the 8am enrollment deadline and wish to sign up late, you must email ma-bees@umn.edu.

Class dates and descriptions

In-Person Apiary workshops will be held on Sunday afternoons from 1:00-2:30pm at a teaching apiary on the University of MN St. Paul campus. Directions to the apiary will be sent after registration.

  • May 15: Complete Hive Inspection and Strategies for Requeening
    Learn to inspect hives of all sizes and identify pollen, nectar, all stages of healthy brood, evidence of the queen, and overall colony health.  We will check the packages and divides from the previous workshops and discuss strategies for requeening as needed.
  • June 12: Managing Growing Colonies
    June in Minnesota is a time of fast growth for many honey bee hives. Prevent swarms, catch the nectar flow, and set your hive up for a great season by doing reversals, adding space, and checking for mites.
  • July 17: Summer Management
    Hives are getting big! Learn to identify brood diseases, troubleshoot issues with your queen, and get tips for working with heavy boxes full of bees and honey.
  • August 14: Fall Mite Management and Pulling Honey Supers
    Practice using the powdered sugar shake to monitor for mites and make a treatment plan. Get tips on removing supers with different methods that minimize robbing and defensive behavior.
  • September 18: Feeding, Combining, and Treatment to Ensure Healthy Hives
    For hives to successfully overwinter, they must have sufficient honey stores, a healthy and sizable population of bees, and be relatively free of mites and disease. We will evaluate hives of different sizes and decide on the appropriate interventions.
  • October 16: Wrapping Hives for Successful Overwintering
    Give your hives their best chance of winter survival with proper winter wrapping and a final oxalic acid mite treatment.
  • Bonus Workshop at the Bee Lab Pollinator Garden!
    July 17 from 11:00am-12:30pm: Planting to Provide Food and Habitat for Native Bees

    Thea Evans will lead participants through the pollinator demonstration garden outside the Bee Laboratory. She will identify native pollinators and signs of nesting bee habitat, as well as dive into the details of maintaining a pollinator garden. This class will NOT require bee veils, so feel free to invite non-beekeeper friends!

Contact information

Program contact:
Jessica Helgen

Registration help:

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